THERE WAS little doubting the global reach of the Eurovision Song Contest, so superbly staged by Sweden, on Saturday night. The Swedes, six times winners themselves, are well aware of the opportunity to showcase your country and enhance your tourism.
Eurovision, watched by 200 million across Europe, attracted pop star Justin Timberlake, probably aware that the biggest non-sporting TV event in the world, has an audience eclipsing that of the US Super Bowl.
The programme, from Stockholm, was beamed live to North America, China and Australasia.
All of which makes the UK attitude to the contest all the more inexplicable. The UK has the world’s second biggest pop industry which adds £4.2bn to the UK economy annually.
Instead of sending two failed entrants from the The Voice UK, whose record had not charted in the UK Top 100 in over a month, why are we not sending the likes of Little Mix, Adele, Ellie Goulding, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Jessie J or Sam Smith?
Most countries in Eurovision send their established pop stars, as we used to. They do not fear humiliation. They know they will enhance their sales.
Loreen,for example,who won with Euphoria in 2012, has had her entry streamed 200m times since then.
Like many others I would love to see Scotland be allowed to take part. After all, if Australia can be a guest...
John V Lloyd
Keith Place, Inverkeithing
I can’t agree with Henry McLeish (“There’s little love and Labour’s lost, Saturday) that Scotland still has a constitutional question to settle. The rejection of independence in 2014 in a referendum with the highest turn out we are ever likely to see was by a substantial margin. The continued talk of another referendum is based on the sense of grievance which holds Scotland back not a desire for more political change.
At the recent Scottish parliament election the turnout was low and the parties which won most seats were the ones which said least on using the newly devolved powers. If there is so little interest in devolution, where is the desire for a federal UK?
Scottish politicians would do better to recognise that the needs of the Highlands and the Borders are different from those of Lanarkshire or the Lothians and support devolution from Holyrood to the regions. A federal Scotland would better serve the Scottish people than a centralised Scottish government in a federal UK.
(Dr) SJ Clark
Easter Road, Edinburgh
Not our problem
The German Chancellor has the nerve to say the UK should not leave when the EU is enduring so many crises and she mentions migration as one. What a brass neck she has. She caused the migration crisis with her open arms, open-door policy for all. Now she wants us to stay so that once the migrants achieve EU status, they can all come here.
No thanks Merkel, you broke it, you fix it, we’re off.
Palmerston Place, Edinburgh
Ticket to ride
Holders of free bus passes issued under the National Concession Scheme to elderly and disabled people are currently unable to use them on Night Buses.
Whilst Night Buses won’t concern those outwith our major cities, it seems strange to city dwellers that elderly and disabled folk should be discouraged from participating in nocturnal life in this way.
Perhaps a priority for our new Scottish Parliament to examine?
Montgomery Street, Edinburgh
There are no excuses for the team I love dearly. Hibs lost the play-off with Falkirk on Friday night and face another season downstairs.
I am afraid, however, that Scottish football as a whole will suffer with me and many thousands of other Hibs fans. The Hibees have a young and vibrant team, perhaps not a physical match for many of the teams in the lower divisions and they could have added youth and skill and excitement as well as many thousands more fans to the paltry crowds of the Premier League.
But I would rather see Hibs go down than revert to that physical style.
This all may be sour grapes, but it is certainly fact. May I add my congratulations and wish Falkirk well if they make it upstairs.
New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh
For decades climate alarmists have included India in their list of ticking population bombs, but surveys now report its fertility rate has fallen to levels lower than most western nations.
Since the turn of the millennium, the number of children born per Indian woman has fallen below 2 – the ‘replacement rate’ in advanced economies is generally estimated at 2.1.
Its urban fertility rate is now lower than that in the US, Europe and Australasia, demonstrating yet another “social good” stemming from the empowerment of women.
Rev Dr John Cameron
Howard Place, St Andrews
In March, Fife Council’s decision to relocate Madras College on Green Belt was quashed as “unlawful” in the Court of Session by Lord Malcolm, Lord Drummond Young and Lady Clark. They ruled that the planning authority adopted “an erroneous approach”, and remitted “the whole matter for reconsideration” back to Fife Council.
Now the council has applied to the Scottish Government’s DPEA (Planning & Environmental Appeals Division) to remove that site from the Green Belt or, even if retained as Green Belt, to identify the site for the school in the Local Development Plan.
Were either of these to happen, it would be much easier for the council to press ahead with its plan, almost unaltered from its previous unlawful and quashed application, and avoiding the need to reconsider “the whole matter”.
The effect would be to by-pass the unambiguous intention and spirit of the court’s written verdict and robust criticism by the court of the council’s decision-making. It would strongly imply a “pre-determination” by Fife Council’s administration in favour of that site, at the expense of the court’s requirement to assess all potential sites equitably, which might well determine that another site is the right choice.
Such pre-determination would contravene well-established protocols mandated throughout Scotland’s councils.
Horseleys Park, St Andrews
Loyalty to royalty
On BBC’s Question Time, Humza Yousaf revealed just how cynically manipulative the SNP are prepared to be in order to get people on board with their separatist agenda (“Most SNP supporters want Queen to go says Yousaf”, 14 May). The Queen will no doubt be charmed to hear that Mr Yousaf and the rest of the SNP really view retaining the monarchy as no more than a temporary convenience for keeping some traditionalists on side long enough to see them through a second referendum, after which if successful they would then simply engineer a route to drop the monarchy completely.
This despite numerous assurances from Alex Slamond and Nicola Sturgeon at the time that this was not the plan. How many more misleading commitments and reassurances was the 2014 case for separation dependent on?
West Linton, Peeblesshire
Humza Yousaf has admitted that most in the SNP want to get rid of the monarchy. Did anyone really believe that the SNP was anything other than anti-Royalist? Their pro-monarchy line in the independence referendum was obviously just a trick to maximise the separation vote. Dissociating Scotland from the Queen would have been high on the SNP’s agenda in the event of independence.
The Queen serves as an invaluable focal point of British national life, strengthening our identity, affirming what is good, and consoling the suffering in a way that an elected politician cannot. Maintaining this wonderful tradition requires ongoing commitment as each generation is taught to revere, celebrate and respect the monarch as a symbol of national unity.
Bang to rights
Alan Johnson, leader of the Labour In for Britain campaign, speaking alongside Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, rightly pointed out that if the UK votes to exit the EU, Conservatives wanting Brexit will definitely be looking to reduce workers rights, such as maternity and paternity leave, sick pay, limits on excessive hours etc.
The EU gives us a lot of jobs, a lot of investment in infrastructure etc, it would be foolish to throw this away.
Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh
Facts not fiction
It would be more honest for both teams in the Brexit debate to acknowledge the other persuasion’s valid points and then state why their own arguments have clear advantages over them. Is there a previous model to provide evidence substantiating opposing claims?
The insidious “fear factor” employed by the Stayers is now morphing into arrogant bullying. We now suffer interventions by the US president, the governor of the Bank of England and the chief executive of the International Monetary Fund.
Our own chancellor recommends that we regard such luminaries as people who know what’s best in this situation. What they clearly know – and proclaim – is what’s best for themselves in preserving the status quo which empowers them.
The public need more knowledge of both pros and cons in the argument.
Ormiston Road, Tranent
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signed a £10bn memorandum with a Chinese group that are now under serious questions regarding human rights abuses and corruption issues.
Dealing with the Chinese is a delicate matter requiring a thorough understanding of international trading, otherwise memorandums may well end up having to be cancelled.
Dennis Forbes Grattan
Mugiemoss Road, Aberdeen