These seem to go hand-in-hand with the recent tendency to ascribe any questionable behaviour to mental "stress"; many people genuinely suffer from this, but there is also a great deal of bandwagon-jumping here because the subjective nature of much of it is rarely questioned.
To use an unfashionable metaphor, we are creating a rod for our own backs when the young are told they can do what they want. As a wee boy in the Sixties, I was kept from running away from my parents by leather reins attached to my back, an eminently sensible method of control which stopped me, and my peers, from running under a bus. Children always benefit from being reined in, literally or figuratively. Being supervised does not always mean being suppressed.
Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife
I write to applaud Brian Whittle on his excellent article “Our farmers are among the best in the world – so stop attacking them” (Perspective, 31 May). It is refreshing to read such clear-thinking common sense from a knowledgeable politician, to counteract the populist fads to which we are becoming increasingly subjected. I am not a farmer, but as a member of the auctioneering profession (now retired), I greatly appreciate the care and attention given to all aspects of livestock production in Scotland over many years, to ensure that Scottish beef, lamb and pork continue to live up to their well-deserved reputation. The farmers and all involved in the food chain, are worthy of our support.
Iain M Thomson, Tain, Ross & Cromarty
Murdo Fraser has his seat thanks to the D’Hondt voting system that allows parties which perform poorly on the constituency vote to pick up seats on the list (Perspective, 2 June). The system was designed to prevent the SNP from ever forming a majority government but since that hasn’t worked out too well, the Tories are squealing that the system is unfair.
Perhaps Mr Fraser would prefer we adopt the UK first-past-the-post system that has handed unfettered power to the Tories with as little as a third of the popular vote, entrenching minority rule.
No one is better at gaming the system than the Unionist parties. Tactical voting was rife amongst Unionists in the most recent election where, for example, in Edinburgh Southern the hapless Daniel Johnson was re-elected thanks to Tories voting Labour to keep out the SNP.
What Mr Fraser doesn’t like is how marginal the Tories have become in Scotland. The Tories destroyed a third of Scotland’s manufacturing capacity, imposed the poll tax, savagely slashed the social safety net, pulled us out of the EU against our will and are actively stripping powers from the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Fraser tries to sound the alarm that a Green-SNP deal threatens aristocratic country sports like grouse shooting and will harm farmers, something the Tories have already managed to accomplish with Brexit and the Australian trade deal.
Scottish Tories (and Labour) are irrelevant as long as they take their orders from Westminster. Mr Fraser should concentrate on fixing that, not the voting system.
Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh
Crash of symbols
Fraser Grant makes the bold claim that the United Kingdom is the only democratic country in Europe compelled to display "jingoist characteristics" in the shape of the national flag printed on products or aircraft or as a backdrop for public appearances of politicians.
I don't know when Mr Grant last boarded a German Lufthansa flight but if he did his keen eye no doubt would have spotted the German flag at the tail end of the plane.
If he had ventured into a German supermarket he would have noticed the German banner on numerous food stuffs such as butter, vegetable packaging or, well, sausages. Black, Red & Gold can also be found on all sorts of wares, from T-shirts to tea mugs and – hold your breath – face masks. Almost every German product proudly sports the Made in Germany logo, of course designed in the German colours.
I would like to encourage Mr Grant to write to the German government in order share his views on displaying "jingoist" national symbolism.Regina Erich, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire
Fraser Grant bemoans the fact that unionists don’t understand the difference between ‘England’ and “the UK’. It seems to have passed him by that not all of Scotland (by a pretty large margin) is reluctantly part of the Union.
As for the jingoistic tendency to display flags and push for Britain, again he appears to wilfully ignore the (mis)use of the flag of St Andrew by his party, and the ever-present noise from its supporters as to Scottish superiority in everything.
Pauline Carruthers, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire
It is astonishing, but there are still some on the nationalist side claiming that UK pensions will continue to be paid should Scotland be separated from the rest of this island by the SNP. No, they will not. Former chancellor Alistair Darling made that very point crystal clear several times, more than a decade go.
There is no mythical private pension style pot where all National Insurance payments are invested. Instead, pensions are paid from general taxation.
So, no “pot”, no accumulated payments held in a secret account. I thought everyone with even a modicum of interest and knowledge of economics was aware of this.
So, should Scotland be dragged out of the UK, those doing the dragging will be liable to pay pensions and all benefits from what they can reap from Scottish taxpayers.
I agree that is a frightening prospect, given the SNP’s proven eye-watering incompetence in matters financial, but that is exactly what will happen.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Clark Cross is determined to deny the reality of our warming climate, as his recent letter makes plain (Letters, 1 June). We all seek evidence to support our views, so I hope he will accept the results of my own research into one of the the most urgent issues of our times.
Climate scientists do not get lured into this field of research by the promise of great riches. This is one of the myths which deniers pounce on to make their case for carrying on with business as usual. They could earn a great deal more by choosing to study law or economics.
A new report from Yale School of the Environment states that there has been a “staggering rise” in the number of extreme weather events over the past 20 years, driven largely by rising global temperatures and other climatic changes. It’s easy for sceptics to be dismissive of reports from around the world, when they are not the victims.
The authors of this report warn that, when we fail to act on scientific evidence and those early warnings, when we are slow to invest in climate change adaptation and risk reduction, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to the effects of our misguided actions and apathy. We should heed that warning.
Carolyn Taylor, Dundee, Tayside
Often while trying to solve one problem, we create another; two-factor authentication for internet security is a case in point. Because this normally involves a code being texted to your phone, any interruption of service from your mobile provider will result in your being unable to access your bank or other important online services, even if you have working broadband!
Our whole modern world depends on reliable electricity, broadband and mobile networks, and strong internet security. All of these can be compromised by hacking by hostile states or criminal networks, as Estonia and the USA have discovered.
Also, the replacement of baseload generating capacity by wind turbines which can only provide part-time electricity is stripping resilience out of the vital electricity network.
As both electricity and telecommunications are reserved matters, the Conservative government really needs to prioritise resilience, otherwise we are looking at a catastrophe much worse than Covid.
Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife
We need a proper inquiry into the full effect of our increased dependence on wind and sun to supply our electricity. The vital aspect ignored by renewables promoters is that we live in a world that now functions entirely by electricity.
Without electricity, simply everything stops. Computers don’t work, so no access to bank accounts or phones. Communications don’t work, so transport and distribution dry up, and food becomes scarce. Water turns off, and tax can’t be collected. Electric anything is useless, and anarchy soon prevails. The days of living in a log cabin in the wilds, with a rifle and a good supply of ammunition are over.
A few isolated outages are survivable, but to be permanently vulnerable to the weather is horror in the making.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross
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