AS an ex- Labour voter, of many, many moons ago (until I quite rightly saw the light, like so many current SNP supporters, that used to vote Labour), this past week has been, well, totally mental, as they say!

I reckon Keir Starmer has now most definitely lost the plot. In five minutes flat, he’s turned from being a staunch Remainer to someone now afraid to upset anyone that voted for Brexit. But, hey, that’s not, in itself, enough to get the juices of The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express going. Naw, Keir needed something that would totally get these lot onside and blow the opposition away!

That’s it! Get a right-wing Tory called Natalie Elphicke on board! Job done! Get the red wall on side, no probs! Hang on! Her hubby was convicted and jailed for sexual assault in 2020. So what, that ain’t Natalie’s fault, many would say! There’s a massive “but” here, though! Natalie was temporarily suspended from the Commons and told to apologise after being found to have tried to influence a judge presiding over the trial of her ex-husband. Not good, Natalie, not good!

READ MORE: Sterling would plummet if Scotland left UK – but Barnett is crippling us

Just a year ago, Elphicke wrote a piece for the Daily Express stating: “Don’t trust Labour on immigration, they really want open borders.” She ended up attacking Starmer, describing him as “Sir Softie”! I’m sorry, any proper leader of the Labour Party, like the late John Smith of course, would surely deem Elphicke as persona non grata. Who’s next, Keir? Maybe Lee Anderson can, politically, go full circle and rejoin the Labour Party (he used to be a Labour councillor before defecting to the Tories, before defecting to Reform UK).

Seriously, according to current opinion polls, it appears that many ex-Labour voters that have long since abandoned them for the SNP now, unfortunately, intend to give Labour another chance again at the next General Election. However, I’m sure the vast majority of Scottish Labour politicians and voters consider that Keir’s latest decision to accept someone like Elphicke into the Labour Party is a massive own goal, particularly for them here in Scotland.

Given this, the SNP must ruthlessly and relentlessly hammer this point home to the electorate from now until the election to try to entice back as many of these defectors as possible. Tae pit it another way, if ye get an open goal, ye hae tae skelp that baw intae the back o’ the net as hard as possible!
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay

WHEN Paul Gillon states that he doesn’t believe the Supreme Court will ever rule in favour of Scottish independence, don’t we know how the court really works? (Letters, May 14).

The court exists to interpret the law of the land, nothing more. And when there is a conflict between two pieces of legislation, it is able to exercise a degree of latitude which it is programmed to do in favour of the establishment interests.

And this is where Paul Gillon is right to highlight the English bias in the court’s appointed judges.

However, our problem isn’t the natural bias within the court for establishment Unionism, rather it is how we’ve allowed legislation to be framed that denies we Scots both our status within this Union and our right to decide on continued membership.

Whether Scotland will ever regain its independence, the loaded legislation and court system is a barrier to it, not the route out of it.

We need to understand the treaty and Act of Union of 1707, and rely solely on that for indy salvation.

We are a historic nation that entered into a union with substantially England to form the UK. Clearly, the rest of the UK will resist it but we can resile from the Union; Brexit showed us the way.

And we can do so as early as the 2026 Holyrood elections.

But it needs co-operation. SNP preference vote. Alba for the list.

A majority in that house voting for indy makes it a done deal.

But it needs the movement to come together. No time for old hatreds. No time for prima donnas. Scotland first.

For those who claim to put indy first, this is the time to show they mean it.

Nothing else matters. No futile, biased Supreme Court manoeuvres always doomed to failure, no kowtowing to a Westminster that has too much to lose to allow democracy to intercede – indy is Scotland’s right. Let’s take it back!
Jim Taylor

ANDREW Neil (below, a man who no longer believes in his own hairstyle, made a desperate and frantic attack on the SNP last week. Surely a top political censor must know that the independence movement consists of the grassroot “independenistas” and then SNP, Alba, Greens, Scottish Socialists and Salvo, among others. Neil is using military intelligence –the greatest oxymoron of all time – to “decapitate the regime”.

The National: LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27:  Andrew Neil attends the Spectator Life 5th Birthday Party at the Hari Hotel on April 27, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Spectator).

On examination of the London-based Scottish Daily Mail, we see that in only 28 lines, an article mentions “secure for a generation” twice, “nationalists” once, “separatist” once and “disastrous” once. In a similar Unionist press article, the writer used the word “nationalist” no less than 15 times!

In his sociology study Mythologies, Roland Barthes concluded that if a writer repeats a word frequently, he has an intention. His study of signs and the intentions behind words was dubbed semiotics. Barthes’s formula for analysing texts consisted of primary signification (signifier and signified), denotation (signs), secondary signification (signifier and signified) and all importantly, connotation gives us SIGN. I have already mentioned in previous letters about how the Unionist MSM uses the connotation of the word nationalist and it is not difficult to detect.

I recently watched an old VHS tape covering the opening of the Scottish Parliament 25 years ago. This was a different Neil. A happy guest on BBC coverage, he even chirpily declared that this is a “once-in-a-generation event for Scotland”. Note the ironic soundbite!

Lastly – and as a tribute to the late-great Winnie Ewing – I would categorise Andrew Neil as “A Plastic Mac” – that is someone who was born in Scotland, but has absolutely no allegiance to his country of birth!

There are a lot of them about!
WJ Graham
East Kilbride

AS a General Election approaches, I view with a little scepticism the latest announcement of “free stuff” from the Scottish Government – namely the three-month extension to the scheme which sees the scrapping of peak-time rail fares. In a widely shared video, the First Minister explains that someone commuting between Edinburgh and Glasgow will save £280 a month. That implies a cost to the taxpayer of £280 a month. Presumably, anyone accepting a job offer that involved a daily commute on this service would have factored the cost of their rail travel into their decision to accept the offer. The question has to be asked and answered – are we simply subsidising commuters who can afford the peak-time fares?

It is surprisingly difficult to ascertain the overall cost to the Scottish taxpayer of this scheme, but the figure of £15 million for the first six months has been mentioned. Clearly the number of extra passengers attracted to the peak-time trains will impact on the overall cost, however, in a recent TV interview, Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop MSP appeared to imply there has been little increase in passenger numbers.

You have to at least wonder at the value for money of this scheme, and I, for one, very much look forward to seeing its assessment at the end of the three-month extension.

There have been calls for the introduction of free public transport for all at an as-yet-unspecified cost. At a time of council budget cuts, NHS waiting lists, prison overcrowding and increased homelessness, perhaps free public transport for all needs to be somewhere near the end of the priority queue. There is no such thing a free lunch – or free public transport.
John Baird

FROM the sounds of the piper beside the Moffat Ram to the roar of 48 motorbikes from Yes bikers to the gentler sounds of traditional live Scottish music, Believe in Scotland came to Moffat last Saturday. The 14th-century period-dressed ladies from the Robert the Bruce Trust and men from the Wallace Armourers explained to passers-by the local historical links between 14th-century Moffat and these two heroes of Scottish history.

But this day was truly about the future of Scotland and an opportunity for local people and visitors from Scotland and England to discuss and get involved with the possibilities and challenges in a future independent Scotland.

Members of English Scots for Independence and Dumfries and Galloway Pensioners for Independence joined Believe in Scotland volunteers and Yes Moffat local support to run the High Street stalls, while a team delivered the new eight-page pamphlet “Would independence benefit Dumfries and Galloway?” to every home in Moffat and Beattock. On the hottest day of the year so far, Believe in Scotland would like to thank all the participants and the public for making this a really positive and thought-provoking day.
Keith Johnston
Yes Moffat

DURING Question Time from Aberdeen last week, I noticed there were a lot of interruptions – mostly by Fiona Bruce – so I did a bit of analysis.

Fiona interrupted Meghan Gallacher twice, Alex Salmond once, Anas Sarwar not at all and Stephen Flynn 18 times.

Stephen Flynn was also interrupted by Megan Gallacher twice and Anas Sarwar three times. Stephen Flynn interrupted Meghan Gallacher twice and Anas Sarwar three times Funnily enough, Fiona Bruce snapped at Stephen Flynn: “You’ve interrupted everyone here.” Not true. When called out, she tells us it is her job – I thought she was chairing, not the chief interrupter, especially when she does not like what is being said and it is so obviously against one person and others get off scot-free.

The best bit of the night was when Alex Salmond asked who does the First Minister in Scotland govern for if Unionists represent 50% and if SNP represent 50%, as no matter who is in power, they should govern for all.
Winifred McCartney

I COULD not agree more with Lesley Riddoch’s article (Declaring a housing crisis is not enough – Scotland needs action. May 16). I would add the lack of any policy from the SNP government on the development of housing co-ops in Scotland.

The Tories in England have at least made a small effort with small funding to encourage housing co-ops. Lest I leave out the Labour Party in Scotland, I am reminded that some of the Labour MSPs are also Co-operative MSPs. Isn’t it about time they stopped paying lip service to the word co-operative and started taking it seriously?
Frank McGachy