Enough already

THE MANY aspects of the EU debate that are frustrating voters elsewhere in the UK are creating a strong sense of déjà vu for people in Scotland experiencing their second referendum within two years. The language and exaggeration coming from all sides this time around all seem to have direct parallels with how the previous debate evolved in Scotland.

The shortcomings of a process that encourages an oversimplification of complex issues are all too clear, as is the tendency for some politicians to engage in political game playing, seeking to manipulate public opinion more for their personal ambition than for the cause they are purporting to support.

Once we resolve this EU debate, those who lead us would do well to make clear that we have all had enough of referendums and should not be rushing back to this flawed mechanism in the foreseeable future.

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Keith Howell

West Linton, Peeblesshire

There is now just over three weeks to the referendum and to date I have heard no arguments from Nicola Sturgeon on the subject, other than to criticise the Remain campaigns for being too negative. She proclaimed she would put forward the arguments to remain in a positive manner, well we are still waiting.

I suspect that she has realised that every argument she states as a reason to remain is the exact counter to the arguments she puts forward for leaving the UK. I do not understand why the media do not question her on her current inertia and press hard for her to explain why being part of Europe is good but being part of the UK is bad.

Her current stance can be loosely compared to George Orwell’s Animal Farm with most of her sheep-like supporters categorically changing their stance when she wants them too, as they did in the book, from “four legs good, two legs bad” (independence good, UK union bad) to “two legs good, four legs bad” (European Union good, leaving bad). I appreciate that the wording is not exactly in accordance with the words in the book (four legs good, two legs better) but the implication is the same.

Raymond Paul

Braid Farm Road, Edinburgh

I am somewhat loathe to interfere in what seems to be a dispute within the SNP over the EU (not being an SNP voter), however there are important points to be made. Surely Jim Sillars and Gary Parker (Scotsman, 31 May) have an argument, ie, what is the logic in leaving one political union (the UK one) to sign up to another one (the EU one)?

Sometimes it really does seem that the SNP wants the UK as a whole to vote for Brexit (and Scotland to vote for Stay), so that a second independence referendum can happen. If so, then this is the height of irresponsibility.

William Ballantine

Dean Road, Bo’ness

For the vast majority of the people in this country we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, remain or Brexit.

Like the devolved parliaments and paid councillors in the UK, every job is duplicated even triplicated.

What is more important to the vast majority of people – a talking shop or thriving manufacturing, shipbuilding, steel works, mining, farm and fishing industries, a health service fit for purpose,road maintenance?

Margaret Wallace

Broomfield Avenue, Cumnock

No excuses

I have read with interest various articles and letters published in The Scotsman about the 2016 Scottish Cup final pitch invasion.

Until 21 May, there have been no serious pitch incursions by spectators at a major football event held at Hampden since 10 May 1980. Also worth pondering might be the involvement of darker elements among the Hibs’ support. Immediately after the match-winning goal, I could see unusually high numbers of spectators cascading down passageways of the East Stand towards the perimeter wall and at the final whistle, their intentions became clear.

Seconds later, I witnessed Hibernian supporters streaming across the Hampden turf towards areas of the stadium accommodating Rangers supporters. As the scene unfolded, police officers, deployed to monitor sectarian activity as a consequence of recent legislation, were preoccupied filming Rangers supporters despite a more potent threat coming from behind.

No-one but the players or authorised personnel should be on the pitch and “exuberance”, “joyfulness” or “jubilation” do not excuse it.

John K Elliot

Hawick Rangers Supporters Club

What the frack

SNP MP Mhairi Black’s contention that the UK government could overrule Holyrood and “impose fracking on Scotland” is arrant nonsense. So why has she said it?

The Scottish Parliament has long since had full responsibility for regulations impacting on the environment and planning. Controls over the licensing of onshore oil and gas development are fully devolved to Holyrood. Nicola Sturgeon regularly reminds us the current moratorium on fracking is at her behest. Surely all this is something of which Black is aware?

Let’s assume Black realises which legislative areas are devolved and which reserved. So is this another example of the SNP gratuitously blaming the UK government? Or does it herald some convoluted change of tack by the SNP? Sturgeon is fond of populist anti-fracking rhetoric but needs tax revenues from fracking if she’s ever going to put together an even half credible financial case for separation.

Black is known for her negligible input in the House of Commons – she has spoken in only 12 debates in the last year. Based on her contribution to the fracking debate, perhaps that’s for the best?

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus, Edinburgh

Power of attorney

Iain Gill’s letter (31 May) correctly highlights a number of the concerns that attorneys have when they are faced with having to exercise the powers granted to them. There is no clear point at which the attorney is told “you are now responsible”, and the attorney can feel left in the dark about what to do.

Undoubtedly the best place to start for guidance is to look at the general principles in the governing legislation, The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. In short, the attorney’s actions should be of benefit to the adult, the action should be the least restrictive to the adult, the wishes of the adult and those interested in the adult should be considered, and finally the adult should be encouraged to make their own decisions where possible. If these principles are always in the forefront of the attorney’s mind, they cannot go wrong.

A Code of Conduct has been produced for attorneys. This can be sought from the Scottish Office of the Public Guardian (“the OPG”) www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk

Whilst taking on the role of attorney is not a decision that should be taken lightly, this should not prevent discussion or dissuade people from putting them in place. If an attorney has any concerns they should take their own legal advice. It is certainly still preferable to put a POA in place rather than having to apply to Court for a Guardianship or Intervention Order.

Elspeth Paget

Gillespie Macandrew, Edinburgh

Airgun amnesty

More than 2,300 weapons have been handed to police in the first week of a national airgun amnesty. (Your report 31 May)

With only two weeks still remaining of the amnesty it is to be hoped that there is a far greater response since there are 500,000 air weapons in Scotland.

I suggest that the people that this law was supposed to attack will not bother with a licence whereas the responsible owner will.

Incidentally I cannot find out what the licence will cost since this surely will have a bearing on whether to get a licence or hand in the weapon.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Striking camp

Lord Turnbull has adjourned the case of the Holyrood Park “Indycampers”, also know as the “Sovereign Indigenous Peoples of Scotland”, until 14 June.

Whatever the outcome of any future legal proceedings, I am certain the vast majority of the people who live in this beautiful city of Edinburgh would be glad to see the end of this eyesore. The Human Rights argument is at best thin – and that is being kind. The “Indycampers” have of course a right to protest, but, equally, those of us who consider their site to be ill-chosen and their actions distasteful in the extreme have rights also.

It is time they moved on to their next lost cause and gave visitors and the people of this city their beautiful park back.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Scouts’ honour

This week is National Volunteers Week and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the dedicated volunteers who make Scouting happen in Scotland.

It is thanks to our 8,222 adult volunteers in Scotland that we can offer life changing adventure to nearly 40,000 young people.

In addition to making sure that Scouting delivers fun and adventurous programmes each week in a safe environment, these adults also organise and run camps and plan and run a whole range of different activities.

Our volunteers are helping to prepare Scotland’s young people to be active citizens, to make a positive impact in their communities and to embrace and contribute to social change.

To put it simply, Scouting could not take place without our dedicated volunteers. I offer my thanks and the thanks of all our youth members to anyone who makes Scouting possible.

Graham Haddock

Chief Commissioner, Scouts Scotland

Power play

Reference Lyndsey Ward’s letter regarding SSE’s inflated cost to underground the Beauly Keith 400kV powerline (Scotsman 30 May) and SSE’s threat that costs would be added to customers’ bills, may I suggest that the Scottish Government steps in and pays? After all, it’s the SNP’s obsession with onshore wind energy that created the need for another monstrous powerline.

Pat Wells

Altchosach, Tomatin