IF ever voters needed a reminder of the mindset of the British establishment they need look no further than last Wednesday’s Politics Live hosted by Jo Coburn. The panel included historian Simon Heffer, a man with an impeccable right-wing pedigree (Oxbridge, Spectator, Telegraph, Mail).

The short segment (from 48mins in on iPlayer) started with an interview with Kirsty Blackman on the Scottish Government’s record on the health service, which Coburn wished to use to point to how well or badly an independent Scotland would perform.

Blackman made a decent fist of defending the NHS in Scotland, which stands up well against that of rUK, and explained some of the reasons why the present constitutional settlement ties the government’s hands. Cut to Heffer, whom Coburn invited to deliberate on whether this is a sustainable position on the part of the SNP.

WATCH: Tory candidate asks friend to pretend to be swing voter

No, what a surprise. Heffer stated that most people in England would agree that the British state had made a hash of Irish independence and that if there was a desire for a second independence referendum then “we” might agree to the Scots having another opportunity to determine their own future. But he claimed the issues of currency and EU membership were ignored in the first campaign and that “we” had a duty to Scotland as part of UK.

Heffer concluded by saying yes, let’s grant a second referendum, but only on condition that the Scots demonstrate first how Scotland will fund independence and “make a proper case that they can govern themselves responsibly afterwards”. The other panel members nodded wisely. Coburn let it pass since they were anxious to plug Heffer’s latest book.

It appears that, in Heffer’s world view, Scotland, amongst the other successful small nations of Europe, is uniquely incompetent. The right to choose self-determination is apparently dependent on his and others’ largesse provided we pass some arbitrary tests. I have been labouring under the misapprehension that it would be for the Scottish electorate to pass judgement on an independence proposal.

So, pompous condescension is alive and well and passes unchallenged. This video clip should be played to the electorate on a continuous loop as a warning,

Andrew Grant
via email

SELDOM, if ever, does the BBC’s Politics Live programme draw a fair comparison between the Scottish Government handling of health and education and Westminster’s gross mishandling of the NHS in England, not to mention the “early closures” of schools due to teacher shortages.

The programme was at it again last Wednesday, when they wheeled out three anti-Scottish Government establishment figures in the guise of English historian Simon Heffer, Times political columnist Matt Chorley and the constant nodding head of economist and author Ann Pettifer.

The SNP’s record on health and education was questioned by Jo Coburn, before she put the question to the three: “Is this record sustainable?” Simon Heffer responded in a manner which suggests he not only writes about the past, but lives in a colonial past. “If they want to have another referendum, I think most people in England, having seen how badly we [I presume he means England here] got Ireland wrong 100 years ago, maybe we should allow the Scots to decide their future. But before we do that, the Scots should be making a much better case for how they will fund themselves [could start by spending our “own money” on what we choose and not what Westminster chooses for us], and also what currency they are going to have and whether they are going to be a member of the EU.

“The last two questions were unanswered in 2014 and we have a duty towards Scotland, because they are part of our UK [and we have grown fond of spending their money for them], and yes, let’s grant them a referendum, but let them make a proper case for governing themselves afterwards.”

Is he suggesting we could learn a thing or two from Westminster? (AYE RIGHT!). Or is he being a tad patronising, whilst still living in a colonial past?

Dougie Jamieson

IT was refreshing to read Dave Thompson’s letter in yesterday’s National defending the Christian faith. I understand that in the last census (2011) a majority of Scots identified as being Christian, though I suspect this may no longer be the case, and it sometimes takes courage to speak out for the Lord in our society at this time.

Perhaps I may be permitted, then, to set out very briefly a case for Christian belief. Sound scholarship assures us that in the Gospels we have a dependable and accurate account of the life and teaching of Jesus. He did not simply claim to be the Son of God, he demonstrated his divinity in the power of his well-attested miracles and in his resurrection from the dead. Jesus was as dead as a Roman execution could make him, then he was demonstrably alive. To the many witnesses of the risen Christ the resurrection was not a matter of faith, but of actual personal experience, based on the evidence of their own senses. It was so wonderful that they were prepared, at the risk of their lives, to go out and share the good news with the world. I would suggest this Christian faith is entitled to as much respect as any other creed or belief from all elements of our media.

Billy Scobie