WHAT is it, I wonder, about Scotland that is so unique? Following the very welcome reinstatement of a functioning Stormont Assembly, UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan commented: “That is where things that affect Northern Ireland will be discussed.” And shadow digital minister Chris Bryant said: “It is not for me to decide what should happen in Northern Ireland.”

And yet, without exception, Tory and Labour politicians across the board do not pause for breath before telling those of us who live in Scotland what we have a right to decide about Scotland, and that they are in a better position to dictate our fate and decide for us, usually without even consulting us first.

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As well as securing more than £3 billion from the UK Government and access to the European single market, the province of Northern Ireland is clearly viewed very differently from the nation of Scotland. They have a right to decide in their Assembly what is best for them, but our Scottish Parliament apparently does not.

Angela Rayner, on a day trip to Scotland, sporting tokenistic tartan boots, described with relish our former First Minister’s deletion of WhatsApp messages as “appalling”. I, in turn, found this appalling. I will forever give thanks that Nicola Sturgeon navigated me, and millions of others, safely through the pandemic. Not only did she not have a crystal ball, she did not have a map, and I doubt very much that, if the UK Covid inquiry continues on its current wayward path, any future political leaders will have one either. It has lost focus in terms of learning how to be better prepared for and better manage future pandemics.

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The inquiry has become a dangerous vehicle veering out of control and playing into the vindictive press. Journalists are relishing pointing the finger and blaming anyone other than those who behaved the worst, the most dishonestly, both during the pandemic and when they were before the inquiry. It seems those who are most to blame have been allowed to stay under the radar and continue in the highest positions of the land. I would sincerely hope that the current Prime Minister’s ability to “recall” improves. Where, I wonder, were the relentless, thrice-repeated questions when he was on the stand?

Nicola’s treatment “in the dock” for doing her human best during the years of an unspeakably brutal crisis has been despicable, indefensible and unforgivable. And I found Alister Jack’s sexist, derogatory, and vile comment, reprehensible. He showed his true colours in his venomous and abhorrent language. Cheap and disgusting. What I truly think of him and his behaviour not even The National would print. No “Right Honourable Gentleman” there.

Jenny Pearson

THE Unionist press have been absolutely vilifying Nicola Sturgeon, one of the finest politicians of our time, revered in Scotland and around the world. The one who did a great job during the Covid crisis under such impossible circumstances and was trusted by the nation. How could those journalists turn so nasty? They obviously have very short memories of the utter chaos created by Boris and co in stark contrast to the assured performance from Nicola.

READ MORE: Problems facing SNP and independence run deeper than personality

Michelle O’Neill was to be sworn in as the first nationalist leader at Stormont to a grand fanfare, almost euphoria, in the news channels. Both Nicola and Michelle want the same goal, to be free from Westminster rule, so why the contrast? I just don’t get it.

Eric Morris
via email

TO all those who are incensed by the treatment of all Scottish Government representatives, especially Nicola Sturgeon, at the UK Covid inquiry, what else did you think was going to happen?! While the shambles at Westminster is now conveniently forgotten, it was always going to be the case that when it came to our turn Scotland was going to be portrayed as the worst of the worst.

The Covid inquiry was never going to be about how we were going to deal with the next pandemic. Every single death from this horrendous virus was soul-destroying for all families and the country in general. Nicola stood up every day and told us what they were going to try and do to help us.

No government on this planet got it all right, but you would think that Scotland was in a class of its own at doing it all wrong if you read the more-rabid-by-the-day Unionist media or listen to any news radio station you care to mention.

To make this point more salient, when the inquiry is over the vilification will not stop. It will just go on as normal with the SNP getting it in the neck every day. The only way we can stop this is if we stop it.

I see John Curtice saying that one of the reasons the SNP is not doing well is because the leader is unpopular.We are going into a General Election totally unprepared for what is coming down the track. We cannot afford to let that happen, as the big picture is in 2026 when we will HAVE to get it right. If there is a Unionist Government in Holyrood then we are sunk without trace.

That is what is going to possibly happen unless we do something concrete regarding independence. Scotland’s future is at stake.

Old John

MUCH hullabaloo being commented about Scotland’s collapse in the second half following a dominating first half in Cardiff on Saturday. I’ve seen very little respect for the notable change in the performance of the young Welsh team, who had clearly had a serious 15 minutes listening to their highly experienced coach Warren Gatland, while our team appeared complacent in the second half and unprepared for the much changed attitude of their opposition. A hard lesson will have been learned by both the Scottish team and coach, and hopefully resultant maturity will be expressed over the next four games toward maintaining a clean sheet of wins.

Tom Gray