Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Shameful response to Spanish situation

People with the estelada, or independence flags, shout slogans on top of parked tractors during a protest by farmers in Barcelona.
People with the estelada, or independence flags, shout slogans on top of parked tractors during a protest by farmers in Barcelona.

Sir, – One cannot fail to have been moved by the scenes of violence in Catalonia, as Spanish forces attacked unarmed voters.

Whatever the view on Catalonia’s right to hold such a vote or not, the response by the Spanish national government was brutal and excessive, leading to 844 people being injured.

The sight of people being dragged from polling stations by baton-wielding police and the disabled being attacked in wheelchairs has no place in a modern western democracy.

One cannot praise highly enough the calmness, humanity and bravery of the Catalan people when faced with such appalling acts of violence.

What is deeply disappointing is the muted response from the international community, which bar a few exceptions such as Angela Merkel, the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Nicola Sturgeon, has been largely silent.

While the European Union may argue that this is a domestic situation, in the past it has been willing to act in such matters.

In 2000, for example, it imposed diplomatic sanctions on Austria when Joerg Haider’s extreme right wing Austrian Freedom Party entered the Government.

The Tory Government is so morally bankrupt that little more was to be expected than the pathetic response from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when it referred to Spain as a “close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to us”.

Alex Orr.
77 Leamington Terrace,


Stop indulging nationalists

Sir, – The contrasts between the Catalan and Iraqi Kurdish independence referenda are unsettling.

Catalonia is divided with as many people opposed to its separation from Spain as in support of it.

Although Catalan as a language is distinct from Castilian Spanish, there is no great cultural or ethnic divide.

Legally, if harshly, the Spanish Government sought to disrupt and undermine the vote at every turn.

‘No’ voters largely stayed at home.

And yet the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont claims a mandate to unilaterally declare independence.

By contrast, support for independence among Iraqi Kurds is rock solid, as it would be among the Kurds of Turkey, Syria and Iran, if they were ever to be asked.

Also, there are deep ethnic and linguistic differences between the Kurds and their Arab and Turkish neighbours.

So the Catalan nationalists on limited support and an illegitimate referendum are throwing Spain and the EU into crisis and may soon achieve independence, while the Kurds, the victims of repeated genocidal injustice, will just have to wait.

It is time we stopped indulging Catalan, Scottish and other micro-nationalisms unsupported by any substantial ethnic difference, where demagogic politicians seek to split successful countries for personal glory and self- advancement.

Otto Inglis.6 Inveralmond Grove,Edinburgh.


Propaganda at highest level

Sir, – Andrew Marr’s introduction to his show on Sunday morning (October 1) was appalling.

He insisted that nothing else but Unionist politics dominate his show, ignoring what else was going on around the globe, more especially the Catalan independence issue where violence has broken out under a Spanish regime by punishing those who wish an unfettered independent state.

This was surely BBC propaganda at its highest level.

Marr allowed the Tories and their allies down south who are holding their conference, to take the highlights.

One begs to question, would this happen here if Scots held similar referenda peacefully?

Who would be the Unionist politicians to give the word to overcome the political will of the Scottish people and use similar force to control and attempt to put laws in place to restrict the freedom of Scottish independence wishes as is happening in Catalonia?

Would it be Boris? Theresa? Jeremy?

The restrictions in Spain against Catalan wishes are nothing short of a democracy turning back into a dictatorship.

Many unionists will agree with the Spanish Government, but will not openly admit it.

After all, many of those unionists are the ones who will have more to lose than those who wish for self determination.

Democracy in Scotland, and others that are part of the Westminster realm who voted to stay in Europe, saw the last vestiges of this so called Union of equals diminished by the lies told by those that caused the referendum on Europe, because of a Tory Unionist party that was running scared of an extreme right wing UKIP party that proved to have no substance.

We now have in charge an English dictatorship with some Scottish influence, in the shape of some extra Scottish MPs, that do not have a clue as to how to run the country.

The Unionist media is run in most cases by billionaires who run the day to day business of the country through their own propaganda machine.

Unfortunately the beeb has been run by ex-politicians with influence.

Now is the time to stop its public income.

Bob Harper.
63a Pittenweem Road,


Democratic deficit danger

Sir, – Just after Brexit I wrote a letter to these pages suggesting the major threat to the European Union was the existing system allowing the ‘member states’ to control the EU.

These old ‘imperial states’ as I termed them were blocking the democratic expression of Europe.

Whenever power is centralised those wielding it will not give it up lightly.

These so called nation states are not, as one might imagine, some ancient European institutions rather more recently cobbled together anachronisms.

There are examples such as Germany (1870) , Italy (1870), Britain (1707), Spain (1936)…and so the list goes on.

Catalonia (and to some extent Scotland) have shone a light on the need for the European parliament to directly elect the executive branch of government and thus democratise the whole EU. This was the aspiration of I think it was Willy Brandt in the early days of the EU.

It would solve the democratic deficit.

However, Catalonia will come to be seen as a test case for reform versus reaction.

Scot MacKenzie.
20 D Abbotsford Street,


Faslane an unlikely target

Sir, – It is too simplistic to argue that Faslane would automatically be a target in the event of a nuclear war as was recently suggested (Letters, September 30).

The aim of a first strike is to eliminate the potential for retaliation.

What a lot of people forget is that the point of our deterrent nuclear submarines is that at least one is out on patrol, hidden, at any one time.

So striking Faslane would achieve very little militarily, as our ability to respond is not diminished.

It is true that the submarine would no longer have a home base, but it will have survived to do its planned job.

Whether it does so or not is a political question, but ‘wasting’ a weapon destroying Faslane by a state with limited resources is not a good strategy.

In fact, a far better military target in such circumstances would be a major city, or industrial complex.

What we must do is encourage diplomatic negotiation and compromises to prevent the nightmare scenario from happening.

However, if one side thinks it has nothing to lose – or simply doesn’t care – then no amount of negotiation will succeed.

Such a state will not care if their intended victims have a deterrent or not.

Nick Cole.


There is only one hope

Sir, – Sadly, the UK seems all too like a rocket fired into space, which has lost track of its destination.

Nor can it return to home base.

There is no Neil Armstrong, or even Captain Kirk, to take control and indeed the crew seem to spend their time squabbling over who should take charge.

Is there any hope?

Well, from where I’m observing, only if the Scottish section can break free and salvage something from the voyage to nowhere.

Joseph G Miller.
44 Gardeners Street,