Name calling

In 'There's a Place for Passion in Politics', (Scotsman, 15 August) Lesley Riddoch tells us that Corbyn 'declined opportunities to retaliate' in the game of accusations.

Really! Hasn’t he claimed that if it wasn’t for the trouble-makers who held the famous coup, Labour poll results would still be good. But in fact there was only three good poll results out of 17 in the six months before the coup – the others were not good.

When Corbyn accused Owen Smith of being part of that coup, wasn’t he trying to take an unfair advantage by demonising his opponent?

The blame game has certainly become acrimonious on all sides, but the point remains that Corbyn wants to dismiss and decry the 80 per cent of Labour MPs who don’t think he is up to the job of skillfully rebutting Tory ideas and advancing detailed acceptable proposals of his own.

The sad fact is that, while Corbyn can be seen as a man of great socialist principles, he is not seen as a suitable leader.

There is an alternative leader who is competent and yet has exactly the same socialist aims – yes, Owen Smith. For Labour to succeed in this era the party needs to unite. Let’s argue about facts and not about the cat calling from both sides.

Andrew Vass

Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh

As a fairly long-time member of the Labour Party, I am sure I am one of many who has and is re-thinking my relationship with it. Until now I have been a fervent anti-Corbyn supporter; however recently I felt it necessary to question why I felt this way and to re-assess whether my strongly held views about Jeremy Corbyn’s potential as Labour Party leader and future prime minister.

However; having read Lesley Riddoch’s “There’s a place for passion politics”, I am very grateful to her for helping me come to the conclusion that my initial feelings were very valid.

Her biased, insulting and disrespectul comments do nothing to encourage alternative views being aired and debated and she herself falls into the “personal attacks” she claims to be against.

Thank you once again Lesley; I am sure this was not your intention – but you have certainly done me a favour.

Bob Bertram

Main Street, Pathhead

The fact that 80 per cent of Labour party branches backed him shows the popularity that Jeremy Corbyn has over the grassroots. However, the coup plotters aren’t planning to let Corbyn have any sort of “victory”.

Leading Labour figures said they plan to organise a “semi-split” if he wins the September leadership contest.

The Blairites know it is not possible for them to remove Corbyn via a democratic vote of the party’s membership. Based on his stated opposition to austerity, militarism and war, the vast majority of the party’s more than half a million members and supporters endorse Corbyn.

Every significant move Corbyn has made as leader has been to oppose any struggle against the right, in defiance of the strivings of those who elected him last September to do so. He set the course of his tenure in office immediately after his election by naming a shadow cabinet prominently featuring various Blairite warmongers, including Hilary Benn as his foreign secretary.

The nadir of Corbyn’s betrayal of his mandate was his authorisation of a free vote last December by Labour MPs, meaning they would not be censured or disciplined for supporting the bombing of Syria. In the event, 66 of the Blairites backed military action.

The real lesson of Corbyn’s period as party leader is that his absolute refusal to mobilise the mass support he enjoys against the right wing is evidence of his overarching loyalty to the Labour and trade union bureaucracy, of which he is a left-talking representative.

Alan Hinnrichs

Gillespie Terrace, Dundee

Something fishy

I am very concerned to hear that the SNP are to consult on the matter of electro fishing which is currently banned by the EU as a dangerous and destructive form of fishing for razor shells, with three divers to date having lost their lives with this illegal form of fishing.

The current SNP policy in the matter of fish conservancy seems to be a complete hypocrisy, with vast areas in the west coast now a no-go area for Scottish fishermen whilst the dredgers who do the most harm to crustacean stocks are allowed to plunder the Scottish seabeds leaving behind them a lunar landscape trail.

If the SNP are to be taken seriously then they must re-think their position no fish conservancy as it currently make no sense at all.

Dennis Forbes Grattan

Bucksburn, Aberdeen

Trump that

While in general abhorring almost every statement made by Donald Trump, I find there may be something worthwhile in his latest proposal with regards to the vetting of those non-Americans entering the US. Asking that those coming in agree with and share the American values of freedom or religion, sexual orientation, respect for women and so on seems to me to be eminently fair and could well be applied here in Europe also. It would of course have to apply to all coming in.

Although the logistics may prove insurmountable with the numbers involved and some form of fast lie detection would be necessary it would root out those whose values differ entirely from those of the host country and whose presence would not be welcome and may even be dangerous.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

An interesting article by Nicholas Kristof ( Scotsman 16 August), on the US presidential election. I have no argument with his comments, but feel that no-one is asking the pertinent question, ie, why are so many angry and disillusioned with the main US parties?

The answer is probably the same as here, ie globalisation is part of it, and the failure of the political and financial elite to even recognise what is going on their country. I suspect that many of Trump’s potential voters know that he is not to be trusted, yet if he is doing well, then things are very wrong!

William Ballantine

Dean Road, Bo’ness

Raison d’etre

Your editorial (Sturgeon’s “neverendum” stance hitting business, 15 August) is right in its analysis, and it only takes a proportion of businesses to hestitate in making their investments before the economy as a whole starts to be affected.

But there are two important points that we have to bear in mind here if we expect anything to change soon. Firstly, independence is the whole rationale of the SNP. It is virtually the only objective they have in their constitution.

The SNP have to campaign for independence because it would be against their constitution not to. They are duty bound to do it. We will have this “neverendum” for as long as people keep voting for them.

Secondly, if we continue to feed their narrative, then this issue will always be in the forefront of people’s minds. The narrative needs to be moved on to health and education and the things that people care more about.

Newspapers can play a role in this in choosing more carefully what they believe a more accurate narrative about life in Scotland should be. This may not of course reflect the number and content of press releases being received.

Perhaps if we put a moratorium on independence related stories for a period of time, we would discover a whole new world out there, and feel the better for it. Like any fixation that is over-indulged, independence coverage becomes progressively less satisfying and more pointless, and is ultimately self harming and eventually terminal. We need to get over our self indulgent bad habits in Scotland, and this is certainly one of the worst we have got.

Victor Clements

Taybridge Terrace, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Bully boys

Here again we see the “dark” side of SNP in their vitriolic “Cybernat” attacks on RBS chief executive Ross McEwan. And his crime in attracting this abuse? To dare suggest, as any astute business man would, that if Scotland becomes independent he will need to relocate RBS headquarters to ensure the bank stays competitive in a global market.

To anyone with a modicum of business sense this seems reasonable and prudent but not to this financially and fiscally illiterate bunch of abusive Cybernats. They who see it as a traitorous betrayal of Scotland – such is their entrenched bitter nationalistic mind set.

Tellingly this is only a foretaste of what’s to come if we’re subjected to an Indy Ref 2. With higher stakes to play for, in that majority of Scots are still against independence, you can be sure their bullying tactics will reach a new vicious level. Meanwhile despite going on record condemning this internet bulling, only a deafening silence from Nicola Sturgeon. But then she has more important things on her mind as she scurries around the EU begging favours from second and third rate politicians in support of her independence agenda.

Derek Drever

Campbell Drive, Troon, Ayrshire

Pact points

It appears some in the Labour Party in the rest of the UK have been taken in by the superficial progressive credentials of the SNP, as they casually talk of possible coalition with them to secure power for Labour at Westminster one day.

Kezia Dugdale rightly rejects ever doing such a deal with the SNP, because she has learned what really drives the SNP’s ambitions (Dugdale says “no thanks” to any prospect of Westminster SNP pact’, 16 August). For all their left leaning rhetoric, the SNP’s underlying Nationalist ambitions will always determine how they act, and anyone foolish enough to try to work in a formal partnership with them would soon pay the price.

Keith Howell

West Linton, Peeblesshire


I read with interest that there were two skull that antiquarians thought were Lord Darnley’s bones.

Perhaps it was similar to the skull of St Patrick that was on display in Ireland. Someone pointed out that there was another skull attributed to the saint displayed elsewhere to which the guide responded “that will be his skull when he was a lot younger”.

Perhaps the same might be said about Lord Darnley’s head?

Ron Oliver,