AM I the only person on this planet of 7.9 billion people (according to Google anyway) that has long since concluded that apart from an eensy-weensy proportion of the world’s population, the rest of us have been seriously sold a pup? How come this miniscule percentage of the 7.9 billion have decreed how things are just gonna be?

There seems to be an acceptance among the vast majority of politicians worldwide that the way things are have to stay that way bar a few tweaks here and there. If matters have become that bad that folk have no food and water wherever in the world, let’s advertise a number on the telly so that bleeding heart liberals can donate a fiver by text to cleanse their conscience. Meanwhile the non-bleeding heart liberals can remonstrate that there is no way their hard-earned cash is going to corrupt “Johnny Foreigner” governments.

How many of the 7.9 billion have the ability to blast rockets into outer space, with an ageing Captain Kirk onboard? How many can fly aboard private planes, laze on luxury private yachts, sit in ginormous hooses large enough to accommodate most of Belgium?

Two years ago an Oxfam report highlighted that the 26 richest billionaires in the world owned as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who made up the poorest half of the planet’s population. As a bit of a telly news junkie I can assure you this story, barring the odd wee niche slot, is totally ignored by the “mainstream media”. This situation is downright breathtaking and in my opinion extremely sinister. Clearly it should virtually be the only story in town until the damn problem is fixed!

Of course we all know why it won’t get fixed. The sickening greed of those responsible for this situation don’t want it fixed. Anybody that rails against the “system” is denounced as a communist, a traitor, an agitator, a threat to the “free” world and generally as an extremist. An extremist! Sorry for the hollow laughter but surely anyone with an ounce of intelligence and of an impartial persuasion has long since concluded who the real extremists in the world are. Yes, those that continue to promote and propagate a system that has led to such a grotesque outcome.

The QAnon conspiracy theories worshipped by many Trump supporters are quite rightly ridiculed by right-minded people. Why, though, have I never heard any news reports about the biggest, baddest conspiracy in the world? I’m sure you know where I’m going with this now. Yes, the conspiracy that puts everything in place in the media throughout the world to keep the biggest story in town under wraps.

I’m away for a wee lie down now...

Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay

WHAT a big disappointment that the red herring of devo-max has been reintroduced into the independence debate. To the switherers – the maybe ayes, the maybe nos that don’t really follow politics, that don’t use their own brain to make decisions, that are influenced by soundbites, those that were influenced by the “Vow” last time round – this may seem a good idea. I suggest they take a step back and count to ten or even a hundred.

History could potentially repeat itself, so please start thinking for yourselves, put your brain into gear. There’s a few things to remember. In devo-max, Westminster would retain sovereignty and could overrule any Scottish decision. They are already power grabbing back powers that were devolved. The Vow .. they reneged on! Talks of reforming the first past the post system .. no progress. Reforming the House of Lords ... no progress. Involving the devolved nations in major decisions ... no progress. Levelling up ... no progress!

And what about BREXIT! How could we reverse that decision and reunite with Europe and the world, still being tied to the UK? Impossible!

No, the only way for Scotland is total independence. Complete sovereignty. Now it won’t be easy, we might make mistakes, but it’ll be our mistakes, not mistakes forced on us by a right-wing, self-indulgent, corrupt government that we didn’t vote for. England (no longer a caring and compassionate country) and Scotland are two different countries with different philosophies and different outlooks. Let’s once and for all sort this mess out. And if the Holyrood government occasionally s*** in their own nest, they will be held accountable, unlike the present system, where Westminster remain immune from their mistakes and deceptions. Democracy needs to return to Scotland. Let’s all, whatever our political persuasions make it so!

Finally, if you think on it, devo-max really means a vote for independence and a return to sovereignty. Once a sovereign nation, an equal with England, and as we share the same island, the level of cooperation, agreed policies, trading and defence agreements would be at all time high. Yes!! True devo-max!!!

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

AS far as I’m concerned, “devo-max” was discredited as soon as it was coined by the snow-white impartiality of Jackie Bird on BBC Scotland’s 6 o’clock news before the 2014 referendum. It is a dangerous and unnecessary distraction from the achievable goal of independence.

Dangerous because we know what the outcome would be – The Vow mark two. England is not called Perfidious Albion as a compliment. Scotland would be denied control of its finances; its foreign policy; its ability to remove Trident; its desire to re-join the EU, and so much more.

Unnecessary because we are well on the way to outright independence. With support at a minimum of 45% and surging to 55% in some polls, any talk of devo-max could be fatal. All we need is for people at the top to boldly announce Scotland’s future currency and a date for indy2 before the pot goes off the boil. If a week in politics is a long time, I believe the current favourable conditions will last into 2023.

Richard Walthew

THE Pilgrimage of Grace was a rebellion in the north of England against the rule of Henry VIII. He asked the rebels to put down their weapons and come for talks so he could hear their grievances.

They did and he promptly executed them all. Accepting “devo-max” would mean handing control of the process of governing Scotland over to Westminster. This is a ludicrous option that no serious supporter of independence could or should back. It’s a trap to keep Scotland in the Union.

In 1979 Thatcher said if Scotland rejected devolution there wouldn’t just be the status quo. Lord Home promised “something better” if Scotland said no to a Scottish Assembly. In 2014 Gordon Brown was thawed out and brought up from cold storage to promise “federalism” if Scotland declined to be independent. Then there was the infamous Vow.

The Smith Commission was allegedly going to deliver “devo-max”. All Holyrood got was power over air rifles and some tinkering around income tax rates.

Chris Hanlon now wants us to believe that Westminster can be trusted to deliver “devo-max” if Scotland votes for it. This is in contradiction to all evidence, all experience – in fact there is not a shred of proof Westminster has ever kept its word. There is no mechanism for accountability to ensure Westminster will do what it agrees to.

Tony Blair lied about the Iraq war and Boris Johnson has lied about everything. Neither has paid a price because there is no answerability within Westminster.

Under this system Holyrood could not protect the Scottish NHS from any trade deal done with the US that forced privatisation. No other country that has wanted independence from Westminster would have accepted “devo-max”. Scotland should not either.

Alan Hinnrichs

ARTICLES in The National are by nature flavoured to the taste of the “faithful”, as we might expect. As we move towards the start of the indyref2 campaign in the second half of 2022, it might be best to start focussing the mindset of these “faithful” core activists on the the key task ahead: namely converting those who currently think differently to the uber independence-seekers.

Laser focus will be required as the battle will be won by changing the intent of voters who can be convinced to change their minds from the notional safety of the status quo. The same battle can be just as easily lost by alienating groups of voters needlessly.

With this in mind it was concerning to read a logically inconsistent argument in last week’s Sunday National (No to the Jubilee ... Yes to indy!). The article states correctly “that very few votes for independence would be won by campaigning against the monarchy, but that many votes might well be lost by it.”

Yet the article continues to suggest that we should consider using the Jubilee weekend as a start to the indy campaign, thus risking a significant “own goal” by alienating Scottish voters on two counts.

By early June 2022, many will see the Jubilee extended Bank Holiday as a welcome ending of the pandemic if not the disease. Many will also actively celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee in a way which might be entirely alien to the views of The National’s core readership.

So let’s always recognise that as important as activist views and ideas are, they are not where the impending battle will be won or lost. Let’s put the activist antipathy for monarchy where it belongs as a question to be resolved after independence has been achieved.

More important, let’s keep our arguments logically consistent throughout the campaign.

Gus McSkimming

DOESN’T your report of Derek Parlane pining for the days when Scottish teams were full of Scots players (January 1) highlight the real crisis of Scottish football?

With Celtic signing three Japanese players and interested in an Algerian, doesn’t this render their football academy redundant? What’s the point of it?

The Old Firm used to be the ambition of Scots players, and the international recognition that likely followed. No longer an option for most, no room at the footballing “inn” for Scottish talent, a sojourn in the English lower leagues now the best available option.

The Monty Pythonesque question surely is, what has the Old Firm ever done for us?

Fact is, the Old Firm have long contributed little to the welfare of the Scottish game, being takers not givers.

Isn’t it time to kick these cuckoos out of our nest, send them off to a new world where they have to compete without the luxury of being the biggest and controlling force in our game?

Jim Taylor