Letters: So Labor says it won’t work with the SNP? It must like to be in opposition

“I’m not a psychic,” David Bone modestly asserts (Letters, July 17), but his crystal ball “sees” an election on the horizon, and tells him that one of only two parties big enough to form a government from Westminster, is at best, a “feverish dream”. Mr Bone also predicts that Sir Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister, although his popularity is measured (YouGov) at 22%, with 68% either disliking him or being neutral about his qualities.

A new Conservative leader can give this party a “bounce back” and a quick election before the economy deteriorates (interest rates will rise, to fight inflation, which will put the economy into recession). The next election promises to be a very close race, with the Conservatives having to lose a ton of seats to opposition parties for Labor to win; a big request.

Labor has surprisingly said it will not work with the SNP, by far Scotland’s most popular party, even though it does work with the SDLP in Ireland and Plaid in Wales. Maybe he likes being in opposition.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


There is a memorable quote in Alice in Wonderland, “You are nothing but a deck of cards”. Throughout Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice tries to apply rational understanding to irrational circumstances (the Prime Minister will relate to this). It’s also analogous to Scotland because, as Alice matures, she realizes that Wonderland is an illusion. We once had the childish belief that the UK was an equal partnership of nations, a view long discredited.

In the classic, the King of Hearts concocts “Rule 42” by which Alice has outgrown the small court. The Queen of Hearts demands a sentence before the verdict. Alice respects the Nebulous Jury as members of the Establishment. She accepted that while children are open-minded, adults need rules that they blindly adhere to and rarely defy.

Rule 42 surely equates to the sovereignty of Westminster. We can forget our statement of Arbroath 1320; Claim of Right 1689; Treaty of Union 1707; Lord Cooper decision of 1953; Claiming the Right 1989; and the Scottish Parliament 1999. All are trampled; nothing to see here; pass; just archaic arguments. Part of the Scottish media agrees. We need rules: we don’t argue like Alice learned.

As for Alice’s Queen demanding a sentence, the UK Supreme Court will conclude “The answer is no and we are the state”. I can still hear Canon Kenyon Wright’s line: “Well, we say yes and we are the people.”

Isn’t it slightly ridiculous that Rishi Sunak (from Southampton), Liz Truss (from Oxford) or, indeed, Sir Keir Starmer (from London) can say Scotland, one of the most historic nations of Europe, with 5.6 million inhabitants and two-thirds the size of England, deign to grant us self-determination, a fundamental right of the Charter of the United Nations?

“We’re all pretty crazy,” said the Cheshire Cat. The house of cards can still collapse, undermined by the jack.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.


I NOTE another excellent article by Iain Macwhirter (“If the Conservatives pick a fairy tale candidate, they will be out of power for a generation”, July 17). He is again right that Brexit was a rebellion of the ‘left behind’ in English towns and cities because they believed the disappearance of their secure jobs was the fault of ‘supranational bodies like the EU’. That is to say, it was the fault of Brussels.

Well, they were very cleverly fed this line with countless lies, and tricked into believing this by a lying and devious government in Westminster who wanted to deflect criticism and lay the blame elsewhere, when the blame lay squarely with the shoulders of successive Conservative governments.

Now, with the benefit of a little hindsight, we can see that the blame indeed lies with the UK government, nowhere else.

What could we do in Scotland about this? Well, let me think.

George Archibald, West Linton.


LORD Frederick North was not the worst British Prime Minister of all time (Letters, July 17).

Robert Walpole, in office from about 1721 to 1742 (the latter date is uncertain, probably because he continued to wield influence in the years that followed) was told by the Duke of Argyll that a Jacobite rising could be avoided if it arranged, as others had done, for the disinterested chieftains to be each released from their decades-old oath of allegiance to King James. Walpole ignored him, thus ensuring that the uprising came from Downing Street rather than Glenfinnan.

Relations between the Duke and the tagged Jacobites were very good, in that great care was taken that the Scots on both sides did not shoot at each other. At Culloden this was demonstrated by his regiment being allowed to hide behind a wall on the Jacobite right so as not to catch stray musket balls. In return, they did not engage in enfilading fire, thus allowing the Chisholms, Frasers and others to remain intact and strike the enemy line to well-documented effect.

Walpole then plunged to new depths by allowing Cumberland to plunder much of Scotland and then tearing up part of the relatively new Treaty of Union. Under the treaty, then as now, a person’s crimes committed in Scotland were to be tried in Scotland unless set off against his crimes committed in England. My relative, Major Donald MacDonell of Tirnadrish (as he is now spelled) had never been on the ‘Journey to Derby’ so his trial and execution at Carlisle was just a Westminster sponsored murder. A few months ago I went to pay my respects at the hanging site in Harraby Hill, but there was nothing there to mark the event.

George F Campbell, Glasgow.


“BACK Off Scotland are a group of ordinary young women who are fed up with fundamentalist Christians staging protests outside abortion clinics,” Neil Mackay wrote (“How women campaigning in Scotland are taking on religious fundamentalists Against Abortion”, July 17). As a retired GP and ordained evangelist, I see no justification for divisive pro-life protests alongside abortion clinics.

The NHS website’s Dating Scan shows an unborn human being at around three months old: a public, private and prophetic image. It’s prophetic because parents stopped abortions after seeing a CT scan. “Baby’s 1st Scan” is an ornamental picture frame used in private homes. NHS Dating Scan is a publicly available image from a trusted source. Abortion becomes a black on white issue when I look at it for a few seconds.

I would strongly question the value of anyone standing for hours near a clinic holding a sign with the words “Abortion is Murder”. Should Scottish churches challenge Back Off Scotland with a campaign called Dating Scan Scotland?

JT Hardy, Belfast.

• The concern of the Catholic Church for the lives of human beings threatened with abortion is justified.

The idea that abortion is “safe” is absurd. This means the certain death of the aborted. How is it “safe”?

The claim that abortion is “anti-woman” is ridiculous. At least half of human beings who have abortions are women. The mention of “reproductive rights” is laughable. Abortion destroys reproduction. That abortion comes under the “health” service is a cynical perversion of language.

The link between the pro-life movement and bogeymen such as Donald Trump or Jacob Rees-Mogg is just a smear tactic, implying that those who care for unborn children are powerful people. They are not. The power belongs to the government and the media that promote abortion.

John Kelly, Edinburgh.


ANDY Stenton and P Davidson (Letters, July 17) write in favor of illegal immigration.

Crossing the Channel in a dinghy is illegal. Most of the young men involved, after paying traffickers thousands of dollars or handing over their lives to gangmasters, throw their cell phones overboard and tear up their identity papers. Is this the kind of person we should welcome with open arms? Yet we do.

Britain has a long history of welcoming legal immigrants to the country and many, as P Davidson explains, have made great contributions to society. Boris Johnson has launched a program to help genuine asylum seekers from Ukraine. The Conservative Party leadership race proves it, with four ethnic candidates running, and Penny Mordaunt hosting a Ukrainian family. But we cannot allow strangers to break the law, and as Clark Cross said in a previous letter, there will be criminals among them, if not terrorists. It has happened before and it will happen again.

The idea that these people are “fleing persecution, poverty and war” is laughable. Perhaps if the 10,000 illegals who landed at Dover and Folkstone this year, courtesy of the Border Force and the RNLI, had landed at Stranraer or Girvan, your correspondents would have a different opinion.

William Loneskie, Lauder.

• No matter how they disguise the growing situation of migrants in the Channel, Andy Stenton and P Davidson are among the minority who believe the UK should house, feed and provide healthcare and social benefits to orphans and wanderers of the world.

It is particularly telling that neither responded to the fact that 96,060 households and 121,680 children in the UK are in temporary accommodation. The latest estimate is that 14,777 people have crossed the Channel this year and that figure is expected to rise to 60,000 this year. If they were genuine asylum seekers, they would have sought a “safe haven” in one of the 27 EU countries and applied for asylum status. They would then be free to obtain a visa for the United Kingdom or the country of their choice.

Instead, they paid traffickers thousands of pounds to bring them to the UK, the land flowing with milk and honey, free accommodation and, as one migrant put it, very little chance of to be deported thanks to our legal aid system which makes rich asylum lawyers even richer.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Maria D. Ervin