It's '˜numptitude'

Katie Hay, of the Law Society of Scotland, gave us a detailed analysis of the areas of Scots law that may be affected in the event of a victory for Brexit. (The Scotsman, 10 June).

In reality, many clients (past and present) are too overwhelmed by the existing failures that suffuse Scotland’s legal system to take an interest in the post Brexit legal landscape.

Those clients regard the existing system as a grim joke, a surreal pantomime featuring promiscuous “numptitude”, free flowing ineptitude, monsoon incompetence, Dad’s Army advocacy, Tom and Jerry preparation, risible “advice”, laughable “opinions”, offensive arrogance, petty petulance, preening pomposity, emaciated thinking, bloated fees, ignorance of the law, indolence, outbreaks of playground pique…

Preoccupied with the art of diminishing Scotland’s public services, the Scottish Government has yet to get the joke. That fact, and the irrelevance of Brexit regarding the status of the pantomime, will ensure that those who are obliged to utilise Scotland’s legal system can continue to “enjoy” the joke – and pay plenty for it.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street, Edinburgh

We all remember the SNP (and their following) steadfastly and unrelentingly holding to the line that Labour stood shoulder to shoulder with the Conservatives during the 2014 referendum, a line that a huge number of their followers still use to abuse anyone who dares to have a political opinion differing from theirs. It was an attempt to sully all opposition in the most cynical manner that the SNP could concoct.

What an embarrassing irony that during the EU referendum debate last week, Ms Sturgeon not only used the same “pooling our resources as a union” argument for Remain as Better Together used in 2014’s Scottish Referendum, but stood shoulder to shoulder with representatives from both Conservative and Labour to make her case.

Mark Ward

Dalmellington Road, Crookston, Glasgow

The continuously repeated mantra of the Brexit campaign is “take back control”.

In leaving the EU we may gain a little in control of internal affairs although even that is qualified by the realities of the global economy. In return for that gain we lose all control, all influence, over what happens on the continent of Europe.

Our future happiness and prosperity is linked to the rest of Europe as it always has been – history tells us that. Why would we trade real influence on the future path of our continent for the illusion of unfettered national sovereignty?

Joan Mitchell

Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway

I have yet to decide on whether in or out the EU is best for the future of the UK and its people.

If it were to go by celebrity endorsements alone there would be no contest – the latest being between a vacuum cleaner designer/salesman and a group of scientists that includes two Nobel prize winners.

If it were political endorsement, the choice is more even: Dave and Boris equally hyperbolic and unconvincing and Jeremy nowhere to be seen and, when he does appear, trying and failing to look even lukewarm for remaining while everyone knows he wants out. And of course, Nicola and Alex trying to appear genuine when their only interest is in keeping their converts on board and themselves in power by plotting and scheming for a second Indyref.

One is tempted to think: ‘’A plague on all their houses.’’

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Nicola Sturgeon claims that following Brexit Scotland would use the pound and continue as a member of the EU. Not true. Brexit means leaving the EU and that applies to all parts of the UK. Therefore if Scotland voted for independence after Brexit and wanted to join the EU it would do so as a new state. All new states under EU law are required to adopt the euro. Under this scenario Brexit makes independence less, not more, likely. Voting to leave will make the Union stronger, not weaker.

William Loneskie

Justice Park, Oxton, Lauder, Berwickshire

Nicola Sturgeon hit the nail on the head: she doesn’t fancy the prospect of Prime Minister Boris Johnson with complete freedom to rip up workers’ rights and to bin environmental protections. That’s what the EU is all about – preventing national leaders from doing the will of their electorate.

Ms Sturgeon thinks that the EU knows best, and can run countries’ affairs far more effectively than those elected by the poor unenlightened masses who, sadly, still get to vote in elections but need over-ruling where necessary.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe, Colinton, Edinburgh

David Cameron says he wants us to stay in the EU – which is strange, since he does not seem to endorse its aims or what it is doing.

The Union is expanding ever eastwards – even into Asia if Turkey joins. It is bent on becoming a superstate. Yet Westminster is hampering this. With Schengen, the EU has dismantled borders – but we have kept ours. It insists on free movement – but we seek to restrict migration from the East. It has coined the euro – but we have stuck with the pound.

The Remain camp does not extol the joys of a superstate with fuzzy borders. Instead it focuses on trade. It is not the EU it wants, it is the trading union we joined 40 years ago.

But the EEC no longer exists. It has grown, changed nature, and gained such momentum that our politicians can but stumble along in its wake. Even Margaret Thatcher could not stop it.

If we leave the EU, it could break up. Out of the debris could come a looser union that better suits all of us – Mr Cameron too.

George Byron

Comely Bank Avenue, Edinburgh

Few people may have heard of Framework 7 or Horizon 2020 but these major research funding initiatives by the EU are vital to universities and research institutes across Europe. In recent years the UK has received the greatest share of this money of any country in the EU. For the Leave campaign to claim the importance of research funding from Brussels is a “myth” is a blatant lie. For the arrogant, ignorant xenophobes who run that campaign to dismiss the opinion of a group of Nobel prize winners is a disgrace.

(Dr) SJ Clark

Easter Road, Edinburgh

No democracy

Paris Gourtsoyannis’s Perspective article was excellent (11 June). However, I take exception to the headline, “Democracy is alive and kicking”.

Although he highlights the many good things being done at Westminster, the UK Government is one of the least democratic in Europe – in my view even less democratic than the European Parliament. The Conservatives polled 35 per cent of votes cast and have a safe majority. The Scottish Nationalists got 50 per cent of the votes cast in Scotland and have approximately 96 per cent of Scottish MPs. For a parliament to be democratic it requires to be fair and representative. In the last Coalition Government the MPs had an opportunity to pass a bill which would have introduced a form of proportional representation for electing MPs which was rejected by the majority of Conservative and Labour members. There was also an opportunity for the House to pass a bill to reform the House of Lords, reducing its members to 300 of whom half would be elected. These were great opportunities to make our parliaments more democratic and I don’t see any politicians mentioning these or even proposing these reforms in the lead-up to the Referendum?

Many, however, are hypocritical in suggesting that the European Parliament is not democratic and I can only conclude that if we leave Europe we have little chance of becoming more democratic.

C Scott

Mortonhall Road, Edinburgh

Stewards inquiry

The violence at the football match in Marseille raises an important question. It takes two to tango, but independent commentators, including a Russian domiciled in London, lay the blame with Russian fans who invaded the England supporters’ area after the final whistle, while “stewards in hi-vis jackets stood and watched”.

This is reminiscent of the recent Scottish Cup-final between Hibernian and Rangers, also marred by violence. The “stewards”, who are either portly senior citizens or willowy first year college students, are in my experience, most efficient and officious in telling you to go right, go left, stand up or sit down, but conspicuous by their absence when any trouble erupts. What, exactly, are they paid for?

Walter J Allan

Colinton Mains Drive, Edinburgh

Stop carnage

A teenage driver, who had just passed her driving test only hours earlier, and her passengers were injured, one seriously, in an accident where the car collided with a tree (The Scotsman, 11 June).

I make no comment on this except that there are far too many accidents and fatalities involving young drivers.

Figures show that 2,088 young drivers and passengers aged 17-24 were killed and seriously injured in just one year. A third of the drivers killed were under 25. Young drivers aged 17-19 are 1.5 per cent of licence holders but are involved in 9 per cent of fatal crashes.

One suggestion I have heard is to consider a restriction that a new young driver could not carry passengers, other than family, for nine months after passing their test.

Another was a curfew from 10pm-5am.

Countries that have introduced restrictions for new drivers have seen big drops in accidents and death and injury rates. British governments have stood by as this carnage continues. It’s time for action to protect our young from themselves.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road, Linlithgow