Brexit chickens are coming home to roost - your views

Even those pessimistic about the effects of Brexit were probably shocked by the truly calamitous 41% drop in exports to Europe in January, representing £5.6 billion pounds to the UK economy.

This included a drop in time-critical seafood exports of 83% and a drop in food and drinks exports of 63%. These markets are crucial to the Scottish economy.

All of this confirms what many experts had warned, that Brexit will hit the UK hard, and export-driven Scotland even harder.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

The difficulties have been described by Boris Johnson as 'teething troubles'. These are no teething troubles but the new reality. We are no longer in a single market and this comes with bureaucracy.

A system that put fresh Scottish seafood on dining tables across Europe in just over a day has been shattered. Many of our seafood exporters are now facing the destruction of their livelihoods.

Devolution cannot even begin to deal with the scale of this disaster. Only independence can allow us to repair the epic damage of the Brexit folly.

Jim Daly, Comiston, Edinburgh

Vaccine cards

I am now thinking ahead for when we are allowed to escape not just beyond 5 miles but the country.

When you have your vaccine in England you receive a card to say so and a date for your next appointment. We get neither but are supposed to have the second jab within 12 weeks. Our numbers are still woefully low.

Personally I do not wish to go anywhere that might endanger others. However, after my second injection and we are given the go ahead to travel, I will wish to be on the next plane out at the whiff of “doors to manual!”

If thousands, let alone a million, wish to go abroad when it is safe to do so, how on earth are we going to prove we are vaccinated?

Already some businesses have said no vaccine no job . This could also apply to travel.

Jane Drysdale, Edinburgh

Salmond inquiry

From the very outset it's been obvious that only a judge-led inquiry could have any hope of getting to the truth about the Scottish government's handling of complaints against Alex Salmond.

The present Holyrood inquiry is bedevilled by too many opposing political considerations and consequently has little chance of getting to the roots of certain unsavoury issues which lie at the heart of the Scottish government.

We have witnessed the unnecessary delays in the provision of critical information to the inquiry by the Scottish government and one can assume that such things which would not have been tolerated by a judge.

It obviously suits the Scottish government to be less than helpful with the disclosure of evidence without outright obstruction becoming too apparent and this can only lead to a public feeling that the inquiry's final verdict will be less revealing and critical than one would expect in a supposedly transparent and accountable democracy.

Perhaps the present proceedings should be sisted to allow the appointment of a judge and legal team to take up the reins. While much of the evidence has already been gathered, it would no doubt delay a final resolution of the matter.

However, in the long run the whole sordid affair would be brought to a more credible and effective conclusion.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Lockdown prayer

Church people demanding permission to gather are utterly wrong and irresponsible.

I am neither a neutral nor an adversary. I am a practising Christian and I missed Sunday worship exactly seven times in the 53 years up to 2020.

Belief and obedience to God are about prayer and service to the world, not about doing what we like.

Moreover, no-one whatsoever has any right to bring the life God gave them into unnecessary risk. That betrays your neighbour because risk is indivisible in an epidemic. That betrays the doctors and nurses who have no choice about risking their lives.

Worship and pray at the kitchen table or on a mountainside alone if you can walk that far.

The Word of God can be found in a slightly chunky book from which you can read a few times a day if you’re inclined.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland

More mythology

Leah Gunn Barrett has produced another of her letters (‘Debunked study’, 12 March) hailing the great economic benefits of Scotland attaining independence without producing any back-up quantitative information.

As an example she asserts that the LSE students in their recent study fabricate data because Scotland doesn’t collect detailed statistics on its external trade etc.

In fact, there is plenty of data available on trade between states, which is not fictional although it is true that some of the data going into the assessment of trade between the four nations constituting the UK is not as totally reliable.

Nevertheless, the available information is good enough to assess the claim made that “As the disasters of Brexit unfold, England will need trade with Scotland more than ever”.

The information available from several sources including the Scottish government indicates that the reverse is true.

rUK external exports (excluding Scotland) in 2018 were £587 billion. Scottish exports (excluding rUK) were £34 billion. rUK exports to Scotland were £58.5billion or 8.72% of rUK total exports. Meanwhile Scottish exports to rUK were £51.2 billion or 150% of Scotland’s total exports to countries outside rUK.

The SNP has decided to follow EU regulations. So Scotland outside rUK and EU free trade agreements would find itself having to trade with all countries on WTO terms.

Additionally it would not have a team experienced in negotiating agreements as is the case with both rUK and EU. It would have no overseas representation and either have to use the pound with no control over monetary policy or have a nascent national bank with no adequate resources to back up the currency.

John Peter, Monks Road, Airdrie

Eye Pavilion

I hope that Edinburgh City Council will agree to support those calling on the Scottish government to reverse its recent decision to withdraw the funding it promised in 2018 for a new eye hospital in Edinburgh.

Recent letters from Dr Hector Chawla have drawn attention to this decision to abandon the building of the long awaited replacement for the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion.

This wouId mean the dispersal of the world class team of expert clinicians there. While this may save the immediate capital cost, I cannot believe it will save money in the long term and would lead to a significantly worse service for patients.

Others have pointed out the importance of having a team of specialist doctors and staff working together in the same building. This helps the development of new ideas and means that colleagues can consult. If a patient is referred to a specialised eye hospital this may be vital.

As regards location, the plan to site it at Little France is by far the best for access both for those in Edinburgh and those in different parts of the Lothians.

Further, this would have the advantage of being next to the Royal Infirmary and the new Childrens' Hospital.

If the Eye Hospital is built there, it would continue the development of a modern integrated medical site for the people of Edinburgh and the Lothians with its growing population.

I have been able to continue to read, and indeed write this letter, as a result of the treatment I have received for 30 years from opthalmic surgeons at the Eye Pavilion, including Dr Hector Chawla and the late Dr Barry Cullen.

I believe it was very largely as a result of their efforts that the Eye Pavilion was set up and achieved its excellent status.

Surely the money must be found to perpetuate this service for eye patients.

Andrew M Bell, York Road, Edinburgh

Turning tide

You never know who's swimming naked until the tide goes out. And now the polls have turned, the SNP appear increasingly exposed (‘SNP no longer set for Holyrood majority’, Scotsman, March 11).

In their rush to rerun the 2014 referendum, the SNP’s core argument is a contradiction: the solution to one border (with the EU) is creating another border (with the UK).

But If Scotland somehow left the UK and joined the EU, trade with Scotland’s largest export market - the rest of the UK - would be determined by the very deal the SNP argue demands independence: the UK-EU trade deal. Scexit wouldn't solve Brexit, it replicates it.

Nigel Anthony, Brixton Road, London

Peak Tory

I would remind Baroness Davidson (‘Peak SNP’, Scotsman 13 March) that the last time a majority in Scotland voted Tory was in 1955, and for the bulk of the time since then we have been subjected to policies from Westminster that Scotland didn’t vote for.

SNP membership has increased by over 10,000 since the Tories’ no confidence stunts

And in the council by-elections held on Thursday, the SNP won Livingston with 44 per cent of the vote while increasing their share of the vote by 12.4 percent in the Tory stronghold of Melrose.

The latest disastrous export figures is further evidence that the Tories have thrown our fishing and agriculture industries under the Brexit bus.

And before anyone falls for a Tory smokescreen of diverting Brexit cash to Scotland, we should remember that Westminster has cut five per cent from Scotland's capital budget this coming year.

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh