IT looks like the Hartlepool by-election in Labour’s “heartland”, according to the latest opinion poll, is going to go Tory! What then for Sir Keir and his Unionist branch party up here?

It seems it is bye-bye for Sir Keir, who has been fading ever since his election as leader of English Labour. As the branch up here dream on about federalism under the Union Jack, they are left to fantasise about the return of a Labour government at Westminster. It looks like the “red wall” is being added to and Tory-dom in England is gaining.

As the dwindling Sir Keir keeps Tory-fying English Labour, surrounding himself with Union Jackery, there is no difference now between Labour and Tory down south, so Labour is irrelevant as its former supporters morph into little Englanders.

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As the Unionistas slug it out on a declining trajectory up here for Holyrood, we must surely hit tipping point where current Labour and LibDem supporters decide to go independent for themselves and ditch links to Sir Keir and Sir Ed, the disappearing-act duo down south.

In fact, the three Unionist faction leaders up here are a disgrace! D Ross is a flop, we know that at the outset. Sarwar and Rennie are still enthralled by thinking we are still better together in a dysfunctional Union post-Brexit led by the blond-bouffant-jester in No 10. They deceive and are existing in a delusional bubble.

There is a sense, despite the propaganda from BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay, that the Union shackles are slipping. Even Gordon Brown’s pop-up shows that even he can only squeak these days – he has clunked his last! The once unassailable Unionist Labour in Scotland has gone for good after the Vow and its dabbling as the Tories’ little helpers in 2014. This was for it the “jig of death”! Its present little band of supporters must shift to indy and regain any self-respect left. Sarwar, Baillie and co are now long past their sell-by-date.

The English Labour by-election denouement in Hartlepool is a symbol and pointer to dashing the hopes of any Labour government in Westminster for next two decades! That was the cry of Labour before: wait for a Labour government! Now they are simply crying in the Labour (now former and dissolving) heartlands both in England and Scotland.

For us here there is a better future in an independent Scotland. To adapt The Proclaimers, it will be “the Union no more!” – not a lament but a victory shout!

John Edgar

PERHAPS it’s a measure of current male vanity that haircuts feature in today’s mainstream news headlines. That icon of public service broadcasting – yes, BBC Scotland – on their evening round-up, lead with a live item from a reporter receiving a haircut while a pandemic wreaks havoc.

Younger readers may not be aware that in my adolescent days the cliches of “long-haired louts” and “the army will sort them out” were common among the more reactionary specimens on the street and in politics who perceived an excess of the regulation length as the sign of a coiffured revolutionary. This was in the pre-Beatles era.

Witness the current fad with our professional footballers for the short back and sides, neep-heid look, and weep. That the BBC reported the cost of this shearing as a reasonable £22.50 tells us more about our descent into right-wing nostalgia and unthinking consumerism.

That the BBC regards this as headline news is an illustration of the poverty of Scotland’s media!

Peter Barjonas