Readers' Letters: Alba’s election film is racist towards English

The statue of Robert The Bruce at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn is pictured in Stirling, central Scotland on August 7, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)The statue of Robert The Bruce at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn is pictured in Stirling, central Scotland on August 7, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The statue of Robert The Bruce at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn is pictured in Stirling, central Scotland on August 7, 2019. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Alex Salmond's new party is a clear example of the depths to which Scottish nationalists will sink. As the former leader of the SNP, Mr Salmond confirms what a number of observers have said about the extremism that nationalists represent.

In an Alba Party video, a character claiming to be Robert the Bruce talks about "English oppressors", which is both racist and utterly untrue. It refers to "English superiority" being defeated by "the sma' folk of Scotland . This is cringeworthy. No wonder narrator Angus Macfadyen, as The Bruce, can be heard stifling his laughter at the absurdities he had to read for his party's propaganda film.

What is disturbing, however, is that the SNP was led by Salmond for years and that party is just as coloured by his perceptions of our fellow Britons in England. The only reason that he can put forth this utter tripe – and I can voice my opposition to it – is because, contrary to his party's message, both he and I; all Scots, in fact, live in a free nation right now called the United Kingdom.

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No wonder David Paisley, who has also played Robert the Bruce, commented: "I know Alba are seen as regressive, but I wasn’t expecting to be dragged back to the 1300s".

Peter Hopkins, Morningside Road, Edinburgh

Border now

As from Friday I can make a 750-mile round trip from Langholm to the north coast of Scotland but am still forbidden from making a 20-mile round trip to visit friends just over the Border in England! Where is the logic in that? As usual, when formulating these arbitrary rules, politicians from the Central Belt have no understanding or consideration for those living close to the Border. We may speak with a different accent from Cumbrians but Carlisle is our nearest major shopping centre and England is not a foreign country!

John Elliot, Whitaside, Langholm

Votes are the goal

At the present time we are restricted in numbers from meeting up with friends and families. Funerals and weddings are also greatly restricted. Yet the Scottish Government has decided to allow 12,000 football supporters to attend two matches at Hamden Park in June. This decision lacks common sense and sadly will in all probability cost lives. What on earth is going on I ask you? They wouldn’t be seeking votes, would they? Perish the thought!

Robert Finlay, Greenmount Drive, Burntisland

No VAT veto

Those like Leah Gunn-Barrett (Letters, 13 April) who fantasise about a Nordic paradise in an independent Scotland never acknowledge that VAT in Denmark is 25 per cent on everything. in Norway it is 25 per cent standard with a reduction for food, at 11 per cent. The average Dane pays around 45 per cent income tax. Here in the UK, thanks to Margaret Thatche, we enjoy 0 per cent VAT on food, pharmaceuticals, children’s clothes and books. We were the only EU nation to have these beneficial rates and it was a situation which the EU hated but, because of the UK veto, couldn’t alter. There is no chance of an independent Scotland being granted VAT rates more advantageous than the EU standards . In the EU VAT must be charged at a minimum of 15 per cent, with up to two items being allowed to have a reduced rate of minimum 5 per cent. However why let the facts spoil a dream?

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian

Time for detail

So, I’m reading from Finance Secretary Kate Forbes (Perspective, 13 April) just how well-off we are as the world’s 14th wealthiest nation on a GDP per capita basis and how a release from “borrowing power (currently) restricted” alongside “ambitious policies to transform Scotland’s economy” will set us on the road to an independent Nirvana, or at least an Irish version of it.

Ms Forbes reads selectively from the recent Hunter/Oxford Economics report, skipping the challenge of the scale of productivity growth needed to fuel the “transformation”. She is obstinately blind to the financial dynamics of a debt-overloaded independent Scotland with a fledgling currency, little by way of currency reserves and dependent on overseas capital inflows to balance the books.

“Wealthy” we might be, as a (debatable) starting point, but it is a straightforward delusion to believe that the only way is up when “independence” dawns. But Ms Forbes just peddles out the same old mantras of “levers of power” and “bountiful resources and talent”, while Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond call for “one more push” to “get over the line”’, reminiscent, really, of the ruinous damage wrought by the British Army’s Great War generals in France.

It hurts me to hear the SNP repeatedly avoid the detail of what a declaration of independence at this time in our history truly stands to cost each of us. It hurts me to see how we, the punters, are being sacrificed to the Nats’ blind ambition. Oh, and Ireland’s unique EU success rests heavily on having gamed Brussels over the provision of aggressive tax breaks for global multi-nationals. The EU won’t get fooled like that again.

Ken Robertson, Blackford Bank, Edinburgh

Poor promises

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Kate Forbes claims Scotland’s Gross National Income per capita puts us in the ranks of the richest countries in the world. This may well be so, but in 14 years of power the SNP appear to have made no progress in closing the gap between rich and poor. One in 4 children are living in poverty, food bank use has risen 80 per cent in five years, the education attainment gap has widened and the “healthy life expectancy at birth” of Glasgow men is just 54.6 years, against a national average of 61.7 years.

They have no plan to alleviate the plight of the poorest among us, only short term election bribes.

Jim Quinn, Howacre, Lanark

Identity crisis

Much has been made of Finance Minister Kate Forbes lack of economic credentials, now it seems she might need some priming on history as well. Ms Forbes may not know it but after independence, Ireland had a vicious civil war which divided the country for a generation.

For over 50 years Ireland was virtually a one-party state being ruled alternately by two factions of the original pro-independence party. It was a priest-ridden backwater and an economic basket case whose biggest export was its promising young adults, who left in droves. Ireland only gained a modicum of prosperity in the EU by setting up as a tax bolthole for multi-nationals who left when the going got tough. Even now, as revealed by a Cambridge University study, the South is 20 per cent less prosperous than the North.

If our SNP masters wish to see a real example of where their politics of identity leads, they should look at the recent events in Belfast. It's not a pretty picture but it is the real lesson we should be drawing away from the direction that the SNP and its various offshoots are driving our country.

Ms Forbes may view copying Ireland, North or South, as a suitable vision for the future of Scotland. Others will see it for the nightmare it is.

Alex Gallagher, Labour Councillor, Ward 8, North Ayrshire Council

Labour is limp

Henry McLeish (Perspective, 12 April) is right when he advises Labour drop its opposition to another democratic independence referendum and apologise to Hollie Cameron after she was removed as a Holyrood candidate following her supportive comments on a second referendum. Labour has failed to speak out on Westminster’s power grab of our Scottish Parliament’s devolved issues and there are growing complaints about Sir Keir Starmer’s focus group-influenced performance which has left him well behind in the latest UK opinion polls.

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Labour continues to support wasting more money on nuclear weapons and backed Boris Johnson’s disastrous EU trade deal which has destroyed Scottish exports yet they have given up on getting European free trade and freedom of movement restored. Their incompetence continues when they fail to name their candidates in Scottish Labour’s official Holyrood election address communications, which, being printed in England, do nothing for a Scottish jobs recovery.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Taken in by SNP

Am I missing something? It's Tuesday in the run-up to the Scottish election and Nicola Sturgeon pops up again to make an announcement in another free “briefing” that has (of course!) been all over the media. When did politicians just get on the box whenever they feel like it? This is a complete outrage. The less critical elements in the Scottish population, the ones who are being given the handouts by the SNP, ooh and aah at the "generosity" of the people.

That money – in the billions, mind – has been disbursed by the Government at Westminster from our collective taxes. It was not given to be handed out like sweeties. How can we expect to have a real election with 21st-century gerrymandering taking place under our noses?

Dave Anderson, Broomhill Road, Aberdeen

Short on ideas

I never thought I would ever praise the SNP for their honesty but, only one week after the Oxford Economics report suggesting that Scotland’s economy needs a boost equal to the entire global output of Google, we have an admission that the present Scottish Government haven’t a clue. In launching the National Challenge Competition, with rewards of up to £50 million for good ideas, it seems they need others to come up with ideas.

And I thought they were sitting on all the levers for a miraculous economic recovery, if ever allowed to use them.

Ken Currie, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

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