Chaotic Brexit is not a template for independence - Readers' Letters

The new argument against independence seems to be that because the UK’s departure from the EU was so chaotic, shambolic and disorganised this means independence will be as well.

Workers at the European Parliament lower the British flag from the row of flags of EU member states outside the parliament in Brussels on January 31, 2020 - Brexit day
Workers at the European Parliament lower the British flag from the row of flags of EU member states outside the parliament in Brussels on January 31, 2020 - Brexit day

What this preposterous argument implies is that the fraudulent extreme right-wingers in charge of that process (Boris Johnson and co) should continue to rule Scotland

Brexit was presided over by Johnson, a man so bone idle he could not be bothered to go to five Cobra meetings during the worst pandemic for 100 years.

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This was the man whose government wasted £150 million on unusable masks, £10 billion on a test and trace system that did neither and £16m on Covid tests that did not work, Boris Johnson got his plane rebranded at a cost of £900k. Yet the unionists claim independence is the problem.

It was these same British nationalists who applauded while 1.5 million EU citizens were denied a vote in the 2016 EU referendum. They have done a volte-face and are now saying that "Scots" living outside Scotland should get to vote in any future referendum.

Another insulting fairy tale is that in 2014 the Yes side agreed this would be a "once in a generation" event. There is no evidence for this as it never happened. Yet unionists think if they lie about it long enough then it will become reality.

British unionists are similar in outlook to followers of the Trump-loving QAnon conspiracy theory. Both are ludicrous and have an aversion to reality. Yet they are both followed slavishly by mindless fanatics.

Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee

Thatcher’s legacy

Alexander McKay’s fact-free rant (Letters, July 2) against the Scottish Government demonstrates his tenuous grasp on reality if he believes devolution has been worse for Scotland than Margaret Thatcher.

Like most Tories, Thatcher failed to understand that government exists to provide a balanced economy and full employment for the people it is meant to serve. Instead she deliberately destroyed UK heavy industry and manufacturing capacity by starving it of investment, favouring a rapacious and non-productive financial sector. Scottish shipbuilding, steel, coal, engineering and manufacturing industries from cars to textiles were decimated and no effort was made to put others in their place.

Then Thatcher plundered Scotland’s oil wealth to fund the wholesale privatisation of state-owned sectors, causing mass unemployment especially in Scotland and grotesquely enriching City bankers. Next came the poll tax debacle. Cabinet papers released in 2014 confirmed the Tories trialled the poll tax on Scotland.

Devolution has mitigated the worst impacts of Tory austerity and economic mismanagement but without the powers Westminster retains – defence, foreign policy, economic and social welfare – Scotland won’t be rid of nuclear weapons, enjoy free trade with the EU, or be able to support its people and economy.

We’ve come to the end of the devolution road as post-Brexit the Tories re-assert their toxic control over our land, people and resources. It’s time our MPs left Westminster and joined the fight to restore Scotland’s independence.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

A good kicking

May I, a “football sceptical man”, commend Joyce McMillan on her article (Scotsmam, 2 July) headed “Football caused Scotland’s Covid spike and remains an excuse for sectarianism, domestic violence and racism. How long will ‘beautiful game’ get a free pass?”.

My suggested answer is “until it is seen for what it is: the classic example of ‘circuses’ as in ‘bread and circuses’”. I wonder how many innocents will suffer from the long-term consequences of Covid to satisfy those who worship at the shrine of football.

John Milne, Uddingston, South Lanarkshire

No special case

By all accounts within the medical profession the current spike in Covid cases can be traced to increased activity among football fans in the current European Championship tournament. Joyce McMillan tried to look at this in the context of too lax an approach by the authorities. But there are a number of points she ought to have considered.

Firstly, the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (2012) has emboldened a section of supporters throughout the land to show attitudes that many find unacceptable.

Perhaps the railway companies could have been more active in preventing travel to London for the Scotland/England game; there is nevertheless only so much they can do when large numbers wish to travel. The restrictions on freedom of movement still remain in the realm of advice, rather than instruction. It could hardly be otherwise in what is still a free society; so much depends on a sense of personal responsibility which too many refuse to exhibit.

Certainly, for the recalcitrants there is safety in numbers; they may be aware that the police cannot arrest or charge all of them. This is a safety valve which may be necessary at a time of real restriction.

Football in Scotland can hardly be seen to have received a free pass in the last 15 months. Along with many sectors of the economy it has suffered from lack of attendances. Even so, some strides forward have been made in the last decade to make grounds and stadiums more welcoming and civilised places, although there are no grounds for complacency, particularly in relation to race and religious bigotry.

In recent weeks football has not been treated as a special case, but its most strident followers still need to look at how they could have behaved in a more responsible way.

Bob Taylor, Glenrothes, Fife

Too many deaths

There must be an argument for increasing Covid restrictions in Scotland. There are more people getting sick and dying than elsewhere in the UK.

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The unvaccinated people are typically younger, with more quality adjusted years left to live. Some increase in restrictions would slow things down while Scotland rolls out more vaccines. It’s not right so many people should die when there is a solution within weeks.

W Anderson, Bangor, Northern Ireland

Double trouble

Was Nicola Sturgeon's recent election success really a landslide? As she is now seeking Green support in a more formal agreement obviously not.

There is a deeper problem here. Not only did few Scots vote for the Greens, the party also won zero MSPs in the constituency vote. This means that if there is a coalition of any kind then Scotland is not getting the government it voted for.

Nicola Sturgeon seems quite happy to accept this unpalatable fact to retain power. This flies in the face of her constant chiding of Westminster. This is not her only problem, however. An SNP/Green pact will create even more internal tensions within the Scottish Government just at a time when maximum co-ordination is required. An era of double trouble beckons.

(Dr) Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Merry Christmas

On 1 July, one of the hottest days of the year, the Movies24 Channel – which Sky and Virgin customers have as part of their packages – showed nine Christmas movies: A Christmas Duet; Christmas At Pemberley Manor; With Love, Christmas; Sound Of Christmas; Help For The Holidays; Welcome To Christmas and It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.

Customers of both subscription television providers should expect an immediate discount on their next bills – and the Government should start looking into the behaviour of subscription television companies in the UK blatantly fleecing customers in this manner. If the BBC or ITV behaved like this, there would rightly be fury.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Potholes plea

Based on IPPC data, the UK's calculated share of total global man-made CO2 being vanishingly small at 0.0000065 per cent, our decarbonising could not possibly influence the planet's or local climate.

Recent and long-term fully justified complaints about, for example, our filthy pavements, potholed roads and our buildings, convincingly show that to concentrate resources and money – by much more than £3 trillion by 2050 – on futile gestures intended to assist averting world climate changes is irrelevant to the UK people's obvious real needs.

I therefore suggest that, though studies of the weather and its forecasting are important, our main environmental efforts and expenditures should prioritise our crumbling infrastructure.

As far as UK resources are concerned, the planet's climate changes, man-made or natural, are best regarded as "strictly for the birds" and not more than a watching brief.

Charles Wardrop, Perth, Perth and Kinross

Diana statue

The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex set themselves an impossible task with the Diana, Princess of Wales statue (Scotsman, 2 July). No monochrome statue was ever going to reproduce the beauty of their mother, which largely came from within.

Other statues of female public figures have also been a failure for the same reasons. The four of Margaret Thatcher are all ghastly. The statues to Queen Victoria were a success simply because she was ugly, even as a young woman, and very overweight in later life after having nine children. It was therefore remarkably easy to flatter Queen Victoria in statues.

In classical times didn’t Greeks and Romans paint their marble statues? The brothers were always going to fail to match people’s expectations in this regard. The likeness seems to me nearer to the Duke of Edinburgh facially than Diana herself.

Nigel Boddy, Newcastle upon Tyne

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