Readers' Letters: Give farmers tools they need to beat tick invasion

The former president of the National Farmers Union Scotland, Jim Walker, has stated that: “This year is undoubtedly the worst I have seen for tick infestation of ewes and lambs” (“Asulox: Scottish farmers reach tipping point over delays on bracken herbicide decision that could cost lives”, 8 June).
Tick infestation of ewes and lambs is on the rise, say Scottish farmers (Picture: Getty Images)Tick infestation of ewes and lambs is on the rise, say Scottish farmers (Picture: Getty Images)
Tick infestation of ewes and lambs is on the rise, say Scottish farmers (Picture: Getty Images)

I saw first-hand evidence of the explosion in rural Scotland's tick population this week, when my wife and I spent the day walking in glorious Glen Lyon with our two dogs. I was astounded by the number of ticks surfing over the dog’s fur at the end of the day. We have walked across Scotland with dogs for many years but have never seen ticks in such numbers as we saw this week. Ticks pose a recognised health risk to humans as Lyme disease, a bacterial infection with potentially serious long-term effects, can be spread to humans by infected ticks.

If there are tried and tested methods to reduce bracken coverage (and thereby reduce the size of the tick population) in areas where physical destruction is neither safe nor physically possible then these measures should be instituted without delay.

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Necessary intervention should not be blocked by the actions of politicians such as Lorna Slater, someone who in recent weeks has clearly shown more than once that she has little knowledge of, or interest in, rural affairs.

Michael Laggan, Newton of Balcanquhal, Perthshire

Demand better

“Water shortages will be more common,” says the First Minister. Yet in this Scottish nationalised industry, controlled by the SNP for 14 years and which is apparently so much better than the English model, where are the new reservoirs?

After 14 tired years of this divisive, incompetent SNP government, I’m still surprised at its failings in health, education, policing, ferries and local government, but even more surprised that a core set of supporters ignore this disastrous record rather than demanding competence. If SNP supporters really want to achieve independence, they have to persuade others of their case, so they should be demanding better service and competent government. Then maybe, just maybe, those who doubt the case for Scotland being independent might be persuaded otherwise.

Brian Barbour, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland

Dump Greens

So the SNP are looking for a new chief executive at a salary of £95,000, I hope this is coming from SNP funds and not from the public purse such as for the NHS and education etc.

Here is a suggestion as to where they can find money. Get rid of these useless and totally unimportant Greens and save the exorbitant salaries paid to Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater for their so-called positions with made-up titles.

Charles Sinclair, Kirkcaldy, Fife

Ruling by fear

A study published this week shows that the Arctic will be free of sea ice by the 2030s. This is entirely due to the pumping of fossil fuel pollution into the atmosphere by dirty corporations.

The climate crisis is going to push one third of humanity out of its liveable environment. Humans cannot live in areas where it is either too hot or too cold. The reason the planet is being heated up beyond the limits of human endurance is the greed of corporations.

Massive wildfires in Canada have caused choking smoke. These have produced a massive deterioration in air quality. Over 100 million people in the US and Canada are now under unprecedented air quality warnings.

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The perfect storm of parched conditions, along with unparalleled heat created by capitalism, made global warming; it has now evolved into a gargantuan public health crisis. The neoliberal system is on course to smash all goals to limit devastation brought about by global warming. The events in the US are a prelude of what is to come.

The billionaire class who are responsible for this want to take away everyone else’s freedom. Across the Western world the right to public education, the right of teachers to teach, the right to demonstrate, the right to vote, the right to strike, even the right to survive a deadly pandemic.

They rule through fear by playing on concerns over falling living standards, wages, the gutting of public services and infrastructure. This fear is then used to to divert attention away from the actual causes of the crisis to imagined and manufactured ones.

Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee

Selfish world

It's a sad reflection of society today that legal measures have to be used to preserve honesty and integrity in our public services. The Scotsman’s columns highlight the introduction of legislation to prevent police officers being investigated for misconduct from resigning or retiring “to escape the posse” and deny victims justice.

Also, former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier clings on to her job after breaking the Covid rules and being suspended from the Commons, therefore precipitating a possible recall petition. In an ideal world where high standards are maintained, police officers under investigation would see out the process and accept the findings while Margaret Ferrier would have resigned under her own volition to preserve her own self-esteem. Sadly, self-preservation appears to be paramount and we are all the losers for it.​

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Full control

In response to Robert I G Scott (Letters 9 June), there are at least two advantages in Scotland regaining its independence.

For the first time in its history it could become a full democracy, with one, or two, fully elected parliamentary chambers. It would no longer be subject to first-past-the-post MPs, of which England has 533, or the unelected House of Lords with, at September 2022, 755 peers eligible to attend it.

The BBC reports on 9 June that the UK government could suspend the windfall tax on oil and gas firms. In contrast, an independent Scotland would also control its oil and gas resources and their taxation for the benefit of those who live in Scotland.

E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire

EVs are bad

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Richard Dixon describes the problems with raw materials for electric car batteries (Sustainable Scotland, 8 June). These are expensive, and of limited supply, coming from faraway places. They cause damage in their extraction, and pollution in their transport.

Like any manufactured item, an electric car is parasitic, but more so than a petrol or diesel, because of its battery.

Another more disturbing aspect is that children are sometimes used to mine these battery materials, as tunnels can be made smaller and cheaper.

Then, as more electric cars come into use, the electricity distribution network will become inadequate for charging them, so roads and streets will have to be dug up to lay stronger cables. It is hard to find anything good about these devices.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth and Kinross

Power to people

The Barnett formula is a security blanket for those of a British Nationalist/Unionist persuasion. It is invoked again by one of your correspondents, not to my knowledge medically qualified, pronouncing on the Scottish NHS (Letters, 9 June). Perhaps she has experienced nothing else but as a former London resident let me invoke Harold MacMillan and say Scotland has never had it so good. A friend recently had a complex brain operation in Glasgow lasting 11 hours which will mitigate his Parkinson’s. Were he still in London he would continue to wait while his condition deteriorated.

The Barnett formula does seem to me to be like Monty Python's Holy Grail for many of your regular contributors. If only we could be reminded as frequently of Scotland's net contribution to the British state in terms of energy and other resources. The fact that Loch Ness alone has more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined in an era of ever decreasing water supplies is no doubt one of the many reasons England, in the form of Westminster, will never let Scotland go.

It will be up to the Scottish people to assert their sovereignty which, while not widely known, historically rests with them, unlike the other components of this dis-United Kingdom.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh

Trouble Bru-ing

News that Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr, along with Coca-Cola and Red Bull, are considering massive compensation claims over the deposit return scheme shambles could provide a new motto for the SNP/Greens: Made in Scotland from Plonkers".

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

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