THE expulsion of Ken Loach confirms views I have long held about the descent towards oblivion of the Labour party, from the time that Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. At that time, there were three front-runners for the leadership, all well-known and having held prominent posts in their party and in Westminster. It was clear that it was only a choice of which gained a majority of members’ votes.

Then up stepped Corbyn. Cue disbelief, mockery and hilarity. How could anyone so unimportant and unknown hope to become leader of such a large and previously successful party? But the apparently ridiculous happened. Corbyn won.

In discussing this wholly unexpected turn of events, my partner and I predicted that the threesome would be furious, disbelieving and bitter, and it would not be long before they started to undermine him for making fools of them. It started sooner than we had expected.

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First they dug up information that Corbyn had held secret talks with IRA members, and also with Hamas, and therefore he was a terrorist sympathiser. It was ignored that he had actually, in those contacts, been trying to establish common ground between warring sides – not possible in the glare of publicity – to help bring about peace talks. There was never any true evidence that he sympathised with one side or the other – he was simply trying to facilitate peace.

Then it was put out that he was anti-Semitic, because he protested at the Israeli government’s disproportionate military response to Palestinian attacks. So the slandering went on, although it is perfectly reasonable to question the actions of the Israeli government without any antagonism towards Jewish people. I well remember the sense of justice finally done when, as students, we saw the film Exodus, but among my Jewish friends I know many who themselves do not agree with their government’s actions. These can legitimately be disapproved of, even abhorred, without being anti-Semitic.

READ MORE: Ken Loach claims to have been expelled from Labour in 'purge' of Starmer critics

So Corbyn departed and, to my mind, the Labour party sealed its fate. The Corbyn detractors had won, had achieved their goal of discrediting him, but had also irreparably damaged their party. If they had accepted Corbyn’s election with good grace and given him their support, he could have been the means of rehabilitating the party after Tony Blair’s disastrous Iraq War with their moral, socialist basis intact. For their own part, the threesome forgot that incontrovertible truth: that he who wields the dagger never wears the crown, and in forgetting that, they were instrumental in setting the party on its downward slide.

For the record, I am not, never have been, nor ever will be a member of the Labour party, but just an observer on the sidelines.

L McGregor

I WAS disturbed by a view expressed by Kevin McKenna in one of his recent columns. To quote it: “I want Scotland to be independent but I won’t lose a single night’s sleep if it doesn’t happen” (How long before the Tories claim Olympics success as Brexit bounce?, Aug 4).

I’d felt that Kevin’s desire for independence was on an intellectual, political and practical basis. After what he wrote, I now consider that he treats the matter as an interesting pursuit of hobby.

READ MORE: How long before the Tories claim Olympics success as Brexit bounce?

If we do not achieve our aim we will lose the democratic right to decide our own future, with one of the consequences being a worsening condition of my class, the working class, and all its associated problems: poverty, poor benefits, unemployment and numerous other things, which full political and economic powers will allow us to address along with every other aspect of Scottish life.

If we lose, Kevin will not have any sleepless nights (lucky man) but there will be thousands of is fellow citizens, mainly the poor and working people, who will endure many for a long time.

Bobby Brennan

MY day was made early on Sunday when I read the news of the Yessay winner in my online edition of the Sunday National.

I voted for that entry, as to me it stood out amongst the others on the shortlist. I found it powerful in its eloquence, reflectiveness and humility. As the author’s story unfolded, I was moved to tears. No resentment, no anger, no blame, no self-pity. Gerry Singh instead has penned a reflective, gentle and thoughtful essay in which he expresses his thankfulness to Scotland, her values and institutions for nurturing him into adulthood. Despite, as he says “with one hand tied behind its back”. An adulthood in which he made a valuable contribution to our society.

READ MORE: Yessay winner - A nation again: Independence can bring peace to a troubled island

In his essay, Gerry presents a persuasive yet understated view of why and how the people of Scotland will be better off in an independent country, without listing facts, statistics, or tub-thumping. None of which are actually really effective in persuading No voters anyway.

If I wore a hat, I would take it off to Gerry Singh. I would like to thank him for enriching my life with his words and his story. My hope is that it can be made more widely known to those who need to be persuaded of the case for Scottish independence.

Gillian Anderson
via email

CONGRATULATIONS to Gerry Singh on his winning Yessay. An excellent piece of writing in which he expresses the ideas of a true independentista. Apart from his personal experiences, he encapsulates everything that I have thought and believed in all my adult life, though I could never have put it so succinctly or so well. I intend to keep this weekend’s Seven Days to show to anyone who will read it. In fact, why does The National not print the essay in leaflet form so that it can be bought to hand out to anyone of a Unionist disposition? I know that I would love to do so.

Paul Gillon