Readers' Letters: Which modern barons will back Arbroath stunt?

“Campaigner Mike Fenwick's petition calling on 100 Scots to sign a new declaration of Scottish sovereignty to be sent to the United Nations seems like a positive idea. His call to independence supporters is a reminder of the Treaty of Arbroath” (Maggie Chetty, Letters, 10 July). So which influential Scots will be affixing their seals to such a document this time round?

Will independence-supporting celebrities who live abroad such as actor Alan Cumming, seen with former First Minister Alex Salmond in 2012, back Arbroath campaign? (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)
Will independence-supporting celebrities who live abroad such as actor Alan Cumming, seen with former First Minister Alex Salmond in 2012, back Arbroath campaign? (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)

Instead of leading barons and clergy, will it be wealthy indy-supporting celebrities domiciled in the United States, and far-left academics, Saltires fluttering from their ivory towers? Will Pope Francis be receiving a copy, like John XXII did? How is this bizarre medieval publicity stunt representative of the views of the Scottish electorate? From where does it derive its mandate?

Recent polling now puts support for separatism at 48 per cent. The Nationalists are (again) a minority government at Holyrood. There was a referendum in 2014 where a clear majority rejected Alex Salmond's great patriotic experiment. And please, no more of that "We were dragged oot o' Europe agin oor wull" baloney. In that referendum, a third of voters didn't even bother to vote, while many of those choosing Remain were Unionists who realised full well Brexit's propaganda value to the SNP.

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Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Rich pickings

Maggie Chetty's anticipation of a “prosperous, independent” Scotland after our secession from the UK would become more convincing if she could satisfactorily explain both the possible basis of the prosperity and the independence of our homeland as a member of the EU.

Charles Wardrop, Perth, Perth & Kinross

Price of success

As I walk around my supermarket, a recorded announcement pipes out the message: “We take the safety of our customers seriously.” In the precautions they take, they give every indication that they do.

Back home, I open The Scotsman, and find that Brian Wilson believes it is perfectly OK to deliver a fact-free rant about Covid in Scotland, crowned with a headline which should make him hang his head in shame (Perspective, 10 July).

Scotland is experiencing an upsurge in cases because earlier we concentrated on a quicker roll-out of vaccines to care homes, protecting the most vulnerable, and saving thousands of lives. As a result there is currently less “herd-immunity” to the Delta variant amongst younger age-groups than in England, where the virus is more widespread.

It is an easily accessible fact that Scotland has had 141.9 deaths per 100 000 population over the duration of the pandemic compared to 200.5 in England and 5,668 infections per 100,000 population, whilst England has had 7,805.

It is no exaggeration to say that wildly incorrect information on the progression and management of this virus can put lives at risk. I wish Brian Wilson would take the safety of Scots as seriously as does my local supermarket.

Jim Daly, Edinburgh

Irresponsible

Scotland would be in a far worse Covid situation if Nicola Sturgeon had followed Brian Wilson’s advice. It was only when Scotland diverged from a UK-wide approach that we got on top of the Covid pandemic and this has resulted in one third fewer deaths per head of population than in England, as we have had lower infection levels. Over the pandemic we have 5,668 infections per 100,000 population compared to 7,805 in England. Scotland has also performed better on the vaccination roll-out. To date, percentage wise, more people in Scotland have received their first jag and their second dose. And our track and trace system has been more efficient.

Thanks to Boris Johnson’s delay in putting India on the red travel list, the UK has the highest Covid rates in Europe by some considerable distance and the main reason some areas of Scotland have more cases is the very successful strategy of trying to eliminate Covid, which meant that fewer of our population had immunity compared to England.

England will pay a heavy price for allowing up to 100,000 cases a day, as its NHS waiting times are already significantly worse than in Scotland. Hospitalisations and deaths may be lower but long Covid remains a serious health issue for thousands.

It is completely irresponsible to encourage people not to wear masks, particularly on public transport or in shops, but this fits in with the Tory philosophy of “I’m all right Jack” and never mind those vulnerable people who will be put at risk.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

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Covid questions

When the virus first erupted into our consciousness information on the numbers infected and hospital admissions helped to inform the public as to the severity of the problem

Now, sometime down the road, with vaccination levels slowly reaching that where “herd immunity” might be expected, we are told that whereas numbers infected are soaring, hospitalisation numbers are not, due to vaccination of the vulnerable cohort.

So far so good. However, hospital admissions are rising despite vaccination levels and the public require a more detailed breakdown on hospital admission numbers. For example, how many of those admitted to hospital require ICU help due to the virus, how many of those who require additional support have had two doses of the vaccination and would be classed as high risk due to frailty or severe underlying health conditions?

We need these figures to understand how well the vaccination has done in providing protection and hopefully, also reinforce confidence in the vaccine for those who doubt!

T Lewis, Coylton, Ayrshire

Grid expectations

SNP MP Alan Brown claimed in parliament that “Scots windfarms penalised by staggering energy grid charges” (your report, 10 July). He accused Westminster of “mismanagement and ignorance”.

It is he who displays ignorance. There are no separate electricity pricing structures for Scotland and the rest of the UK. Scottish Renewables, the trade body for Scotland's wind turbine owners, wants network access for Scotland's wind electricity to be reduced from £21 per kW to £7 per kW, thus increasing the profits earned by the Scottish wind industry. Electricity consumers would not benefit. When these Scottish turbine owners applied for planning permission they knew that they would be charged £21 per kW.

When wind turbine owners are asked to turn off their turbines because their electricity is not needed they are paid constraints payments. Since 2010 nearly £1 billion in constraint payments has been paid to the owners of Scottish wind turbines and this cost has been added to all the electricity bills in the UK.

Would Alan Brown agree that this is unfair and should only be added to the electricity bills of those living in Scotland?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Euros hijacked?

Despite never previously having being interested in football, the Euros have brought me unexpected enjoyment; even a "feelgood" experience and much-needed distraction from the neverending Covid pandemic.

Sadly, my enjoyment has been marred by the outburst of more hate-filled anti-English feeling ever since the Scotland team, unlike its English contemporary, failed to advance from the groups stage of the tournament. Unfortunately, as England has progressed to the final, the venom of many Scots, including those who are not football fans, has increased far beyond an expression of healthy rivalry with the "auld enemy" and ribald hope that “any team except England should win”.

When the Scotland team qualified for the Euros, after many years of failure to qualify for a similar tournament, the hype was understandably tremendous, and indeed, so great that it could have been imagined that Scotland had actually won the competition!

It seems difficult to believe that Scots, many of whom have relatives and friends living in England, are just expressing unsporting “sour grapes” in not cutting English people, even curmudgeonly, some slack to celebrate their team's success. If the Scotland team had been so successful, there is little doubt that we would never heard the end of it!

Could it be that supporters of Scottish Independence are to some extent fuelling Scots' resentment that the England team has progressed so far in the Euros? If so, it seems sad that even the “beautiful game”, like so many other nice things in Scotland, is being hijacked to promote Scottish Independence.

Sally Gordon-Walker, Edinburgh

MSP must go

SNP MSP James Dornan’s remarks about Jacob Rees-Mogg and his prediction that Mr Rees-Mogg will rot in hell, among other things, are way beyond the pale, even for a notorious nationalist loudmouth. I despair that others outside Scotland see and read his hate – coming on top of his absurd accusation that Lothian Buses were prejudiced – and some may think that Mr Dornan’s bigotry is the norm in Scotland.

No apology – private or otherwise – will suffice. It is time for Mr Dornan to be kicked out of his party and left to stew in his hate outside the public eye.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Left wanting

I am disappointed that in the Hate Crimes Act there is no mention of left-handers. The very language is biased against us. If you are awkward you are gauche, if you are threatening you are sinister. Teachers say that you got that right. You have rights before the law.

This cannot be right. Things must not be left as they are. Despite being a left-hander since birth I am now self-assessing that I want to be considered a right-hander

Colin McAllister, St Andrews, Fife

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