Readers' Letters: Politicians turn blind eye to anti-Catholic bigotry

Your editorial is right to question the police handling of the disgraceful mob violence and vile anti-Catholic singing by thousands of Rangers fans and their ultra-Unionist camp followers in Glasgow.

Was the George Square chaos indicative of the tolerance Scottish authorities show towards anti-Catholic bigotry? (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

These events were predictable following similar events a couple of months ago. The silence from Rangers, the football authorities and Tory MSPs are deafening and attempts to equate this with the peaceful demonstration against draconian Home Office removal of two immigrants is farcical.

The anti-Catholic rhetoric in many parts of Scotland is far more divisive than any referendum on self-government yet many in authority, including elected politicians, continue to turn a blind eye to this cancer on society.

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None of this is new and It’s time the football authorities punished Rangers as this might make the morons think twice before repeating such disgraceful scenes.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Baying hounds

After condemning Rangers fans' recent behaviour as “absolutely reprehensible”, will Deputy First Minister John Swinney also condemn in the same terms the recent behaviour of the Glasgow mob who held up a police van in the lawful pursuit of its duty, forcing the police to release two men, whom it was legally holding in custody. and thereby obstructing the course of justice?

There need be known rules which satisfy the conscience of the public about entry. Will there be any arrests made over this appalling example of mob rule? No, of course not, and we all know who the SNP are really in thrall to. We deserve all we get these days if the rule of law is to be subverted like this by the baying hounds who believe they should have power over the police.

Steve Hayes, Aithernie Court, Leven, Fife

What mob?

It was disappointing to read in The Scotsman the liberal sprinkling of the illiberal and inaccurate word “mob” to describe the actions of of a group of citizens who acted collectively to deter the forced removal of two immigrants by UK immigration officials. It appears in several letters under the provocative banner headline "Scotland will pay price for giving in to mob" (17 May). This use of pejorative language belies the reality of what actually happened and the writers seem unaware of what the role of the police actually is in these situations, which is to protect public safety and not to enforce removal.In the letters, the unfortunate situation of the men is used to turn from a reactionary political standpoint, to raise the constitutional spectre of a hard border with England. This theme is taken up by your columnist, Brian Monteith (Perspective, same day), who also seems blissfully unaware that an independent Scotland will have the right to tailor its own immigration system, hopefully something more benign and humane than the hostile environment created by hardline UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Mr Monteith says the legal process concerning the two men at the centre of this affair has been exhausted, which doesn't appear to be the whole truth, and then takes the fear factor to absolutely farcical levels when he say a Trump-style fence will have to be erected along the 96 miles of the border between Scotland and England, to keep our immigrants in. Mr Monteith says that the UK immigration system is "relatively liberal', which is also a relatively liberal interpretation of the facts. It's certainly not as liberal as the majority of EU countries, including Germany, Spain or France.

Gill Turner, Derby Street, Edinburgh

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Time for debate

People are uttering confused things about the removal of immigrants and the rule of law. More than one law exists at any time. The immigration service has a duty under questionable application of law to take people to a departure lounge with barred windows.Police have a duty to keep the public safe and are not necessarily enforcers for the immigration service, which itself has a power of arrest.If people gather to frustrate statutes which they consider unjust the proper reaction is to examine those statutes. There need be known rules which satisfy the conscience of the public about entry to the country, innocence of criminal behaviour and deportation into danger.It’s clear that very high immigration would cost the community money. That may mean effort needs to go into an economic model designed for the problem.Many of the public are clearly suspicious of present law on immigration, refugees and asylum, and of the process of assessment. It’s time for a wide debate.It is important to many people that the rules stem from compassion and not from a selfish hostility.

Tim Cox, Bern 6, Switzerland

Rule of law

While Brian Wilson’s article on the Kenmure Street event did not use the phrase, the headline did: “Tories’ hostile environment” (Perspective, 15 May). That is unfair and misleading. It was the Labour minister Liam Byrne who coined it, in 2007, supported by his colleagues Alan Johnson and Yvette Cooper. When Theresa May adopted it later she was clear that it referred only to “illegal” immigrants. It was then incompetent Home Office civil servants who applied it to the Windrush and other perfectly legitimate cases.

Not surprisingly, Nicola Sturgeon and Anas Sarwar immediately assumed, at least by implication, with their references to Eid celebrations, that the two Kenmure men involved were Muslim – which as John McLellan writes (same date) was not the case; and he quite rightly asks Sturgeon and Sarwar whether they agree that the UK rule of law should be enforced. They should tell us.

John Birkett, Horseleys Park, St Andrews, Fife

Cause, not laws?

Recent events in Glasgow brought on memories of Belfast during its worst period. The Kenmure Street stand-off and the rampaging violence shown by Rangers fans at the weekend tend to confirm the worst fears of many. Sunday’s Pro-Palestinian demonstration may have been more peaceful but it was still an unlawful gathering.

However, the impression is that the SNP ministers in charge seem to judge these matters on which flag the demonstrators are waving and what ‘’cause’’ is being espoused; not on laws being broken. Is not Justice supposed to be blind? Should the “cause” or reason for marching matter?

Scotland’s transformation into an Ulster-like statelet under the SNP continues apace. What potential visitors made of these scenes is frightening to consider. No Mean City indeed. I thought hate and division and sectarianism were slowly dying out and would soon be extinct in my country – until the SNP took over. How wrong can you be?

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

SNP priorities

Leah Gunn Barrett Barrett pursues the claim that Scottish poverty is due to UK membership, the implication being that independent nations have less or no poverty as contrasted with dependent ones – an interesting thesis that lacks hard evidence. The original political analyst, Aristotle, found that a sign of a genuine democracy is indeed the absence of (the need for) beggars. SNP already has all the powers it needs to rid Scotland of poverty, whether absolute or relative. If it can find vast sums to take a former FM to court, buy a redundant airstrip, lose huge sums on boat building projects and dump cash down other financial black holes, then why, after 14 years of office, can't the SNP prove Aristotle correct?

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Not reserved

Leah Gunn Barrett attacks the Government at Westminster as if they were solely responsible for food banks in Scotland (Letters, 17 May). These are the sole responsibility of Nicola Sturgeon's SNP-led government, so if she wants to attack someone for deficiencies in that, she should focus on the SNP. They can't pat themselves on the back for all the good things and blame all the bad things on Westminster.

Is Ms Gunn Barrett unaware of the stupendous amounts of money that the SNP is putting into its "investment bank" and a) not spending on the Scottish people as the Conservative Government at Westminster wishes and, b) not lending to Scottish businesses that have applied for finance? The conduct of the SNP is reprehensible and shameful and people are well aware of the double standards they apply, this being merely one instance.

The Westminster Government offered the SNP control of social security in the 2016 Scotland Act, but they didn't want it (so much for independence). It is not “reserved to Westminster”. The SNP will not accept responsibility until 2024.

Peter Hopkins, Morningside Road, Edinburgh

Who cares?

Many care home residents in Scotland have not left their care home in more than 420 days. The Scottish Government has allowed care homes to restrict residents’ freedom by allowing individual risk assessments.

Despite two vaccine doses and low local prevalence, many residents are still being deprived of the freedom to leave their homes.

This contrasts starkly with their carers, who are engaged in the reopening of society, and care home residents elsewhere in the UK.Nicola Sturgeon’s memory lapses, as highlighted by James Hamilton QC, may not be as severe as previously thought. She well remembers that 47 per cent of Covid deaths in Scotland were in care homes in the first wave. Having failed the dead, how much longer will her government continue to fail the care home survivors?

(Dr) A Taylor, Wellpark Terrace, Newport on Tay

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