Readers' Letters: Turing Scheme good for Scottish students

In her typically knee-jerk reaction, describing the replacement of the EU’s Erasmus Scheme by the Turing Scheme as “cultural vandalism”, Nicola Sturgeon ignores three factors

Harvard University could be accessible to Scots students under Turing Scheme

Erasmus was limited to European universities while Turing is global; Erasmus favoured students who attended private school as their language abilities are superior to those of state pupils; and in several surveys no European university appears in the world’s top ten or 12, which regularly feature eight or ten USA universities along with Oxford and Cambridge.

John Birkett, Horseleys Park, St Andrews, Fife

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SNP hypocrisy

True to form, the SNP's Ian Blackford launched into extreme grievance mode in the parliamentary debate about the Brexit Trade Bill.

Accusing the UK government of betraying and conning Scottish fishermen, little reference was made to the fact that an independent Scotland would try to rejoin the EU and surrender the Scots fishing fleet to the Common Fisheries Policy again. The Brexit trade deal is far from the agreement fishermen were wanting or expecting, but surely it's something to build upon for the future and infinitely better than the CFP. I was hoping for some constructive criticism from Mr Blackford, but all I got was utter hypocrisy.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Scaled back

Having listened to and read the opinions of the usual SNP “worthies” on the Brexit fishing deal I was very interested to listen to Jimmy Buchan of the Scottish Seafood Association on Radio Scotland yesterday. Sturgeon and co fulminated against the deal. Betrayal of the Scottish fishing community! Grievance, grievance, grievance! Mr Buchan, on the other hand, said that although he initially thought it a bad deal he had changed his mind and was looking forward, positively, to the next five and a half years and to a positive future for his industry.

Quite a contrast between the viewpoint of a real fisherman and a lot of grievance-driven playground propagandists.

Stuart Stephen, Inverasdale, Poolewe, Ross-shire

Spinning fish

In a spin on the EU deal that has more gloss than a tin of lacquer, Murdo Fraser seems to have got several of things wrong (Perspective, December 30). First the detail of the deal makes it clear that at the end of the transitional period for fishing, new access negotiations will take place. It may be possible to deny foreign vessels access, with the exception of those who have already bought quotas from English owners.

However, this could lead to a blanket ban of exports of fish to the EU.Second, to say trade will be "frictionless" is disingenuous, as bureaucracy is set to increase dramatically. Finally, Mr Fraser says Scottish seed potato farmers only export 5 per cent of its products to the EU. According to James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, 25 per cent of our exports of seed potatoes goes to the EU. I know who I'd tend to believe.

Gill Turner, Derby Street, Edinburgh

Divided land

Boris Johnson is indeed the gift that keeps on giving to the SNP. The tragedy is that many in Scotland are now accepting the SNP line that he represents all English people, “othering" being a generic nationalist tactic. As a non-Scot living in Scotland with Anglo-Welsh parentage, I resent being tarred with the same Johnsonian brush. Many people living in England will feel the same way. Should the SNP succeed in achieving Scottish independence, it will leave a bitterly divided Scotland and a hurt and resentful England. And as Johnson’s recent trade agreement with the EU illustrates, any deal between a large and a small entity can only be in favour of the former.

Nick Williams, Inverurie Street, Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire

Bad deal

By voting for Boris Johnson’s flawed Brexit trade deal that is damaging for Scotland’s economy, Labour MPs are ignoring the views of Scotland where every constituency voted to Remain. Scotland’s Place in Europe was published by the Scottish Government on 15 October 2018, detailing a much better deal with the EU, was ignored by Westminster. A couple of weeks ago, Labour MPs happily abstained on amendments to the Internal Market Bill seeking to protect our Scottish Parliament from Westminster’s power grab.

By their actions, Labour are responsible for giving Northern Ireland a distinct trading advantage over Scotland, creating staff shortages in care homes and in our hospitality industry, cutting the number of EU students at our universities while blocking Erasmus student exchanges and imposing travel hurdles for tourists. Like the Tories, they have betrayed our farmers and fishermen, who can now catch less haddock and cod than they did under the Common Fisheries Policy, while making it more difficult for our musicians and artists to perform in Europe, plus, creating unnecessary expensive red tape for our businesses.

Government analysis estimated the EU deal will cost every person in Scotland £1,600 over the next ten years. Edinburgh is already missing out on thousands of skilled financial sector jobs that have moved out of London to Dublin and Frankfurt in order to maintain an EU presence.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Change of heart

The Brexit Deal vote has just been won. It is a bit tragic that the bulk of Scotland’s MPs voted against it. Mind, the SNP have a very long history of voting against trade deals, even to the extent of failing to support any trade deal that their beloved EU has made over the years.

While they focus their grievance on seed potatoes, haggis and Erasmus, the UK and EU have signed the biggest free trade deal in history and much sooner than the “upwards of 10 years” timescale predicted by the opposition at Westminster. If we had left the UK in 2014 an independent Scotland would have had to have had similar negotiations with the EU, the rest of the world and the despised UK. Given the paucity of experience and competence in such negotiations we could have been facing a lifetime of arguments. Those in favour of Indyref2 should take note of how difficult it is to make such deals, particularly with trading partners whom you insult every day and with others whom you vote against.

Ken Currie, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

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