Readers' Letters: UK must crack down on fake asylum seekers

I write in support of Ian Balloch, who says that “migrants are still pouring into this country in large numbers” (Letters, 23 July).

The latest estimate is that 14,777 people have crossed the Channel this year and this is anticipated to reach 60,000 by the end of the year. Why, if they are genuine asylum seekers, do they destroy any identification and passports and throw their incriminating mobiles into the sea? If they were genuine asylum seekers they would have sought "safe haven" in one of the EU countries they must have travelled through and then applied for asylum status. If successful they would then be able to obtain a visa for the UK or country of their choice. Instead they paid traffickers thousands of pounds to get them to the UK.

A recent disturbing report by Chief Immigration Inspector David Neal reveals we are an open door to potential terrorists and criminals. Britain's services, NHS, schools and housing are at breaking point so it is time to slam the door well and truly shut.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Border Force officers watch for illegal migrants trying to get into the UK (Picture: Mary Turner/Getty Images)
Border Force officers watch for illegal migrants trying to get into the UK (Picture: Mary Turner/Getty Images)
Border Force officers watch for illegal migrants trying to get into the UK (Picture: Mary Turner/Getty Images)

Bet on lunacy

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Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss our next PM? Sir Keir Starmer the alternative? Pity the Official Monster Raving Loony Party has been so poorly led since the death of Screaming Lord Sutch, otherwise £1,000 at the bookies on it romping home at the next general election might be this year's best disruptor investment.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Brexit on steroids

SNP MP Angus MacNeil has tweeted a photo of the current chaos at the Dover crossing, commenting “for those who wanted a hard border”. What? His party's ambition to break up the UK would end a 300-plus years political, social and cultural union and create a hard border between Scotland and England. Massively more damaging than Brexit. He just doesn't get it, does he? Scexit equals Brexit but on steroids.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Exports issue

I note in Saturday’s paper, regarding holdups at Dover and the impact on hauliers, particularly perishable goods, that “Dover is a critical route for Scottish exports”.Can someone please explain how this would be managed in an Independent country, particularly if Scotland rejoined the EU? It strikes me that this would be a real challenge if we need to travel through a non-EU country to reach our main export markets. This sounds a lot more complicated than “even” Northern Ireland.These, and many other issues, need to be considered and explained before the public can make an informed choice on Independence.

Derek Yule, Alloa, Clackmannanshire

Charity fears

If taxes are reduced how are disabled folk needing our help going to survive without adding to those in poverty? About 30 years ago I worked for a charity caring for visually impaired and blind people. We already had the problem of big councils only contributing standstill, cutback and even no budgets to help provide services. This applies to many social work services. Many charities have been bad!y hit by the effects of Covid, so someone with compassion needs to find a way to raise money without penalising the “have nots”.

Martha Dickson, Edinburgh


Leah Gunn Barrett shows a remarkable degree of inconsistency (Letters, 23 July). She demands “evidence” for suggestions that independence might not be the best option for Scotland – then rejects reliable evidence such as the GERS reports.

The GERS reports appear on the Scottish Government's website. They are independently produced by Scottish Government statisticians and are issued by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, one Kate Forbes. Ms Barrett's rejection of them is based on the claim they are "Tory-rigged"! Clearly Ms Barrett knows something Ms Forbes does not – otherwise is there not just a possibility the SNP would remove such tainted reports? Ms Barrett should be informing the First Minister immediately of her shocking discovery – accompanied, of course, by the evidence.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Headline figure

Leah Gunn Barrett, in her critique of my earlier letter, claims that the annual GERS figures are “Tory-rigged”. In actual fact they are compiled by the statisticians and economists of the Chief Economic Adviser to the Scottish Government. Since 2016 Scotland’s negative balance has been around £15 billion. Most commentators conclude that though the detailed methodology is not perfect the overall headline figure is more or less correct.

Helen Hughes, Edinburgh

Context needed

Leah Gunn Barrett gives us the "objective facts" on how much better off Scotland would be outside the Union. Leaving aside her unsubstantiated comments on our energy resources and the money Scotland receives from Westminster, how can anyone compare the level of pensions paid in the UK with that paid in “our Nordic neighbours” without taking into consideration the cost of living in those countries? Norway occupies the second-highest position to Switzerland in the European Cost of Living Index, closely followed in 3rd and 4th places by our other “Nordic Neighbours”, Denmark and Iceland. The UK is at 15th position. Of course our pensions are lower. It is cynical and deceitful to make definitive statements without fully examining context.

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I would love to read Ms Barrett's comments on the current Scottish administration's record of business incompetence and lack of transparency in, for example, the Ferries fiasco or the disastrous Lochaber Smelter deal, to quote just two of many costly mistakes. How about some “objective facts” on these?

Come to think of it though, she would probably just say, “A shabby guy with a scruffy blond haircut and a posh English accent did it and ran away”.

D Mason, Penicuik, Midlothian


In her anti-UK tirade, Leigh Gunn Barrett not only rubbishes the accuracy of GERS data, the very source that Alex Salmond was only too happy to quote in his 2014 Indy campaign, she also states that an independent Scotland would pay a far more generous state pension in line with our Nordic “neighbours” – whoever they are.This, of course directly, contradicts the risible position of the current SNP Commons leader who insists that rUK would continue to pay the pensions of those who would no longer be UK citizens.

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

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Odd titbits

Arguments from both sides of the independence issue are not strangers to this newspaper but facts remain in short supply. Leah Gunn Barrett states “objective facts” that an independent Scotland would be a “fairer, more equal, prosperous and internationally focused nation”.

The SNP’s Angus Robertson recently wrote of “the reality that an independent Scotland would be a wealthier, fairer and happier country...” In neither case are these statements supported by facts. Assertions are not facts; the mere plucking of odd titbits helpful to one's point of view is no substitute for thorough analysis supported by detailed evidence.

Perhaps the published lack of such evidence can be easily explained; it doesn't exist.

Derek Stevenson, Edinburgh

Drugs shame

The heartbreaking numbers of drug deaths in Scotland continue to increase, year after year, as ably pointed out by Brian Wilson (Perspective, 23 July). The SNP administration do little but hand-wring and, being rooted on the worst in Europe spot, cannot even get their usual out by using pointless and pathetic comparisons with elsewhere; they have all been used up and now offer no shelter. We are isolated in the predicament they have brought on us. Perhaps the SNP spinners can devise another committee or task force to get some breathing space while in the long grass, if, that is, anyone can be spared for even that minor job of deflection from the only matter that gets full SNP attention.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Exit strategy

Has Nicola Sturgeon completely boxed herself in? (“Indyref2 would have ‘no legal effect’ argues Lord Advocate”, 23 July). Ms Sturgeon has promised a referendum on 19 October 2023.

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She has already had two press conferences at Bute House to promote this, albeit with little detail. If this is now to be, at best, only an “advisory referendum” then this is not how she has portrayed it so far. The problem for Ms Sturgeon is not only are her ardent supporters expecting said referendum to be delivered on time, it is costing Scottish taxpayers a lot of money so it is unlikely to be on budget.

Ms Sturgeon is between a rock and a hard place. She certainly can’t continue to promise what she can’t deliver. Has she an exit strategy in mind because, by the look of things she really needs it.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Thanks to NHS

I had occasion to visit the Minor Injuries Unit at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital on Saturday with my disabled daughter and her carer. We were treated with kindness, compassion and great professionalism by all the staff with whom we came in contact. We did not have long waits and the system worked efficiently.

This was the NHS at its very best and we really appreciated the care given to us.

Ann Fraser, Edinburgh

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