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The recent open letter from the National Farmers’ Union, the Roslin Institute, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and other esteemed and knowledgeable organisations criticising the Scottish Government’s policy and the negative implications of banning the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops, truly highlights the SNP’s obsession with the implementation of policies or standpoints that seem to be at odds with the rest of the United Kingdom.

It also illustrates the fact that it’s a transnational issue that Scotland can’t seal itself away from, in a similar vein to global economics, oil prices and climate change and is best dealt with within the Union.

From the campaign against austerity, condemning the migrant crisis at Calais, fox hunting and Trident, anything the UK Government do, the SNP-led Scottish Government must do the exact opposite as long as it promotes an independent Scotland.

This is nothing new; indeed nationalism constantly needs the “other” to compare and contrast itself against.

Without the promotion and constant reminder of imagined differences, nationalism and any party based on it will wither on the vine and lose its raison d’être.

Policy might not be to the benefit of the Scottish people or be based on well-researched scientific, social, cultural or 
historical evidence, but as long as it can contribute to 
bringing Scotland closer to independence and promote difference it will have served its 
purpose well.

David Bone

Ailsa Street West

Girvan, South Ayrshire

The Scottish Government’s ban on new nuclear power plants, GM crops and fracking will no doubt be a comfort to some.

However, others might 
lament that Scotland has been excepted from the probable benefits of the first two, and potentially made even more reliant 
on external power and food sources.

Another worrying issue is the historical record of administrations who recourse to bans of one sort or another, represented as being for the public good but often just in furtherance of their political aims.

Even those who support the spirit of individual prohibitions should be wary of them as a phenomenon – their overuse tends to lead away from consultation and towards oppression.

We should not accept that lightly.

R A Wallace

Standlane

Kincadine

Joanna Clarke (Letters, 18 August) states that the World Health Organisation (WHO) classes glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic”. Only the cancer agency of the Who made this claim.

The WHO agency on pesticide residues, the US Environment Protection Agency and most importantly the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment that contains easily the largest toxicological data base on glyphosate, disagree with this designation.

This latter organisation points out that the Who cancer committee claims are based on very few documents, mainly on animals and with limited evidence in humans and of course ignore the importance of dose.

This same WHO cancer committee also placed hairdressing, art glass, night shifts, tea bag manufacturing and grapefruit juice in the same “probably carcinogenic” class along with emissions from frying food but not those from grilled food.

Ms Clarke continues to propagate the old myth about viral DNA being incorporated into the human genome purportedly intact and in some unspecified way causing cancer and diseases.

The virus referred to, the cauliflower mosaic virus, is found in 10 per cent of all cauliflowers and many other members of the brassica family that we eat routinely.If Ms Clarke’s logic is correct, eating cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnip and so on provides a 10 per cent chance of getting cancer.

Like the grams of DNA we consume every day in our food, viral DNA is simply digested.

Finally Ms Clarke claims this SNP government has always opposed GM crops. That might have more to do with the Holyrood investigation initiated by Ms Sturgeon some 15 years ago in which she sided with the voices of ignorance and hysteria and against the presented scientific evidence.

(Prof) Tony Trewavas FRS FRSE

Scientific Alliance 
Scotland

North St David Street

Edinburgh

The SNP is naturally wary of any genetic process. A virus is an organism which cannot reproduce on its own.

It injects its DNA into cells of another organism to gain control of them for its own benefit. The Green is also an organism which injects its DNA into the cells of a host to gain control of them.

Sadly, lacking the science antibody, the SNP is highly vulnerable to this kind of infection.

David Hogg

Glanville Place

Edinburgh

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