IT must, surely, be past the time when the pronouncements of Unionist politicians regarding the future of Scotland and its governance are properly identified. Any criminal investigator will tell you: “Follow the money!” Interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show, Keir Starmer says: “I don’t think there should be another referendum. I don’t think a further, divisive referendum is the right way forward.”

Who is he trying to kid? There is only one reason for these unrelenting efforts to block Scottish emancipation. It is to maintain the flow of the Scotland-to-Westminster river of revenue and nothing else!

The Westminster Exchequer has been forced, by Covid, to borrow to unprecedented levels. Who is going to be paying for this? Well, follow the money!

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“The idea that the only discussion we’re having about Scotland is whether there should be a referendum when the health service is on its knees, the economy is really under strain, lots of people and families are struggling in Scotland for their jobs and the future – and every time we talk about Scotland the only question is should there be another referendum,” says Sir Keir.

He is, of course, formulating his plans for a 2024 General Election so there’s no way he wants any interruption in the flow of the river of revenue from the vassal state!

As he starts to put together “Vow 2” with his “but I do accept that the status quo isn’t working, etc,” he insults the intelligence of the Scottish electorate! Does he think the Scottish voter is going to fall for this fiction yet again?

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A word-to-the-wise, then, Sir Keir: there’s, now, a majority of people in Scotland who would like to live in a democracy; something Scotland has never had!

A referendum is an expression of democracy. You would deny them that democracy because you and your Unionist chums haven’t exhausted Scotland’s resources. Resources you need to balance the Whitehall books! Tell the truth, Sir Keir: it’s all about the money and nothing else!

Ned Larkin

FOLLOWING Friday’s article by Joanna Cherry and the associated coverage in this and other outlets I feel compelled to write to express my disappointment that this publication allowed such an article to be published (Ireland didn’t need a referendum on independence, so neither should we, January 8).

I make no secret that I take a dim view of the idea of a Plan B in order to secure independence; to my mind such plans leave too many questions open about practicality and legitimacy. Indeed when I saw the front cover for Friday’s edition I took to Twitter to complain about another article on the topic of alternative, but likely fruitless, routes to independence. Unsurprisingly this comment was met with derision from many throughout the day; ranging from accusations that I did not know what I was talking about to being a quisling opposed to independence.

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For the avoidance of doubt, let me make clear that my commitment to independence as a means to a better Scotland is resolute and whilst I freely admit that there are many topics which I am not knowledgeable on, this is not one of them.

My greatest objection to Ms Cherry’s article is her decision to suggest, in all seriousness, that Scotland should copy Ireland in how it achieves independence and the historical revisionism that she engages in to justify this argument.

The UK Government did not freely choose to engage in negotiations to establish an independent Ireland following the election of the Dail Eireann in 1919 as Ms Cherry suggests; the UK Government were only brought to the negotiating table following the War of Independence that followed and the Sinn Fein candidates who stood in that election which formed that first Dail did so in an act of rebellion and revolution. It is simply untrue to suggest that an election, which for many was a plebiscite on the future of Ireland, was taken as an accepted result by the powers-that-be in London.

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It is also forgotten by Ms Cherry that the Irish did not achieve total independence with this action; they became a dominion of the crown for the next 15 years, which itself caused a civil war, and ended up leaving six of the 32 counties in British hands, which 100 years later still has ramifications.

If Ms Cherry wishes to suggest that in order to achieve independence we should follow a route that involved a war of independence, a civil war and ceding territory to the UK then she is free to do so but I would urge her to be upfront with your readers when she does so and to understand the effects that such calls will have on how people view the independence movement.

It is my view that the only way we can achieve independence is at the ballot box in a referendum that both sides have committed to respect, as was the case in 2014, and I am disappointed now to see that now we have finally had months of sustained support for independence those who should be pushing the final few steps are instead choosing to propose schemes which could grab defeat from the jaws of victory.

Chris Duffy
via email

IT has been intriguing to note those here in the UK highlighting the recent “invasion” of the Capitol as a sign of the failings in US democracy. However, before being so quick to comment, we in the UK dare I say it are in no real position to cast such as judgement.

Firstly, let us not forget that senior Tory politicians, including former prime minister Theresa May and current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, fawned over the president, despite being fully aware of his character. Mr Johnson, let us not forget, called for him to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Domestically, in August 2019, the UK Parliament was ordered to be prorogued on the advice of Boris Johnson, advice later ruled to be unlawful. This was to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of the government’s Brexit plans in those final weeks leading up to Brexit.

In the US both legislative chambers are elected, but here in the UK we have an upper chamber where appointment is based on birth and patronage and is the second-largest in the world after China. Numbering 830 (and with no maximum number), unelected lawmakers pick up £300 a day in expenses, often doing very little as members of what is in essence a publicly funded private club.

Before we criticise others, we in the UK should have some humility and dare I say it, look to get our own house in order.

Alex Orr