Readers' Letters: World gets ever more confusing by the day

Perhaps it is a case of old age but I am becoming increasingly confused by “news”. One day we are suggesting that youngsters are so far behind in education that the school day needs extended, the next we are suspending education for a football match.

In what world does watching a football match during school time make sense? (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
In what world does watching a football match during school time make sense? (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

One day we are threatening dire consequences of the impact of climate change, the next we are bemoaning we can't fly off on holiday and our leaders are jetting in to Cornwall and sitting in huge cavalcades of gas-guzzling cars. Good for our Queen, who took the train! We suggest that all sorts of activities can't take place, but then let thousands gather for a football match.

Perhaps it is not me who is confused!

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James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

No consistency

It was heartbreaking to read of the four-year-old girl in Dumbarton who has written to the First Minister, pleading for her Mummy and Daddy to be allowed to attend her nursery’s graduation ceremony, from which, at present, parents are banned. Nicola Sturgeon apparently sees nothing wrong with 6,000 boozing fans congregating on Glasgow Green to watch football at the same time. The inconsistency in the SNP decision-making process is breathtaking.

Perhaps if the children were all wearing tartan and waving flags and singing dirges commemorating centuries’ old battles, all would be allowed.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Their opinion

As regards Keir Starmer’s support of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), Susan Dalgety suggests that in supporting these reforms he is failing to protect women’s rights and responsible for Labour losing seats (Perspective, 12 June). In the run-up to the election the GRA was barely discussed, so it’s unlikely that this swayed voters. Starmer’s failure to provide meaningful opposition and alienation of their key youth voter base, whom Jeremy Corbyn attracted, seem likelier culprits. To imply Starmer champions GRA reform above “economic and social renewal” is untrue. Labour had an entire manifesto. However, highlighting LGBT+ issues while being interviewed by an LGBT+ organisation seems a pretty reasonable choice on Starmer’s part.

Dalgety fails to understand the relationship between women’s and trans rights. GRA reforms give transgender people the freedom to live authentically and equally without invasive and time-consuming medical tests. Nowhere does she explain why she feels this would infringe on women’s rights. Acknowledging the gender spectrum (even biologically, 2 per cent of all people are intersex) is beneficial to people of all genders, and aids critical analysis of the role of gender in society. In retaining the obsolete and inaccurate gender binary, we reinforce the very patriarchy that feminists (particularly intersectional feminists) should fight to dismantle. How, then, is Starmer betraying women?

Polls show that the majority of women support trans rights, so surely Dalgety is more out of step with women than Starmer.

R Porter, T Bain, K Wright, Edinburgh

Range of opinion

I agree with Neil Barber (Letters, 12 June), petitioning the Scottish Parliament to ban shooting around Samye Ling Tibetan Centre and other sites of religious significance is a desperate measure born out of the failure of planning and other legislation to protect the public from a growth in extra-long distance target shooting. We need a suitable regulatory framework to ensure safety and environmental protection. Responsibility for range safety was removed from the Ministry of Defence in a 2006 UK Government review. Self-regulation by the shooting enthusiasts is not enough when it comes to private ranges being developed for the use of 50 calibre sniper rifles with a range of several miles.

Local planners and police firearms licensing departments do not have the resources or expertise to evaluate the design and safety of such ranges. Such ranges cannot safely co-exist with other recreational activities afforded by the right to roam or alongside residents and visitors' right to enjoy the peace of the countryside. The correct place for such shooting is on existing well-regulated Ministry of Defence ranges.

Nicholas Jennings, Eskdalemuir

Feeble Labour

Fifty years of conflict between Scotland and England if no resolution is found to the constitutional question (your report, 14 June)? Gordon Brown’s hyperbole is grounded in electoral panic due to the growing realisation that Labour is a spent force in UK politics. Thus, he deflects and shifts the blame onto the broad-based independence movement in Scotland with his exaggerated picture of “nations fighting each other”.

This “fighting” is strictly in the metaphorical sense, of course, and is no different from the ordinary parliamentary “conflict” that is normal on opposition benches, and if Keir Starmer were more effective in holding Johnson’s government to account Labour’s fortunes would rise. Approximately 40 per cent of Labour voters in Scotland support Scottish independence according to polls, and a large part of their thinking is based on Labour’s sinking position in England and the dawning realisation that the prospects for a decent UK Labour government being elected any time soon are dismal. Instead of inflaming the situation by wild talk of fighting, Brown need look no further than his own back yard for Labour’s ills in Scotland.

The reason support for Scottish independence is rising is an increasingly atavistic England and Labour’s feebleness in restoring progressive politics in the UK.

Mairianna Clyde, Edinburgh

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The Public Health Scotland (PHS) agency was set up a year ago and was the agency responsible for investigating Scotland’s Covid 19 care homes scandal. One might have thought that this would be an independent investigation unaffected by bias or pressure of any kind. One would be wrong.

It has been reported in the press, supported by Freedom of Information requests, that PHS has an agreed “communications framework” with the Holyrood government and Cosla, which represents Scottish Councils. This calls upon PHS to rank report content in degrees of risk, with a score of 4 to 8 for “very high/severe” for communications to the media or the public which could cause “sustained or widespread criticism of the Scottish Government” and “Ministers being pressed to make a statement to parliament”. Items which might lead to front page headlines and public criticism of health policy are also considered high risk. Given that television news reports in Scotland rarely, if ever, report on the many shortcomings and rows concerning the dealings of the Scottish Government and behaviour, one has to wonder just how far the influence and pressure to protect SNP Ministers extends.

Holyrood under the SNP has evolved into a secret society ruled by a very small cabal and is far from being transparent to any degree. Contrast the challenges and exposure the Westminster government is exposed to by the media south of the Border with the kid glove treatment the SNP receive in Scotland and it is clear that the whole system needs to be shaken up, with Holyrood ministers being challenged and put on the spot to a far greater degree than currently occurs. Scotland deserves better.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian

Common sense

As the G7 Summit in Cornwall draws to a close one realises that the UK still has an important role to play in the emerging modern World. Therefore there is no room for political division within these Islands. The rationale behind the formation of Executives or Assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was to facilitate local control over certain Governmental sectors. As is still very much the case the Economy, Defence, Foreign Affairs, a Central Bank, Currency, the Constitution and many other Government functions are still the prerogative of the UK Government at Westminster.

In this form the UK political scene should remain. Any deviation would be disastrous. Common sense must come before political ambitions!

Robert I G Scott, Northfield, Fife

Energy issue

Edinburgh is set to ban lots of older diesel and petrol cars from its city centre soon. Edinburgh district council has worked out how many “local” cars would be involved. This fails to take into account visiting motorists, nor the revelation that so called “converted” buses are nothing of the sort. Electric vehicles pollute too. This simply highlights that politicians are not in as much control of the facts as they would lead you to believe. One thing is certain. Although these same politicians do not care about the commercial viability of the city centre they do care about the high taxes raised from these same businesses. You can't have one without the other.

(Dr) Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

Swiss miss

Your report that Switzerland was going to the polls on whether to raise taxes to fight climate change can now be updated (14 June). Voters have rejected this proposed legislation by 51 per cent to 49 in a referendum. Critics had argued that the plan would be ineffective as Switzerland's emissions are only 0.1 per cent of global emissions and the cost would affect the lower and middle-income families, drivers, young travellers, home-owners and renters. Scotland, like Switzerland, has very low emissions, and is also ineffective at 0.15 per cent but would be horrendously costly to reduce to net zero.

Can Scotland please have a Swiss type referendum?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

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