JOHN Major is reported to be very angry at the deceit of the Leave campaign in the EU referendum debate. It is heartening to know that I am not alone in being alarmed by the way in which the EU referendum debate has been hijacked by xenophobic Little Englanders and Establishment figures happy to exploit their prejudices as a weapon in the Tory civil war.
Brexit seems to have attracted people who live in a fantasy world built on dreams of the good old days of Rule Britannia, Land Of Hope And Glory, Empire On Which The Sun Never Sets and Splendid Isolation.
People who presumably don’t understand concepts such as culture, peace and cooperation. People who would find no intellectual inspiration in diversity, freedom of movement and expanded horizons. People who seem unaware of the expansionist machinations of a certain Mr Putin. People who demand certain knowledge of an unpredictable future which no honest economist or politician can provide.
The EU is not a perfect institution but was founded in the name of peace and cooperation by optimistic statesmen determined to end centuries of nationalistic strife. For over 60 years their efforts have succeeded. Unfortunately, recent EU leaders have gone too far down the federal, centralist road. But, to misquote Lyndon Johnson, better to be inside the tent… Better Together? Rather with the nations of Europe than with the whining denizens of South Britain.
Causewayend Crescent, Aberchirder
Brexit campaigner Michael Gove, responding to criticism over his claim that EU membership costs the UK £350 million a week, has admitted that some of the money is returned, but insisted “we don’t have control of that money”.
It is fortunate for us Scots that that is the case.
If the decision was left to the Conservative government, either the money would be kept back by the Treasury to reduce the budget deficit, at a cost of lots of jobs in the process, or it would be spent where the Tories could secure most votes, in London and the South of England.
As a result of being part of the EU, over the next five years Scotland will receive £720m from the European Regional Development and Social funds. One of the aims of the EU is to benefit less advantaged areas and it has done this very well. Many parts of Scotland have seen considerable investment over the years. As a force for redistribution, the EU is one of the best, and in Scotland we would be foolish to vote this away.
Alnwickhill Park, Edinburgh
Peter Dickinson tells Alex Salmond that if we stay in the EU we will be Europeans, not Scots (Letters, June 6). We are, of course, both, as Mr Salmond is well aware. Even when we travel to the far corners of the world to live and work, we are still, indisputably, Scots.
Scots have for centuries been among the most migration-prone of all European peoples. We have sought our fortunes in Europe for the most part, as well as spreading further afield. Thousands of us became fully integrated settlers in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Russia from the 14th century onwards.
Just ask the 761,000 Britons in Spain why they’ve chosen to live there – but ask them in English, because there’s a limit to the extent of their integration.
All those Scots who declared “Je suis Charlie Hebdo” after that infamous slaughter in Paris were keen to show their solidarity with the French people. That strong sense of identification was forged by mutual understanding of the threat posed to our shared values and way of life by those who don’t negotiate, don’t cooperate, don’t tolerate difference, and for whom the concept of allowing people to choose their political destinies is anathema.
We should not sleepwalk towards the forthcoming referendum. People need to ask themselves whether ceding some sovereignty in return for mutual benefits like guaranteed access to European markets and protection against grave security threats from Isil and other potential enemies, justifies dragging us out of the EU.
Gagiebank, Broughty Ferry, Dundee
As the European Referendum fast approaches, I can garner little enthusiasm to vote either way.
The In campaign offers little more than patronising scare tactics whilst the Out campaign disappointingly fails to promise a return to pound, inch and gallon Imperial measures or pound, shilling and penny £sd currency.
I feel that my ballot paper may well end up being spoiled.
John Eoin Douglas
Spey Terrace, Edinburgh
The EU referendum is proving one thing, that working class people in this country have no-one to represent them. The most important subject of the In-Out debate that should concerns them is legal and illegal immigration into our country, as they will be the ones who will suffer. People with a good education will most likely find a job. Anyone with a business is almost sure to vote to stay in, as they know there will always be a plentiful supply of cheap labour.
As for the Remain supporters’ point that it will make the country richer – but at what price? It leaves people feeling like strangers in their own country? The politicians who are supposed to be representing working class people, the unions and the Labour Party, are more interested in looking after themselves as they believe immigrants will vote for them in the future, thereby ensuring them employment!
David Henderson Court, Dunfermlne Fife
I am delighted that Tory splits risk bringing them all into disrepute. As a united party, Tory propaganda has dominated politics.
The claim that Labour over-spending and soft touch regulation caused the recession after 2008 has made the Tory press seem like the only choice for the intelligentsia. The fact that all parties took the same line on spending and on a free market approach to running a modern economy has been overlooked. At the last election much was made of the businessmen who wrote in to support Osborne but nothing was made of the economists who wrote in criticising him – not even by the Beeb. Most economists now take the view that the free market has been a failure. The principle of shareholder value maximisation has led to short-termism, lowering of wages, less investment and managers in thrall to the profit principle. The Labour Party is keenly studying this scholarship-so one can hope that Labour can escape from the paradigm of our dying free market era. Jeremy Corbyn is old enough to be gone by the next election, so I remain hopeful that Labour (as it did after the Second World War and with much worse debt) can usher in real change.
Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh
Recently I experienced yet another disruption to a Scotrail service at Dundee when a late-running train was directed to bypass stopping stations to save time. Many commuter passengers at the station who were keen to return home after work were informed via the speaker system that the late-running train would not now call at intermediate stations en route to Aberdeen. No buses were laid on and passengers were told to make their own way home.
This is a shameful, contemptible way to treat regular passengers by a franchise that promised it would improve customer service on winning the rail contract. The ludicrous introduction of compensation for passengers for any service running late for 30 minutes or more has seen an influx of cancelled stops on scheduled routes to avoid the need to make numerous compensation payments. This is at the expense of other passengers, who are treated as an irrelevance.
It can be quite distressing to be informed, while waiting on the platform, that a service you have purchased a ticket for in good faith has been cancelled due to the late running of a train. Either ScotRail should drop the compensation system or arrange for backup trains to be held at all the major stations, as was the practice with the former British Rail. The alternative, if it did not infringe EU rules, would be to return the railways to public ownership.
Terrace Road, Carnoustie
Fore and against?
As someone who was brought up within a stone’s throw of Muirfield, I am interested in the controversy around membership of the club.
It seems to me that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cannot be right on both counts. Either the members have a right to organise the rules of membership as they please or the decision is indefensible. Both positions cannot be correct.
W Logan Kirk, Dumfries
Dear, oh dear! First, we had Muirfield being put under the spotlight for not allowing women to join.
Now, Glasgow has staged a Women’s 10k race. No men.
How strange that there seem to be no expressions of disapproval!
A case of one law for one lot and another for another?
Surely, not total hypocrisy? Perish the thought.
Andrew HN Gray
Craiglea Drive , Edinburgh
A male writes…
I hope that girls continue to ignore special exhortations to study STEM subjects and instead just follow courses that reflect their own interests, whatever they are. No-one should feel pressurised to sacrifice their own academic fulfilment just to fulfil the vision of feminists.
Instead of trying to influence younger girls, feminist campaigners could recommend all young women currently~studying Gender or Women’s Studies transfer to Computer Engineering or Metallurgy instead.
That would be a step towards closing the “gender pay gap”, and martyrdom always inspires emulation.
Males and females tend to have different interests and priorities. The general inclination of girls towards the personal rather than the mechanical has been measured on the first day of life, so claims that it is all the product of sinister social conditioning are triumphs of dogma over fact.
Feminists glorify characteristics more common in males and urge women to emulate them, while claiming to be fighting on behalf of women.
I regard men and women as complementary, combining to fulfil the needs of family, economy and society.
Broomyknowe, Colinton, Edinburgh