THOSE Were the Days (November 18) brings back memories of my ownership of a Singer Chamois (a posh Imp with coloured flash) while working with Barclays Bank DCO (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) in Libya in 1968.

Having been posted to Tobruk for a second tour, the first being in Tripoli, I set off on the 900-mile trip, accompanied by a small dog, Whisky, in mid-July.

After about 250 miles the engine gave a cough and expired, which in 100-plus degree heat and at least 100 miles from the nearest inhabited area, Misurata, was a cause for concern. There being no mod cons, such as mobile phones or the AA, assistance had to be found from passing traffic, which was sporadic, to say the least.

The first car, with Europeans or Americans on board, didn’t even slow down but a Libyan Police Landrover stopped and after making a futile attempt to revive the engine the crew advised me to go back in the direction from which I had come, then drove off.

A Libyan lorry driver heading towards Tripoli stopped and hitched the car to the back of his lorry with around eight feet of rope and set off at 65mph, before stopping 75 miles on and dropping me off at an Italian road-repairing camp where he knew there were engineers.

They had only radio contact with their HQ in Tripoli so they asked me to leave the car and return in a few days while they attempted to repair it. I was given a lift to Misurata where the bank had a sub-branch and stayed there with the young Palestinian who was in charge.

It emerged that the car’s water pump had seized, drying out the system and cracking the cylinder head. The Rootes depot in Tripoli did not have a spare in stock so I had to be towed back to Tripoli and leave the car there, flying to Tobruk to start my tour of duty and retrieving the car three months later.

Surprising as it may seem, I did like the car!

Jim Graham, Clydebank.

* Photographed in Tripoli are Mr Graham’s wife, Florence, with friends Alan and Nancy, and their own Hillman Imp.

Politics as showbiz

FORMER President Trump has no respect for democracy. He refuses to accept the verdict of the voters and is bleating about fraud when there was none. His antics prove that he was not worthy of the great office that he held. However, Scots have nothing to feel smug about. Something similar has happened here.

Since the 2016 EU referendum there has been a constant gurn from the SNP, including the First Minister herself, that Scotland is being “dragged out of the EU against its will”. But that referendum vote was UK-wide and properly so, since it was about UK membership of the EU.

Scots participated in the vote as UK citizens and they should accept the democratic result. To participate and then refuse to respect the result is a typical Trump tactic.

Perhaps we are further down the Trump path than people realise. He stirred up a following as a man of business despite a trail of bankruptcies.

The SNP claim to be setting Scotland on the path to prosperity despite a history of failed contracts, loss of manufacturing capacity, buildings gone wrong and declining standards in education, as revealed by the PISA ratings.

The strategy the SNP and Trump have in common is to treat politics as showbusiness, as seen in his flag-waving rallies and in their annual conference where there is much grandstanding but little debate. By contrast, other parties have strongly argued debates which enable the rank and file members to steer policy and set the manifesto.

The people of the USA have turned against Trump. In Scotland, however, the propaganda battle goes on and opinion polls of dubious validity are claimed to show increasing support for secession from the UK.

The hard facts of votes cast tell a different story: in the 2014 referendum more than two million Scots voted to remain in the UK, while in the 2019 General Election the total vote for the SNP was only 1.2 million. Tales of the impending demise of the UK would seem to be much exaggerated.

Les Reid, Edinburgh.

Civil liberties under fire

HAMISH McPherson (November 20) suggests my views are facile. Perhaps I should expand my thinking .

At present I am unable to visit any of my children or grandchildren despite them living within a few miles of my home; incidentally, Glasgow is just a few hundred yards away and I can’t go there either from 6pm yesterday. I am not minimising the sadness which is occurring, just the ham-fisted way it’s being dealt with.

The Hate Crime legislation being proposed will restrict people making comments which don’t fit the SNP vision of appropriate language. I could mention more, such as the attempted Named Person legislation. If anything, Mr McPherson’s comparison with North Korea is facile. Our civil liberties are eroding fast: can he not see that ?

Michael Watson, Rutherglen.