AS we move closer to the referendum, the Unionist press is beginning to step up a gear regarding subsidised Scotland. More and more we will hear the same old story. This constant drip, drip, drip will erode confidence, and the SNP leadership must close this argument down.

Years ago I read an article explaining how the subsidy system works, and if I have picked it up wrong I’m sure someone will tell me. VAT payments are sent in by company HQ. The government grants given on these payments are sent to the area which contains the HQ, ie London. But Westminster must recognise that the work is done in Scotland. They can’t put two grants in the account books for one VAT payment, so London gets the grant and Scotland goes in the account books as receiving a subsidy. I should have thought the grant should go to the area that did the work, and not to the area that did the paperwork, but that would mean London getting the subsidy while Scotland got the grant, and we can’t have London being subsidised by Scotland.

This is the reason why Alex Salmond complained so much when an HQ moved south – because the grant goes with them and Scotland is lumbered with another subsidy. I would like to know how much money London gets in grants for work done in Scotland.

The battlefield for the last referendum and for this referendum will be the media. Social media does not reach the people we need to persuade to vote Yes. The SNP leadership must find a way to get their message across. Years ago when Labour complained about not getting a fair crack of the whip from the Tory press they brought in Alastair Campbell as media guru who got Labour’s policies across. We need someone like that who is willing and able to be Scotland’s champion on the media front.

Westminster has a £2 trillion debt that has to be serviced. With a debt like that and a war going on they have to borrow to keep the UK up and running, and the best asset to borrow on is oil. Scotland also has the wind and wave capacity to provide 40% of Europe’s electricity. That is one hell of a lot of wealth waiting to be tapped into – no wonder London clings to Scotland like a drowning man clings to a lump of wood. Scotland’s wealth will go much further spread among five million people than 60 million in the UK.

More than 70% of under-35s voted Yes. The future is for the young; it is not for those who are knocking on the pearly gates. They want control over their country and the wealth it produces. They must have the right to decide their country’s future, and if that means referendum after referendum then so be it.

Mrs G Ross
via email

THE most salient fact about modern political discourse is the abundance of opinions and views expressed across all media that offer various routes towards modifying or fine-tuning actually-existing capital.

Most of these viewpoints are as futile as milkshake bombs or the constant blather about Trump’s hair or his wandering hands. Similar is the preoccupation with “constitutional questions” and the various ways in which Brexit can be avoided and/or Scottish independence achieved.

Important as these things are, they are not primary.

The truly “real” divide in all societies during the neoliberal age is that between the super-rich elites and the rest of us; between those who rarely concern themselves with nuclear weapons and those who see their use as inevitable unless they are disposed of; between those who want business as usual and those who understand that business as usual is killing the planet.

These issues are primary because they shape and define our lives more pressingly, and more insidiously, than Brexit or independence.

We have shifted epochs in just half a century. The newly minted epithet “Anthropocene” should surely be renamed the ‘Obscene’. For we are being sucked into a dystopia governed by those who exercise a “droit de seigneur” as rapacious and evil now as it was in the past; by people who see the earth and their fellow humans as repositories of labour and profit.

A set of objective demands are being made of humanity. The truth is that the response to those demands, so far, has fallen far short of what is necessary.

I support Scottish independence but I have become heartily sick of listening to nationalists telling me that “yes, I agree, but we need independence first”. I saw through the posturing of the SNP some time ago. The First Minister declares a climate emergency. We will be carbon neutral in 2045. How progressive. Also, how too late! What have the SNP done about land ownership? About private landlords? Does anyone seriously believe the SNP is an adequate response to our rapid drift towards the abyss? That any existing party is?

Waving a saltire or taking the mickey out of Trump, Johnson or Farage isn’t, and won’t, stop them.

“And were the whale then run the line out to the end ... the doomed boat would infallibly be dragged down after him into the profundity of the sea” – Moby Dick.

Alex Porter

IN her article in the Sunday National, Kirsty Strickland comments that the daily and Sunday National newspapers were able to launch because there was a niche for them of around 50% of the population supporting independence (In an age of chaos and political turmoil we need more journalists – not fewer, July 14).

Highlighting the difficulties currently facing The Scotsman also brings into sharp focus the commercially suicidal decision taken by its management in 2014 to alienate half the population by coming out with support for the Union and against independence. If ever there was a time for a newspaper to say nothing, it was then.

Douglas Turner