As a Liberal Democrat I might be expected to be anti-certification on the grounds that it is an unacceptable encroachment on our civil liberties. Indeed, Scottish party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has signalled that he considers it might be the thin edge of the wedge and the precursor to the introduction of comprehensive medical ID cards and other such Big Brother assaults on our personal freedoms.
Not so. This "slippery slope" argument is a logical fallacy, intellectually incoherent, and pure conjecture bordering on scaremongering. I have always thought that the basic tenet of civil liberties was that one should be free to exercise them only when they do not impinge on the civil liberties of others.
For me, the civil liberty of not being infected with Covid takes priority over the carelessness and thoughtlessness of those who seek "freedom" from such a minor infringement of theirs. Civil liberties should be an altruistic, not a selfish, concept.
I therefore find myself in the slightly uncomfortable position of disagreeing with the stance taken by my own party leader (and Scottish
Labour) and in agreement with the SNP. Covid vaccination certification is for the greater good and wellbeing of the Scottish population as a whole and we should embrace it accordingly.
Stuart Crawford, Convener, East Lothian Liberal Democrats, Haddington
I must not be alone in being so completely underwhelmed by the statement from the First Minister detailing her Programme for Government (Scotsman, 8 September).
It plumbed the very depths of ineptitude, bereft of ideas, innovation, initiative and flair. The statement offers at best little, at worst nothing for the small and medium sized employers who will endeavour to drive future economic growth. It was a statement from a stale, tired and stagnant government which has shifted further to the “left” due to the coalition with the “far left” Greens.
We have the biggest budget deficit in history but we are blessed with a government looking perhaps to implement a four day working week combined with a universal basic income – who is paying for that and what happens to productivity in a 24-hour trading world?
We are offered a Gender Recognition Bill and a Bill on Fox Hunting unlikely to affect the daily lives and living standards of vast majority of Scots.
Finally the threat of a further destructive, divisive and discordant independence referendum looms on the horizon. How this will help our national recovery is anyone’s guess. How we must all be looking forward to the next few years…
Richard Allison, Edinburgh
A wee problem
Nicola Sturgeon has outlined ambitious funding plans for the NHS and social care in Scotland – plus she intends to hold a referendum to make Scotland independent by 2023.
But there's a wee problem, isn't there? If Scotland was independent and separated from the British taxpayer's very deep pockets, Sturgeon's ambitious spending plans would have to be massively reined in, inflicting damage on health and social care in Scotland. She surely knows this full well and, unfortunately for the independence-obsessed SNP, the majority of us are bright enough to grasp this too.
Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders
That it has taken a rich public schoolboy and two hardened monetarists from immigrant backgrounds to bite the bullet over our collapsing health and social care system is a savage indictment not merely of the wilful neglect by Messrs Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and May but equally of the "I'm Alright Jack" before "Union Jack" nation we'd become to allow its death by a thousand cuts in the first place.
Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid may be vilified by certain parts of the media today – but history will raise a glass to them as it did to the great reformers of 19th and 20th century Britain equally vilified in their time.
Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire
All the measures suggested by James Watson for the financing of the social care are reasonable and worth considering (Letters, 7 September).
However, like most commentators, he did not mention the biggest potential source of national income: the multi-billion pound annual amount of taxes which the country is deprived of by offshore tax fiddles.
No politician will dare to do anything about this loss because it would upset the tax avoidance industry of the City of London but it could make a substantial difference to many of the country's financial problems.
Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh
I refer to your editorial comment concerning the failing of Police Scotland (“A grim reminder of the need for scrutiny”, September 8). The real problem here, is the dismantling of community policing and its centralisation in "Police Scotland" – yet another unnecessary and poorly managed policy by the SNP.
It hasn't yet dawned on our SNP government, that if such processes are not adequately planned, the centralisation becomes too big to be manageable in a social service whose success depends upon swift response to save lives and prevent local incidences of violence and other criminality.
It is also unconscionable for the review of the tragic death of Lamara Bell to have taken such a very long time.
Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife
A force for good?
The case of Lamara Bell and John Yuill is sad in the extreme. Chief Constable Ian Livingstone has apologised “unreservedly” and the force has indeed a great deal to answer for (Scotsman, 8 September).
Police Scotland was the brainchild of Alex Salmond and ex-justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, controversial from the beginning. It was seen as an attempt to reduce costs, remove local accountability and provide political control over one Chief Constable as opposed to the previous eight.
The new force has gone from crisis to crisis with three Chief Constables in five years and as many chairs of the Scottish Police Authority. Operationally, call centres have been centralised and subject to swingeing cuts, with the force reporting substantial annual financial deficits.
Police Scotland is nothing more than a political pawn for this controlling, nationalist regime.
The tragedy of Lamara Bell and John Yuill happened during the tenure of Sir Stephen House and Chief Constable Livingstone has apologised. Perhaps those who should be apologising are the architects of Police Scotland which has been an unmitigated disaster and a huge mistake, costing lives.
Douglas Cowe, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire
You report that the police have been fined £100,000 for the M9 deaths. The police have not been fined anything at all, but taxpayers have because they will pick up the tab in a devolved Scotland, just as they would in England and Wales.
The only way the police could be truly fined would be if the Chief Constable and other officers reponsible were identified and fined personally, out of their own pockets. The same applies to any state funded organisation. “Fines” are non punitive and utterly pointless.
David Hollingdale, Edinburgh
Diane Martin (Scotsman, 6 September) provides a sobering account of her lived experience of violence and abuse in prostitution which underlines why the Scottish Government must act now to curb the demand which facilitates and drives the sexual exploitation of women.
It is devastating for these women that a blind eye is too often turned to their exploitation in the name of alleged choice and empowerment – a narrative which only seeks to benefit the greed of those profiting off the buying and selling of women’s bodies.
We must be clear that prostitution is not sexual liberation nor is it work – it is sexual exploitation and an abuse of human rights.
The Scottish Government deserves plaudits for their "Equally Safe” strategy which recognises that prostitution is a form of violence against women.
However, the reality is that women and girls in Scotland will never be “equally safe” until ministers criminalise the purchase of sex and target the sex buyers who are fuelling Scotland’s highly exploitative sex trade.
Lauren Agnew, CARE for Scotland, Glasgow
Time and tide
You claim that tidal arrays provide 'clean, reliable energy' (“£6.4m for tidal turbine company”, Scotsman, 8 September).
Unfortunately it’s not reliable all the time: when the tide turns twice a day, generation stops. Nor does this happen at the same times every day, so it's doubly unreliable.
All renewable generation is unreliable in one way or another. However nuclear power can provide reliable electricity 24/7 and does so at present.
Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh
It's great that Andrew HN Gray had such a nice time in Cheshire, one of England's most beautiful counties (Letters, 8 September). What a pity he couldn't wait to get back to Scotland to write to The Scotsman.
Gill Turner, Edinburgh
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