Readers Letters: Scotland’s future rests in being part of the UK, not EU
We get vague promises about the size of the EU market for Scottish exports, but we were in the EU for 40 years, yet under 20 per cent of our exports went to this massive market, while 60 per cent (which even the SNP would acknowledge is a majority) was sold to England – that country beside us in the same island, with excellent transport links, a common language, and no export barriers.No Mr Robertson, our future rests in being part of the UK, not flogging the dead horse that is independence… as so many of your colleagues will find out at the next election. And not before time.
Brian Barbour, Berwick Upon Tweed
Why is it SNP MSPs such as Angus Robertson refuse to accept that, had Nicola Sturgeon instructed the 35 SNP politicians at Westminster in 2019 to back the Tory motion for the UK to stay in the EU Customs Union, the bill would have passed into UK law instead of falling by just six votes.
Had the SNP listened to the people of Scotland there would have been no Boris Johnson administration, no Hard Brexit and the UK (including Scotland) would have similar EU privileges to those of Norway!
Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway
Jill Stephenson criticises the Scottish Government for holding a vote on a ceasefire in Gaza on the grounds that foreign policy is a reserved matter (Letters, 16 November). But we send our representatives to Parliament to reflect the views of those living in Scotland. That includes both Jews and Palestinians. They have a right for their views to be heard and Parliament has the right for that view to be conveyed to Westminster so that they can decide how to act on behalf of the devolved administrations.
The proposition that this is simply an SNP ploy dreamt up to embarrass Labour is rather undermined by Scottish Labour voting in favour of a ceasefire at Holyrood despite this being against the wishes of their Westminster leader. In addition, the Labour-run Senedd in Wales has already voted in favour of a ceasefire eight days ago, with Labour members being given a free vote.
Robert Menzies, Falkirk
James Duncan laments the fact that during the 1980s North Sea oil boom the UK government squandered the opportunity to build a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) from petroleum revenue tax, licence fees and corporation tax (Letters, 13 November).
It chose instead to use the revenue on short-term policies, but had it heeded then Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Heseltine's advice to create a SWF it would have been worth £500 billion today.
However, unlike Norway or the United Arab Emirates, the UK never actually invested directly in the oil fields and so never had the financial resources to invest in building the “great gleaming cities” built on oil wealth envisioned by Mr Duncan. The undisputed epitome of such an image is Dubai, which will shortly play host to COP28.
In just 50 years since oil was discovered there it has been transformed from a poor desert trading port with a population of 86,000 to an opulent metropolis of 3 million, 68,000 of whom are millionaires. After Qatar and Kuwait it has the largest carbon footprint in the world at 24.3 tonnes C02 per capita. According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change a record 70,000 delegates will be attending COP28 but it is doubtful if they will be visiting the shanty town homes of the tens of thousands of migrant construction workers who built this wonder city while being cruelly exploited, overworked and underpaid. Instead they will marvel at the innovative concepts on display at the construction of the new net zero “smart city” of Masdar which is expected to cost $22 billion.
They will also admire the vast solar park which will be the biggest such facility in the world. Dubai will make much of such apparently carbon-free projects but, mindful of a need to shed their dire environmental credentials, they will still be able to exploit their remaining 150 years of oil reserves to help facilitate corporate greenwashing.
Neil J Bryce, Kelso, Scottish Borders
Loss of spirit
I write with regard to the proposed closure of churches within the Church of Scotland. Final decisions on closures of many churches are imminent under the premise that: “They are not fit for purpose and are to be disposed of.” The Church of Scotland deferred the “closure decisions” to Presbyteries and thereby created a lot of animosity amongst congregations. After all, the church is the people and the people should be listened to, not dictated to!
But perhaps the most important question today with the current turmoil and uncertainty in our country and in the world is, should we be closing any churches at all while there is so much anger and hatred in the world?
History tells us that many people look towards the church in times of crisis and the church is always there for them. Will it be there for them after this proposed cull?
As we wait and wonder about the uncertainty that could affect many of us, I would once again ask that the decision-makers consider what kind of future lies ahead? Possibly much more than financial implications and cost-cutting and more about coming closer to God!
In conclusion I would say that closing churches, some of which are still vibrant, multicultural and community-based, makes no financial sense and certainly makes no spiritual sense at all.
Raymond Anderson, Johnstone High Church, Renfrewshire
A week is a long time in politics, and what a week we are having. First casualty was Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP, which set off an avalanche not just in Downing Street or through the House of Commons, but in the whole country and even further afield. The appointments that followed were certainly a demonstration of arrogance and contempt towards the country. Arrogance was evident in the appointment of David Cameron, who does not even sit in the House of Commons.
This David Cameron was the one who inflicted so much damage on the country, so much pain and suffering, the architect of ten years of austerity which had a crippling impact on so many of our public services. It was David Cameron who inflicted Brexit on the country, something the Conservatives will never be forgiven for, especially here in Scotland where we voted Remain.
And the appointment of a Minister Without Portfolio in Esther McVey is quite breathtaking when we consider the damage she inflicted on millions in her previous role as Work and Pensions Secretary.
In those two appointments alone, the PM and his Government are sending a clear message to the country: we are not listening, we believe in austerity and the appalling figures recently revealed by the Trussell Trust regarding the issuing of 1.5 million emergency food parcels (April-Sept ’23) obviously sits comfortably with the Conservatives in Government.
Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk
So, there is no evidence that anti-wind farm campaigners were responsible for the damage to the lifter vehicle which was involved in transportation of wind turbine blades to the Pines Burn wind farm (your report, 16 November).
Why would anyone even suggest it in the first place? We are not exactly renowned for causing criminal damage and we certainly have nothing against the haulage company, who are only doing their job. Our complaints lie with Government policy and the greed of developers who are responsible for the environmental vandalism taking place throughout the country but who manage to avoid criminal charges.
Why was the vehicle left unguarded in a layby overnight; is that not somewhat foolish and is it not possible that some disgruntled driver had just had enough of being inconvenienced, not just for hours but days on end due to the disruption caused by the slow-moving convoys carrying the 65m (210ft) blades. This is just the start of months of disruption for which no amount of financial, community benefit bribes will compensate.
Aileen Jackson, Scotland Against Spin, Uplawmoor, East Renfrewshire
Men of war
If men could give birth to babies, feed them, keep them warm, hold them in their arms and rock them as they sing a lullaby, they might find it more difficult to bomb civilians, destroy their homes, and leave people to mourn the horrific deaths of their children. It’s called empathy, and the biggest obstacle which prevents humans from feeling empathy is their capacity for considering themselves to be different from, and luckier than, those whose tragic stories they read about in newspapers.
I can’t imagine how any mother could fully recover from the slaughter of her children. It’s hard to accept we are living in the 21st Century, and humans are still killing each other in over 30 ongoing conflicts across the world.
Carolyn Taylor, Broughty Ferry, Dundee
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