MARTIN Hannan made two serious omissions when referencing those Scottish MEPs who had made their mark in Brussels.

Allan Macartney served from 1994 until his tragic and untimely death in 1998. I scarcely knew him, but for an idea of his contribution to Scottish and international affairs one need only read the obituary written by his good friend and colleague Neil MacCormick.

Now Professor Sir Neil MacCormick I did know. I had the enormous privilege and pleasure to work for him, for three years, during his time in Brussels from 1999 till 2004. I told him it was rather like Pooh, the bear with very little brain, working for Einstein.

His knowledge and understanding of law and constitutional affairs made him a natural for the Legal Affairs Committee, the Constitutional Affairs Committee and later for membership of the Convention on the Future of Europe.

Unlike Nigel Farage, he actually believed in the role of the parliament and was universally liked and respected for his enthusiastic participation in its affairs.

Unlike Gerry Fisher he did not feel there was a contradiction in his being a Scottish Nationalist AND being an ardent supporter of the EU – and he strove hard to promote his idea of a confederation of member states. He ends his booklet “Who’s Afraid of a European Constitution?” with the words: “The existence of a peaceful and united – but not unitary – Europe makes the world a better place.”

When chaos, fear, uncertainty and xenophobia reign not just in the so-called UK but also across Europe, we so very sorely miss such men of the stature, intellect and humanity of Allan and Neil.

Elizabeth Skinner
Kilrenny, Fife

I REALISE I’m stating the obvious but the successful Scottish MEPs who are pro-independence must hit Brussels running when they take up their seats in July.

They must immediately champion Scotland’s place in Europe at every opportunity. In the parliament, In the corridors, in the bars.They must support and make new friends. They must earn every penny of their £85,000 salary.

Why? Because with Brexit looming they might not be there for too long!! But to quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, come independence “They’ll Be Back!”

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

REGARDING the ad campaign on Universal Credit (UC) by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), (‘Myth-busting’ ad on Universal Credit sparks backlash, May 23). What isn’t explicitly mentioned in Kirsteen Paterson’s report is that, as part of this blatant propaganda campaign, the DWP is also to hook up with the BBC on a documentary about the benefit. According to The Guardian, the DWP is to have access to the film before transmission, although the BBC insists it will retain editorial control. So the Department of Want and Poverty are really going to town on this, courtesy of public funds of course.

This costly propaganda campaign should be seen in the context of all the obfuscation, denial and false claims the Tories have engaged in over UC. For example, in October 2018 the Labour party used an opposition-day debate to try to force the government to publish any recent briefings or analyses into the impact of Universal Credit on claimants’ incomes and debt levels. According to reports at the time, no UC impact assessments had been produced since 2011.

The Tories were whipped to see off the move and Labour’s motion was defeated by 299 votes to 279, with six DUP MPs voting with the government. I remember watching the four-hour debate, and the levels of denial from the Tory MPs were scunnering.

The public spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, last year stated that core claims about UC were based on unprovable assumptions; that, for example, there was no way to prove UC helped more people into work. It effectively demolished government ministers’ claims for UC regarding employment benefits, financial savings and value for money.

With this proactive campaign on UC, the Tories seem to be engaging in something called denialism. As the writer Keith Kahn Harris states: “Denial hides from the truth, denialism builds a new and better truth”. It’s already sounding familiar.

Mo Maclean

BOB Ingram (The Long Letter, May 24) mentioned that it was very important for us all to get involved in discussing a Scottish constitution now. Work on this is in fact well advanced. If you look at and/or you will find information and a full draft of just such a constitution.

It is in wiki format, allowing you to input comments where you wish. These in time will be considered for inclusion into the final draft.

Robert Anderson
Dunning, Perthshire