That Nicola Sturgeon chose 18 September, the anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum, for yet another speech designed to rally her troops and up the ante on a second referendum comes as little surprise.
Ms Sturgeon appears chipper. Yet of the 25 opinion polls over the past year, 17 suggest another No vote. Few Scottish voters have changed their minds. And further, Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist politics resonate strongly across Scotland and nibble away at the First Minister’s power base.
So the SNP falls back on its favourite game of “them and us” with Westminster, relentlessly trying to convince a majority to back separation. Though the UK government is to table a series of Scotland Bill amendments, the SNP predictably will insist it’s not enough.
The worst possible outcome for Ms Sturgeon is for Scots to be satisfied by the devolved powers in the Scotland Bill and lose any appetite for breaking away from the UK.
The SNP wish to have a re-run of the referendum on Scottish independence, presumably based on the idea that if you keep on asking the same question often enought you will eventually get the answer you want.
In the meanwhile isn’t it time for the English to get a vote on independence: independence from the surly subsidy-junkies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
Sutton Coldfield,West Midlands
We were lied to. It was never an independence referendum, it is an independence process. As the man said, It isn’t over till it’s over.
England and Wales need to progress towards their own future. England and Wales need to announce they are withdrawing from the UK on 31 December 2018 and expect to receive Scotland’s proposals regarding any subsequent relationship before that date.
Cameron just needs the bottle to face reality and to move forward.
Syrian draft-evaders seek refuge in Europe
Your photograph of refugees on the railway tracks at Tovarnik (“Refugee flashpoint shifts to Croatia”, 18 September) and the article in which these people say they do not want to be conscripted into the army illustrates one rather important point: that about 95 percent of the refugees are male. They have left all their female relations in Syria at the mercy of the combatants.
It might be wiser to prioritise refuge to family units and those young men who can show that they have a female dependant.
In the pressing search for accommodation for our new arrivals from Syria, a good place to start might be the vast unoccupied parts of Kensington and Knightsbridge in London owned by wealthy absentee Saudis and Qataris.
Muslims are obliged by their faith to donate part of their wealth to the poor; surely they would be only too happy to extend this largesse to fellow-Muslims in such dire need?
A Liberal keeps his powder dry
Shortly after graduating I decided that as a responsible citizen I should take an interest in politics and join a party. I examined what was on offer, found my ideas were best reflected in the Liberal Party, and joined it (notwithstanding it having only five MPs). I have been an active member ever since.
I’ve long ago lost count of the times I’ve been invited by the Tories to put politics to one side (my politics, of course, not theirs) and rally behind them in the national interest to defeat Labour, or by Labour to put my principles to one side and rally behind them to defeat the Tories. I have been regularly patronised as wasting my time, ploughing a lonely furrow, refusing to join the real world, urged to “wake up and smell the coffee” and now “wake up and embrace the new politics”.
Derek Brundish (letter, 12 September) is the latest in a long and undistinguished line of zealots who insult members of other parties yet in the next breath demand that they join him. Why should I, a Liberal, join his socialist party? Agree to work together where specific aims are shared, of course. But then I can equally work with a Conservative where objectives are shared. In neither case am I going to swallow my principles and join their party.
What is deliciously ironic about Mr Brundish’s disdainful dismissal of the Lib Dems (“earnestly disagreeing amongst themselves”) is that his own party, Labour, is riven by such volcanic internal disagreements that half the former Shadow Cabinet have resigned because of the new Leader’s political views.
I foresee structural realignments developing when the present Labour Party implodes. Having stuck to my Liberal principles for 50 years, through thick and thin and through worse times than the present, I shall watch, wait and keep my powder dry.
Taxpayers pick up the Comet bill
I read with growing incredulity your report concerning the insolvency of Comet (“Former owners of Comet face no further government action”, 15 September)
The company having gone bust following an asset-stripping exercise by its ultimate owners, it appears that the taxpayer has been left with a bill of about £70m in respect of redundancy payments and VAT owed, whilst the owners netted £114m following the insolvency. In addition some 7,000 formerly “striving” workers lost their jobs. Now it appears that we taxpayers are not even entitled to learn the contents of the report into this matter by the Insolvency Service. Why, since we are picking up the bill?
If you assumed, like me, that the Government would be taking prompt action to legislate, to ensure that this type of thing will not happen again, it appears that you would be wrong. It seems that the Government has more demanding matters on its legislative agenda, like ensuring that strike pickets wear armbands and give their names and addresses to the police.
Please try your best to help us in dealing with all this nonsense, Mr Corbyn, and do not be deflected by the pygmies within your own party, and the predictable siren blasts of the Tory press.
There’s only one Oxfam
Henrietta Cubitt mistakenly suggests there are “now two Oxfam groups, one a registered charity, and one a campaigning organisation” (Letters, 15 September). Oxfam GB is a single charitable organisation which runs programmes around the world to help people escape poverty and engages in campaigning work in furtherance of its charitable objects.
Our campaigning, like that of the many other charities which carry out such activities, is regulated by the Charity Commission.
Deputy chief executive Oxfam GB, Oxford
The glorification of killing with guns
Many readers will be saddened, but not surprised, by the recent report on gun control (“Britain’ faces gun control crisis”, 15 September). Yet the gun lobby, via pro-shooting magazines, makes the idea of owning a firearm desirable, by the glorification of killing animals and by portraying this activity as normal and healthy.
Animal Aid has long argued that such publications should be moved to the top shelf of newsagents and other outlets, out of the sight of children, placing them in the same category as pornography and cigarettes. Equally, given the taste for hobby killing among a large proportion of those who possess or who are seeking a firearm or shotgun certificate, it is essential that thorough police and medical investigations are carried out.
Hard-won right not to sing the Anthem
I am horrified that Jeremy Corbyn would be forced to sing the National Anthem. The veterans of the Second World War fought for his right not to do so. He showed them the ultimate respect by standing by his principles while allowing others to show their respect in a different way.
I can still remember when the National Anthem was played in cinemas throughout the country at the end of every evening performance. Some cinemagoers stood rigidly to attention, while others rushed for the exit as soon as the final credits went up on the screen.
I am not sure when this bizarre ritual was discontinued but I recall it was akin to being a citizen in George Orwell’s 1984.
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