YOUR writer George Kerevan rightly warns of the risk of over-promotion in politics and places this firmly at the door of the present Tory government, something I certainly would not demur from (Here is the reason why the UK is now being governed by over-promoted fools, June 22). However, the lack of intellectual life and the discouragement of debate seems to me to afflict all major parties in the UK today.

Of course, it is the nature of political leaders that they tend to wish to get their way, and in the general run of things party members and activists will forgive them many sins so long as they continue to win elections, particularly as there is a general feeling in most parties that you have to give elected leaders the right to make their mark and run things as they see fit.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Here is the reason why the UK is now being governed by over-promoted fools

Yet this leads us to the position where most, if not all, party leaders seems to lack the gift of analysis, and struggle to think beyond slogans and soundbites. This was perhaps most apparent in the crushingly embarrassing interviews which former LibDem leader Jo Swinson gave during the December 2019 Westminster elections. And the more recent Labour leadership contest did not exactly see a clash of titanic intellects but another swathe of characterless, bland candidates of the kind which seem to float to the top in all political parties these days. In truth, to watch these debates it was more Billy Connolly than James Connolly.

This is only to be expected, as no longer do party activists have a real say in how policy is made or how decisions are enacted. The curse of One Member One Vote had given the armchair enthusiasts more power than those who raise the money, work hard as local councillors, and keep local branches alive. The return of representative democracy, and allowing party conferences to host two or three internal sessions safely from the media, may be a start to allowing real debate to enter political life once more.

Cllr Andy Doig (Independent)
Renfrewshire Council

PETE Wishart MP asks for a credible Plan B for discussion (Indy Plan B could see Scotland in ‘hellish limbo’, June 22). May I humbly suggest the following.

First, request from the EU and the UN as to whether a majority vote in an election for parties standing on a specific manifesto has the same legal standing as one obtained in a referendum.

READ MORE: Pete Wishart: Indy Plan B could see Scotland in 'hellish limbo' like Catalonia

If so, then the SNP manifesto should be along the following lines: if the SNP remain the largest party we will endeavour to continue as a minority government improving the lives of the Scottish people. If the SNP have a majority of seats we will form a majority government to the same end. If, however the SNP alone – or along with other parties and candidates standing on an independence ticket – receive a majority of the votes cast then the Scottish Government will dissolve the Treaty of Union of 1707 with England, and negotiate a just division of assets and obligations.

Note all others standing on an independence ticket should include this last sentence in their manifestos.

The people of Scotland are sovereign. By illegally withholding a Section 30, Westminster is blocking our right to self-determination enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and the EU Convention on Human Rights.

Rab Collinson
via email

I AM very concerned by the content of Nan Spowart’s article “MSPs join to voice objections to Westminster’s Brexit Environment Bill ‘power grab’” (Sunday National, June 21).

Why, under the proposed Environmental Bill, should environmental powers currently in devolved competence be made through UK, as opposed to Scottish, primary legislation?

The UK Environment Bill, which had its second reading in the UK Parliament in February, has been highly criticised by Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, which has indicated that all powers which fall within devolved competence, including environment policy, should return to the Scottish Parliament on EU exit day.

READ MORE: Brexit: MSPs object to Westminster’s ‘power grab’

MPs, including some Conservatives, have also criticised the Bill for not being sufficiently ambitious and have indicated that the proposed new watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), would not be sufficiently independent from the UK Government to hold it to account. As Nan Spowart’s article also points out, this could be particularly problematic due to Brexit and the need to agree trade deals with countries like the USA, which have lower environmental standards.

The article indicates “the UK Government is asking the Scottish Parliament to delegate its legislative powers to UK ministers, at Scottish ministers’ discretion, for provisions relating to producer responsibility, resource efficiency, electronic tracking of relevant waste, air and water quality, chemicals and consequential provisions.”

If this can really only happen if Scottish minister’s use their discretion to agree to it, why on earth would they even consider handing over these powers?

Jim Stamper

DAVID Pratt’s article is highly relevant (The Next Pandemic, June 21). Simple person-to-person, sophisticated business, banking, and vital global communications are only nanoseconds short of the speed of light. As world society becomes a highly complex, internet- and computer-dependent system, so it faces an exponential increase in dangerous disruption.

READ MORE: David Pratt: Will the next global pandemic take place online?

Recent interference with GPS navigation which had ships sailing in the Sahara Desert may sound an amusing trick played by a cyber whizz kid. Nuclear-armed nations at loggerheads with the cyber skill capable of seriously annoying Australia is not so funny.

Is the cyber world running out of control? Many critical international agreements seem light years away. Common sense says 54% Yes should become 100%, and fast – a sane independent Scottish/Nordic voice in world politics can’t come too soon.

Iain R Thomson