Readers' Letters: Sturgeon should sort France Covid ‘passport’
Thank you Nicola Sturgeon! I am just back from France where the Scottish paper proof of vaccination is not accepted in restaurants, bars and public places, and despite applying for my “pass sanitaire” weeks ago, this still hasn't arrived.
I was treated like a second class citizen as the English are able to use their digital QR code to gain entry. As a result I had to have four tests while there, for which I had to pay, have my nose drilled and fill in onerous forms in French. These time-consuming, deeply unpleasant and expensive tests only give you a temporary QR code, which has to be renewed every few days. I’m glad I wasn’t there for a fortnight!Why did the First Minister not sort this out when the UK government did? She was quick enough to follow like a sheep and make France amber-plus when it was ludicrous to do so. Clearly she does not have the ability to think things through to their conclusion. God help us.
Rosie Playfair, Edinburgh
Douglas Cowe nails it when he describes the Greens as an "anti-economy, anti-business, anti-capitalist, anti-UK, anti-personal freedom, extreme left-wing, cabal of eco-warriors" Letters, yesterday) – and they would probably cheer that description to the rafters.
When Patrick Harvie calls Andrew Neil, a well-respected broadcaster and journalist, “extreme” and “hard right”, you know Mr Neil must have a lot to be said for him. Many SNP supporters are asking themselves whether Nicola Sturgeon has taken leave of her senses, harnessing her party to a group whose whole agenda is to close down Scotland's industries in their entirety. Can achieving independence be worth such a sacrifice even to the most diehard nationalist?
Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh
Indy is answer
What a confident, well-resourced country Ireland is. In contrast the UK has had the weakest economic recovery of any country in Northwest Europe since the 2008 financial crash, with our citizens having the lowest wealth per head.
The UK’s weak economic recovery stands in stark contrast to that of Ireland, which has seen a massive increase in GDP per capita of 37.8 per cent – six and a half times that of the UK – over the same period. In addition to Ireland, the UK has also fallen behind Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Belgium, France, and Austria.
An analysis from the House of Commons Library, using IMF data, revealed the UK had the lowest growth in GDP per capita of any country in Northwest Europe between 2009 and 2021, at just 5.8 per cent. Now, 13 years on from the financial crash, it continues to have the lowest wealth per head of any country in northwest Europe.
On average, independent countries of Scotland’s size or smaller have seen an average increase in GDP per capita of +20.6 per cent, an increase of three and a half times that of the UK.
They all have the power to make their own decisions.
Tricia Grey, Lochgilphead, Argyll & Bute
Indy is insane
So just how much has the rise of nationalism in Scotland benefited the people of Scotland? Its future influence on Scotland, and its economy, could be absolutely devastating in a situation where with a population of only 5.5 million people, there are only about 2.5 million taxpayers. In other words an independent Scotland would struggle to make ends meet – indeed, such an overview of the situation might well prove to be too optimistic.
To date Scottish Nationalism has only served to divide families, and destroy friendships. Its rallies and marches depicting tartan-clad and woad-painted warriors certainly cannot bestow on us the image of a modern nation with an expanding economy.
What remains of the industrial sector, and key investments in Scotland such as whisky distilling, are not financed by companies in Scotland – the range of such investments is worldwide – the largest sector being London-based. Thus we have a situation in which the main part of corporation tax is paid from external sources.
Can even our would-be leader, Nicola Sturgeon, confirm that the shipyards on both the Clyde and Forth, which currently undertake contracts for the Ministry of Defence, would without doubt continue to be major employers of skilled Scottish workers if Scotland should ever cease to be an integral part of the Union? The Royal Navy does not contract to have its ships built on what would be deemed to be “foreign soil”!
The SNP administration, with its almost comical backing from the Greens, must indeed be naive if it believes that it has control over Scotland, its economy or its place in world affairs. The Exchequer, banking system, currency, stock market, Foreign Office, defence, etc are all closely related to, and controlled by, the UK Government at Westminster.
The Scottish Executive – and similar bodies in Wales and Northern Ireland – were designed to handle local affairs more effectively.
Scotland can only remain safe in the world economy, and from global predators, if it remains part of the UK – a 300+ year-old-union.
Robert I G Scott, Ceres, Fife
Why is Nicola Sturgeon not delighted with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack’s proposal about how the UK government could agree with an indyref2? (“Nationalists should consider a super majority in any second referendum”, Scotsman Comment, 28 August). Even when offered a perfectly reasonable route to getting what she wants, she dismisses it.
The First Minister insists the mandate from the last election gives her all that she needs, by which she means that the UK government and the people of Scotland should let her have her way on this in every regard. She finds it hard to recognise the UK government’s right to have any say in this matter because it is likely to insist on various inconvenient conditions. It is perfectly sensible for the UK government to want to see sustained support for another referendum before, in these most difficult of times, we embark on such a distracting and divisive exercise.
Long before the Covid pandemic, our First Minister has grown used to telling us all what to do. When it comes to that which she views as transcending all else, namely independence, she intends to impose her will on us regarding the timing of a referendum, the question and all its terms and conditions. She also wants to avoid being drawn, meanwhile, on all manner of tricky fundamentals that she does not have clear answers for, such as currency, the route to economic sustainability, the prospect of a hard border with the rest of the UK, and the terms and timing of securing EU membership.
Nicola Sturgeon hides behind her “democratic mandate”, whIle being coy about making the detailed case for what she demands. If she cannot be confident about getting 60 per cent of Scots interested in even having another referendum, perhaps her lifelong ambition is not as compelling as she imagines.
Keith Howell, West Linton, Scottish Borders
After the horror of 9-11 US President George W Bush vowed vengeance, resulting in the bombing of large areas of Afghanistan and many deaths in the hunt for the terrorist Osama Bin Laden, who claimed responsibility. The final stages of this long hunt included the CIA using fake polio vaccination teams to probe for information about the location of their man – narrowed down to somewhere in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This region is now one of the few areas in the world where polio has not been wiped out. The population don’t want anything more to do with Western teams and their vaccines, and aid agencies are understandably reluctant to go there – but the US got their man.
When the appalling Syrian government planned to use chemical weapons against their own people, President Barack Obama informed them that this was a red line they must not cross or they would face the might of the US Military. The bad guys crossed and... nothing happened. Mindless slaughter ensued.
Last Thursday, President Biden – sounding vaguely like John Wayne – promised the US would hunt down the Kabul bomber and make him pay. The chaotic exit from Afghanistan was apparently a “mission” and those who had died were all “heroes”– the rubbish politicians throw out to deflect incoming blame! Apparently he knew who the attackers were and even where they were. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to get “his man” the day before rather than start hunting the day after? I suspect we can now look forward to the great and the good sending their “thoughts and prayers” to all those (unfortunately) left behind.
Ken McClure, East Saltoun, East Lothian
In the dog-days of New Labour, when the bright torch of hope had become the dull fag-end of reality, Gordon Brown proclaimed: “There can be only one winner in Afghanistan: a strong democratic state.” At the same time a Russian general, veteran of the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, was asked by a British documentary maker what advice he had for the West. He said ruefully: “Find the quickest route home.”
I asked my soldier son, who had already done several tours in the Hindu Kush, what he thought. He said they were the most prescient words spoken by an invading army commander since Alexander the Great had warned 23 centuries before that the Afghan tribal areas were "easy to march into, hard to march out of". I wondered if our present political leaders might avoid past mistakes but he replied: “Not a chance!”
John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife
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