ANDY Stenton (Letters, May 10) criticises Anas Sarwar for opposing Scotland leaving the UK, but praises Sinn Fein – formerly the political wing of the IRA – for wanting a united Ireland. So Irish unity is good but British unity is bad.

The Labour Party was founded on the principle that working people of all countries have more in common than divides them. The problems of workers in Glasgow are exactly those of workers in Leeds. Mr Stenton claims that Scots think differently from English. Rubbish. We speak the same international language, obey the same laws, do the same type of work, worry about the cost of living crisis in equal measure, watch the same television, take the same type of holidays, and so on.

Mr Stenton claims that Scots reaction to immigration "is poles apart" from England. How come? The UK Cabinet is the most diverse in history with the major offices of state held by ethnic incumbents. There are 896,00 Indians, 682,000 Poles, 456,000 Pakistanis, and 312,000 Nigerians living in the UK, the overwhelming number of them in England. Perhaps Mr Stenton would change his tune if the 60,000 illegal immigrants who arrived by rubber boat across the English Channel last year arrived on the shores of the Firth of Clyde? Does he support the people traffickers who charge thousands of pound per crossing, or the young, fit men who tear up their identity papers and throw their phones overboard before they land claiming asylum? It costs the taxpayer £4.7 million a day to accommodate illegal migrants in hotels.

Nationalists should focus on Scotland's needs and stop monstering Britain. They could tackle the fact that children living in Nicola Sturgeon's constituency are the poorest in the UK, with a poverty rate of 69 per cent. They could tackle the rat problem in Glasgow, where a million rats thrive on waste, a fact dismissed by Glasgow SNP council leader Susan Aitken. Then there's the contract documents on the CMAL ferries which were rushed through before an SNP conference according to Jim McColl, the yard owner, and now Audit Scotland cannot find a paper trail about where the money went. And after 10 months the police are still investigating the disappearance of £600,000 of SNP member donations. The list goes on.

William Loneskie, Lauder.


TWO letters today (May 10) perfectly capture my own thoughts on both the Labour Party and the Union as an ex-member of the Labour Party. I don't know if Andy Stenton and David J Crawford are or have been members, but in an independent Scotland Labour would again be my first choice, and remaining within the UK would be something I would be prepared to vote for, but only on two conditions: the first is that the 2011 vote on proportional representation is revisited, and won, by the supporters of PR; the second is that the vote to leave the EU is overturned, the UK swallows its pride, and returns to the EU – or at least to the EEA.

The UK has been cursed in the past two centuries by first-past-the-post voting; a voting system that ensures that power stays in the hands of a few public school-educated (let's call it as it is, Eton-educated) plutocrats and second-raters, which has created the conditions for the likes of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and the rest of that desperate crew to lead us into our current mess.

I will not be holding my breath.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

* ANDY Stenton believes that Scottish Labour should support independence then fight to win control of an independent Scotland. As a Labour voter and a Unionist who voted No to Brexit I couldn’t disagree more.

The thought of the SNP being supported in its aim to leave the UK is very frightening for me.

There is not one solid economic reason to break up the UK. In the last 14 years the SNP has destroyed the infrastructure of our once-great education system, our roads are are a mess, the litter that is strewn all over our cities is a health hazard. Don’t even get me started on the ferries and whatever you do don’t ask the First Minister to explain what our currency would be.

Labour is a UK party and it would be a colossal mistake to fudge the issue by supporting independence.

May I remind Mr Stenton it was a Labour leader who led the devolution debate and became the inaugural First Minister. We were told this would lead to a better future and avoid any one party dominating the Scottish Parliament. That’s worked out well for us all ... not.

John Gilligan, Ayr.


I ALWAYS look forward to the excellent analysis offered by Neil Mackay on a wide range of topics including his thoughts on the inevitable death of the Union ("England slumbers on while the Union lies on its death bed", The Herald May 10). I presumed he was referring to the Conservative Party outlets such as the Daily Mail or Express when he commented that “already fake images are doing the rounds on social media of Nicola Sturgeon posing for selfies with members of the IRA. Watch as the unionist press tries to link Scottish independence with Irish republicanism”.

I turned to the very next page to be confronted by the headline on Brian Wilson’s usual claims about how he knew all the answers to all of today’s questions more than 40 years ago ("The last thing Ireland or Scotland needs is Sturgeon claiming Sinn Fein as sisters", The Herald, May 10). Mr Wilson comments that “we now find Sinn Fein being held up as the new best friends of Scottish nationalism”. He offers no evidence of anyone making such a claim other than himself in 1978 when he suggested that “a parallel can be drawn with the development of politics in Ireland over the past half century”.

If he has any evidence of any Scottish or Irish politician making such claims why can he not produce and attribute the claims rather than simply engage in the tired practice of slinging mud in the hope that some will stick?

Chris Keegan, Glasgow.


BRIAN Wilson produces the old chestnut of the SNP’s involvement in the collapse of the 1979 Labour government (it was the Liberals who initiated the no-confidence vote). James Callaghan & Co effectively ensured this by adopting the infamous 40% amendment to the Scottish 1979 Devolution Bill. Mr Wilson as the then chair of the No campaign would certainly have known this. It seems it was okay for Labour members to join the Conservatives to achieve this, but when the SNP joined them in response to Labour’s political chicanery they were dammed as the midwives of Thatcherism.

I might point out that at that time I was an active member of the Labour Party, but events of the time saw the beginning of my journey leading to my support for independence, just like many other former members and supporters.

Until Labour seriously addresses the reason for this lost support, no amount of spin and figure-massaging by Mr Wilson and others is going to in any meaningful way reverse their fortunes in Scotland.

John Boyle, Ardrossan.


DERRICK McClure and James Gilmour (Letters, May 10) are spot on with their comments about voting – or rather not voting – at elections in this country.

We are all ready to tell anyone who listens about what party we should vote for, what party we should never vote for; what should happen in our towns, cities and villages; how citizens of whatever age or colour or background should behave; how children should be brought up and behave; how we should live our lives and behave – as long as it coincides with our own thinking and background and way of life.

Remember, therefore, we actually do live in a democratic society, and we are allowed to vote for an individual or party or someone with whom we agree. But as your contributors pointed out, a ridiculously small amount of voters actually vote on the day, be it for local elections or General Elections or even referenda – but they continue to spout their own thoughts and joy or disgust at the results. Hence why we should adopt the system, as used in Australia for instance, of compulsory voting, where enrolment and actual voting must be carried out by every Australian citizen aged 18 years of age or older. And if someone says that they would not support such a system, then the compulsory voting system must include an official box on the voting sheet, stating No Vote.

I know, of course, that this would never happen, as the majority of politicians standing for election would not be able to take on board that the largest percentage of turn-out in a particular election was given to the No Vote box.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.

Read more: Labour has to get real and join the fight for indy