I SUPPOSE we will be expected to rejoice and welcome the announcement that five more Royal Navy warships are to be constructed in Glasgow after the Prime Minister confirmed the next phase in the UK Navy’s shipbuilding programme. BAE Systems has been awarded a £4.2 billion contract to build five more Type 26 frigates, on top of the three already under construction. The UK Ministry of Defence say the deal will support 1700 jobs over the next decade at sites in Glasgow.

No doubt we will be constantly reminded of this contract in any eventual referendum campaign with threats of its complete cancellation should we be foolish enough to vote for anything resembling independence.

However, I cannot help feeling that those of our folk (many more than 1700) who will struggle to heat and eat this winter, and for the foreseeable future, together with those many folk waiting on the services of the NHS, might consider that this investment in essentially more floating killing machines is not their greatest priority.

I notice no mention was made of the six Type 45 destroyers, recently built at a cost of £6 billion, which are currently tied up in Birkenhead with engine design problems which will take six years and a further £160 million to fix.

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It has been a long time since Britannia ruled the waves (or much else). All these warships together with the two recently built aircraft carriers and the new nuclear missile submarines will hopefully never be used in anger. In time, they will end up in a scrap yard.

Politics is all about priorities and I can’t help but think it should be a wee bit more about weans and a wee bit less about warships.

Brian Lawson


I NAME this ship HMS White Elephant. £4 billion on an outdated form of warfare. Money wisely spent in a land of food banks?

This is far from a laughing matter. The world is crying out for intelligent leadership which recognises the insanity of warfare on a planet of eight billion people facing the growing stress of climate change.

Meantime, the Russian, Ukrainian conflict tells us self-automated drones are humanity’s latest killing weapon. However, for a certain breed of politician, they lack a display of the ego-flattering, “Send a Gunboat, Rule Britannia” image which once forced many nations to bend the knee. Devotion to imperial power and pomp still remains the “posing on a tank’s gun barrel” mentality of many in the Tory Party. Beware Scotland.

Iain R Thomson


SO Douglas Ross and his motley crew of Scottish Tories stand by their “fake news” claims regarding police strikes? Nothing new there in the game of “wrecking ball” politics that Ross and his ilk have been desperately deploying for a long time because they have nowhere else to go politically.

They are in a political cul-de-sac and the opinion polls do not lie – come the day, come the hour, they are gonna be “wiped out” in Scotland by Scottish voters who have had enough of their nonsense. Ross must be one of the most detested Scottish Tory leaders in living memory and the words “charlatan” and “carpetbagger” are common to the regular criticisms that are hurled in his direction.

Disliked by a good number of people within his own party, he is absolutely useless, a serial U-turner, no moral compass attached to him whatsoever and a chancer. He epitomises the descriptive title given recently by one of your correspondents in a brief damning letter re Tories and Tory values – the “selfish, greedy bastards party” in full view!

This latest episode just confirms what we already know and indeed have known for a very long time. The biggest frustration is the fact there is still a core of people within our populace who vote for the “selfish, greedy bastards party” and I can only perceive they are either stupid or of a similar ilk, ie guilty by association.

Bernie Japs


WHO gains financially from Scottish independence (Scots divided on whether independence would make them better off, thenational.scot, Nov 16)?

My thoughts tell me to accept there will be a downturn immediately after independence, most especially considering Westminster will actively and spitefully work against Scotland for some time – and there will be the usual financial speculators and near-gangster spivs having a great time in London.

A stream of major headaches – 2008, Brexit, Covid and Truss – what happens? The most astounding enriching of the already rich beyond measure. Scottish independence will be another event manipulated to the last penny (groat?). I am certain Scotland will bump along for a while but, Scots not being daft, life will get on to the upslope soon enough.

I think, too, we will get going fairly quickly because if there is one thing that works for everyone, it is to be part of a great team, a great family, the fire and pride of being Scottish the now and not Scottish the quaint.

I feel sad for folk in England. Of course they don’t feel Scotland should go, because this sets in stone England’s failure. The Empire has gone as all empires do go, but for the UK to be found so awful that it too is dumped into the global rubbish tip is something hard to accept. An acceptance of total failure and not the normal course of life. Yup – England will not gain here.

Anyway, on economic performance, when talking about measures of the UK economy, there exists a permanent question mark that makes a lot of discussion false. Thanks mainly to Thatcherism, the UK’s performance is massively skewed to London and the south-east and the concentration is so intense that the geographic area of excellence is very small indeed.

Talk of the UK’s performance is such pish – it’s London’s performance, and the benefit of that is starkly easy to see if one takes a stroll around those parts. Prior to Covid, London and the south-east approached 40% of the UK’s GDP overall. Pretty awful stuff. Remove London and the south-east from the UK’s measure and now we are talking of a UK that’s like Bulgaria.

So, doubts about Scotland economy? That is stuff for the fearful. Life within the Union will drag and if the past 35 years have not opened the eyes of the older generations, I don’t know what will. All those foreign holidays around Europe wasted. Blinkered to the changes elsewhere and accepting of the trash that makes up the UK. Independence is not for me but for all of us and for the next millennia or three. Dinna be feart!

Nicholas Durant

via thenational.scot

THE allegations of bullying against Dominic Rabb are to be the subject of investigation, we are told. It was not that long ago we were also told that the conduct of more than 50 MPs was the subject of investigation. Following the allegations of misconduct against Chris Pincher, he was to be the subject of investigation; whatever happened to that?

In addition, let us not forget that there is an unnamed Conservative MP who has been accused of rape and has been advised not to attend Parliament in the meantime; no doubt the police are investigating that.

The announcement of an investigation has the appearance of action. Increasingly, it looks more like a tactic to defer the matter until some date in the future when everyone’s attention is elsewhere.

Gavin Brown


THERE has quite rightly been much criticism of Qatar hosting the forthcoming World Cup due to its government’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights and the treatment of migrant workers who have built the stadiums. I’ve read online that some reports put the number of migrant worker deaths possibly as high as 6500, while the Qatari authorities claim only 37 have died!

What sticks in my craw, though, is when this criticism comes from anyone in the UK Tory government or their pals in the right-wing press and media. Since when did they give a stuff about the welfare of migrants?

What about LGBTQ+ rights? As recent as 2018, the Olympic diver Tom Daley and his partner, Dustin Lance Black, posted on Instagram a scan of their unborn baby to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This was clearly too much for that loveable rogue (yes, I know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit) Richard Littlejohn of that upstanding publication (I’m at it again!), the Daily Mail, the long-standing propaganda mouthpiece for right-wing Tory and Ukip zealots.

He wrote: “Pass the sick bag.”

He labelled the news as a publicity stunt and stated: “Here we have two men drawing attention to the fact that ‘they’ are having a baby.”

As for transgender people, they have disgracefully become part of the type of culture war that many Tories feel could entail a comeback for them in the polls.

On the basis of stones and glass houses, when England next host the World Cup, other countries could quite rightly condemn the regime in charge of that rich country for its treatment of those with the least, the vulnerable and, of course, migrants! They could well condemn a regime that allowed Grenfell to occur, effectively due to a bonfire of regulations. They could rail against the treatment of citizens that had lived in that country for decades (Windrush) and be deeply sceptical that this would have occurred if their skin colour was white.

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They could also be disgusted by that regime’s treatment of a much smaller neighbouring country. That country’s parliament has a democratic mandate to hold a referendum to break free from the union with its neighbour and become an independent nation. This has consistently been denied by the larger country’s regime in a most contemptuous manner.

Yes, the next time anyone from the Tory government or their pals in the press vilify other countries’ regimes, please pass me the sick bag!

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

IT luiks tae me gin Sunak howps tae hae ony authority ower yon beck stabbin, sleekin, clamjamfrey jokinly cried a pairty, he’ll hae tae bite the slug an caa an election. I dinnae jalouse he wull – his ego and his acolytes wull hae assured him he’ll wun oot ower yon gamarmous rickle. Hooiniver, gin he shuid, fit are the chyces fur the electorate? Weel; gin ye believe in austerity, food baunks, Brexit, English supremacy, loss o pensions an that warkin fowks’ bairns dinnae really need sheen in thair feet, vote Tory.

Gin ye think naithin shiud be duin anent food baunks, austerity, Brexit, English supremacy an warkin fowks’ bairns cuid manage fine wi nae sheen, vote Labour.

Gin ye dinnae believe in ocht but the Union, vote Liberal. Gin ye want a better futur, nae necessar fur yersel, but fur yer bairns an yer bairn’s bairns, then ye maun vote fur independence. Thare’s nae ither chyce tae ma wey o thinkin.

George T Watt