I REALLY felt heartfelt sick at the, in my view, wholly undeserved flak that National Clinical Director of Healthcare for the Scottish Government Jason Leitch received from the England-controlled “Scottish” press and media after his appearance at the Covid Inquiry.

I don’t think you need to be an expert in assessing an individual’s character to deem Jason to be anything other than a genuine, thoroughly decent guy, with some minor flaws, just like anybody else. However, he worked his butt off during the pandemic to communicate the “do’s and don’ts” to the public in a very engaging and amiable manner.

Okay, I’m not daft – I realise these inquiries quite rightly deal in facts, not character assessments. So let’s deal with these utterly “damning” facts, as the press would see it. Jason admitted to deleting his WhatsApp messages but asserted it was in line with Scottish Government policy. He honestly acknowledged WhatsApp messages, by their very nature (ie like conversations), could be flippant at times.

So is there a suspicion that one of these deleted messages might be to the effect that Jason, in a stressed-out moment during the height of the pandemic, exclaimed: “Let the bodies pile high!”? Maybe Jason’s messages would, if not deleted, reveal that he felt that Covid was nature’s way of dealing with old people, that they should accept their fate and let the young get on with life and keep the economy going.

READ MORE: Seven key points for Scottish independence campaigners to take forward

Oh, I’ve just realised that this callous, heartless stuff didn’t emanate fae somebody that actually cared aboot folk, like Jason, but fae the ex-prime minister (aye, prime minister, no less!) of a very corrupt, deceitful and immoral UK Government. This self-same prime minister that the devoted English press, in the main, thought the sun shone out of his derriere! Compared to that abomination, Jason is effectively a male Mother Teresa!

Those in said English press who fawned over their beloved Boris Johnson for years, deep down, must have been embarrassed about how that clown was even more pathetically incompetent and immoral than they thought possible. This embarrassment, however, rather than being reflected in mea culpa for their unhindered support for him, has in my view been deflected to try to drag the political opponents of Boris and his chums into the same immoral abyss. Poor Jason is clearly a victim of this.

It’s a disgrace that Jason has been dragged intae the mire of the anti-SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, Humza Yousaf and even Scottish sentiment perpetuated by the England-controlled media. Aye, fur thaim that continually greet that the SNP/Scottish Greens dinnae dae enough tae further the cause of independence, put yer ain heids above the parapet and just watch them being blawn tae bits by media/press forces beyond yer control. It ain’t easy, man!

Anyway, dinnae let the bastards get ye doon, Jason! You are yin of the gid yins!
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay

AS evidenced by those who even occasionally watch the BBC’s Reporting Scotland, or who read UK newspapers other than The National, it is difficult to find anything positive said about the Scottish Government by those obsessed with finding negative stories, no matter how trivial, to denigrate the SNP.

At the same time, there appears to be an increasing number of letters in The National critical of Humza Yousaf (below) and the SNP in general. Certainly, some of that criticism is justified – especially in regard to the seeming lack of prominence in promoting independence – but some of these letters are more focused on highlighting often out-of-context negatives than seeking positives to promote Scotland’s self-determination to the open-minded. Looking to simply bash the SNP at every opportunity may help some to justify their individual perspectives but it is not going to help deliver independence any time soon, an aim apparently sought by said critics.

The National: Humza Yousaf said legislation overturning wrongful convictions in the Horizon scandal will be applied on a UK-wide basis (Andy Buchanan/PA)

In Brian Lawson’s letter of January 12, he made the statement that “it seems we have learned nothing from the result of the recent Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election” and while he made a valid point on SNP supporter turnout, he missed an “open goal” (without the need to go to VAR!). We now have irrefutable proof that a vote for a Labour candidate in Scotland at the next election will be a vote for the Tory-lite Labour Party of Sir Keir Starmer – not the “Pretend independent Scottish Socialist (PiSS)” Labour Party of Anas Sarwar whose duplicitous weasel words were repeated by Michael Shanks before his election to Westminster. Instead of being his “own man” and presenting a Scottish perspective as avowed, Mr Shanks fell into line with his English counterparts and lost his voice when it came to calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Everyone thinking of not voting SNP at the next General Election – and thus perhaps not only stymieing a majority of seats but a possible majority of votes for independence – must be encouraged by those favouring self-determination. They must confront the truth that a vote for Labour in Scotland would be a vote for the “British Establishment” – not a more egalitarian and more socially just country willing and able to responsibly exploit its immense natural resources.
Stan Grodynski

BRIAN Lawson beat me to it – what is the point in voting SNP if the current party leader is spending so much time appealing to work with Starmer?

I am surely not alone in thinking the SNP’s election strategy seems to be aimed at losing seats – maybe the leadership is wanting to push independence even further back?

The idea of targeting Tory-held seats will do little to help the majority of current SNP MPs who face a significant challenge from Labour. And with the FM talking about an inevitable Labour victory and wanting to work with the right-wing Starmer, why should voters still support the SNP? This isn’t so much a winning election strategy and more of a political suicide note. Unfortunately, it will be the cause of independence which will lose out. Maybe it’s past time for indy supporters to look elsewhere?
Alex Beckett

THE Tory Party and government know the writing is on the wall, that they will lose the next election. In my view, they have known this for some time, maybe even since Johnson completed his Brexit move away from the European Union.

What the UK – and Scotland in particular – has experienced since then is a steady demise of international business and trade and a demise in affordability of food, energy and even a home to live in.

The National: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets constituents at Muker Hall during a visit to North Yorkshire. Picture date: Friday January 26, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Sunak. Photo credit should read: Ian Forsyth/PA Wire

More recently, Rishi Sunak has been responsible for ignoring what most other countries recognise – climate change. Licences are being issued to international oil companies to explore what remains of the North Sea oil supply. It is obvious now that any oil remaining will be owned by these companies, with oil extracted for their benefit instead of for the UK.

To make matters worse, it has now been confirmed that the Grangemouth oil refinery will close. For a number of years now, successive Tory governments have exploited Scotland’s own

revenue-producing businesses – oil, whisky, food and many more – for the benefit of those south of our Border.

The final nail hammered into Scotland’s national and international business is making sure that – come the Tories’ election reckoning – if there is any chance of an independent Scotland taking advantage of whatever oil is left available, it will never be refined here.

England has four of its own oil refineries. Apart from Grangemouth here and Pembroke in Wales, the rest are in Humber, Fawley, Lindsey and Stanlow.

By the time the Tories manage to achieve a future government position in Westminster, they will be voted for by England alone. Scotland will have achieved their independence, and Ireland will have become a united country.

Quite possibly, King Charles III will only have England to rule over. The remaining three countries of what was the UK will have opted to be republics with a democratically elected president to preside over those three remaining countries with their own parliaments.
Alan Magnus-Bennett

TOMMY Sheppard, in last week’s Sunday National, seemed surprised by the reaction to his article the previous week and stated that he won’t retract it. Well, in much that he writes, Tommy is correct, but it’s what he fails to address that has caused people to react – because Tommy gave the impression of being too complacent and that was the weakness in his original article.

READ MORE: Tommy Sheppard: My column sparked major debate on need to vote SNP

I did not myself react to his earlier article, although I did get the impression that it was a bit complacent. From what I know of Tommy, I do not believe he is complacent. However, while it is true that most of us who support independence will agree with him that in the coming UK election only the SNP can win seats for the independence-supporting parties, it is also true that their leaders are doing very little to try to win our support.

It was, after all, not the SNP members, but the SNP leadership, who took us on a fool’s errand to the Supreme Court – which many could see was foolish. It was the SNP leadership who got themselves into a tangled mess with the accounts. It is the SNP leadership who still seem to think that an independent Scotland can allow the Bank of England to control our currency and our economy, and it is the SNP leadership who have no clear policy to guide Scotland to independence.

Of course, most of us in the independence movement will support the SNP at the General Election, but we have a wee bit of time before we come to that. In the time left, what exactly does the SNP intend to do to win back the votes of their supporters, who refused to turn out for them at the Rutherglen election?

Are the SNP keen to win this General Election? If so, can they show us how they are going to address the issues which the Scottish people need them to address? Because if they do that, they will have plenty of time to win most of the Scottish seats as they have done before and give the Unionists and their media a slap in the face.
Andy Anderson

ANDREW Tickell (Seven Days, January 21) states that the Lord Advocate “spent an uncomfortable hour” in Holyrood last week. A generous assessment of her performance might more accurately rate it “spectacularly unconvincing”. Ad nauseam robotic repetition of the perfidy of the Post Office seemed to be the beginning and end of her defence for what will almost certainly prove to be unprecedented miscarriages of justice.

Her statement would have been a lot shorter and, I would argue, somewhat more believable if she had simply said: “The Post Office pulled the wool over our eyes for nearly two decades and we were too complacent to even question the veracity of what they told us.” Given that the Post Office was presenting itself as the injured party, should it not have been obvious that any “evidence” it submitted would require to be subjected to independent forensic analysis? Tickell says that “either the Crown Office was the Post Office’s dupe, or it was a sceptical and independent prosecution authority”. The answer to that question is surely beyond doubt.

Lastly, is it not the case that the Lord Advocate is “marking her own homework” in being asked to review this whole sorry episode?
Tom McFadyen