Mason’s principle

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I cannot understand why there is such faux pas outrage against John Mason’s personal refusal to buy euros in Barrhead Travel.

Bill Munro, the owner, had involved his company in the Scottish referendum, sending his staff a barely disguised threatening e-mail warning them that Scotland leaving the UK would be a “complete disaster” for the travel industry.

He sought to use his influence on his workers to attack and undermine a cause that John Mason not only believes in, but was elected to pursue.

Far from being “crass”, as Tom Peterkin writes (Scotsman August 4), Mason’s boycott is an intelligent and principled response. There are newspapers I will not buy, and companies I will not support because of their funding or support of causes I profoundly disagree with.

David A Robertson

Shamrock Street, Dundee

Here we have once again one our SNP “political elite” making a spectacle of themselves on social media this time John Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston.

Unbelievably he tweets that’s in selecting his holiday he “boycotted Barrhead Travel as they are on the No side”; implying he wants nothing to do with No Scots. A remarkable stance when you have some 55 per cent majority Scots voting No.

You really have to question the competence of an MSP who can make such an inane remark as, even in jest, it resonates with bitter diehard ScotNats supporters who will take his advice .

Bear in mind the company he is “boycotting” is one of most successful independent travel agencies in Scotland employing over 800 people. It’s the type of business Scotland needs more of and which he as a privileged cossetted politician should be supporting, not denigrating.

Meanwhile no comment from Ms Sturgeon purporting to frown on such rogue comments!

D Drever

Campbell Drive, Troon

Brains’ trust

The ignorance of contributors to Wednesday’s scotsman.com view brought the level of debate about the Brain family to a new low.

A little research would have shown that the English PM changed the rules, without notice, after the Brains had followed the correct procedures prior selling everything to move to Scotland.

Significantly, the First Minister has no powers to prevent the deportation of a family from our own country.

Compassionate Conservatism is an oxymoron.

James Stevenson

Drummond Avenue, Auchterarder

Real debate

The debate about the Brain family is a distraction from the real debate that we should be having about immigration in Scotland, and confirms to me that we have got the wrong end of the stick with this.

The UK had a net immigration of 300,000 last year, which is a lot of people. Most of these people will be economically active, and be capable of contributing significantly to the overall wellbeing in this country. The vast majority of them will however settle in the south-east and midlands of England. Relatively few of them will come to Scotland, even though there is no barrier to them doing so.

The question is, why is that? People have the option to come here, and stay here, but they choose not to. While the overall quality of life for most people in Scotland is relatively good, it is jobs and houses and good services which attract people to come in numbers, and other parts of the UK appear to be better at providing these than we are. Instead of getting fixated on the rights and wrongs of the circumstances surrounding one family, the Scottish Government need to get their heads around the problem of why is it when 300,000 new people come here annually, they choose not to come to Scotland, but go elsewhere in the UK?

If we cannot create the conditions which make it attractive for new immigrants to come here, then it is likely we are not creating the right environment for existing Scots either. That is the underlying problem which must be addressed.

Victor Clements

Taybridge Terrace, Aberfeldy

Six questions

I cannot understand where the clamour is coming from for a Scottish Six news programme.

I don’t know anyone who thinks it is a good idea. The 50/50 split we currently have between national and international news and Scottish news seems about right and we benefit from excellent reporters all over the world from the London content. How would this be improved if all the news output came from Glasgow?

The view that Scottish affairs are not given adequate coverage in the national news is nonsense. Scotland only represents less than 10 per cent of the UK population and we probably get more than our fair share of air time nationally.

This is all being stirred up by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP government and it is all political. The BBC should not bow to such political pressure.

Jack Watt

Berstane Loan, St Ola, Orkney

Road to ruin

Thanks to circumstances I encountered this week, your lead story yesterday, about crumbling roads, added fuel to my conviction that Scotland’s transport agencies are grossly incompetent.

On Monday, I encountered the A1 (south) closed at Wallyford, with no prior warning and unmodified traffic lights, and more road works on the diversion, adding to the resultant lengthy traffic jam.

On Wednesday evening, my trip from East Lothian to the East End of Glasgow was much delayed by long queues on the A720 Edinburgh by-pass and worse on the M8 through road works to Baillieston.

After the Celtic match, the Parkhead area was log jammed (as usual, I’m told), taking hours to clear. Then I discovered the M8 repeatedly reduced to one lane, and with extensive traffic jams through midnight.

It’s clear to me that Transport Scotland has done nothing to ensure that traffic management is fit for purpose during lengthy road works – Transport Scotland is comfortable with motorists by-passing Edinburgh daily left to stew in their exhausts while Glasgow Council and Police Scotland make no effort to help big match traffic to disperse.

Thanks to these bodies, it took us five hours travelling to watch a 90 minute football match.

Kit Fraser

Belhaven High Street, Dunbar

Wind-up

Fife Councillors have unanimously said “No” twice to Kenly Wind Farm. Fife planners recommended refusal, with objections from community councils for Boarhills and Dunino, Kingsbarns and St Andrews and hundreds of local people agree with them.

It seems very unfair that the people of the UK are forced into paying green tax on their energy bills to provide subsidies of £5.4 million for the university’s own hot water (from its biomass burning wood for energy in Guardbridge), plus contribute towards £2.7m+ a year (£54m over a 20-year contract) for their private wind turbines.

St Andrews University’s planned wind turbines are far too close to hundreds of homes, where children and adults health could be put at risk from the wind turbine noises and the 33kv cables buried just feet from their homes.

There has been no communications with the local people from university or 2020 Renewables except for a leaflet and two public meetings back in 2011. For the last two years, the university has sat on its hands and the local people believed they had seen what a disaster Kenly Wind Farm would be on this world renowned beautiful landscape around St Andrews. Hundreds of people around Kingsbarns and Dunino are hoping that the right decision is made by the councillors on August 10 at the meeting in County Buildings, Cupar, and that they will refuse any work from starting on this project. This application would only benefit 2020 Renewables and the university and they would be forcing up everyone’s energy bills and pushing more people into poverty.

Deborah Pender

St Andrews

Silly talk

I thank the several correspondents (August 4) who wrote in support of my letter (August 3) deploring the colossal overuse of the phrase “you know” and adding a few more of their own pet hates. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in being driven to distraction by silly utterances now in vogue.

While we are in full cry on this subject, may I add a few more vacuous utterances which drive me nuts.

In a bank, I was greeted by an ill clad youth with “Hiya”. Having stated my business he burbled “no problem” (it was), and on departing he breezed “see you later” which now seems to be the new “goodbye”.

Recently, in a supermarket, the check-out girl concluded my payment with “see you later”. I replied: “Okay what time do you finish?” Her expression of bemused bafflement was comical to behold.

David Hollingdale

Easter Park Drive, Edinburgh

In good faith

Anthony Horan writes on Christian faith in public life (August 4). To his credit he acknowledges that a recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey shows more than half of Scots do not identify with any religion: Christianity is now a subset of a minority. We agree that all have the “right to a voice in the public square” if it is from a platform of equality, but Mr Horan’s argument is compromised when he says that religious ideas should be “welcomed without fear or favour”. There is huge favour still enjoyed by religions: unelected clerics on council education committees, statutory religious observance in state schools and bishops in the House of Lords etc.

An “overwhelming majority” of Scots may identify as “spiritual” but that does not mean they tacitly endorse the privileging of minority Christian groups.

He says “Faith and belief in a constant and ever-loving God can guide us.” Faith is a “guide” for you Mr Horan, and long may it continue to be, but you must get over the belief that you speak for “us”.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive