Readers' letters: Labour is failing to support Scottish interests
Brian Wilson has failed to do his homework (Perspective 3 July) as although the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by the UK in 1991, it has not yet been made part of domestic law, which means that many of the protections are not accessible to young people across the UK.
That is why the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the bill in March to incorporate those safeguards into Scots Law. It is the Tory government at Westminster that is picking fights by going to the Supreme Court over this and the Scottish Parliament bill adopting the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
Brian Wilson also seems unaware that the Labour government in Wales has challenged the UK Internal Market power grab in the courts as the legislation "seeks to impose the UK government's will on Wales, in a way that disproportionately favours the interests of England".
Westminster’s power grab continued last week when The Subsidy Control Bill will create a new system for state subsidies which were previously decided by the EU. Devolved administrations will be “empowered” to subsidise companies but only if they fit a “set of UK-wide principles”.
This new legislation will effectively stop the Scottish parliament from determining how business subsidies can best support Scotland’s economy and reflect our Scottish government’s priorities.
Labour’s continual failure to stand up for our Scottish parliament explains why they only won two constituency seats in May compared to 62 for the SNP.
On the wrong side
The vituperation of Brian Wilson against Scotland, Scottish democracy and the Scottish government appears endless.
In his latest bitter outpouring (Scotsman, 3 July) he castigates the Scottish Parliament for having the audacity to protect the rights of Scottish children by incorporating into Scottish domestic law the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty already signed by the UK in the 1990s.
The bill passed the Scottish Parliament in March when it was deemed uncontroversial and passed unanimously, including with the support of Mr Wilson’s Labour colleagues.
He cannot, therefore, slate the SNP for thinking that protecting the rights of Scottish children by incorporating the convention into Scottish domestic law was a beneficial move within the competence of Holyrood, since the UK was a signatory.
It is deeply disappointing that Mr Wilson chooses to support the Tory-appointed Scottish Secretary Alister Jack in challenging the bill at the Supreme Court rather than support democracy and child welfare in Scotland.
There can really only be two reasons why Mr Jack wishes to challenge this Scottish bill. Either the UK government has no intention of honouring the treaty it signed and wishes to limit the rights of children or this is petty interference for the sake of it.
Either way, both are morally repugnant and politically inept, and Mr Wilson has chosen the wrong side of the argument.
I enjoyed reading Alistair Dalton's article on the Erskine Bridge at 50 (Scotsman, 2 July).
If memory serves me well I think that this amazing bridge was established and funded by Renfrewshire County Council and Dunbartonshire County Council as an essential local initiative.
I think the same applied to the financing and construction of the Tay Road Bridge (Dundee Town Council; Angus County Council and Fife County Council) and the Forth Road Bridge (Fife County Council and a consortium of Lothian and Edinburgh City Councils).
Lest we forget, Glasgow City Corporation built the Clyde Tunnel and the Kingston Bridge.
I have an even more distant memory that many of these key elements of our national infrastructure were undertaken in the face of initial central government opposition.
Where would our infrastructure system be today were it not for the imagination and drive of local government?
Alexander Brown's article (Scotsman, 3 July) highlighting government plans to increase taxes on gas and petrol will not, to any noticeable extent, decarbonise the economy.
The Scottish Greens have questioned this proposal as it increases prices for everyone. The governments of the UK and Scotland have no viable plan to decarbonise the economy affordably and neither do the Scottish Greens.
High carbon dioxide emissions could be considered a type of pandemic many times worse than Covid19 and reducing emissions is the only remedy.
Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions can be achieved to a significant extent if a political consensus can convince the UK government to establish a statutory task force, such as a National Energy Authority, to run the energy sector in a way that will ensure future electricity prices are kept as low as possible and carbon emissions across all sectors are reduced.
This Authority will require the appointment of independent engineers and scientists with a track record in all aspects of developing our energy infrastructure.
To accept this proposal the agreed political consensus will need to accept that it is not possible to decarbonise our electricity power grid affordably without increasing our nuclear generating capacity by a significant amount.
Politicians claim to have listened to the experts in respect of Covid-19 and I suggest that they now listen to the experts in respect of the energy infrastructure needed to combat climate change.
The indigenous schools in Canada are a shameful episode in Canadian history that I and many other people were not previously aware of.
It is obvious that many poor children died from maltreatment in these schools. If they were still in existence until as recently as 1996, it may well be that some people connected with running them in recent decades should be facing criminal prosecutions.
Nevertheless, during the years of their existence the British monarch had nothing to do with these schools and the toppling of the statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II is just the act of a bunch of childish vandals who will hijack any historical cause to give vent to their latent desire to destroy property.
Just as living people who were responsible for maltreatment and maybe even deaths of children in the indigenous schools should face prosecution, the people who pulled down and defaced these statues should be facing the charges and punishments that any common vandal would face.
Where truth lies
I notice, as doubtless have many other readers, that the word 'lie' appears to have been redefined.
Rather than signifying a deliberate untruth, it now appears to mean any statement with which the speaker/author disagrees.
Contrary to what Alan Hinnrichs claims (Letters, 3 July) the phrase 'once in a generation' was used by supporters of independence to describe the 2014 referendum. Indeed, the then First Minister went even further, calling it a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity.
Now it may be that this was merely rhetoric to encourage the faithful to seize the chance, rather than a cast-iron promise signifying that there wouldn't be another such vote, nor would one be sought, in the foreseeable future.
However the words were indeed uttered and it is disingenuous of Mr Hinnrichs and those of like mind to try to rewrite history by claiming that to assert that they were is telling a lie.
Jane Ann Liston
It is understandable that England is euphoric at their progress in the Euros.
However, an opportunity was missed by the BBC to have an opt out allowing Sportscen" coverage with Jonathan Sutherland presenting; Michael Stewart and Steven Thomson analysing; with Liam McLeod commentating for viewers in Scotland.
The BBC ignores the fact that three UK nations may or may not be caught up in the excitement of cheering on England.
John V Lloyd
Been here before
I was interested to read an article by Conservative minister Kevin Foster (Scotsman, July 3) extolling the virtues of of a "new route" to allow graduates to stay on to work in the UK after graduation. "We want to keep the brightest and best".
This is such a good idea that it was introduced in 2004 by the Jack McConnell administration under an initiative to encourage graduates to stay in Scotland called the Fresh Talent Initiative.
It was subsumed into the points-based system by the Labour government under Gordon Brown in 2008 and scrapped by the Conservatives in 2012.
As they say, it's amazing what can be accomplished if nobody minds who takes the credit.
Despite assurances from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the Test and Protect scheme is in meltdown, with the current peak of reported Covid 19 cases beyond resources to cope.
Ms Sturgeon is now admitting that the roll out of the vaccination programme will be the only effective means of controlling the spread of the very infectious Delta strain of the virus without putting undue pressure on our hospital services.
Dennis Forbes Grattan
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