Readers' Letters: Tories betray Scottish farmers with trade deal

Jim Bell, who attacks Ian Blackford for standing up for Scottish farmers over the Australian Free Trade agreement (Letters May 25), should at least listen to the President of NFU Scotland, Martin Kennedy, who told Good Morning Britain that farmers feel a “total betrayal”, and NFU President Minette Batters, who said the zero-tariff proposals would be ‘unbearable’

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was peeved by the mooted UK trade deal with Australia (Picture: Getty)
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was peeved by the mooted UK trade deal with Australia (Picture: Getty)

NFUS Chief Executive Scott Walker also warned that this deal, with no tariffs or quotas on sensitive products, will set a precedent that all other countries looking for free access to the UK market in the future will be desperate to replicate. He said no consultation has been had with NFUS on such a proposal.

The Tories have been silent in the face of proposals that would see Scotland’s farmers undercut as part of a zero-tariff deal for imports to the UK in pursuit of a mythical global Britain. Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit, which has cost 4.9 per cent of GDP in exchange for a trade deal worth 0.02 per cent in order that we can buy a bottle of Australian wine 10p cheaper.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Apart from all the genuine concerns about animal welfare and the use of antibiotics, there is the problem of global warming through unnecessary food miles – yet another reason to protect high quality Scottish produce and always buy Scottish products whenever you can.

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

Where’s the beef?

MP Ian Blackford, as a "crofter", is really scaremongering in the most remarkable way by forecasting crofter clearances if we have a trade deal with Australia.If the imports of Aussie beef were to be multiplied tenfold above their present level they would then amount to less than two per cent of UK beef imports. So, any excuse goes for another made-up SNP grievance.

Vaughan Hammond, Braco, Perthshire

Stoking hatred

Rhiannon Spear, SNP office bearer, having expressed hatred of the English, has adopted the usual political procedure adopted by officials and politicians who have revealed their true colours with an outsize gaffe – issue an apology, then everything is OK, or so they think. Such apologies are usually half-hearted, weakly framed as “Sorry ‘if’ my remark has caused offence”.Elizabeth Hands (Letters, 25 May) hit the nail on the head, stating: “It seems anyone in Scotland from any country in the world (except England) under any circumstances is okay and is loved.” Anglophobia has simmered away in Scotland for many years and has been stoked further by Nicola Sturgeon’s anti-UK rhetoric and contrived grievances.

David Hollingdale, Easter Park Drive, Edinburgh

Own your words

Once again the SNP diminishes Scotland's reputation as Rhiannon Spear tells the Europeans. “We hate the UK too”. Why is it these SNP followers think they are speaking for the people of Scotland. Seventy per cent of us didn't vote for this SNP but we'll have to put up with this for another five years. On the other hand, perhaps they should be allowed to spill the bile whenever their hatred boils over, then maybe those who have been seduced with Sturgeon's nonsense will finally see through the veneer of lies.

Stan Hogarth, Young Street, Strathaven

Home rule howler

A councillor sends out a silly Tweet, albeit tongue in cheek, and the whole machine of offence rumbles into view. "It is official", apparently, that the SNP hates the English and England and the end of the world is nigh.

It's all rubbish and betrays a total paranoia about home rule. First of all, and I can't believe I'm having to defend one silly Tweet, the councillor made the entirely rational statement that some Scots hated the United Kingdom as an entity. The UK is what the SNP wishes to withdraw from. That's their policy. They don't hate the English or the Welsh, or anyone really. They dislike being in a union they feel is not serving them well. "Vile sentiments" and "intemperate language" are nowhere to be seen.

The SNP is not a Nazi or a Fascist party, seeking to remove the "Other!". It simply exists to work towards a form of self government which allows Scots to make more of their own decisions. A party that, despite nonsensical attacks from without and policy-free rhetoric from the opposition, won a great election victory this month. Most of the "vile comments" I have been seeing from Scotsman readers recently have come from intemperate unionists trying to ignore that result!

Brian Bannatyne Scott, Murrayfield Drive, Edinburgh

A great Scot

Reading Professor Sir Alan Craft’s obituary of Dr Stewart Hunter I was struck that his wonderful career was such a splendid UK success story to compare with current Eurovision cross-border silliness. Here was a great Scot working hand in hand with English counterparts, achieving amazing things together for the lasting benefit of all of us. Better Together really does mean something.

Rodney Pinder, Abbotsford Grove, Kelso

Read More

Read More
Obituary: Dr Stewart Hunter, paediatric cardiology and echocardiography pioneer


Tom Wood is correct, too many cyclists in cities do not observe the Highway Code and endanger themselves and others in the process (Perspective, 24 May). He describes a near miss he had with a cyclist while driving and wonders if he would have been presumed guilty had there been a collision.

No, he would not, as there is no presumed liability in such circumstances and the cyclist would have to prove their innocence in order to gain any compensation. In other European counties, such as The Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark there are very many more cycles on the roads and cycle paths than in Scotland and motorists, cyclists and pedestrians seem to get along just fine. Part of the reason may be that in those, and many other countries, if there is a collision the larger vehicle is deemed liable i.e. the car if in collision with a cycle, the cyclist if in collision with a pedestrian.

Time to introduce Presumed Liability to Scotland perhaps?

Benedict Bate, South Clerk Street, Edinburgh

Trial an error

In the Inside Justice article by Tom Wood, he points out that cyclists do not need to be registered, have a licence or insurance cover. He could have added that cycles, e-cycles and e-scooters should have a visible registration number on a Hi-Viz jacket so that in the event of a hit and run they can be traced.

Lawyers representing injured cyclists want "presumed liability" so that a motorist who collides with a cyclist is presumed guilty. This must be resisted. The ongoing trial of e-scooters means even more danger for pedestrians and according to Transport for London, e-scooters are 100 times more dangerous for their riders than normal bikes... so why are they still going ahead with the trial? Owners of cycles, e-cycles and e-scooters should have insurance, identification and be charged an annual fee for using the roads and cycle routes. Those breaking the Highway Code who have a driving licence should have three penalty points added.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

BBC bias?

Much has been reported on the Martin Bashir affair, the apparent BBC cover-up, and the increasing tendency for BBC journalists and commentators to focus on scoops and sensationalism. This is surely a reason for a root and branch review of the BBC management of News and Current Affairs reporting.

I have issued several complaints to BBC Scotland, none of which were accepted, concerning the almost total absence of questions to the SNP as to the foundations of its Independence agenda. Not once have I ever heard a BBC journalist pose direct and searching questions to SNP spokespersons as to strategy, policy and the ultimate benefits to Scotland from becoming a small independent sovereign state, as opposed to developing Scotland's social infrastructure from within the UK.

The BBC is a national broadcaster and has a responsibility to inform and educate the listening and viewing public. Failure to do so begs the question as to how many members of BBC Scotland's News and Current Affairs department have a conflict because they are SNP members.

Derek Farmer, Knightsward Farm, Anstruther

Jagged edge

It seems extraordinary that after receiving their letters for a Covid jag appointment at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow at the weekend, half of the people invited to attend failed to turn up for the vaccine.

It's understandable that some people don't want the jab because of ethnic or religious considerations, but the huge numbers not turning up would seem to suggest that it went far beyond that. Apart from wasting resources, it follows outbreaks of the coronavirus in the south side of the city and unreasonable behaviour from Rangers supporters in the city centre, during which Covid distancing rules were apparently ignored. It's easy to see why Glasgow is not being released from Level 3 restrictions and failure to get the jag may ultimately delay the city being lowered to Level 2.

This will also dissuade tourists from visiting the city and impact on businesses, many of which are in a precarious situation already. It's worth noting that hospitalisations from Covid in Bolton have tripled in recent days, with most patients not having had the jag or only one dose of the vaccine.

Is there a lesson for Glasgow?

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Kippen, Stirlingshire

‘Allo ‘Allo!

I note that Herr Flick is about to replace Joachim Low as the German football manager. Does Helga know?

David Hamill, Preston Road, East Linton

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid Letters to the Editor in your subject line.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.