The Tories’ muscular unionism appeals to sordid self-glorification, anti-refugee prejudice, and the sort of nationalism that exalts the British Empire.
Hugh Trevor-Roper said in 1963 that there was no "history" in Africa, only the history of Europeans in Africa. He had the same view of the Pre-Colombian Americas. This sums up the unionist view of Scottish history before the Union.
The current Tory Westminster government is an enthusiastic and bloodthirsty supporter of Empire. It will look at the setting up of Northern Ireland 100 years ago as the blueprint for trying to thwart the break-up of the UK,
This statelet was based upon maintaining a British imperialist presence on the island of Ireland. Tensions were deliberately stoked. Election boundaries were rigged in favour of unionists; housing and employment were also ripe with discrimination in favour of Ulster Protestantism.
Boris Johnson offers an English nationalism that is brutal, illogical, encourages xenophobia, celebrates ignorance and is contemptuous of evidence-based science. This is what maintenance of unionist rule in Scotland means.
The Tories are looking to use anti-democratic means in order to hold on to their power in Scotland.
Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee
Martyn Mclaughlin (“Royal charm offensive”, Scotsman, 9 June) repeats the myth that the Queen has fiercely resisted the politicisation of the monarchy.
In his book The SNP – The Turbulent Years, the former party leader Gordon Wilson recounted that in 1977, when the Scottish Devolution Bill was going through the House of Commons and the British establishment was terrified of losing Scotland’s massive oil wealth, the Queen specifically attacked self-government in her Silver Jubilee address to Parliament.
On the Sunday before the 2014 referendum, the Queen intervened by making her remarks on “thinking very carefully about the future” to a mysterious well-wisher who refused to divulge her name and has never been traced. Many observers think this was an organised encounter.
In 1973, the Queen successfully lobbied the government to change a draft law in order to conceal her “embarrassing” private wealth from the public, yet in 2019 the Queen appealed against the modest business rateable valuation on shooting estates at Balmoral.
As Boris Johnson lied to the Queen and illegally prorogued Parliament, the royals would be well advised to keep out of Scottish politics despite the encouragement from 10 Downing Street.
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh
The fear index
It is great to note the performance of Scotland in getting an increase in inward investment and performing comparatively better than the rest of the UK as enumerated by Alex Orr (Letters, 9 June).
There can be conflicting views on whether this development actually is "putting paid to the myth that independence with frighten off investors”. Maybe the investors calculate that a second independence referendum will not happen, or they can move out if it does happen in a distant future, if the outcome is a hard border between Scotland and England as Scotland follows different paths on immigration and regulation to align with the EU.
Scotland has a developing information technology industry supporting finance companies (fintech) and the danger is that if barriers are created they will simply just move south of Hadrian’s Wall. It is unlikely the companies are moving in because they think independence is imminent.
Mr Orr could also have included in his letter that the inward investments are putting paid to the myth that Brexit will frighten off investors.
John Peter, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire
It is with some incredulity that I see media headlines and government Covid briefings that are at total odds with my training as a mortality statistician.
Currently we have cases that are about 1/10th and deaths (tragic as each one is) about 1/100th of those in January when Covid was at its peak and there were very few people vaccinated.
The statistics should lead us to actively celebrate the effectiveness of the vaccines, particularly on mortality rates and serious hospitalisations, but, instead, we are being constantly reminded to be ultra cautious, banned from sunning our vaccinated bodies in countries with very small infection rates, fear the new variants (with no evidence that the vaccines won’t protect us to a level that was more than acceptable pre-Covid) and ready ourselves for a further, possibly long, delay in the easing of restrictions.
None of these make sense to me in the current environment. Not only are we failing to maximise our appeal and advantage over the EU and other countries with much lower vaccination rates, we are continuing to curtail the travel, entertainment, hospitality and food and drink industries, which bring so much pleasure to our daily lives and without whom the country would be a miserable place.
The evidence shows that Covid is no longer a threat compared with other diseases and that we should at last be given the freedom to live our lives in the way we want to, until, at the very least, there is tangible (and independently verified) evidence that the disease will cause harm to our highly immune country.
Andy Scott, South Queensferry, Edinburgh
Well, well, who would have thought it – Nigel Farage thinks that the booing at football players for taking the knee shows that the public recognise this gesture as being part of a “Marxist plot” to bring down “our whole way of life”.
He refutes the idea that this symbolic gesture is about racial injustice, insisting that soccer fans have “wakened up” to this dastardly plot by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement to bring about a new Communist order.
It would be easy to dismiss his views as the ramblings of an idiot desperate for publicity, but his video on Twitter in which he expressed his views received 3,448 ‘Likes’.
Thankfully, he also received a lot of criticism from people who recognise the gesture as a means of showing solidarity with black people by taking a principled stand against racism.
Carolyn Taylor, Broughty Ferry, Dundee
The Scottish Government is in a no-win situation as whatever it does on Covid it will be attacked and undermined by political opponents.
A classic example of this is over the European football championship arrangements. The fan zone in Glasgow Green is being held in a massive area capable of holding 80,000 people and merely allowing a maximum of 3,000 all-seated socially distanced football fans at any one time with only table service allowed.
There is vast difference between this and indoor activities or those held in limited outdoor spaces such as beer gardens, soft play areas or children’s’ nurseries.
In stark contrast to the febrile debate in Scotland, the much smaller Trafalgar Square fan zone in London is allowing up to 9,500 fans to watch games without any lateral flow testing, but opposition politicians and the BBC are not questioning the plans put in place in London.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh
Is it any wonder that the SNP/Scottish Government would relax their supposedly strict guidelines in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic to accommodate the Euro 2020 fan zones in Glasgow?
They, of course, want to wrap themselves in the Scottish flag because they think that is popular. Forget opening up soft play areas and letting British-based cruise ships to dock in Scotland.
The SNP/Scottish Government are once again playing to the crowd, and once again some of the crowd, are sadly, being duped.
John Smith, Falkirk
Who would have ever thought that in mid-June we would be already thinking that perhaps previous nationalist Health and Education secretaries were not so bad after all?
But Shirley-Anne Somerville in the short time she has been running Education has already been accused of misleading Holyrood. And the two-mile long queue for vaccinations at one Edinburgh venue and the OK being given for mass gatherings of boozing football fans in Glasgow Green may have had some already wishing for the wonderful era of Jeanne Freeman and the ubiquitous Humza Yousaf.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Rhodes must stay
Let's be clear about this: Cecil Rhodes was by all measures as wicked as American's Robber Barons. That he united the Bantus and the Boers in hatred of him says it all.
But this entire episode at Oriel College about the removal of his statute has been beyond absurd, and this historical vetting on grounds of political correctness bears all the sinister hallmarks of the cultural cleansing by the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s.
Rhodes must stay, to remind future generations that the glories of Oxford University – like too many of life's privileges – came at a price, and the task of future academics and students is to build a better world, learning from the mistakes of the past.
Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire
Write to The Scotsman
We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid Letters to the Editor in your subject line.
A message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.