Readers' Letters: Truss comments on US trade deal alarming

Comments by Prime Minister, Liz Truss, that it will take years for the UK to establish a free trade deal with the US are both confusing and alarming.

In 2019, the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, noted that a UK-US post-Brexit trade deal was imminent and the UK was at the “front of the queue”. Three years later, Ms Truss tells us the deal has been shelved for at least the “short to medium term”.

It transpires that there aren’t currently even any negotiations taking place, despite a pledge by Brexiteers that this was one of the major economic benefits of leaving the EU.

What we have witnessed since Brexit is a series of trade deals that mirror what the UK already had as members of the EU, or are even worse. This was most recently demonstrated by the free trade deal with New Zealand, which will see much higher quantities of produce come into the UK tariff-free. It means a lack of a level playing field between British and New Zealand farmers, who can benefit from economies of scale.

Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks to journalists at the Empire State Building in New York during her visit to the US to attend the 77th UN General Assembly. Picture: Toby Melville/PA Wire

This is in stark contrast to the EU’s free trade agreement with New Zealand, which secured the same market access for its exports but with better safeguards for its domestic producers.

While the UK Government is celebrating the fact that leaving the EU gives the UK the benefit of making trade agreements, these do not seem to be forthcoming, and where they do they frequently put the UK in a worse position than previous EU membership provided.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

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Royal debate

I see that the Scottish Parliament are setting aside time to debate and pay respects to the contribution made by the Queen to this country, but surely that is what the last ten days have been about, and even those of us who generally support the monarchy know that it is time to move on.

As usual, you have to be suspicious of the motives of those in the Scottish Parliament. So, is this just another reason not to be doing anything, or the opening salvo of a monarchy vs Scottish republic debate, which couldn’t wait for more than a day after the Queen was buried?

Almost certainly, a bit of both. If our MSPs really wanted to honour the Queen, they would use their powers to try to help the people they claim to serve, and not just use the events of the last two weeks as an excuse to sit around and value-signal and prevaricate over the things that they should really be doing. King Charles will already be dealing with business again. So should they.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Be proud

The state funeral of Queen Elizabeth was an incredible spectacle, brilliantly planned and executed, and despite its complexity nothing went wrong. No horse reared, no participant stumbled, no car broke down – and terrorists and ne’er-do-wells were kept at bay. It stands as a testament to British planning, organisation and discipline.

I thought the 142 men and women of the Royal Navy were absolutely outstanding. How the lead party and the rear party kept in step while guiding and pulling the gun carriage was nothing short of miraculous. Definitely the Senior Service!

William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire

Speaking out

Isn't it ironic that the SNP government has tried for years to showcase Scotland in a good light but it has taken those of a mainly pro-Union stance to highlight this very effectively during these last few days of royal mourning.

It is also ironic that some followers of Celtic football club have chosen to publicly besmirch this positive view of Scotland with totally ill-timed attacks on the Monarchy at their last two matches under the guise of “free speech”. Will Nicola Sturgeon, who has been quick to criticise football in the past, do something about this.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Perfect time

The Scotsman is hardly a revolutionary organ, but on Monday the letters page carried a raft of anti-monarchy and anti-pomp and pageantry comments from Twitter – it was pleasing to see a “disreputable” medium having more balance than you would find in any national media.

The problem with being opposed to monarchy is that if a person voiced such sentiments last week – surely the ideal time to do so – they would be ignored or accused of insensitivity or sedition, or both. A typical put-down would be “It's not the time”. And when the time is later, back to “normal”, you will still have no voice, the propaganda machine will still be there and the file will have been picked off the shelf for the Coronation next year.

Crawford Mackie, Edinburgh

Piping up

The huge Scottish presence at the Queen's funeral is a reminder that they can try to take the bagpipes out of Britain you can't take Britain out of the bagpipes.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeen

Inscrutable?

“Inscrutable” was a comment made about Her late Majesty the Queen by Martyn McLaughlin in his leading article in yesterday's Scotsman describing her funeral.

Many might agree with that but the clues were there in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Westminster, spoken loud for those who would hear. These were not pious words brought out for the occasion but an explanation of who she was and of the life she lived, spoken by men who would have known her in a way given to few.

The Archbishop described her as a “joyful woman”. Joy is a word not often used in its fullest and deposit sense. It it is found in loving relationships and transcends sadness, sorrow and despair. Along with, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self control, it is described in the Bible as a “Fruit of the Spirit”. Who would deny that all these were manifest in her life? Or who could not wonder if they were the fruit of her Christian faith? The anthem "O Taste and See", based on Psalm 34 was written for her Coronation and sung again in Westminster Abbey on Monday: She tasted and she saw!

Ian Grant, Muirhead, Angus

Limit voting

It is a great pity that in-depth study of the British Constitution isn’t compulsory at school. Everyone who lives here should know that although we lack a single document, every scrap of our constitution is written down and freely accessible; that our monarchs are Constitutional and therefore reign, but do not rule; and that being above politics, our monarchs tend to unite us rather than divide us, as recent events have proved.

I agree, though, that we are not a democracy in the original Athenian sense. Back then the only voters were stakeholders in their society who really understood and respected their responsibilities.

When I view with dismay the several unsavoury aspects of modern Britain I concede the case for returning to that limited electorate!

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Rich pickings

As they pay no inheritance tax, the Royal family has accumulated assets of several billion pounds, including 22 residences, and they receive 25 per cent of the profits of the Crown Estate, which is booming thanks to the development of offshore windfarms, yet we taxpayers subsidise them to the tune of £86 million each year via the Sovereign Grant.

Back in the real world, one quarter of all children in Scotland live in relative poverty, and a recent Financial Times analysis found that the standard of living of the poorest in independent Ireland is 63 per cent higher than the poorest in the UK. Norway’s poorest 5 per cent are the most prosperous bottom 5 per cent in the world and Norway is a good place to live, whether you are rich or poor.

As much oil and gas has been extracted in Scotland’s waters as in Norway, and Scotland remains a net exporter of energy, including masses of cheap renewable electricity, yet as part of the UK our households and businesses are paying double the EU average for our energy supplies.

The £20 million for a referendum will be money well spent if we can use the proceeds of an energy-rich Scotland to emulate the economic performance of the Irish republic and many will regret falling for the misinformation peddled by the No side eight years ago.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Overstating

Tim Flinn asks if I know of a country that has invested a capital sum whose compound interest is sufficient to avoid our descendants for the next millennia having to pay taxes to cover the cost of managing “the [nuclear] wastes we created in keeping our lights on yesterday and today” (Letters, 19 September). In fact that is not how long term nuclear waste is managed in any country. In every country with nuclear power the waste is the responsibility of the state, in the UK's case The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.One might ask Mr Flinn who is paying for managing and disposing of all the non-nuclear waste created in the UK (no one, apparently). One could also ask him what the cost would be of not having the reliable source of base-load electricity that nuclear power provides (blackouts?).

Nuclear waste is a small fraction of all waste and is the only one that is properly managed and stored. Concern on this matter is an overreaction.Mr Flinn needs to understand that the intensity of radioactivity in nuclear waste is inversely proportional to its longevity. Highly radioactive elements have a short half-life and low radioactivity ones have a long one. Consequently, most radioactivity declines quickly and that which does not is not dangerous. So describing the waste as a problem for “millennia” is misleading. If anyone wants more detail, it's all available in published sources.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

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