Tools of turmoil

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So First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to host an EU nationals event at Edinburgh Corn Exchange on 17 August. Why?

Immigration law is reserved to Westminster so Ms Sturgeon has nil authority in this legislative area. The reassurances she makes to EU citizens are not merely hollow rhetoric, but misleading. That said, not even Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson has ever suggested EU citizens should leave – and new Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly stated her clear desire and intention to protect the rights of EU citizens living here.

The nationalist leader is aware immigrant communities largely opposed her UK break-up dreams in 2014. So, with her focus always on yet another referendum, she now reaches out to them, thirsty for their votes. The tragic reality is that Ms Sturgeon is using EU nationals, at this time of political turmoil, as pawns in her relentless game of them and us with Westminster.

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus, Edinburgh

I see the First Minister is to hold a question and answer session on Brexit for EU nationals living in Scotland. While this group rightfully have many questions, I can’t see how the Scottish Government can give them any answers when the negotiations to leave the EU are not a devolved matter and have not yet begun in the first place.

This, of course, won’t matter to Nicola Sturgeon, who has one answer to everything, “independence” – especially when facing people who largely voted for Scotland to stay in the UK. Still, since the First Minister will set a precedent, perhaps she would like to meet other groups with a grievance. Recently we have learned that Scottish roads are in a worse state than those of the rest of the UK, a matter which the SNP government have been responsible for over the last nine years. As a motorist I look forward to asking Nicola Sturgeon why I need to have my car repaired more often than someone in Yorkshire.

(DR) SJ Clark

Easter Road, Edinburgh

Ignoring reality

Fraser Grant’s reminds me of someone whistling in the dark for all he is worth, trying to ignore what is going on outside the wee SNP bubble (Letters, 13 August).

For example, he confuses the arguments made at the time of the referendum regarding EU membership for an independent Scotland. Clearly, if Scotland had voted Yes we would have had to reapply for membership, dependent on support from all 28 member countries to be successful. This is still true today but with a twist. Not only would an Indy Scotland be out of the EU, it would also be outside a Brexit UK, with a different interim currency like the Scottish pound and having sacrificed the large UK internal market where we sell four times our goods and services compared to the EU external market, which is riddled with protectionist hidden barriers to trade.

He also goes on to say Better Together claims about border controls are no longer valid because the British and Irish Governments have agreed there won’t be a return to border check points. Maybe so for Ireland, who is an EU member, but a Scotland outside the EU and a Brexit UK is an entirely different matter and would be up for negotiation.

Regardless of whether there would be a “hard” or “soft” border (depending on whether Scotland became a magnet for illegal immigrants to move South), businesses would be faced with unwelcome transaction costs, road tolls, measures to counter illegal transactions and so on.

Also, his argument on the UK not protecting Clyde ship-workers is plain daft when he knows most of the naval vessels promised will be built whereas if we had voted Yes none of the orders would have been placed, leading to the loss of thousands of MOD jobs.

He keeps his best to the last by claiming support for so-called independence is growing. Surely he realises that the majority of Scots who never swallowed the nonsense in the 2014 White Paper now consider the current economic case for independence to be laughable and as such could never vote for independence.

Ian Lakin

Murtle Den Road, Milltimber, Aberdeen

Fraser Grant states that “support for independence is growing”. Unfortunately the figures do not show this. In the referendum in 2014 the YES campaign got 1,617,989 votes (37.7 per cent of the electorate) and in the General Election of 2015, the SNP got 1,454,436 votes (34 per cent of the electorate). Recent polls have all shown a majority against independence but, as we know, polls have a margin of error.

The figures above, from the 2014 referendum and 2015 election have no margin for error – they are the hard facts.

Jim Houston

Winton Gardens, Edinburgh

I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon will pause for thought and come to the sudden realisation that she is deeply embarrassing Scotland on the international stage, by her pointless junkets to speak to minor and powerless EU officials and her quite ludicrous “reverse Greenland” option for Scotland’s EU membership, not only in front of current EU members, but other non-EU countries, who as observers are likely barely able to stifle their laughter.

It may even be the case that she knows exactly what she is doing, which appears to be contriving to have Scotland humiliated and ridiculed to the point where the UK would willingly drop us, because of the wretchedly brattish and undemocratic politics of a petulant six-year-old that the SNP tiresomely champion in both Holyrood and Westminster.

The constant impression Ms Sturgeon still likes to make drearily public of her “speaking for all of Scotland” is making many ordinary Scots deeply embarrassed of their nationality, for as we very well know, she speaks only for the aggressive, angry and loud cross-section of her membership, whom she wilfully keeps in abeyance by assuredly ensuring that they are deliberately and happily kept in misinformed bliss.

Mark Ward

Dalmellington Road, Crookston, Glasgow

I object to the way in which the SNP hierarchy are attempting to portray themselves as Europhiles and those who voted to leave the European Union as anti-European. Nicola Sturgeon and her associates are conflating the people of Europe with the undemocratic and corrupt structures of the EU. There is a fundamental difference between the people of Europe and the political class of Brussels which now wants to take Europe on a path to ever closer union and to establish a country called “Europe”. How can Scottish nationalists reconcile themselves to supra-national dominance?

William Loneskie

Justice Park, Oxton, Berwickshire

Vanity unfair

How many life-saving operations could the NHS in Scotland carry out with £2.3 million? How could the old and poor and deserving be helped with that sum?

It is a point worth considering with the revelation that the office of Scotland’s ‘’ambassador’’ in the US has cost that much money – £416,000 last year alone. This non-post is held despite all the ‘’work’’ associated with it being carried out by nearby British Embassy officials. It would be interesting to see an independent assessment of what the creation of this office has produced – free of SNP spin.

It is another example of the SNP’s vanity, this idea that the party leader’s jaunts and junkets to China and Germany and so on to meet minor officials is somehow worthwhile in any way but in massaging the egos of those involved.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Low flying

Chief executive Gordon Dewar states that Edinburgh Airport is making great progress in several areas (Letters, 13 August). That may be true in some areas, but there is one space that is a disaster – the immigration area. Eight booths but only three or four staff. Queues start outside the hall and even sometimes on the Tarmac.

Also, why no immigration facility on the east side of the terminal? It’s a farce, with buses being used to transfer passengers from the east side to the west side of the terminal and join an already lengthy queue.

Also, passengers delayed due to stairs and buses not being available when a plane arrives at terminal.

Ian Hislop

Campbell Park Crescent, Edinburgh

No honour

Regarding “so-called honour killings”, Briton Samia Shahid’s murder last month in Northern Punjab was just that, murder. Why, who or how will never lend any honour to it, and prefixing “honour” with the increasingly ubiquitous “so called” does not absolve the media in its reporting of these killings. To repeatedly show pictures of these young murdered women with the words “honour killing”, often in bold print close by, (such as at BBC Online) is thoughtless and disrespectful, to put it mildly. It is an abhorrent term, almost giving murderers justification for their crime. Like the term “suicide bomber”, it shifts focus from the victim to the perpetrator. Let’s call them bombers, and when they kill people, mass murderers.

There is no honour in these killings like there is no compassionate rape and no merciful stabbing, and there is certainly no honour in treating victims as an afterthought.

Austin Mckenna

Cornton, Stirling

Buried evidence

Regarding your report “Archaeologists sideline inconvenient genders and facts (13 August). That Christian Maclagan’s research findings were never investigated comes as no surprise to those of us researching various other “unfashionable” archaeological topics and researchers.

Scotland’s late Prof Alex Thom’s scrupulously accurate measurements of more than 300 stone circles showing the high probability of what he called a “megalithic yard” are still regarded as anathema and a career breaker for any academic who dares examine the case… unless they come down against it. This is despite increasing supporting evidence provided by other Neolithic artefacts such as the constantly recurring three megalithic inch diameters of several hundred “mysterious” carved stone balls, or the megalithic inch spacing found in dozens of ’mysterious’ cup and ring marks.

The almost wilful refusal to take on board data that requires sums and statistics tells us much that is worrying about the closed mindset of the subject‘s caretakers. Seemingly the past is either temples or tombs, or it is mere coincidence. Very sad. Galileo would have recognised the situation.

Tim Flinn

Beech Cottage, Garvald, East Lothian

Cold facts?

A scientific paper by solar expert Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University Newcastle warns that the earth is about to be affected by a solar event that will see temperatures plunge.

She confidently predicts another “Solar Grand Minima”, a mini ice-age, beginning in 2020 and lasting until 2053.

Her research is controversial because it challenges climate scientists’ predictions of rising global temperatures from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, she says climate change scientists asked the Royal Astronomical Society to withdraw the planned press release detailing her team’s research.

If Prof Zharkova is right then these climate scientists will be out of a job and billions of pounds, euros and dollars will have been needlessly spent on a disputed global warming theory predicted by flawed computer models.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road, Linlithgow