Is leaving EU light on a waste of electricity? - your views
In a Tweet on New Year's Eve Nicola Sturgeon promised the EU that "Scotland will be back soon." and re-iterated her appeal "to keep the light on". But how soon is "soon"?
In December 2019, just before the UK's exit from the EU and the start of the transition period, German MEP David McAllister was quoted by Scottish nationalists as supporting a rapid EU accession for Scotland. That was then.
Almost exactly one year later and on the same day as Nicola Sturgeon sent her Tweet, Mr McAllister was interviewed on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning, Scotland programme. He said that "There is also a feeling now in Brussels that we want to leave Brexit behind. We want to have a good partnership with the United Kingdom. We want to move on."
He was careful not to be drawn specifically on Scotland becoming an EU member state: "The rules of the EU are clear - any independent sovereign country that lies geographically within Europe can join the EU if this country is ready to go through a very complicated negotiation process and if this country shares our joint values.
"In the next few years we are not expecting anything like this, and in the end it will be a decision of the British parliament, government and people if they want to join the EU again. In general we will always see the UK as an integral part of Europe - your great country might be leaving the single market and customs union but your great country is not leaving Europe and will remain our trading partner and our loyal Nato ally.”
From an EU viewpoint there seems to be a material change in circumstances, since no-deal Brexit has been avoided.
If the EU keeps a light on it won't just burn for Scotland alone but for the UK as a whole.
Regina Erich, Willow Row, Stonehaven
Before any question of Scotland’s EU membership, the SNP would need to win a referendum on independence
Boris Johnson has ruled out a referendum but even if, hypothetically, there was a vote in favour, Scotland would not only lose a number of current United Kingdom benefits, financial and otherwise, but face at least 10 years of austerity, as admitted by the SNP’s own Growth Commission
However, the austerity would be significantly compounded by the effects of Covid.
Apart from any lengthy post referendum departure negotiations with the rest of the UK, with whom it would face a border, Scotland would be bottom of the list of candidate EU members and, even so would be unable to fulfill the necessary economic,fiscal and monetary EU membership criteria, none of which Scotland currently meets or are realistically attainable.
Nicola Sturgeon is, therefore, being less than honest with the Scottish people about the true facts of EU membership.The EU is, therefore, unlikely to waste it’s electricity!
Tim Jackson. Gullane, East Lothian
Nicola Sturgeon's biggest mistake of 2020 was probably the bonus given to NHS staff.
Many I know are unhappy in the knowledge that they suffered no financial hardship and that this was money that should have gone to those who suffered most as a result of the pandemic.
Local councils I believe are now following suit, giving themselves and staff like bonuses in the full knowledge that this money will to some extent come from council tax payers who lost their livelihoods, some perhaps forever, because of measures taken to combat Covid.
Dr A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries
When is someone going to take action against the faceless bureaucracy strangling our health service?
They close local facilities for supposedly 'money-saving' grand schemes. They reduce patient capacity, turning individual ward rooms into offices. When it comes to vaccination, they apparently deem administrators of 'higher value' than ambulance crews 'locked' in a small tin box with a Covid-19 diagnosed patient outside a hospital for up to five hours.
Let's bring common sense to prioritisation - perhaps starting with the cleaning staff, because without them there will be no wards and no operations!
James Watson. Randolph Crescent, Dunbar
As someone tasked with writing a response to the Union Connectivity Review: Call for Evidence, on behalf of a rail campaign group, I was angered by Under-Secretary of State for Scotland Iain Stewart's comments in The Scotsman on 31 December (‘Scottish Government blocking ‘billions of pounds of investment’ ’).
Whether intentionally, or otherwise, Mr Stewart's comments can only be described as disingenuous.
He implies that the Review is looking for evidence from across the UK to help decide on future transport projects and that the devolved governments are obstructing this, thereby preventing money from the UK government being allocated.
However, the Review is specifically about cross-border services, to the exclusion of 'local' or 'community' benefit.
Perhaps Mr Stewart hasn't read the 'call for evidence', as he says, “That’s why the involvement of local authorities is so important. They, with their expert knowledge of their area, can quickly identify projects that could be expedited.”
The document itself is in the form of a questionnaire. Every question is exclusively about cross-border journeys. For example:
“7. Which specific journeys would benefit from new or improved transport links?”
“Please identify two or more specific points within the United Kingdom for each journey and provide details as to why each journey has been identified. Please ensure that these journeys traverse two or more nations.”
There are no questions about internal transport provision, which is a devolved matter anyway.
And when he states that “The UK government has also committed to bringing forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and now we want to identify ‘shovel-ready’ projects which can rapidly build up our communities and create jobs,” he omits to point out that these projects are limited to cross-border routes.
Anyone made to feel angry at the Scottish government by reading Mr Stewart's comments should have a look instead at the Review documents online.
Ian Budd, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow