Readers' Letters: Facts twisted by supporters of plan to export refugees to Rwanda

What a display of self-interest, mean spirited lack of compassion and misrepresentation of facts was revealed by several of your correspondents (Letters, 19 April) regarding the deal for exporting refugees to Rwanda.

There is nothing in international law requiring a claim for asylum to be made in the first country refugees travel to. In that event there would never be a case for a refugee from any of the world’s current trouble spots to be accepted here and the bordering countries would be even more overwhelmed.

Payment to traffickers does not mean refugees are rich and most have to incur large debts to money lenders. Most refugees are not economic migrants. 98 per cent of people who arrive in small boats apply for asylum and over 75 per cent are successful. Indeed 88 per cent of Syrians and 84 per cent of Eritreans were approved after validation. In exporting all arrivals to Rwanda the UK is forcibly removing large numbers of people who would otherwise have been found to have a justifiable case to remain here.

The reasons for travelling here include having friends or relatives here, understanding or speaking English and a belief, some might now say entirely misguided, that UK is a tolerant and democratic country. If someone had to flee from this country and had Italian as a second language and relatives in Italy would they chose to go no further than Belgium or France?

Home Secretary Priti Patel defends the plan to send refugees to Rwanda in the House of Commons

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Those wanting to open the borders to everyone need to be honest about it - Brian...

The principal reason people including families chose the dangerous Channel route is the lack of approved safe routes. If the Home Secretary would accept the French offer of a visa application centre in France and overhaul the broken processing system the use of small boats and traffickers would be significantly diminished or eradicated.

Graham Hay, Livingston, West Lothian

Island life

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Scotland has many islands with little or no population. Surely it would be better to relocate migrants to these islands with the materials to house themselves and give them the ability to support themselves than fly them to Africa?

John Cutland, Kirkcaldy, Fife

Sticking plaster

I fully agree with the leader comment in The Scotsman (“A shot in the arm”, 19 April) that employing staff from abroad to fill NHS vacancies is not a long-term solution – and neither is it fair-minded.

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At this juncture, in the wake of the Covid pandemic, most countries in the world have the same critical issues with health service staffing levels as we do and poaching their much-needed staff at such a time must be seen as nothing less than immoral.

Indeed, I would go further and suggest that those seeking to fill current healthcare vacancies by recruiting talented doctors and nurses who have trained abroad, at great expense to someone else, are no different to those of our colonial ancestors who similarly plundered resources from overseas for their own benefit and without thought of the consequences to others.

We need people in healthcare planning in Scotland who can work hard, think outside of the box and come up with a homegrown solution for the medium to long term.

In the interim, there is the potential to use the skills and experience of recently retired healthcare staff to fill the gaps. For most of 2021 and into 2022, I and many other retired doctors and nurses worked at centres across Scotland (a lot of us as volunteers) to help deliver the Covid vaccination program.

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I believe a fair number might be willing to continue helping in some way, in order to support currently overstretched NHS staff, if certain potential concerns can be addressed – such as flexible working patterns, indemnity issues, targeted retraining, and supervision and mentoring on return to practice. Come on Scottish Government, roll up the sleeves and make this the number one priority for 2022.

(Dr) Michael LagganNewton of Balcanquhal, Perth and Kinross

New variant

Scotland’s Freedom Day came at last on Monday as all Covid restrictions were lifted, albeit some two months after England. So where was the evidence for maintaining these restrictions for longer, severely damaging the Scottish economy, tourism and the hospitality industry in the process?

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Despite Scotland having a much lower population density than England, Covid rates here were actually higher than in England over the last two months, so these Draconian restrictions were obviously not effective at all. Perhaps the difference was because the “Sturgeon-Leitch” variant was much more virulent here and like “midges”, only appears once you cross the Border!

Most EU countries also abandoned their Covid restrictions in early April, so I can only suspect that the real reason for extending them in Scotland was that Nicola Sturgeon and her Covid coterie of Leitch, Bauld and Sridhar were unwilling to give up their new-found “celebrity” status in the broadcast media.

George Primrose, Uddingston, South Lanarkshire

Schools policy

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I have been forced to take a break from writing my long-awaited autobiography to reply to Neil Barber (Letters, 20 April).

For a start, he sees the existence of Catholic schools as a "cruelty” for which the State pays. Naughty, naughty State. However, if anyone is being cruel, it is surely all the parents who choose to send their children to such places. Moreover, this magnanimous person (the State) does not pay for Catholic schools; rather they are funded by the taxes of all the misguided parents, including of course many non-Catholics. atheists, agnostics et al.

Secondly, I am fairly certain that Catholic schools came into existence as a result of anti-Catholic attitudes on the part of our forebears, and which we now seem to be leaving behind – or perhaps leaving to football nutters. We should admit that Catholic schools were post – not propter – hoc.

This said, there is certainly a case for a transition to a more genuinely flat playing area for the future of our children. After all, other countries have managed to get along with a secular education system. In fact, might I suggest we could go even further. Imagine a Scotland and the rest of the UK with a school system bereft of the hugely divisive private schools which blight our country. Imagine a Westminster Parliament bereft of Etonian toffs. Imagine.

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Bill Simpson, Carnoustie, Angus

Have a Heart

Your Hearts-supporting correspondent (Letters, 20 April) had me wondering if I had attended two different games from those he describes.

First of all, the minority of Hearts fans to whom he refers that were singing nasty and sectarian songs, probably consisted of more than half of those attending – admittedly from my vantage point at the other end of the two stadiums.

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For many years the ‘’up to our knees in Fenian blood’’ triumphalist and nakedly sectarian choruses from Hearts fans have been matched in viciousness, noise levels and numbers involved only by their mentors at the other end of the M8. The flag-waving to which he refers does not bother me in the slightest.

Finally, Hearts were by far the better team in the league match at Tynecastle and thoroughly deserved their win. At Hampden I thought ten-man Hibs shaded it but lost that game also.

It takes a special kind of lack of any sense of irony for a Hearts fan to accuse Hibs, or for that matter any other team, of being over-physical. Most Scots fans would be laughing at that.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

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Ortega’s abuse

I am not surprised that our newspapers and their readers have been paying more attention to Ukraine or Rwanda these days. However there is a persistently worrying situation in the more obscure, nowadays, country of Nicaragua.

Daniel Ortega's dictatorship regime in Nicaragua, like Putin in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, has further tightened his rule.

Having outlawed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and charities like Oxfam and CAFOD, Ortega has stopped any possibility of monitoring his abuse of democracy and human rights by removing the official legal status of the Permanent Commission for Human Rights organisation or CPDH.

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I urge readers to complain to their own Westminster MPs (as it is an issue of international policy) on behalf of Ortega's political prisoners as well before the situation degenerates further.

Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders

No comparison

I see that the usual creatures have emerged from the swamp over the First Minister's mask faux pas (Letters, 19 April).

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I didn't think it would take long before the usual suspects would rush to compare Nicola Sturgeon's momentary act of forgetfulness with her mask with Boris Johnson’s party shenanigans.

Their cries of hypocrisy are just that, but of their own making. We've all occasionally forgotten to pop our masks on. How you can compare this with deliberate and frequent flaunting of lockdown rules is beyond me.

Brian Bannatyne Scott, Edinburgh

Due process

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Now that Nicola Sturgeon, a lawmaker, has been found to have broken her own laws on two occasions please could the SNP stop their holier than thou screeching about another lawmaker who broke his own laws, and let due process take its course.

Whilst not as serious as Boris’s actions, because mask wearing has been contentious and, according to some groups, damaging to Scotland’s economy and Scots’ general mental heath and well-being, it still comes across as one rule for Nicola because she is so forgetful and another for the rest of us.

Michael Voice, Alyth, Perth and Kinross

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