MARTIN Redfern (Letters, January 3) claims that “Scottish independence, just like Brexit, is principally about sovereignty”. I beg to differ. For me, it is about values and the sort of society I wish to live in.

I spent most of my adult life in England and was what could be described as a traditional Labour voter. Whilst I disagreed with some of the Blair and Brown governments’ actions, they were certainly preferable to the Tory alternative.

I returned to Scotland in 2010 and watched the UK become increasingly right-wing. As I became more aware of the "personalities" at Holyrood, I realised that the leading lights in the Labour and Conservative parties were filled with delusions of adequacy. I know the sort of changes I wish to see in society and I’m not actually bothered about where they come from – Scotland, UK or Europe. (As long as Scotland still has its own football team). The UK seems destined to be governed by the Tories for some considerable time, so it seems to me that the quickest way of moving towards the society I want to see is supporting Scottish independence. I suspect this why many former Labour voters now support independence. It has little to do with sovereignty.

Douglas Morton, Lanark.


I TAKE exception to Iain Macwhirter's comment that “independence is gradually becoming the settled will of the Scottish electorate” ("Can ‘Queen of caution’ Sturgeon finally deliver indyref2 in 2021?", January 3). This is absolutely untrue and if Mr Macwhirter would take off his rose-tinted, nationalist-framed specs, he would realise the silent majority of pro-Union supporters is mighty and stirring.

It is a sad state of affairs that the majority of Scottish journalists are pro-indy, pro-destruction of the United Kingdom and do not have the spine to bring Nicola Sturgeon to account for every shortcoming of her independence first-and-only cause. Shortcomings since her coronation are far too many to list here but well-known.

I would like to see Mr Macwhirter provide a page or two on his economic, financial, social and military facts for his “free” Scotland as they call it. I won’t hold my breath, for there are none.

Douglas Cowe, Kingseat.


WE see in the UK as we see in the US a political power system that functions on exclusion rather than inclusion. The overriding purpose is perpetuation of the system itself, not to meaningfully change it, certainly not to improve it, definitely not to accommodate bigger membership of it so that more can enjoy its top-end benefits.

So in the US, a swap-about happens between two parties, Democrat and Republican, their policies over the years switching about but without affecting matters important in the daily lives of the big majority of people – for instance racial discrimination, handgun availability, lack of welfare and health provision and general denunciation of public service institutions.

The UK similarly integrates political parties that during election periods espouse different policies from each other, but when governments are in place these different policies become dissolvable, of multi-party substance and therefore expressive of the political power system rather than of matters important in the lives of the majority of the population. As in the US, the electorate, bizarrely in effect, votes itself into a power system that excludes it.

That, as far as I am concerned, reflects on the whole Westminster Brexit issue. A main opposition party that props up a power structure in preference to the electorate, and can somehow fit membership of the House of Lords with the mundane, often austere, lives of those who vote them into their ermine retirement.

No, Scotland wasn't party to this, nor will the majority of its population be partying in celebration of it any time soon. As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told our EU friends: "See you soon."

Ian Johnstone, Peterhead.


VICTORIA Weldon’s excellent article on lawyer Ian Smith’s stance on the decriminalisation of illegal drugs ("Top lawyer appeals for all drugs to be decriminalised", January 3) mirrored my own views on the topic. The reality is that prohibition hasn’t worked and never will.

Inevitably some of the fatalities ascribed to the consumption of illegal drugs are avoidable and are a matter of quality control and adulteration by unexpected additives such as Fentanyl. Many believe the use of mind-altering drugs by some individuals to be their escape-hatch from a reality that none of us would want to experience. The stigma of drug addiction also seems only to be applied to “junkies” from the lowest social stratum while the hordes of middle and upper-class regular users of cannabis, cocaine and “party drugs” escape that epithet.

Nobody ever stops to ask why these drugs are classed illegal when almost all of them have been or currently are being used for therapeutic reasons by the medical profession. Other than some of the newer synthetic agents most are routinely prescribed by your local chemist in accurate amounts of known potency; why does Joe Public need a prescription from a third party to obtain them? Why can a heroin addict be given methadone on prescription but cannot buy from the same pharmacy the heroin he/she really wants? Who has the right to tell an individual what they can or cannot do to themselves?

Thankfully many countries have decriminalised the use of drugs such as cannabis; one can only hope that in the fullness of time the elderly matrons of Morningside and Milngavie having an attack of the vapours will be able to, as their Victorian ancestors could, take a swig from their Laudanum bottle without PC Plod banging on the door.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.


EQUALITY before the law is a fundamental principle of our legal system and enshrined in Article 7 of The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights.

That is why it is reaffirming to learn that Margaret Ferrier MP has been a charged with "culpable and reckless conduct" by acting, allegedly, in breach of Covid regulations.

Against this backdrop, I await the Crown Office revisiting the following cases.That would confirm even-handedness and refute the fear Police Scotland have been leaned on, months after the event.

In March Prince Charles, who later tested positive with Covid, came up to Balmoral with Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall, and their staff, in wilful breach of Covid regulations.This flouting of the rules was dangerous and caused fury as frontline NHS staff had yet to receive the Covid test, Aberdeenshire NHS had to rush to them to administer.

In April Catherine Calderwood could not resist two trips to her second home in sunny Fife, having lectured the rest of us on social distancing.

In May Dominic Cummings drove to Barnard Castle, having demanded we stay in our primary residence and not travel.

Professor Neil Ferguson advised lockdown for the UK but, by May, ignored his travel ban to meet his married lover.

What these cases have in common is that they involved intelligent, arrogant people who were fully aware of the Covid regulations, but had such a feeling of entitlement, they, clearly, felt these did not apply to them.Were these not reckless and culpable conduct? Are we witnessing the enduring power of privilege?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.


YET again we are plunged into another lockdown. How much longer will this nightmare of repeated lockdowns continue? When will the recovery of our economy take as much of a priority as health? In 2019 my street, Kempock Street in Gourock, won the Great British High Street award and now one of its boutiques has closed for good due to lost income; how many more shops must suffer the same fate? I’d hate for our high streets to become ghost towns with the only one profiting being Amazon.

Oftentimes for a person on their own a trip down the shops is the only social interaction they'll have all day, and having a conversation with a friendly, familiar face is enough to get them through the day. This shows just how important our local high streets are to peoples mental health and well-being.

Does the Scottish Government have a plan to keep the economy going? How are shops, cafes and independent businesses going to be supported and allowed to reopen, when they have spent time and money implementing Covid-19 procedures to allow everyone to shop, browse and/or eat safely?

Annabel Robb, Gourock.


NEIL Rothnie (Letters, January 3) claims that there is a scientific consensus that we are experiencing climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. Well, I can easily reel off the names of 10 respected scientists who reject this theory.

Consensus is for politics, not science. A bunch of scientists cannot just vote on something being true.

There was a consensus that the earth was flat until Magellan's expedition proved otherwise in 1522. There was a consensus on Newtonian Physics until Einstein came along. Alfred Wegener's 1912 theory of plate tectonics was ridiculed, but after 50 years was finally accepted.

The Climategate emails, where so-called climate scientists from around the world wrongly believed that they were communicating privately, have some interesting takes on this. For example, in an email dated September 23, 1999 Keith Briffa wrote: “My concern was motivated by the possibility of expressing an impression of more consensus than might actually exist”, and in 2009 John Christy wrote: “This gets to the issue that the consensus reports now are just the consensus of those who agree with the consensus”.

Geoff Moore, Alness.