Readers' Letters: Suicide isn’t only route to a dignified death

Assisted suicide is being suggested to the Scottish people as being a lawful way to end a person’s life. A cross party group of Scottish MSPs have decided to dress up assisted suicide as “Dignity in Dying” – a clever euphemism which suggests that many people do not have dignity in death.

Campaigners in support of assisted dying gather outside the Houses of Parliament in 2015
Campaigners in support of assisted dying gather outside the Houses of Parliament in 2015

I have been a witness to six deaths within my family in the 61 years of my life and all were eased with painkillers ie morphine and a benzodiazepine such as diazepam, to ease anxiety; they all died with dignity without resorting to suicide.

I would strongly advise the Scottish people to fight any change in the law related to assisted suicide, there are enough good drugs, palliative care teams and good hospice facilities to assist the dying without resorting to suicide which, in my opinion, would rip many families apart, with some agreeing with the decision to assisted suicide and others totally disagreeing with it.

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John Smith, Falkirk

Basket case

It is truly amazing that so many Scottish Nationalists seem to believe that independence, if you can call subservience to Brussels “independence”, would make for a financially sound country, and offer no clue as to how they think it could be so. Firstly, Scotland could not satisfy the criteria for membership of the EU; I concede that the EU have discretion on that point – but only on condition that these criteria are met within a set period, usually a year after admission. An independent Scotland would become a disastrous basket case because Nicola Sturgeon’s promised Utopia would be impossible to finance, cut off from the flow of cash from the UK. Scotland would, in fact, go bankrupt.

Nevertheless, some Nationalist might be able to prove me wrong by providing facts and figures in support of the financial viability of an independent Scotland.

David Hollingdale, Edinburgh

Live with Covid

Both the prime minister and the new health secretary are adamant it’s time for Britain to learn to “live with Covid”. After so many months of unparalleled suppression in economic and cultural life, and with vaccines providing adequate protection against Covid, only the most obtuse control freaks oppose a return to normality.

The need now is for a steady hand on the political tiller and robust policies which can contain the ups and downs of cohabiting with the virus, especially in the fields of inpatient care, education and international travel. It would help if the lid were kept on such distractions as green fundamentalism and constitutional tomfoolery.

(Dr) John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife

Clarity counts

Bob Taylor (Letters, 30 June) is correct to say that eligibility to vote in a second independence referendum should be decided at this stage. This clarity will serve for all the subsequent referendums needed until independence is achieved.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross, Perth & Kinross

Inclusive idea

The best answer to the conundrum about the most relevant electoral roll is to use alternative features in the UK, namely place of residence and place of birth as recorded on the birth certificate, in Scotland.

The former enfranchises those with an immediate local interest in future governance, the latter their national affiliation and sympathy. Such an arrangement caters for both people with Scottish blood and temporary residents and visitors down South.

Scottish nationalists, whose emphasis is on the importance of "Scottishness" should logically endorse the inclusivity implicit in such a roll of eligible voters.

Charles Wardrop, Perth, Perth & Kinross

Faith no more

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Public Health Scotland (PHS) will publish a report on the impact on Covid levels of Scottish football fans travelling to London. Ms Sturgeon felt it necessary to ban Scots travelling to Manchester but was silent when it came to football supporters heading south. With cases rising here and many being linked to the football, one has to lay some responsibility at the door of Bute House. After the recent revelation that PHS must assess the risk of releasing any information which “may impact on the risk on the reputation and credibility of the organisations”, can we trust them to be honest in their reporting?

This communications framework with the Scottish Government reduces any faith we can have in this very important agency.

Jane Lax, Aberlour

Build bridges

Your Editorial comment “Manchester travel ban was a flawed policy that may have done little more than spark an angry row” suggests that a little bridge building might not go amiss.

Unfortunately, we have a nationalist government in Holyrood that does not think in these terms. Those of us who believe in the United Kingdom will absolutely agree with the point you are making because we can see the similarities in the two areas, and know what we have in common. But Ms Sturgeon wants us to be different, she wants conflict, she wants a border. In 2014, the only economic policy put forward in the referendum was one to reduce corporation tax in Scotland, a policy designed to draw investment away from the north of England. Conflict across borders to the detriment of everyone is the inevitable outcome of everything Ms Sturgeon has believed in since she was a teenager.

The “policy” of a travel ban was more than just flawed. It was totally unenforceable, as Police Scotland have highlighted, and Ms Sturgeon never had the powers to implement this anyway.

Leaders of devolved administrations should not be able to work or brief against one another in this way. It is the UK system of devolution that is flawed. We need better working arrangements. Those arrangements need to reflect the reality that politics and egos are involved. We do need to look again at devolution to fix this, but the focus within that should not be more powers, rather the checks and balances placed on those who exercise those powers. Ms Sturgeon has went beyond her brief, and that is where the real problem is.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

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Not in my name

A few recent headlines beg the question, ‘Why would Scotland want to be part of a union’ which wants to ship asylum seekers off to off-shore detention centres, a union which questions the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and a union which has no compassion for thousands facing poverty as a result of the pandemic?”

This question arises as I despair at Home Secretary Priti Patel’s proposals for asylum seekers, people fleeing conflict and war, to effectively be deported from the UK. Asylum seekers make a huge contribution to our economy, our NHS, our care sector and much more. Such outrageous proposals could realistically only come from a Conservative Government – not in my name, as I question being part of this union. The UK Conservative Government is taking the Scottish Government to court, not only questioning our democracy in Scotland, but questioning the UNCRC, again not in my name.

Finally, families face poverty and hardship, aggravated by the pandemic, yet the UK Conservative Government refuses to reach out and pilot a scheme to introduce a Universal Basic Income, something the Scottish Parliament is keen to introduce. So, back to my original question. Answer through your own conscience.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk

Dragons await

If Alan Hinnrichs (Letters, 30 June) is keen to have a road map leading to Independence, I do hope there will be one in place for what might lie ahead! “There be dragons” and other yet to be revealed dangers, as has been shown in our lemming-like exit from the European Union.Margot Kerr, Inverness

Lost generation

Watching England beat Germany just a few hours after Ian Blackford got another ticking off from the Speaker for his overblown, embarrassing rhetoric made me realise just how far England is pulling way ahead of Scotland in many areas including football, education, business, culture, optimism and ambition.

You can't blame the SNP for all of this, in many ways they take their lead from the electorate in order to win votes. But they have accelerated the decline.

We haven't been challenged, we have been fed excuses, told someone else is always to blame and taught that mediocrity is acceptable.

There has to be a better way, and it needs to come quickly.

My generation of baby boomers, the people who remember how to cast off our shoulder chips and leverage our education and pride to our advantage, who gloried in our comedians and history, will be gone in the next 20 years.

Scotland needs a reboot. More Harry Kanes, Andrew Neils and Rishi Sunaks and fewer Blackfords, Janey Godleys and Humza Yousafs.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Penalty point

Here, south of the Border, there is understandable jubilation over England finally laying to rest their German hoodoo in knock out competitions.I hope it also signals the end of references to Gareth Southgate’s penalty “miss” 25 years ago. Southgate did not “miss” the penalty, the goalkeeper saved it!There is a difference. Ask any goalkeeper.John Rhind, Beadnell, Northumberland


Now Germany knows what an unexpected Brexit feels like.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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