Readers Letters: Scotland will pay price for giving in to mob rule

I wonder whether those congratulating themselves on preventing the detention of two alleged illegal immigrants by the Home Office in Glasgow would be quite so pleased if they understood the implications of their conduct.

Protesters block a UK Home Office van to prevent it leaving Kenmure Street in Glasgow last week (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The attitude of the Scottish Government and the resultant behaviour of Police Scotland mean that in the event of separation there will be a hard border between Scotland and England. For electoral reasons the government of the rest of the UK will not be able to tolerate a common travel area with a country which has an open-door immigration policy.

The prospect of a hard border will reduce support for separation, and thus make it less likely to happen.

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The local community has learnt that Police Scotland will not enforce the law if it involves standing up to a mob. This will encourage the use of this tactic not just by opponents of immigration control, but also by those who have wider illicit agendas.

Nobody in authority in European countries actually set out to create “no-go” zones, but the same combination of dysfunctional political leadership and weak policing that we saw in this incident led inevitably to them in Sweden, France and elsewhere.

Everywhere these policies of lack of immigration control and passive policing have been followed, they have led to the growth of support for populist anti-immigration parties. I very much doubt that Scotland will prove to be different.

Otto Inglis, Ansonhill, Crossgates, Fife

Money and mouths

In Pollokshields, law and order was replaced by law and disorder as protesters blocked immigration officials detaining Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdevi (your reports 14 and 15 May). In Glasgow there are escalating rates of Covid, yet the police did nothing to warn the crowd to disperse.

People held up placards saying "Refugees Welcome". Will they take refugees into their homes and fund them whilst their cases are considered? A few years ago Nicola Sturgeon, when arguing with Westminster over its asylum policy, said she would take a Syrian family into her own home. She never did. Since those in charge of Police Scotland cannot do their job they should be replaced.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Curb louts

The scenes of so-called Ranger's “supporters” behaving in such loutish and illegal ways was lamentable and infuriating, especially when set alongside the whinge from some that Glasgow did not deserve to be kept in Cov id Level 3!

I appreciate that football is our national game but surely the time has come to take action against the elements that are unacceptable. Should we not add 2- 4 weeks to the time teams must play without fans being allowed into groun ds for each club whose fans break the law?

And as footballers are expected to be professional , should there not be a points sanction for each club that has players who indulge in hugging and other contact behaviour whenever a goal is scored? I think an elderly relative is more deserving of a hug than some footballer who has scored a goal for w hich he has been very highly paid.

James Watson, Randolph Crescent, Dunbar, East Lothian

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Lower hopes

Does it really matter whether a public inquiry into the handling of Covid 19 has a UK or a Scottish focus (your report, 14 May)? An old adage that inquiries or royal commissions “take minutes and spend years” to lay a china egg does come to mind. We seem to have a habit on both sides of the B order in terms of creating problems for ourselves and then holding major investigations into what went wrong. The Chilcot probe into the background and conduct of the Iraq War provides a salutary lesson. Many people felt that it could provide lessons for the future. Many bereaved families hoped that it would point the finger at whoever was responsible for the deaths of loved ones. It did neither for two simple reasons. No one can predict the exact circumstances into which the United Kingdom might be driven to war; when war does start there are many complex factors that lead to untimely and tragic fatalities.

Similarly, there can be no exact foresight into the impact and appropriate response to a new epidemic. So much would depend on the nature of the virus and the resources available to cope with it. We already know the many care homes did not have the facilities to handle the Covid outbreak in the spring of 2020. The Scottish Government has more or less conceded that it was a major error to transfer many elderly people from hospitals to the homes. We know about the production problems, national and international, related to personal protective equipment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made the point that the state has a duty to the relatives of all those who have died to try and get the full facts. That needs no justification. But neither he nor First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should build up expectations that any inquiry, whether of a Scottish or British flavour, will provide all-purpose solutions to any future crisis.

Bob Taylor, Shiel Court, Glenrothes

Poor show?

Susan Dalgety (Perspective, 15 May) blames the Scottish Government for rising poverty. She ignores what UN poverty reporter Philip Alston said in his 2019 UK report – that the Scottish Government had mitigated some of the worst impacts of a decade of Tory austerity that led to the “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the UK population,” and that “much of the glue that has held British society together since the Second World War has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos ".

This indictment is echoed by the Trussell Trust report, “State of Hunger,” revealing that 95 per cent of food bank users were destitute and that 62 per cent of working age people referred to food banks in early 2020 were disabled, more than three times the rate in the working age population. At the same time, the UK government was taken to court over its decision to not extend to 2 million people on legacy benefits the same £20 per week uplift as universal credit recipients. Tory austerity Mark 2 is coming, with Work and Pension Secretary Theres e Coffey announcing plans to end the Covid Universal Credit increase.

By contrast, the Scottish Government has mitigated the bedroom tax; introduced free school meals; eliminated tuition fees and prescription charges; provided free child care; frozen the council tax; invested in affordable housing; and is introducing the Scottish Child P ayment, with plans to double it.

The vast majority of welfare spending is reserved to Westminster, tying the Scottish Government’s hands. If the Tories really cared about addressing poverty, they would raise the minimum wage and increase the derisory levels of sick pay and pensions, among the lowest in Europe.

Poverty is a political choice. An independent Scotland would have the powers to choose differently.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Merchiston Crescent, Edinburgh

Take a breath

We can relax now for a while, the election is over, the people have spoken and the SNP (along with the Greens) hold sway over this country for another five years.

What can we expect from this future, an attack on poverty , reduction in drug deaths and also obesity levels, more focus on education, an increase in good quality, well- paid jobs, better housing for those unable to buy their own homes, more emphasis on protecting our fresh water and inshore fishing/spawning areas?

A list of potential targets, all of which demand urgent thought and, more to the point, action .

As I look into my crystal ball I foresee plenty of rhetoric, hot air and possibly manipulation of data to prove that something has been done. In addition, plenty of the “ blame Boris” noise, talk of referendum and independence.

In other words, not much change from the past five years and this is a sorry state of affairs for this lovely country that we live in, and potentially a continuing catastrophe for ordinary people who live and work in Scotland.

On the front page of the Scotsman on Saturday (15 May) is a picture of “people power” in action, rent- a- mob rule, closely followed by rent- a- gob spouting from those who should know better but can't resist playing to the people! Leaders should lead and be seen to be leading – but only with the full facts of the issue to hand.

All of the talk of racism, religious infraction and draconian asylum laws and procedures will potentially inflame what should have been a quiet process following a lengthy procedure of law. Instead, we now have a situation that has to be calmed down and the full facts given to us so that a rational review can be made of the rights or wrongs of the matter.

Will we get this from a government whose decision-making even a Holyrood committee has branded short term, piecemeal and lacking in strategic direction? Not much hope from that direction, then!

T Lewis, Coylton, Ayrshire

Boost councils

When do political parties at Holyrood propose to honour the pledge given to former Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman that the Smith Repor t will be implemented in the sixth session of the Scottish Parliamen t, thus devolving political and economic powers over health, educartion, planning and social welfare to local councils in Scotland?

If Holyrood refuses to give precedence to the bill, is it time to set up separate Assemblies for rural Scotland, as currently there is no voice for voters in these locations at Holyrood, as demonstrated by the lack of cash to rural areas to match that given to BiFab, Ferguson Marine, Edinburgh trams and Prestwick airport,

Ian Moir, Queen Street, Castle Douglas

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