As a committed nationalist I suppose the spate of successes enjoyed by Team GB in the Olympic games should have me tugging out my hair by the roots, but I'm actually very pleased to see British athletes (especially, I confess, Scottish ones) winning medals.

I think, however, that Ian W Thomson is hugely mistaken in claiming that it is now in the bag for the Unionist cause (Letters, August 4). We hear these claims on a regular basis from the No camp along with demands to hold the referendum immediately, if not sooner. Before the last Holyrood election they were root-and-branch opposed to any referendum at all, so their current impatience is a bit suspicious.

The Jubilee and the London Olympics were always going to give a temporary bounce to the motley collection of Tories, LibDems and Labourites who wish to preserve the United Kingdom but, with over two years to go, it is still all to play for.

We are told that Tony Blair is to weigh in to the campaign alongside David Cameron. Just those two, together or separately, could provide the Yes for Scotland campaign with much valuable ammunition. Then again, the current discontent in Conservative ranks could see Boris Johnson as Tory leader by the time the Scottish people cast their ballots. Such a prospect is mouth-watering for nationalists.

I fear Mr Thomson and others may be mistaken in their chicken-counting. Presently the No campaign is benefiting from the Diamond Jubilee and Team GB winning medals in London but, by the autumn of 2014, we'll have celebrated the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn and a Scottish team will have taken part in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

So the counted chickens could actually come home to roost, with Alex Salmond taking gold in 2014.

David C Purdie,

12 Mayburn Vale,



Ian Thomson states that the London Olympics are dealing a blow to Scottish independence. I'm not sure it's the time to make important constitutional decisions when the circus comes to town.

The clue is in the name; they are merely games. Let's wait until we're back with the "auld claes and porritch" regimen, and make decisions in the cold light of day.

I love the London Olympics; I think they are fantastic. I also love England, especially the literature and music. But I recognise that England is a foreign country.

I have the privilege of holding dual British/New Zealand citizenship. My New Zealand life has taught me there is nothing a small country cannot do. I come back to Scotland, I look at a beautiful landscape and, aside from a short tourist season, it is deserted. I look at great tracts of the Highlands, that are denuded; and I look at great swathes of the central region, an archipelago of ill-health, alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty, and despair. And I wonder why.

A former New Zealand prime minister forbade the entry of nuclear-powered American submarines. That was strong. I live a hop, skip and a jump from the biggest and most murderous nuclear silo in Europe. A decade ago a pusillanimous Westminster Parliament took us to war in Iraq on the coat tails of a gun-slinging US administration. "Stronger together", says Ian Thomson. His notion that we should stick with Westminster in order to ensure we can produce elite athletes is nothing short of farcical.

It's lovely to have the Olympics dominating the BBC news. But don't forget that once it is all over, it will be a return to the Westminster village, ya-boo politics. I look at it all from the outside. It's like eavesdropping on Ruritania.

In Portsmouth the other day somebody asked me how I would vote in the independence referendum. I said "Yes". She said: "We'd be sorry to lose you." I smiled a commiseration, but thought: "We were never yours to lose."

Dr Hamish Maclaren,

1 Grays Loan,



Ian W Thomson would appear to have a touch of Olympicitis if he seriously believes the frenzy over London 2012 being whipped up by the media on a daily basis will seriously impact on the independence debate and result.

Like Mr Thomson, I have been uplifted by the strong performances from Scottish athletes and their impressive haul of medals, but I find increasingly flagging the wall-to-wall coverage and shrill yapping of some commentators. The athletes, no matter where they come from in the UK, have been delightful, dignified and a credit to their countries. However I cannot believe many voters will be lulled into the belief that the biggest factor in deciding whether or not Scotland should regain her independence is Team GB's performance at the Olympic games.

In writing about modern training facilities available to athletes in England, Mr Thomson rakes up the old fearty argument that Scotland is too small, too poor and too stupid to have her own facilities, and to join the other countries of the world who proudly marched into the Olympic stadium behind their national flags; nations which have their own distinctive voice at the United Nations, can decide for themselves whether or not they want nuclear weapons of mass destruction on their soil, and whether they want to participate in devastating foreign wars which are illegal or unwinnable.

The other nations of the current UK are our closest neighbours, and after independence we will continue to have strong cultural and social links under our shared head of state, the Queen. But in two years we will have a unique opportunity to shape Scotland's future. The referendum campaign is getting on to the starting blocks, and it is Scotland's time to go for gold.

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road,


If clutching at straws was an Olympic event, then some of your Unionist correspondents could win gold by themselves.

The sense of delight and relief in which some Unionists think they have finally discovered the elusive "positive case" for the Union is palpable. To temporarily reach best also-rans status in the medal table now apparently defeats the case for independence.

Never mind getting rid of Trident, or rescuing our fellow Scots from some of the worst social deprivation and health indicators in Western Europe. Never mind directing Scotland's resources into transforming our almost-Third-World infrastructure.

No, Scotland's resources continue to be invested in London's infrastructure, that for the Olympic games being the latest instalment. It seems some of your correspondents can be bought and sold for Olympic gold.

Hamish Scott,

17 Carlaverock Drive,


East Lothian.

Only the brain dead would be unaware that the Olympic games are under way in London. I've heard that seats for some of the events cost a lot of money. I've no interest in watching a grown-up version of a school sports day, but I'm willing to concede that many take the opposite view.

I've noticed the licence payer-funded BBC has devoted 24 channels back-to-back to the Olympics and, much of the time when switching on to BBC1, BBC2 or News 24 what do we get? You guessed it.

When I was young, we heard tales of American television offering "about 100 channels" and we thought this was TV Utopia. Now the digital age has come to Scotland and we can get a few dozen channels, we find that all of the quality still comes from the original ones with the majority having bought up the dross from the 1960s and 1970s so that just about every day you can get to watch On The Buses, The Saint, The Professionals; that is, any amount of comedies that rely on canned laughter or drama with wooden actors.

Since digital technology is so smart nowadays, and we're so accustomed to using "smart cards" and "smart phones", why don't we get to watch/buy exactly what TV programmes we want by using a TV smart decoder? The UK Gold/Pick TV market for duff programmes would die out quickly, but would that be such a bad thing?

As my TV smart card would be out of action for the duration of the Olympic games, I could save some money as well.

Barry Lees,

12 Denholm Street,