Readers' Letters: Is latest road plan viable for Scotland?

The latest SNP/Green plan is to allow councils to charge motorists for using roads as a “new package of climate action measures”. Another “measure” to “accelerate the switch” from petrol and diesel vans, obviously at council cost.
Would letting councils charge drivers for using roads help meet climate targets? (Picture: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP via Getty Images)Would letting councils charge drivers for using roads help meet climate targets? (Picture: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP via Getty Images)
Would letting councils charge drivers for using roads help meet climate targets? (Picture: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP via Getty Images)

How are cash-strapped councils expected to achieve this, are there not enough cuts already? However, to lead by example, may we assume that all Holyrood official cars are now electric.

Also, that all SNP/Green MSPs no longer drive a petrol or diesel car, and for good measure are having a heat pump fitted to their house. If not, then no doubt they are planning to have a plan.

Charles Sinclair, Kirkcaldy, Fife

Make no bones

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As a retired radiographer I was amazed to read (your report, 17 April) that it has been suggested immigrants be x-rayed or have MRI scans to determine their bone age.

What a waste of valuable NHS time and money. Radiographers’ and Radiologists’ time is already stretched, with long waiting lists, especially for MRI appointments.

Also young people should not be exposed to unnecessary radiation (MRI does not use radiation).

Margaret Smith, Edinburgh

Basics are best

With “Don't let climate change take over curriculum” (Letters, 19 April), William Loneskie puts his finger firmly on the problem – the plethora of lunatic fringe theories being forced on the minds of schoolchildren by politicians on education committees.

Schools should teach the basics! Reading, writing, well-proven STEM subjects, fitness, and pupils should have access to useful crafts, art and music so any flair for these can be identified and encouraged. Most important of all is to teach them to think and question.

They’ll have plenty of opportunity to have their minds deranged by the perversions of politicians and pressure groups after they leave school, and the protection of having been taught to think rationally and question everything in school will serve them well.

Ian McNicholas, Ebbw Vale, Wales

Refugee problem

Scottish Migration Minister Emma Roddick has written to UK legal migration minister Tom Pursglove saying the UK Government needs to take in more Palestinian refugees who have family living in Scotland (your report, 13 April). She is calling for the UK Government's refugee family reunion scheme to be expanded to include all immediate and extended family members including parents, adult children, siblings and their siblings' children.

The numbers and cost of this would be horrendous, so will Emma Roddick take a refugee family into her own home, or at least pay for their upkeep for life? Will the 74,000 people who signed a public petition and the 75 migrants' rights organisations and law firms across the UK take in refugee families or fund them so there is no cost to UK and Scottish taxpayers?

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There are already 32,242 homeless households in Scotland, of whom 36,848 are adults and 16,263 are children. In England there are 271,000 homeless people, of whom 123,000 are children, so would Palestinian and other refugees get priority? Charity should begin at home.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Economic boost

Thursday's Scotsman had a picture of the First Minister at the launch of FastRig wing sail. I'm sure that a lot of readers will have thought this was yet another example of the First Minister flying a kite, but his various publicity seeking and virtue signalling initiatives deserve credit.

For example, his tax regime and minimum drink prices initiative have boosted the economy and business – unfortunately, it is England's economy just over the Border, as Scots seek cheaper drink and residence subject to a more sympathetic work/reward tax regime.

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Fag end?

A perfect example of good intentions is the banning of cigarette sales to those born in or after 2009. As many have commented, cigarettes are bad for you. Then again, so is alcohol and the Scottish administration is penalising normal, social drinkers with their punitive increase in its unit price.

Do the well-meaning politicians in Westminster or Holyrood ever think beyond the policies that they enact? The saying that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions could be speaking about either administration. Illicit sales of cigarettes will now take off, because it will be seen to be “cool” among school-age children to smoke because it is illegal. Ever was it thus, but now, even more so. The sheer practicalities of enforcing this in a country without ID cards will be interesting. Will it breach human rights for 48-year-olds to be able to buy cigarettes in many years’ time, but for it to be illegal for 47-year-olds and younger?

In Scotland, just as older siblings (and even cigarette-smoking parents) will supply little Johnnie with a few fags, because he's already addicted anyway, there will be a new market for pushers – or doesn't Rishi Sunak see that?

In Scotland I can drive to Berwick for my booze after September's rise in the minimum unit price of alcohol, but people in Inverness can't, really. I am sure that a thriving trade will arise with neighbours making a weekly or monthly journey to Berwick or Carlisle and bringing crates of booze for friends in their street. Without a border, what's stopping us?

Maybe these actions are for our benefit, but as adults, we will choose for ourselves.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Up in smoke

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One of the great services the European Union did for us was to pass the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations which banned smoking at work so that we could all breathe freely while at our jobs. It is noteworthy that three Brexit stalwarts – Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Ann Widdecombe – all voted against the government's bill to ban anyone born after 2009 from smoking. They all went on to whinge about the “nanny state” taking away their “rights”.

None of these whingers bothered to mention that the same “nanny state” still allows them the right to light up on the street and give lung cancer to anyone unlucky enough to pass within breathing distance. The same goes for all those drivers complaining against ULEZ. Boris Johnson and Liz Truss were born well after 1954 when the Clean Air Act came into being and so are quite unaware of the pigsty that Britain was during the early 1950s, but Ann Widdecombe certainly wasn't and should know better that to spout nonsense.

Henryk Belda, Edinburgh

Women ignored

When defending the Hate Crime Act during First Minister’s Questions last Thursday, First Minister Humza Yousaf argued that almost a quarter of police officers are victims of such incidents and that some of the abuse is motivated by prejudice towards sexual orientation or race.

Mr Yousaf will be well aware that a significant part of the police force is female. Female officers will also suffer abuse simply because they are women. Does Mr Yousaf acknowledge that these female police officers are not protected by the Hate Crime Act because he and his party stubbornly refuse to include the sex of a person as a protected characteristic?

Moreover, Scottish policewomen, as well as every other woman and girl in this country, will be left unprotected against sexist hate crimes until we finally have the long-awaited law against such offences (which may take years) or the Hate Crime Act is repealed or amended (which may never happen). Thanks for nothing, Mr Yousaf.

Regina Erich, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Greedy Yousaf

The Post Office's response to compensating postmasters and postmistresses wrongly convicted in relation to the Horizon scandal has been woefully inadequate and the introduction of new legislation to accelerate the process seems to be creeping along at a snail's pace.

Much has been made of the fact that, south of the Border the Post Office can bring prosecutions whereas in Scotland the Crown Office is responsible. This makes the introduction of the new compensatory legislation being made applicable to the whole of the UK complicated.

However, never one to miss an opportunity, First Minister Humza Yousaf again seeks to deflect criticism of his government's inaction to bring in similar Scottish laws by demanding that Scotland be allowed to tack onto the English and Welsh legislation when, in relation to so many devolved matters, Scotland chooses to go its own way and refuses a shared approach. Mr Yousaf can't have his cake and eat it!

Bob MacDougall, ​Kippen, Stirlingshire

Confused spell

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If ever a single incident in present-day Scottish politics is needed to illustrate all that is so utterly and pathetically wrong in 2024, we have it.

Natalie Don, an SNP MSP, has asked that her private members’ bill to issue blanket pardons for women who were convicted as witches hundreds of years ago be pursued by others while she pursues her job as a minister.

That time and effort could be expended by the SNP on these pardons for centuries-old misjustices is startling.

Especially when you consider none could be found by the same party for even a statement on the monumentally important Cass Report, affecting so many of our troubled young today.

If it is not Gaza or crimes of the Middle Ages, forget it.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

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