OVER the last few years, and certainly from 2014, the presence of the Union Jack (flying or branding in Scotland) has become an increasing source of annoyance to me.

When faced with Union Jack branded items, I admit, I do look for alternatives.

As Johnson considers his policy for “jacking” everything he can in Scotland to demonstrate the wonders of the Union (because clearly a philosophical belief in Scottish independence is just down to a lack of Union Jacks) I, for one, will find that strategy will only harden my commitment and resolve to continue this fight for self-determination and independence.

Union Jack branding does not represent the (so-called) UK single market as Johnson et al would have us believe. It represents more than ever before domination, imperialism and the deaf ear of Westminster and its government.

If we are to truly salute the brotherhood of the UK single market then let’s celebrate the bounty from each of the four component countries. Each of us have different agricultural strengths. Each of us has a different flag. If a product comes from England let’s see a St George’s Cross on it. Why not!

Mostly I will continue to buy Saltire-branded produce first because that best supports my local economy, but a St George’s Cross or a Red Dragon brand on an appropriate product will never elicit the response from me that a Union Jack is guaranteed to do.

Iona Easton

AS the tide turns and begins to flow in favour of self-determination it seems important that those who have argued for Scotland’s independence over many years are not now diverted in pursuit of personal ideals on matters that the Scottish public should be trusted to determine at appropriate future dates.

Of course, like Brexit, “independence” can mean different things to different people, but unlike Brexit as pursued by the UK Government we can have faith in our more proportionately representative democratic system and the Scottish Parliament to deliver the outcomes desired by current and future majorities of Scottish voters.

Whether monarchist or republican, pro-EU, EFTA or EEA, neoliberalist or social democrat, our focus now should be delivering what most of those who reside in Scotland wish today, which is to live in a country where the broad electorate (including 16 and 17-year-olds and all residents) is able to determine its own constitutional future; a country which is aligned with the processes and protections of the EU; a country which retains its links with the monarchy but progresses local devolution throughout the mainland and our island communities.

Once independence is achieved we can all welcome the debate on other significant matters, content in the knowledge that politically our children will be determining their own futures not simply managing the consequences of predominantly non-egalitarian decisions taken far from their homes, families, and country, that is Scotland.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

I AM not sure as to whether the two Tory aspirants are clear on how they will spend more money on public services while at the same time cutting taxes for the wealthy. Somewhere I read that they have decided to borrow to cover these plans – a cock-eyed scheme if ever I saw one. They would appear not to have any grasp of economics, but are masters of ego comics; we are not amused.

Jim Lynch

YESTERDAY morning I listened to a discussion about assisted dying and a call for the Scottish Parliament to revisit this issue and to pass legislation which would give the terminally ill the right to have help in ending their lives.

During the discussion James Mildred from Christian Action Research and Education made the point that such a law would inevitably lead to vulnerable people being pressured into killing themselves; he said that the choice to die would inevitably become the duty to die and that no safeguards could ever prevent this outcome.

What was not discussed was the fact that Mr Mildred’s world view is based on his religious belief and that, for him, no safeguards would ever be acceptable. This is because Mr Mildred has not looked at the issue, become aware of the dangers and decided that it is inappropriate to grant such a right; rather, his religious belief makes such a right entirely unacceptable and he has then sought reasons to back up this dogmatic viewpoint.

Mr Mildred and those who think like him are entitled to that view – they cannot be forced to exercise a right with which they disagree. What they are not entitled to do is impose their viewpoint and deny such a right to the rest of us. This type of religious dogmatism is no basis on which to make decisions about the country’s legislation.

The history of this issue does not fill me with confidence but I hope in future this debate will not revolve around the deliberate scaremongering of religious fundamentalists but focus on the suffering of the terminally ill and the rights they are entitled to in a civilised and compassionate country.

Colin Dunning
Port Glasgow

I CAN’T tell you how much I enjoy reading George Kerevan and Kevin McKenna. I always read their articles religiously. There are also many other writers on your roster who

I enjoy and never miss, such as Carolyn Leckie, and one or two I always skip. I think Carolyn’s being a bit hard done by regarding her article on sex equality laws. I didn’t really understand it, but I respect her opinion, and felt genuinely chuffed when she thanked me, as a man, for reading to the end of her article! We may be a small nation, but we have always produced world-class thinkers.

Solomon Steinbett