THE news releases of the leak of the cables sent by the now former UK Ambassador to the US have caused havoc in Westminster and beyond.

A leak in the UK aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has been reported sotto voce, with conflicting accounts of the extent of the damage. So far this has been the third leak to have occurred in the vessel.

The current “dying” administration at No 10, the paralysis in the Commons and the Tory infighting nationwide are good reminders that the strong and stable broad shoulders of the Precious Union are not sturdy.

When Unionists talk openly about “saving the Union” and spending billions to impress, then one knows instinctively that they know the Union is leaking and about to capsize. Panic all round!

Never before has there been such a scramble to rescue the sinking Britannia, holed below the waterline. The plight of the troubled aircraft carrier, the vanity project with no planes, the symbol of a pretendy Empire2, is mirrored in the wreckage at Westminster having cast itself adrift from the EU and Europe and now drifting aimlessly hoping for a lifeline from Donald Trump, who has just shattered the special relationship and guffawed!

The UK has been put in its place alright. The pompous latter-day Ruritania, with its wee pomp-and-ceremony monarchical sideshows, uniforms and pageantry, is all that is left. It is about to turn in on itself!

John Edgar

AS Unionists throw scorn and derision at the Scottish Government’s attempts to develop Citizens Assemblies, I have to express my disappointment that they imply that there is no benefit at all which could accrue to Scotland by even experimenting with such a forum.

If the SNP have been clumsy in developing a partisan, independence workshop mentality, as the Unionists claim, then what better way to counter that than with unpredictable, representative, grassroots participation.

If the random sample of the Scottish electorate participating in these early assemblies do not support the “separatist” Scottish Government’s agenda, they will tell them. Nevertheless as a country we still stand to gain from these discussions. Such is the nature of “deliberative democracy”.

It seems however that by their preemptive boycott and myriad anti-assembly columns, the Unionist parties and their press are not prepared to take that chance.

I have to wonder why?

Iona Easton

WHEN we lost the 2014 referendum we were heartbroken and we cavilled about some of the tactics of the opposition, but we begrudgingly accepted the result because we accepted that everyone had voted who had an opinion and it just didn’t go our way at the time.

When we vote for our legislators in Holyrood we accept their decisions because, despite an arcane voting system, people have voted them in.

I am yet to be convinced of the merits of a people’s assembly. How are we to know that a randomly selected group of citizens accurately reflects the opinion of the population or that they are qualified to judge the merits of conflicting opportunities. I thought that is what we elected MSPs for?

The SNP may counter that the citizen’s assembly is only there in an advisory capacity. We have just had a ruinous referendum which was only meant to be an indicative vote yet, once passed, it has become imperative.

It is difficult to see how the Scottish Parliament could counter the expressed wish of this assembly yet there is no guarantee of how representative it is.

One could select a group of people which accurately mirrors the composition of the Scottish people in age, gender-orientation, hair colour or lack of it, education, work experience, shoe size, whatever, and still inadvertently end up with a group completely composed of Jedi followers of the Highland Land League.

There is a growing chasm between the plurality of the electorate and the political class, but that is surely the problem of the selection processes of the political parties.

There is a simpler solution than overcomplicating an already Kafkaesque system of government – stop selecting white men from university.

Ian Richmond
Dumfries and Galloway

I REFER to Charlie Kerr’s letter in Thursday’s paper and his suggestion that it is perhaps time for a civil disobedience campaign by over-75s to withhold their licence fee.

When I suggested this to my mum, she said: “Oh, I couldn’t do that, I’d miss Strictly!” My reply to her was that if we want to challenge the status quo and make change possible, then we need to make sacrifices. The more we are prepared to sacrifice, the greater the change will be.

Solomon Steinbett