Readers' Letters: Will green activist now have courage of conviction after Baillie Gifford withdrew support for book festivals

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has ended its deal with Baillie GiffordThe Edinburgh International Book Festival has ended its deal with Baillie Gifford
The Edinburgh International Book Festival has ended its deal with Baillie Gifford
The Edinburgh International Book Festival has severed relationships with its principal sponsor the fund manager Baillie Gifford thanks to intense pressure from the green activist mob “Fossil Free Books” and 800 writers who objected to Baillie Gifford's investments in fossil fuels and in companies with links to Israel. (Scotsman reports) Baillie Gifford has now withdrawn support from all book festivals across the UK.

Book festivals will now be smaller and limited to well-known authors thus freezing out new authors. Green MSP Magie Chapman was ecstatic when she heard that Baillie Gifford had been thrown out but was strangely silent when told that MSP’s pensions are managed by Baillie Gifford. Will she now forgo her lucrative pension pot? Books by the 800 writers are sold in Waterstones, a chain of book shops owned by a hedge fund with interests in fossil fuels. Will the writers withdraw their books? Perhaps the eco-fools from Fossil Free Books and the authors also do not understand that millions of trees are cut down to provide the paper for their novels.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

European control

Alex Orr makes a big deal of the fact that the EU has an electorate of 373 million voters and a Parliament of 720 MEPs (June 8). But he makes no reference to the Commission nor to Ursula von der Leyen, its President, which is ridiculous, given the fact that the Commission is the real decision-maker in the EU while the Parliament, which should be in control, is nothing but an incredibly expensive talking-shop. Alex Orr thinks the EU is a bastion of democracy, but there is no way that the ordinary citizen there can vote Ursula von der Leyen out of office. If the Parliament was a real Parliament, the ordinary citizen would have a vote which would determine who makes the decisions, but that is not the case - which probably explains the low turn-out for EU elections.

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By contrast, here in the UK we are on our way to a General Election. We, the voters of the UK, will decide whether to stick with the Government we have got or to install a new Government. Every single vote counts. That is democracy in action and we, the people, will make that choice. Which probably explains the high turn-out for UK elections.

As for Brexit, it is only the petty vindictiveness of the EU which is preventing normal trading relations between us and the bloc. Alex Orr should reflect on the fact that the queues of lorries were all on our side, trying to get into the EU, not on their side, trying to get into the UK. The UK is open to trade freely, but the EU is a cartel jealously guarding its own interests at the expense of its neighbours. It is not the UK which needs to put its house in order -- it is the EU.

Les Reid, Edinburgh


We seem to be in a merry-go-round of incompetence in the UK. No sooner does one problem arise which hits the public attention then another one looms up.

The latest appears to be a government funded initiative to insulate house lofts with a type of foam insulation. Apparently when fitted there is difficulty when trying to sell the property due to a number of reasons but mainly possibility of increase of condensation which could lead to damp on the roof woodwork and poor workmanship which exacerbates the damp problem due to gaps in application.

Obviously another Tory government failure to add to the list one might say, however, like most so called government failures from illegals arriving by boat to NHS problems etc etc the failures can be put at the governments doorstep by default as it were. That is, somewhere between the decision making process and delivery there are a myriad of players that manage to slide under the “blame radar” whose only rationale is to ensure that government policy and our tax money is spent wisely and produce good quality outcomes!

These Quangos, Civil Service apparatchiks, Local government including Housing Associations etc etc sail freely on safe that media will not shine the spotlight on how they fit into the incompetence that surrounds us today. For example, TV news reporters go into our towns and accost ordinary people for their views on the matters of the day. Generally they say that things are terrible, nothing works, we need more houses, our town centres are dying and the government either needs to spend more money or we need to change governments then things will be better for us all!

I suppose we should not expect any difference when all we are fed in our news outlets is doom and gloom basically because of the saying “good news is not newsworthy” However, when the tide goes out and we are able to see, full frontal as it were the architects of incompetence have nowhere to hide. I suggest that the Post Office Horizon story and Grenfell Tower fire should provide prime examples of incompetence for us all to see if we think about it and we really should.

We should not accept the likes of BBC verify or perhaps GB news for the “truth” as the truth will only arrive down the line when the tide goes out.

Just a thought.

T Lewis, Coylton, Ayrshire

Flynn inconsistent

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You have to laugh at Stephen Flynn in the recent BBC election debate, banging on about Brexit being ‘an unmitigated disaster for the economy’. I didn't vote for Brexit either, but I've got some common sense and a decent enough grasp of economics to understand that if Brexit (ending a 50 year union) has had detrimental consequences for the UK economy, the negative impact of Scexit (ending a 300 plus year union) would be so many times worse. After all, 61 per cent of Scotland's trade is with elsewhere in the UK. Scotland, though, is very much more closely interwoven with the rest of the UK than the EU, not only economically but also legally, socially, and culturally. And we all know Scotland's 9 per cent deficit level means a decade or more of austerity before there’s any chance at all of joining the EU. C'mon, Flynn, try to show some intelligence. You can't, in a one-off debate, consider Brexit an unmitigated disaster yet, every other day of the year, insist Scexit will be just hunky dory.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire



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