LAST night my wife arrived home with the weekly groceries and the kitchen was covered with a blizzard of Union flags. From strawberries to butter to flowers and more, nearly every item had its nature and character suppressed by this garish coverage of red, white and blue. The need to enhance the product’s image and to lure the customer to purchase was of secondary importance to the necessity of making a political statement.

Whether it is on a national level with the likes of Standard Life, RBS, Tesco, Asda, BBC etc, or at a regional level with provincial newspapers and local businesses, the affluent elite who control these have lifestyles which bring them into regular contact with one another. It may be by virtue of some club, or corporate hospitality event or Tory Party dinner or business conference. No matter the forum, these are the occasions when the real policy decisions are made. They do not carry minutes of meetings so have no record of events.They do, however, allow policies to be discussed and joint action to be agreed.

Make no mistake, these powerful people have been at war against Scottish independence for some years now and their boldness and creativity have

only been enhanced by the scare they received in 2014. They have even managed to get the non-combative opposition to accept a Trojan horse of GERS into their own camp, which attacks from within every year.

The independence movement uses weapons of reasoning, debate and marches but lacks access to the powerful levers that can influence the more impressionable amongst us. Brexit has shown us how the masses can easily be stampeded in a required direction.

When the next independence campaign is called we will be up against an opposition than has never been so vulnerable due to the chaos of Westminster but who still hold the biggest weapons and, like a cornered animal, will fight even harder to protect their privileged lifestyles.

It is time to realise that a war is being waged against us and we are not offering an appropriate defence. It is time to call out the supermarket politicisation for what it is and tell Tesco etc what we think about them. It is time to dump the GERS nonsense or to produce a set of figures of our own that will reflect a free Scotland. It is time to tell Standard Life or RBS or any other repetitive “leaver” that we remember their similar threats prior to devolution and wish them well on their journey south. It is time to engage in this war.

Alasdair Forbes
Farr, Inverness-shire

CAN someone please explain to me why we pay so much for locally produced food from the agricultural sector?

To put things in perspective – you have to lock-in that currently and for the considerable future all our farmers and land owners receive very substantial government funding, without actually having to do very much at all for it.

Yet somehow we can import butter and lamb from New Zealand, 11,500 miles away, and then sell it cheaper than that locally produced. The same applies to beef from Argentina.

Actually, as far as I’m aware NZ has no farming subsidy at all. Argentina has a complicated subsidy structure. Maybe Michael Fry could explain the NZ model to me in terms of productivity.

I’m all for lower costs, better productivity, growing market share, and responsible environmental attitudes, together a payment-by-results scheme of remuneration.

Methinks that New Zealand should be the model that Scotland should be adopting in future government agricultural policy.

Dougie Gray