Readers Letters: Why doesn't Scotland ban alcohol altogether?

The Holyrood Puritans will be rejoicing (“Study hailed as ‘powerful evidence’ that minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland reduces harm” Scotsman Online, 30 May). Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, suggests a 30 per cent hike be made in minimum unit pricing (MUP).

The introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol is said to have improved Scotland's health (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Why don't Nicola Sturgeon and co just go the whole hog and ban alcohol, like they do drugs? As during the Prohibition in 1930s America, the enterprise economy would flourish. And then they could try to impose a hard border to stop lost souls like me indulging in “booze cruises” to Carlisle and Berwick. Think of all the jobs that would create.

Centuries ago a Bishop of Peterborough said he'd rather see England free than sober; as a libertarian, I'd say the same about our increasingly puritanical Scotland.

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George Morton, Hudson Road, Rosyth

Nastiness nadir

In another bolster to the argument that nationalism is the political wing of racism, several SNP activists/journalists have made disparaging remarks about our neighbours to the south, with whom we share this island. One went as far over the weekend to say that “Daily Torygraph” readers in particular were not welcome here and that Scotland was not a colony.

I am sure our struggling hospitality sector will not welcome this kind of remark, coming on top of the “Scotland hates the UK” tweet made by the SNP councillor and official the previous week. There is a serious problem with nationalist loudmouths in this country, purporting to speak for all of us. You can only brush this kind of hatred under the carpet so often.

Some have even seen fit to question the right of Kate MIddleton, Countess of Strathearn, to wear a tartan skirt during her recent visit to Scotland.

Just when you thought politics in this corner of the UK had reached its nadir for nastiness and extreme pettiness, you can almost be assured that one or more on the nationalist lunatic fringe will emerge from under a stone and do their best to tarnish the image of the country they profess to love.

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Boak no joke

Am I alone in finding the following comments I overheard in the supermarket troubling: “I would never buy any of their products. They all have the Union Jack on them. It makes me boak.”

Express that sentiment about the flag of any foreign country and you would be denounced as a bigot and probably a racist.

Why is casual anglophobia therefore considered to be acceptable?

Penny Ponders Ingliston Road, Newbridge

Blame game

The First Minister holds up her hands to the assertion that the Scottish government got it wrong by transferring patients from hospitals into care homes without first of all testing for Covid-19. As a result the virus was introduced into care homes and many people died.

Her apology was more or less accepted by everyone in Scotland, but compare this with the treatment of the Prime Minister and his Health Secretary – they made the same mistake but in their case they have to resign. One rule for the goose and another for the gander, presumably.

Nicola should remember that the essence of political acumen is to make friends with you enemies, and that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

She is not inclined to accept either of these points, and in any case it is doubtful if she could even make friends with Santa Claus.

James Macintyre, Clarendon Road, Linlithgow

Pots and kettles

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon simply cannot resist the temptation to be critical of anything English.

Indeed, even our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has come under Sturgeon's fire for failing to live up to her own alleged high standards throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

I feel it is appropriate to keep this letter as short as Sturgeon's memory about just one of her own failures as Scottish leader, when at the peak of the pandemic, large numbers of patients from Scottish hospitals, who had tested positive to Covid-19, were discharged into care homes, with devastating results.

Under such circumstances it must surely be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Robert I G Scott, Northfield, Ceres, Fife

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Government fault

In response to Mary Thomas (Letters, 29 May) and her fellow Scottish government responsibility deniers regarding the care home debacle, virtually ten per cent of care home residents in Scotland died from Covid-19. This is the highest percentage of any country in the world.

Regardless of whether this was due to poor infection control in hospitals leading to hospital-acquired infections, discharges to care homes, poor preparedness of care homes or lack of PPE, each of these is the responsibility of government whose primary duty of care is to the most vulnerable in society.

None of the above is the responsibility of the UK government. The Scottish government, who have been in power for 14 years with health fully devolved, should hang their heads in shame at the decimation of the most vulnerable.

John McIntosh, Orchard Road, Edinburgh

Stop scammers

The Covid crisis has pushed to the fore the importance of the internet and internet financial transactions to many people.

Yesterday I received on my mobile phone a very convincing scam text web link relating to parcel delivery. I receive lots of parcels so it had some plausibility.

It was only when my bank details were requested that I went online from my personal computer and was automatically warned by my software that the link was to a dangerous site.

My son reported that the previous day he had received a very convincing HSBC fraudulent message which he nearly fell for.

Just about all commerce now relies on the internet for financial transactions. When a fraud is committed it seems that the banks are pushed to the front line and we are at their mercy as to whether compensation is given.

If a chocolate bar is stolen from a shop the police will be called and the matter dealt with. If a criminal steals thousands or millions using the internet there is no effective legal agent to call upon.

A truly international internet police force is required. If countries don’t cooperate they must be suspended from the internet until they do. Why are rogue states allowed onto the internet anyway?

The ancient problem (see Plato’s Republic) to be considered with any police force is “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” or “Who will police the police themselves”?

A trio or more of responsible countries with honest legal systems would have to be accepted as arbitrators.

We are currently far from such sensible world policing. Sooner or later we will have to adopt some effective form of international internet policing, else we will be forced to go back to the procedures for financial transactions used in former centuries - cashing cheques, for example.

Ken Carew, Minden Crescent, Dumfries

Voice of doom

It is incredible that the popular press can paint the damaging effects of Brexit on Ulster as being caused by European Union intransigence.

Did the United KIngdom not negotiate a treaty for four years, which was apparently so good it was even oven-ready (coincidentally in time for the last election)?

Did Boris Johnson not promise all concerned that there would be no restrictions to trade with Northern Ireland? How much more finessing must Tory voters hear coming from their PM before they decide that he is unworthy of their admiration?

Now we hear that Michael Gove refused to consider a temporary agreement to keep vet standards the same as the EU's – which could have cut out most regulatory impediments. Yet the DUP still blames it all on the EU. It is so important to save face, isn't it?

But there is another factor. Tory leaders have to be tough people-strong and stable types! That's in the Neoliberal handbook of Rees Mogg, The Sovereign Individual.

The Italian Fascist Mussolini caught this mood when he said; 'Better one day as a lion than a hundred years as a lamb'. It's why Boris Johnson stood up to the upstart Marcus Rashford who insisted that poor children should have meals! It's why Johnson apparently preferred bodies piling up rather than have a second lockdown.

My thesis awaits events, as we are in a new era and further confirmation can only be in the future. But if I was a fortune-teller, I would say; “Yer doomed!"

Andrew Vass, Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh

Weather storms

A new climate update led by the UK Met Office and issued by the World Meteorological Organisation said that there is a 40 per cent chance of the world temporarily hitting the 1.5C temperature rise threshold in one of the next five years (your reports 27 and 28 May). That means that there is a 60 per cent chance that it will not. Climate people are always looking for ways to justify being on-board the climate gravy train.

Dr Sarah Ivory, lecturer in Climate change at Edinburgh University, said Scotland will definitely see “more extreme weather”. Is she ignorant of what the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has repeatedly said in its annual reports? They said that there was little basis for claiming that drought, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes have increased, much less increased, due to greenhouse gasses, and that there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the past four decades.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

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