Help for children

It is disturbing that Donald Lewis (Letters, 29 July) and others continue to misrepresent the Named Person legislation, which the Supreme Court supported and described as 'reasonable, legitimate and benign'.

There have been far too many tragic cases where information was not shared but, as anyone who has been involved with data protection knows, the rules regarding the sharing of information can be complex and the Supreme Court felt more clarification was required in this area. It should be noted that the opponents failed in their main challenges to the Scottish Government’s legislation.

The Named Person scheme is to enable parents, and more importantly vulnerable children, to easily get additional support before matters get out of control and must not be derailed by self-righteous religious fundamentalists, right-wing zealots and politically motivated opportunists.

Mary Thomas

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Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

The supreme court in Scotland, the Inner House of the Court of Session, rightly commands great respect for the clarity, competence, credibility and concern for justice of its rulings.

So are other concerns not raised that its three senior judges accepted those aspects of the Named Person legislation which have now been so robustly ruled as flawed by the UK Supreme Court, two of whose five judges are Scottish, particularly in its breach of article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights?

John Birkett

Horseleys Park, St Andrews

Well done the Supreme Court for calling a spade a spade. It ruled that the SNP’s Named Person scheme was incompatible with European human rights law and it went on to say “the first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get to the children... and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world”.

Strong language indeed, but totally justified when we heard the SNP’s John Swinney’s response to the judgment, that there was an “absolute commitment” to enact the new system “at the earliest possible date”.

Totalitarianism is defined as a dictatorial one party state that strives to regulate every realm of life. Remind you of anyone?

Jim Houston

Winton Gardens, Edinburgh

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If I have understood a confused situation correctly, the Named Person legislation passed unscathed through the Scottish courts but has now been criticised in one detail by the Supreme Court in London.

The 1707 Acts and Treaty of Union provided that decisions of the Scottish courts could not be amended by any court “in Westminster Hall”. Whether the Supreme Court sits in that location I do not know but the intention of the 1707 Treaty seems clear.

While the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht is relied on to bolster the British claim to Gibraltar, it seems that the 1707 treaty can be ignored when inconvenient. Did something change between 1707 and 1713 ?

David Stevenson

Blacket Place, Edinburgh

Now that the SNP’s Named Person scheme has been damningly ruled as “unlawful”, we of course now see a predictable backlash from the likes of the deeply anti-UK SNP MP Paul Monaghan (who never the less very much enjoys the tax-funded position he has in Westminster) and even Nicola Sturgeon herself, furiously attacking a newspaper on social media, for reporting the findings of the Supreme Court, which is in fact, the media’s job.

Many of their following are (also predictably) railing against the Supreme Court’s ruling, claiming anti-Scottishness as the prime motive, ignoring the fact that two of the five judges are themselves Scottish.

Naturally, this is the SNP’s tried and tested knee-jerk reaction when their adroitness and proficiency is called into question. In fact, deflection is demonstrably the SNP’s “A Game”.

Mark Ward

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Dalmellington Road, Glasgow

Having heard Bill Alexander from the Highland Council and John Swinney of the Scottish Government speaking in defence of the Named Person scheme on the radio, I am immediately alerted to a business opportunity.

When I am next winter climbing in the Highlands, I need to devise a means of harvesting large quantities of the snow which covers the peaks and engage these two gentlemen to take it to northern Canada, where I will task them with selling it to the inhabitants.

Now I don’t believe for one moment that the majority of these people would be gullible enough to fall for their sales pitch, but I’m sure there would be sufficient numbers for the enterprise to be lucrative. Certainly many more than Scottish parents who would swallow their mendacious utterances in defence of the NP scheme.

Most canny Scots know that when something looks and smells unwholesome, it’s usually better not to partake of it.

Alan Thomson

Strontian, Lochaber

Fragile economy

People are already less worried by Brexit as the unspeakable disasters prophesied by Osborne have not materialised. However, they forget what an imbalanced economy we have, with the second highest national debt in the developed world and a similarly bad current account deficit in our balance of payments.

Markets know that the Tory ministers guiding our ship through possible storms could have a tough job – that’s why the pound has fallen so sharply. Invisible earnings and inward investment finance our debt and reduce our account deficit – if these dry up we may have further falls in the pound, possibly triggering inflation.

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Austerity increases may become more necessary to offset debt managing problems. Equally wages may be kept down-to boost exports.

Alas for Tory ministers the public may not like the fact they have inflation, weak wage growth, and record private indebtedness to cope with.

So let’s not ignore the fragility of the economy, and let’s take economists’ advice to play safe and not leave  Europe completely.

After all even if different kinds of ideologically driven economists have been wrong at different times, economics is still the only way we can make sense of the difficulties we may face trying to sort out a very imbalanced economy.

The arrogant dismissal of experts’ views worries me, because I had no reason to think these Brexiteers had any economic wisdom to impart to us during the referendum they won by using propaganda and a “just trust us because we’re not experts” mantra.

Andrew Vass

Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh

Since the Brexit result , the SNP has beguiled Scotland with promises galore to defend our nation’s place in the EU at all costs. It has been the most concentrated public relations  exercise by the party since the 2014 independence referendum.

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I am a Remain in EU and Remain in the UK voter. It is clear that the SNP will soon reject any terms of agreement between the EU and Westminster as an excuse for their ultimate aim of another independence referendum and this poses a real danger facing millions of Scottish voters. 

A considerable body of Scottish voters do want to leave the EU but just who is  defending the views and  rights of  these Scottish residents ?.  Since 23 July, not one public recognition of their views has been made by SNP ministers. 

All of the SNP’s publicity has focused on  our First Minister’s bandwagon as it loudly rolls to Brussels on her massive “Save Our Scotland in the EU” mission. Democracy must be respected by the SNP government, which claims to represent all of Scotland.

It is ironic that the UK government, always blamed and faulted by the SNP, is the only democratic force working for those Scottish voters. Yet in indyref2, if it comes to pass, these voters will be wooed by the SNP to  separate Scotland from the UK and rejoin the EU.

Britain has been torn apart by the recent Brexit vote in addition to the lasting damage suffered by Scotland during the 2014 referendum.

The SNP’s unwavering desire to further deepen our nation’s social and economic wounds with another stab at independence must be resisted.

Angus Brown

Station Road, Longforgan

Power choices

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I have no problems with nuclear power as a reliable form of energy supply but at £18 billion the Hinkley nuclear station is far too expensive and alternatives must be investigated, such as hydro power and modern gas power stations that can convert to oil depending on price fluctuations.

It is a complete folly to rely on wind energy as it is unreliable, expensive and downright ugly.

Dennis Forbes Grattan

Mugiemoss Road, Aberdeen

With regard to the Hinckley Point delay, I wonder if one of the Scotsman’s readership could answer this query? As I understand it, the nuclear generators fitted into our submarines are made by Rolls Royce.

Would it be technically/economically viable to manufacture and install a regional network of these smaller generators? The technology already exists, the jobs and the know-how would stay in the UK, and we would not be dependant upon foreign finance. It might not be big and shiny, but it might work.

Graham M McLeod

Muirs, Kinross

Braveheart alert

Coming across a flyer for an Edinburgh Fringe show called Braveheart, I confess to being what I rarely am these days: shocked. I had to read it twice.

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This show is aimed, we are told, at “five to 12 year-olds’’. The children are apparently armed with a “real claymore’’ to fight “against the English’’ for “Scotland’s freedom.’’

Those trying to indoctrinate others with their Braveheart-garbled version of history are aiming at the very young and innocently gullible.

How would it go down if a show was advertising for this age range to play out the Crusades – which happened around the same era as Wallace – and be a soldier in Richard the Lionheart’s army? Yes, quite.

It defies belief that this show could be running in Scotland today.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh