Wake up to EU

IT'S NOT surprising to see why confusion rages about the EU, even amongst those within its own circles. It seems that even Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is now having grave reservations about this undemocratic institution.

Over the past few days she said that “Britain must quit the European Court of Human Rights”, blaming them for the long legal battles to deport fanatics like Abu Hamza and Abu Quatada. Not only was her judgment right, it would also be right if she said exactly the same thing about every other battle lost to this country… because of the EU.

In denouncing the continuing scaremongering stories of the Inners, claiming they are all “nonsense”, she added “nor do I believe that the sky will fall in if we vote to leave”. Better late than never, but she is beginning to wake up.

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And so is, believe it or not, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president. He is now fully persuaded that the EU have passed too many laws that should have been left for national governments to decide.

What he said over the last few days is, to say the least, quite staggering: “I think that one of the reasons that European citizens are stepping away from the European project is that we are interfering in too many domains of their private lives. And too many domains where the member states are better placed to take action and pass legislation.”

“Interfering” must surely be the understatement of the century. It is because of their gross interference that, even as I write this, they have launched a legal challenge against Britain over its introduction two years ago of a road toll for trucks, arguing that it discriminates against foreign drivers!

How many people know the unelected European Commission, which runs the EU, regularly rejects attempts by Britain to reform the Union and that we have never, since 1996 when records began, managed to block a single piece of EU legislation?

We must all now wake up. A vote for Brexit on 23 June will not only restore UK Parliamentary democracy and take back control from the unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, it will also free us of all EU interference – for ever.

Donald J Morrison,

Old Edinburgh Road, Inverness

The Remain campaign fears Brexit because it will bring the whole EU edifice crashing down. It will energise the anti-EU forces in France, Germany and the Netherlands and encourage nationalism in eastern Europe. The European Union, like the Soviet Union and other empires before it, will become history.

Just as the RAF’s victory in the Battle of Britain in 1940 inspired resistance across Europe against fascism, so will a Brexit next month inspire nations across Europe to reclaim their sovereignty from an unelected cabal representing the rich and powerful champions of globalisation who want to suppress the nation state and supplant it with multinational control.

William Loneskie

Justice Park, Oxton
Lauder, Berwickshire

The iron grip

As Keith Howell points out, Nicola Sturgeon is seeking consensus only on condition that it is “in the interests of the party” (Letters, Tuesday, 10 May). Stalin would have approved!

We see this approach in SNP planning policy, with local authority decisions being repeatedly overturned on appeal by government officers in favour of developments opposed by the general public for good reasons after extensive consultation processes. So much for democracy!

Now that the SNP has lost its overall majority and the Conservatives are the official opposition, it is to be hoped that in planning matters the views of the public will be given greater consideration.

Stephen J Edwards

Inveresk Village
Musselburgh, East Lothian

Nicola Sturgeon wants to persuade opponents of independence to agree with her. Like Margaret Thatcher, she is utterly sure she knows best and ignores evidence to the contrary. She has rejected the advice of professional experts in transport, agriculture, energy and education. Her ideas/decisions are based purely on emotion.

When in the SNP , I came to realise that its views are based mainly on this and its arguments are largely rationalisations. “Evidence for independence” is emphasised and any against it is thought to be based on emotions such as fear.

This is typical of all nationalisms, including the British variety expounded by unionists. The DUP does not use its position to try to convince Irish nationalists to embrace unionism. The Scottish Government should not do so with those who reject Scottish nationalism. That should be left to the SNP as a party. We would not tolerate our MPs, MSP or councillors using their positions to try to convert us to their party’s views.

Ms Sturgeon is deluded in thinking she can get others to change their ideas by reason. It is only by playing to emotions that such can happen. This is clear from the success of Donald Trump, despite his ideas being irrational in the extreme.

John Munro

Buccleuch Street, Glasgow

No Six please

There are changes afoot within the BBC, and it took the SNP’s Media and Culture spokesman no time to make claims that Scotland is under-represented, particularly in respect of a “Scottish Six”.

Seriously? Is there any evidence that we want a Scottish-specific news bulletin, with frequent handovers to “our Asia correspondent”, that is, the B part of the BBC. Have we not learned from Newsnight Scotland?

Put the two together and see which is more popular. Let’s not have this imposed on us.

Ken Currie

Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

Fair result

Alex Salmond may wish to blame the system for losing the SNP their majority, but I make it that they got just fewer than half of the seats at Holyrood for just fewer than half of the vote. I think the people of Scotland got exactly what they wanted.

Victor Clements

Mamies’s Cottage
Taybridge Terrace
Aberfeldy, Perthshire

It is not the mathematical arguments, powerful as they may be, that I find upsetting about Alex Salmond’s recent complaints about the Holyrood voting system. It is the brazen hypocrisy it entails.

For many years when Labour enjoyed the benefits of the system and seemed destined to rule in Scotland for ever, the SNP, led by Mr Salmond, complained long and bitterly about the defects of a system that allowed this.

They made a strong case and even many vehemently non-Nationalists felt the power of the argument and were uneasy about the situation.

Now we are in a situation where the roles are reversed and the SNP enjoys untrammelled power in first past the post Westminster elections. At Holyrood, fewer than a quarter of those eligible to vote chose SNP and yet they have virtual control of Holyrood.

And yet, as always, not lacking neck, the bold former leader of the SNP finds cause for complaint.

At least during Labour’s years of hegemony the electorate turned out in numbers closer to what could be called a real reflection of the wishes of the population as a whole.

A complete revamp is in order.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Using Mark Ward’s applied method of election result analyses, Ruth Davidson’s party has been elected as the sole enthusiastic defenders of the Union by only 12 per cent of the electorate (Letters, 13 May).

Sounds like a mandate for Indyref2 to me.

David Flett

Cooperage Quay

Great Britain?

Henry Richmond seems to sneer at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood (Letters, 11 May). Unlike Mr Richmond, I believe not voting can indicate an acceptance of present circumstances.

Those of his persuasion could do worse than consider the record of Westminster over the decades. A colossal per capita national debt – worse than our major competitor – is being paid off by more borrowing, yet so-called Great Britain persists in patrolling the seven seas with warships that break down and aircraft carriers with no aircraft while our public services crumble.

Paul Jeffrey

Marchmont Crescent

Backing fracking

Andrea Leadsom MP’s comments on redeploying redundant North Sea oil workers to shale gas fracking are a rare example of joined-up thinking by a government minister, especially so given that she is a minister of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (The Scotsman, 13 May).

Hydraulic fracking for hydrocarbons is not a novel technology; the oil industry has been using it for several decades for the recovery of both oil and gas including in the North Sea.

As a result of our oil industry, Scotland already has an abundance of the professionals and skills required for onshore production of shale gas by fracking. With the very low oil prices having led to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the industry, a great many of the engineers and other experts are currently available.

If the SNP government does not soon lift its moratorium on fracking the necessary professionals will drift off to work in other parts of the world and the opportunity for Scotland to become a leader in this industry will be lost.

Otto Inglis

Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

Namely, what?

My daughter wrote to the Children’s and Families Directorate of the Scottish Government with a question: “Can I opt out of the Named Person service?”

You would have thought the answer would be quite short: yes or no.

Not at all. The reply appeared on the 16th or 17th page of “clarification” and was quite well wrapped up: “The Named Person Service… will be available by law for all children and young people”. Or, as you might say, no.

Clarification or obfuscation? A way to bury bad news? It’s almost as if someone were afraid of the answer.

Elizabeth R Biggart

Inverleith Place