BULLYING is nowadays taboo behaviour, and institutional bullying particularly so. Hence it is somewhat strange to see television interviews of political figures being conducted as though they are a main suspect in a criminal investigation. I thought this sort of thing went out with Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight many moons ago – more fool me, because a look at Andrew Neil in his interviews regarding the present General Election says otherwise.

At the time of writing the two interviews I have seen involved Mr Neil more or less trying to squeeze from Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn what he wanted to hear, and not the responses as given. In fact squeeze is too fine a word for this sort of questioning. Coerce and strangle would be nearer the mark.

As for the matter of Jeremy Corbyn overseeing and countenancing antisemitism in his party, if this is being confused with what the state of Israel has been representing for some time then a question mark must hang over such an accusation.

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Israel is no innocent with regard to bullying. Israel is understood to be a nuclear-weaponed state despite UN efforts to promote nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East. It is also recognised that Israel was one of the few countries that traded and had diplomatic ties with South Africa during that country’s half-century apartheid government. None of which excuses antisemitism, but nor does disagreeing with some policies pursued by Israel deserve the label of antisemitic racism.

The same rationale applies to Mr Neil’s grilling of Scotland’s First Minister. Mr Neil seemed to treat Ms Sturgeon’s assertion of Scotland’s right to make its own decisions as some sort of offence and that to seek an alliance with Mr Corbyn in order to advance self-rule for Scotland is in breach of some code of moral standards in international relations.

Had Mr Neil been asked to specify or explain this supposed transgression, he might have found himself out of his intellectual depth. Indeed, it could reasonably be contended that such bullying regarding Scotland amounts to racism, and anyhow, the arguments against Scotland having authority to rule over its own affairs show ignorance of the Treaty of Union upon which the present parliament in Westminster rests.

Ian Johnstone

I FEAR Andrew Wilson’s advice today on how to handle an Andrew Neil interview (November 28) will not have the undecideds flocking to the SNP and voting Yes in the next referendum. For all its impressive call for honesty, it’s wrapped up in a cloak of subtle colours only worn by those who inhabit the world of financial markets.

In his Growth Commission report and since, Andrew has not considered a Scotland without debt and one where what deficit, if any, we assume and manage on independence is decided by us from a position of financial strength.

I’m convinced that unless we are in such a position then there is more than some merit in the Unionist argument that to disentangle Scotland from the Union will be long, wearisome and a huge drag on moving Scotland forward.

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rUK will be like an injured beast yet content to extract a price over time, while Scots will start to turn on our political leaders who have delivered an independence vote which is but the start and nowhere near the end of the process.

Political change in that process puts the prize of independence in a dangerous place. Don’t be surprised if the electorate is persuaded to ditch it by a rejuvenated Unionism.

Yet we can have a position of strength now, where the break from the UK can be hastened and we can then quickly decide if our future is within or outwith the EU.

The position of strength is our land and its ability to produce the public funds not just to meet all current public spending but to increase it so that lives can be transformed now, even under the devolution settlement, though we had better be quick in case a rampaging Tory government strips us of these powers.

An Annual Ground Rent removes all the uncertainty of public funding which the current taxation systems cause. It is a dynamo for investment and entrepreneurship and kills the idea that we are subsidised. It creates the national wealth where we don’t have to borrow because we are a nation in credit. To date too many haven’t realised the jewel under our feet, our land.

Most importantly it puts Scotland in control of our public finances, and any delay in division of assets and liabilities with the rUK will not hinder our international progress.

Graeme McCormick

LOST pension entitlement: £27,000. Twenty-seven thousand pounds. If you are a WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) woman born in the early 1950s, what about you? That’s what the Tory/LibDem coalition stole from me. There’s yet another regret – she’s had a few – for Jo Swinson to add to her list. Yet, LibDem Jamie Stone claims to be a WASPI women champion.

I worked full-time from the age of 17, with only statutory maternity leave (when entitlement was only 11 weeks before the birth and seven after). The harsh reality was that you had to keep going as long as you could before the birth, but only got paid for what you took.

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In 2016 Ian Blackford and Mhairi Black put forward three fully costed options, from a report commissioned by SNP’s Westminster group, but were sidelined as usual. Labour, stealing the SNP’s socially progressive policies again, now say they will recompense me. I’ve heard their “vows” before. Angry? You bet I am.

Pensions are reserved. I wish that was not the case. The Scottish Government need powers over pensions, along with other reserved powers such as defence and immigration. Only the SNP will fight for Scotland. They have my unreserved vote.

Carole Inglis
Dunvegan, Isle of Skye