I WAS reminded recently, while watching Kirsty Wark’s series The Years that Changed Modern Scotland on BBC Scotland, of the power of John McGrath’s play The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil. In 1974 I watched the TV production of the play with my father, then in his sixties. By that time I had given him up for lost as a lifelong Unionist, but from the day we sat together and watched The Cheviot he moved inexorably towards a position of support for an independent Scotland.

A quarter century later, a couple of years before he died, I was working in North Africa and had been issued with a new laptop by my employer’s Cairo office. On a visit home I showed him the “Made in Greenock” label on the back of the machine. He smiled and said, “Aye, but for how long?” As a younger man he would never have asked that question. He would simply have accepted that it was good to have a factory in Greenock making world-class products.

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I am convinced the play altered his perspective on both the politics and the economics of Scotland as a part of the UK, and that it did so for many others too.

Where is today’s equivalent of The Cheviot? Something that will open the eyes of many more people of all generations to the realities of the way we are governed. The play told a miserable story, but people came away from it feeling uplifted. Feeling, somehow, that they had a better understanding of why we were where we were and maybe, just maybe, they understood something about what needed to be done about it.

Since 1974 we’ve had the Thatcher years, interminable foreign wars, Brexit and many other events as cumulatively damaging to our country as any of the tribulations imposed on us cited in The Cheviot.

I believe John McGrath’s play should be compulsory viewing for everyone living in Scotland, but I also believe there needs to be an equally entertaining and challenging sequel to demonstrate that the story will repeat forever until we actually do something about it. Any playwrights out there fancy the job?

Cameron Crawford

A WHILE back there was a worry the country might experience “compassion fatigue” in relation to charitable donations. But are we now experiencing Covid fatigue with all the false, unchallenged facts, figures and anti-Scottish bias? One of the latest examples being Fiona Bruce BBC Question Time last week and her attitude towards Dr P Whitfield MP.

Or is it Union fatigue? I think for me it is.

The same disregard and disrespect is shown to Ian Blackford MP week on week at PMQs. Extend that to all SNP MPs, and just that coming from the Tories. Add in the Scottish Labour and LibDem MPs. When did you last hear or see them talking up Scotland in Westminster? When were they last “connected” to Scottish voters, sufficiently to be voted in as the majority? Yes, it’s that long since they “lost” Scotland.

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Now we see the rise of pro-Union bombardment. Embedded in print, radio, TV, as well as social media platforms, it is insidious. The facts, figures, articles, statements, critiques and interviews come neither with challenge nor a balancing pro-indy input. It’s cloaked, it’s hidden.

Was the recent public intervention by Our Scottish Future merely a coincidence? Or part of a strategy including Leonard’s removal?

With a change in Labour leader here we’ll see a fresh onslaught. Not how to save their precious Union, but the myth of making it better for Scotland within the existing Union with their latest, new leader. Will soft Nos be tempted? Will undecideds decide to give the Union another go? We may expect the Tories will suffer due to the practical failures of Brexit and the emergence of Farage here.

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In the grassroots we may be confident about the FM and the Scottish Government’s handling of the Covid crisis. But no matter that we all do what we can individually, no matter how much we do in lockdown in our virtual hubs and groups, it is difficult to counteract the passing of legislation when there is that Tory majority in Westminster. The Internal Market Bill, is the latest, the most dangerous threat to Scotland and our future: direct funding, emasculating Holyrood prior to dismantling it. And Covid lockdown is helping since public meetings, campaigning, marches and stalls just cannot happen.

I can’t set up a pro-indy daily/Sunday paper. But I can buy the only one in Scotland. I can’t grow and Saltire-wrap produce to sell. But I can buy local, support local and #KeepScotlandtheBrand.

But is it time for organised action? A themed day, a week? Could we sustain a month? Is it time to display the Saltire where we can? Is it time for window posters again? Is it time to be visible, as May approaches?

Selma Rahman

I READ with interest the long letter from Donald Anderson regarding the “suicide” of the nationalist and QC Willie McRae. I would urge supporters of independence to read Ron Culley’s book Who shot Willie McRae?” This details the events leading up to his death and the ludicrous official version of his taking his own life. Mr Culley explains that the threat Willie possessed evidence of the corrupt Heath/Thatcher years made him a target. Mr Anderson, an OAP like myself, must be determined to live to see an independent Scotland and some justice given to the many like Willie who didn’t live to see it happen.

Mrs V Nelson
Leven, Fife