Readers' Letters: Afghan people thrown to wolves by the west

Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz are seen at a mosque that is sheltering them in Kabul, Afghanistan  (Picture: Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz are seen at a mosque that is sheltering them in Kabul, Afghanistan  (Picture: Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz are seen at a mosque that is sheltering them in Kabul, Afghanistan (Picture: Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
The Afghan people have been thrown to the Taliban wolves by the people who were supposed to protect them. Their president fled the country, and America abandoned their embassy in Kabul.

The unseemly stampede of westerners to get out as the militants swept through the country has been a salutary lesson for those left behind, terrified for their lives, and for the future of their daughters.

It’s a sad day for democracy and human rights in Afghanistan.

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Women have most to fear, and those without burqas searched frantically for shops which sold them, as their oppressors moved in.

Barack Obama is remembered for stating that “You can judge a nation, and how successful it will be, based on how it treats its women and its girls”.

When an entire female population is left unprotected in the face of an approaching misogynistic enemy, we can be sure that they’re seen as expendable, and all the progress they’ve made in recent years will be swept away.

Carolyn Taylor, Dundee

MPs and AOBs

Like many, I am distressed at the pictures from Afghanistan, but I am also distressed at pictures from Syria and Yemen at war and further upset seeing countries experiencing floods and fires. This is capped by a failure back home to deal appropriately with drug deaths, homelessness and poverty.

Wednesday's Parliamentary debate added to my distress as our MPs seem over-interested in demonstrating a delusion as to our role in the world (we are not empire builders anymore); an apparent commitment to the sound of their own voice and a powerful “anything else” that does not require action on their part.

James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

State of shame

Whether or not we have completed Nicola’s first “100 days” is open to debate on the part of the SNP themselves, never mind the media in general. However, perhaps we should focus more on the bigger picture when talking about the state of our nation in what feels more like 100 years of dereliction to the duty bestowed on the Scottish Government.

More to the point, might the usual suspects who sing the praises of the “Glorious Leader” focus their attention more on the following.

Highest drug deaths in the UK per head of population; highest number of food banks per head of population in the UK; 12-year high in drink-related deaths (minimum pricing worked, then?); Scottish education a mess; the rewriting of Scottish history to “educate” the next generations; children as young as four to be allowed to identify (transgender) without the knowledge of their parents; the skulduggery policy making via the backdoor to ensure minimal scrutiny throughout the last year; the wish to retain totalitarian powers of lockdown; school closures etc at the behest of whoever is in power with no consultation; a tax system, no doubt world leading, that takes in £900 million, but only generates £172m of benefit to the coffers of the Scottish Government; and finally, the A&E service provided by the devolved Scottish NHS in total freefall.

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At what point will the “people of Scotland” smell the coffee and wake up to this litany of disasters, of which these are but a few.

Until we do, the Sturgeon train will roll along, hand in hand with the economic destroyers, the Green Party, and leave us a destitute, sad little nation, which will unfortunately be completely unable to sort itself out, and unable, in the words of Alan Sim (Letters, 18 August) “tae think again”.

David Millar, Lauder, Scottish Borders

Taxing time?

In response to Scotland having the highest alcohol death rate in the UK, the SNP MP Peter Grant said that the UK government controlled alcohol taxes.

Despite ignoring the fact that didn't explain why Scotland was the highest, what higher alcohol tax rates do the SNP support? Will they be putting an amendment down for higher taxes at the upcoming UK Budget? Or, as usual, do they just prefer blaming Westminster.

David Watson, Edinburgh

Rotten Tories

The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures are due for release. This annual summer ritual will doubtless suggest that Scotland has an enormous deficit and this will produce a frenzy of unionist comment along the lines that independence – already impossible in their view – is even more impossible now. It will, as usual, be nonsense.

An online comment from Fraser of Allander of 17 August reports that we can expect a very high deficit figure for Scotland of around 21 per cent.

I would suggest that Fraser of Allander has form in considering these matters.

At those of their online seminars which I have joined, they take care to portray themselves as neutral on independence, then produce a litany of pettifogging difficulties over the transition to independence without, in my view, a due counterbalance of considering the many states which have successfully become independent. This creates a negative impression of the prospects for independence.

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When GERS is published there will doubtless be a blizzard of ill-founded scare stories about independence.

Proper reporting would include the enormous sums debited to the Scottish taxpayer for Trident, a tremendous waste of money according to Michael Portillo; HS2, which will reach as far north as Birmingham; the grossly overpriced French-Chinese Hinkley Point power station, etc, etc.

All of this spending and more is decided by Westminster, with substantial costs attributed to Scotland.

GERS will show the worrying state of a Scotland being ripped off by the rapacious Tory regime in Westminster. We should have control of our own taxes and set our own priorities and end the nonsense of GERS and the like for good.

Bill McKinlay, Edinburgh

Riches await

GERS is our annual reminder how badly Scotland fares as part of the UK compared to other similar sized independent countries in Northern Europe.

Thanks to Boris Johnson’s disastrous handling of Covid, the UK has the highest deficit in Europe and Scotland faces a double whammy when the full impact of Brexit comes home to roost.

However, those who say that Scotland’s deficit would mean years of austerity should read Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth, which argues that deficits can strengthen economies and lead to faster growth.

Seventy-two per cent of Scotland’s revenue and 40 per cent of spending is reserved to the UK Government and their political priorities. If an independent Scotland would bring about the necessary structural changes to the economy and society, then figures in GERS say little about the long-term finances of an independent Scotland.

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Oil prices were as low as $18 a barrel in 2020 compared to $70 now but the Norwegian government's direct income from the petroleum industry was £8.7 billion in 2020 and it is estimated to produce £12.5bn in 2021.

As 97 per cent of the electricity Scotland use comes from renewables, which is way ahead of the UK’s 35 per cent, there is more justification for an independent Scotland to develop the Cambo oil field while transitioning to a carbon neutral economy.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Read More
GERS: Scotland's deficit unsustainable in long term, says think-tank

Who’s gullible?

In answer to Gill Turner's letter yesterday, I can't speak for John Birkett, but I have read the Education Minister's paper in full and I did not read the article by Brian Monteith to which she refers. There was nothing in my letter of 16 August that did not appear in the Minister's guidelines. An accusation of gullibility sits ill with someone who happily swallows everything that comes from the Scottish government. I seem to remember that she was a staunch supporter of the Named Persons Bill. Need one say more?

D Mason, Edinburgh

Some you win

Rod Minchin begins his article “First British Great War victim’s medal sells for £17,000” (18 August) in the most unfortunate way: “A medal won by the first British soldier to be killed in action...” Does he not mean, “awarded in honour of...”?

I thought people won medals at sporting events. If Private John Parr had realised it was a competition, it’s certain he would have preferred not to win it.

Kathryn Sharp, Edinburgh

Peculiar protest

Surely the funniest story in the news right now is a group of anti-Covid protestors who claimed to have “seized Edinburgh Castle”. Who they are, I have no idea. Quite what they hope to achieve is a question, as well.

They claim "We're waiting to restore the rule of law. We're doing this peacefully and we're doing this lawfully," based, they claim on "article 61 of the Magna Carta."

There is one glaring problem here. Magna Carta is an English legal document which has never applied in Scotland, as it was created in the days of King John of England in his conflict with his barons.

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A woman involved says that “corrupt, evil, satanic paedophiles are running this country”, which is one for Social Services to sort out!

A further claim made is that “The government has been acting treasonous against we the people”. If giving people a vaccine which has helped my own family cope with Covid, amongst many thousands of others, then, no doubt, the Government is guilty and Boris should be charged with… something. Having a bad haircut, perhaps.

Those responsible for this waste of police time should be charged with offences against correct use of the English language and historical illiteracy.

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

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