Readers' Letters: Sturgeon and co should help save Aye Write! festival

So Creative Scotland, having given £85,000 to what many regard as a hard-core sex project, withdraw funding from Aye Write!, a prominent Scottish literary festival. Nicola Sturgeon complains, then we learn Humza Yousaf is looking to provide Scottish administration support.

I've a better idea. How about Sturgeon and some of her luvvie pals provide the £77,500 that had been expected from Creative Scotland? Sturgeon could chip in with 20 grand from her £300,000 memoir advance, with the same contribution from successful writer and fellow separatist Val McDermid, plus another £20,000 each from wealthy ex-pat nationalists Alan Cumming and Brian Cox? Bingo – all sorted with a little left over for popcorn and ice-creams!

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Beyond a joke

Each year on 1 April, I look forward to spotting the April fool wind-up in The Scotsman. Unfortunately, this year, the SNP government has spoiled this by releasing its very own April fool – the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act. This is a stupid piece of legislation from a pretty useless government, whom we should get rid of at the next election.

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If this letter is published, I shall put the kettle on and look forward to a visit from PC Plod.

Jim Houston, Edinburgh


Every time the Scottish Government is called on to defend it's new Hate Crime Act, it reiterates that the threshold for proving criminality will be high. But surely the problem is not the threshold for proving a crime (which seems to be largely unchanged), but the threshold for proving a “non-crime incident” which seems to be "someone was offended".

The idea the police should occupy themselves with investigating “non-crimes” is fairly new. The question no-one seems to be asking is: what will be the future impact on an individual of having a “non crime hate incident” recorded against them? Will it show up in a DBS check? Will they be required to declare it when applying for a job, or visa?

People accused of “non crimes” are not being given the same opportunity to defend themselves as those charged with criminal offences. Yet the impact on their futures could be every bit as devastating as an actual criminal conviction.

Anne-Louise Crocker, Shoreham, Kent

What’s the point?

Given the SNP’s record for making deliveries in accordance with their scheduled programme, what would be a reasonable timescale for Scotland’s independence being achieved once voted for? Based on experience, it would surely be somewhere between 100 years and never, so what’s the point in the continued divisive drive of the SNP in pursuit of their ideological goal?

Until empirical research can be produced in support of the rhetoric, let’s just stop the hatred of Westminster rule and stick to improving on the devolved matters!

Michael Officer. Bridge of Earn, Perthshire

For the birds

Regarding the comments made by Mark Tennant about Richard Dixon's article concerning Muirburn, in which Dr Dixon appears to imply only grouse moors owners employ such practices (Letters, 29 March), he fails to get that traditional moorland is a thriving environment for wildlife.

I would point Dr Dixon to Lauder Common in the Scottish Borders, which is managed with traditional practices, especially Muirburn, to remove old rank heather and encourage fresh growth for the sheep that roam freely, as they have for hundreds of years. Wildlife thrives there as a result. There are numerous curlew, snipe, grouse, larks, pheasants, golden plover, meadow pipits, even an odd blackcock. There are raptors that visit occasionally, such as peregrines, barn owls, and even a golden eagle sometimes as they spread following their reintroduction into Southern Scotland. And of course, rooks, crows and magpies.

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It is a joy and a privilege to walk there with its wonderful views, seeing wild birds in their natural environment. The idea the management needs “licensing” is laughable. Just another example of interference for political ends, It needs to be left to carry on as it has done for generations.

John Williams, Heriot, Scottish Borders

Prophet and loss

If the UK was faux, as denoted by Marjorie Ellis Thompson (Letters, 29 March), why do nationalists blame it for anything that has gone wrong? And who are her "raging Cassandras"? My guess is that they are supporters of the union who make accurate predictions about the bad things that would happen if the union was dissolved but whose prophesies are not accepted by those who desire its destruction. The distinguished commentator Andrew Marr doesn't rage but he did better than Cassandra. Writing in 1992 in favour of a Scottish parliament, in The Battle for Scotland, he predicted it would come to pass, but if run by xenophobic nationalists would be anti-English, levy high taxes and subsidise inefficient shipyards.

Hugh Pennington, Aberdeen


Kirsty McLuckie (Scotsman Magazine, 30 March) is wrong to say putting the clocks forward is “gifting us all an extra hour of daylight”. According to the Met Office, there will be just five extra minutes of daylight, which is due to being a day nearer the summer solstice. The clock change only pushes the working day forward, resulting in, yes, more daylight in the evening but also gloomier mornings, as early risers will notice.

It will take about a month for us to get an hour more daylight than we have just now, when the Earth will have rotated further towards midsummer, making the sun appear higher in the sky.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Write to The Scotsman

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