I SPENT many years in the Scottish Labour Party, as did my father, and my grandfather was involved in the Labour Representation Committee before the Labour Party was established. He was a miner, as was Keir Hardie.

From its very inception, the Labour party in Scotland had links with Scottish home rule and the right of the Scottish people to determine their own future.

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Of course Richard Leonard would not know that, indeed, he seems to know very little about Scotland and the labour movement here.

I am not aware of any policy issue Leonard is associated with, or which he wants to challenge the Labour leadership over – not nuclear weapons, not trade-union rights, not anti-austerity, no – but he wants to demand that the Tory party policy of refusing to allow the Scottish people to determine their own future is supported and endorsed by the UK Labour leadership.

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Now of course Richard Leonard has every right, as an individual, to have an opinion on Scottish independence, and since he lives in Scotland he has the right to vote on this issue, and we, as democrats have a duty to respect his vote.

Why does he think he has a right to prevent other people from voting, and if they do so to disrespect their vote, just because he has adopted this policy from the Tories? Is it any wonder that thousands of us in Scotland have walked away from the Labour party, and why should anyone be surprised if the many thousands of decent Scottish working people who still hold their nose and vote Labour should decide they have had enough of Leonard and his ilk and stop voting Labour? After all, if their main concern is staying in the Union they can vote for “real” Tories – they do not need Tory substitutes like him.

Andy Anderson

THE Better Together alliance, surely a misnomer in Scotland today as these Unionist parties are actually at loggerheads with and within one another, has reacted as one would predict after the Ashcroft poll results, and the direction of travel is the increasing majority support for independence from across most parties.

The LibDems blame the Tories yet their new leader would cooperate and has been in government with the Tories at Westminster. The Labour mouthpiece at Holyrood, Richard Leonard, claims Scotland needs “some form” of constitutional change, but he is unable to be specific. McDonnell now says it should be up to Holyrood to decide when to hold indyref2. Civil war erupts.

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The Tories simply said that it was not a majority for independence, yet the percentage of the vote share for their party UK-wide is disastrously low, as witnessed in the last election to the EU Parliament.

At least the LibDem leader at Holyrood admits that there are current problems within the UK – quite an understatement, yet he did not specify in detail – but says that independence is not the answer, probably because he does not really have a clue so he utters his wee party piece.

He could have identified the fact that we voted to remain in the EU, did not vote for the Tory government at Westminster and that the largest single Scottish party at Holyrood and Westminster is the SNP which stands for independence.

As No Deal is now firmly on the horizon, perhaps the Better Together parties in Scotland, which also campaigned to remain in the EU, could actually stress that fact and draw the obvious conclusion that the Union is pulling Scotland out of the EU and denying the democratic mandate of 63% of the voters for Remain.

But they don’t because they are BritNat satraps come what may. Their Vow which they propounded in 2014 was a fraud and lies. That was their opportunity to take devolution a stage further in the ongoing process and even then they produced measly proposals. Their Big Bang opportunity was a fizzled-out damp squib.

If they were serious they would be producing blueprints and formulae for change and criticising the Tory plans to reign in powers at Holyrood and “Union-Jack” it, but they stay “stumm”. They are mere relics operating in a vacuum, vacuous themselves having lost the way. The Better Together alliance are as unfit for purpose as their one-trick mantra – the Union is now passé. The political abyss awaits those who cling to the Britpast.

John Edgar

WHEN is a constitution not a constitution? When it’s unwritten.

A constitution based on precedent seems to me to be weak, insubstantial and open to abuse allowing the “executive”, prime minister and/or Cabinet to act as a dictatorship as they threaten to ignore parliament and pitch us into a No-Deal Brexit.

When Douglas Alexander calls John McDonnell ignorant of history, Labour values and the British constitution, isn’t he showing that he himself can be charged with the same?

Whose history does he mean? Scotland’s, the UK’s or maybe simply the Labour party’s? Labour values we’ve seen disintegrating since the days of Kinnock or maybe even Callaghan, whose “values” led to the winter of discontent in 1978-9.

The British constitution isn’t something to be proud of when we have seen how easily it can be manipulated when the fixed-term parliament was introduced by Cameron but ignored by May when she called a General Election in 2017.

Sooner or later Labour will recognise they’ll be in a better position to influence events in an independent Scotland if they go back to their roots of which they can indeed be proud. But first they’ll have to convince voters in independent Scotland they can be trusted.

Today our best hope is with the SNP. Only they aren’t wedded to Westminster. Their focus is solely on Scotland.

Catriona Grigg