"Please, do not waste this time" – on granting a six-month extension to Britain, Donald Tusk implored the British government to use the time over the summer to develop some kind of coherent, deliverable Brexit strategy. Yet depressingly, and all too predictably, wasting time is exactly what we are doing.

Across the house, our politics is still in a state of denial. Rather than witnessing any tangible progress, we are strapped to a merry-go-round listening to the same tired arguments, again and again and again. Of course, the blame lies almost entirely with the Conservative Party. We are now doomed to witness a leadership election in which the candidates try to out-bluster one another in order to appeal to its relatively small, greying membership base.

One such delusion is that the withdrawal agreement will be reopened if the right leader is in place to charm our friends in Europe. Our likely next prime minister, Boris Johnson, is a purveyor of such a view, who implied at his leadership launch that he would be able to cajole the EU into reopening negotiations. If only the former Foreign Secretary was versed in the art of diplomacy.

What should be renegotiated? The backstop of course. The same one that the EU have described as non-negotiable. Sajid Javid would like to replace the backstops with the much-sought-after "alternative arrangements", namely technology that does not exist. Solid plan, guys.

While one could write endlessly about the bluster of the Tory leadership candidates, it would be wrong to ignore some of the others. Jeremy Corbyn, once championed by young people like myself, is responsible for the opposition's dismal poll ratings against the most incompetent government in living memory. Against the wishes of the membership, he continues to mumble on about a renegotiated Labour deal, as if that is in any way possible before the deadline in October.

While I am no nationalist, the SNP deserve praise for their consistency on this issue. However, a quick glance at SNP-supporting publications like The National show that many within the nationalist movement view Brexit as an opportunity to sow discontent with the union. Yet, the reality is that Brexit is just as much a threat to independence. Remind me what the plan is to avoid a hard border between an independent Scotland that has re-joined the EU and the rest of the UK?

The most important issue Scotland faces is Brexit. Despite the refusal of many (although not all) to recognise it, the fact is this – the only options open to us is remaining in the European Union, leaving under the terms of the negotiated withdrawal agreement or crashing out without the deal. The rest is just noise.

How do we resolve this when Parliament clearly are not keen on any of these options? Putting it back to the electorate in a referendum, that's how. Whether you like it or not, it is the reality we must confront.

Harry McNeill, 24

Our Future, Our Choice – Scotland


These abuse services must be protected

I’ve just read the article on the funding threat the scheme that supports children who are affected by domestic abuse (Herald on Sunday, June 9). We have to resist this sort of threat with all the power we can muster, and I speak from personal experience. We must ensure that such services are protected.

You may be interested in the Chartered Institute of Housing “Make A Stand" campaign (full details are available on the CIH website), which is centred around housing professionals being able to spot the signs of domestic abuse as they are in people’s homes more than any other profession. It aims to get all housing organisations and landlords not only to spot them but help tackle the root causes and to give practical support to the victims.

Make A Stand has been running for a year and has signed up more than 300 housing organisations who own and manage more than 2.5 million homes up and down the country. The campaign has been extended to include other organisations who work with housing providers like maintenance contractors who are equally well placed to spot and react to the awful impact on domestic abuse.

We work with women’s aid and anti-abuse organisations throughout the country and I have made raising awareness of domestic abuse my key task during the year I am president of the CIH. I’m a 63 year old man but my childhood was blighted by domestic abuse so I have a very personal reason to be involved.

I’m glad that what was once seen as a private, behind-closed-doors issue is now getting the exposure it needs to finally rid our communities of it. We owe it to the thousands who are being abused this and every day.

Jim Strang

President, Chartered Institute of Housing

Majority views

Ruth Davidson's demand that indyref2 can only be allowed if the SNP have an overall majority in the 2021 elections is a good start.

But the Referendum Bill debate starts in the autumn and union-supporting parties should be setting out their stall now. Why aren't they talking about who can vote, insisting on a Leave/Remain question, the need for a second confirmation referendum and crucially, after two fiascos cause by 50%+1, demanding that two thirds of voters need to be in favour of a change, as is the case in the SNP's own constitution?

Allan Sutherland


Jordanhill College: a sad day

I was sorry to read of the fire at Jordanhill College in Glasgow and hope that the damage is not too severe. When I was primary schoolboy during the war years Jordanhill School was requisitioned as an army base, and our classes were transferred to the top floor of the college (room 96, if I remember correctly). It was a long walk and then a long climb up four flights of stairs three or four times daily!

In post-war years school prizegivings and sixth-year dances were held in the magnificent College Hall, and it was also used occasionally for political meetings. I remember once hearing a stirring speech by Roy Jenkins when he stood as a local MP, and also attending general election debates and musical events there.

Sadly the building has lain empty for several years since all classes were transferred to Strathclyde University, and it is no longer the home of teacher-training courses attended by generations of students. Recently there were local rumours that it was to be converted into luxury flats, with other blocks being built within the extensive grounds, so perhaps the fire was caused by some preliminary preparations for this.

Whatever its future, I hope that this outstanding local building can be preserved for some useful purpose.

Iain A D Mann


A lesson on education

Nicola Sturgeon needs no reminder from Martin Redfern regarding her commitment to education (Letters, June 9), but perhaps Mr Redfern needs reminding that since the SNP came to power more than 800 schools have been upgraded with record amounts invested to help close the attainment gap; free school meals for primaries 1-3 and a national £100 school clothing grant have been introduced to help families; the Disabled Students allowance and bursaries for students have been protected in Scotland while full-time college students can benefit from the highest bursary of anywhere in the UK.

In addition, the number of higher education qualifiers from colleges is at an all-time high, and record numbers of Scots have been accepted to study at universities, including record numbers from deprived areas, benefiting from the SNP's policy of no university tuition fees. And at the latest test of public opinion, the European elections, the SNP romped to victory, marking a positive report card from the electorate for a First Minister and her government, who in difficult times are getting on with the day job of delivering for Scotland.

Ruth Marr


Ban these meats ... everywhere

In "In our opinion" in The Herald on Sunday on June 2, you welcome the capping by the Scottish Government of the amount of "cancer causing meat" served to pupils as being the "only sensible course of action" .

I would dispute this. Are school pupils, however worthy, the only section of the population that should be protected? When will our elected representatives embrace their responsibilities to the electorate and stand up to a food industry which is absolutely prepared to jeopardise the health and wellbeing of the population in the relentless pursuit of profit?

Nitrites are not an essential preservative in foods. The are only a cheap one. There are other viable alternatives.

It seems to me that the "only sensible course of action" is to completely and immediately ban their use altogether, and prosecute any food producer who does not immediately comply.

James M Gardner

Bridge of Weir

We are allowed to disagree

Jim Lynch is undoubtedly not alone in wishing people would not question Nicola Sturgeon’s comments on independence (Letters, June 9).

He also follows the SNP leadership’s line in seeking to demonise those who do not agree with them.

The implication of Mr Lynch’s words are to paint all opponents of separation from the UK with the same brush, as if they are all the hardest of Brexiteers, with no care for future generations.

In fact of course many who see the benefits of sharing of resources across the UK, combined with the closest of possible economic and political unions with the rest of the UK, equally have favoured remaining in the EU.

As for bringing age and grandchildren into the argument, does he really suggest that when it comes to any political disagreement that those on one side (namely his) care more about their children and grandchildren’s futures than others?

Keith Howell

West Linton

Apologies all round, please

It has come to my attention that you published a report (Herald on Sunday, June 2) suggesting that a film of which I am executive producer is anti-Semitic or condones anti-Semitism.

"Senior trade unionist urged to apologise over comments about anti-semitism 'witch hunt' film"

You quote Tory MSP Annie Wells demanding that prominent trade unionist Lynn Henderson apologise for approving remarks about the film WitchHunt, suggesting that it was offensive to "Scotland's Jewish community".

It is Annie Wells who should apologise for ignoring an invitation to see the film in Glasgow on May 24 and publicly attacking Lynn Henderson who had seen it and understood its solid anti-racist message.

Annie Wells and others quoted in the story recycle old anti-Semitism slurs against black Jewish activist Jackie Walker – slurs which are comprehensively debunked by director Jon Pullman in his film. Had they taken the trouble to attend the screening, they would have had the benefit of hearing an in-depth discussion, chaired by The Herald on Sunday's political commentator Iain Macwhirter, putting the issues in context.

You owe your readers at the very least a proper review of Witchhunt, which has been praised by leading filmmakers Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Peter Kosminsky. Anyone can view it online at https://witchhuntfilm.org

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi

Executive Producer, WitchHunt

Media Officer, Jewish Voice for Labour