Zoned out

Have your say

Your lead story about reducing the speed limit to 20mph in all built-up areas in Scotland reminded me of just how clever these SNP chappies are (The Scotsman, 25 February).

It surprises me that transport minister Derek Mackay does not want to reduce the speed limit to 10mph. We could have a man with a red flag jogging in front of each vehicle to enforce the law, thus reducing road casualties to virtually zero. This move would have the additional benefits of wiping out unemployment in Scotland at a stroke and vastly improving the fitness of all those joggers. This would alleviate the pressure that the NHS is buckling under at the present time, saving the country a fortune.

Food for thought eh, Mr McKay?

Jack Oaterson

Braehead, Alloa

I would love to be able to reach 20mph in Edinburgh streets but given the state of the roads with potholes and speed bumps it isn’t possible. The Council would be far better fixing the roads than wasting money on 20mph signs.

J Gordon Cameron

Merchiston Bank Gardens, Edinburgh

Selling sex

No doubt Jean Urquhart MSP will soon be publishing the results of her consultation on decriminalising prostitution. And no doubt she will make much of New Zealand and the “example” they are for Scotland. CARE for Scotland are quite clear that decriminalising prostitution is entirely the wrong approach. This is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. International evidence demonstrates a clear link between prostitution and human trafficking.

Major reports from the European Council also favour the complete opposite approach to the one being advocated by Ms Urquhart because they recommend banning the purchase of sex.

If we are serious about protecting prostitutes and those who work in that industry we need to shift the burden of criminality on to the buyer. It is time that the Scottish Government made good on its promise to publish the academic research it commissioned last year into criminalising the purchase of sex.

(Dr) Gordon Macdonald

CARE for Scotland,

29 Canal St, Glasgow

EU what?

I wonder if our First Minister will be calling for a second Indyref should Scotland vote to leave the EU and the UK votes to stay? I bet she won’t.

Donald Carmichael

Orchard Court, East Linton

Much is written about the benefits of the EU but have these ever really been properly assessed when the costs are not? No Scottish financial adviser would be happy to advise clients to give money to EU management as it would disappear into a great black unaccountable hole. Even at the most fundamental level, European parliamentary members are paid expenses without first producing receipts. Imagine the outcry if this happened with members of the Scottish Parliament?

If the EU were a UK-registered company it would be struck off along with its directors for financial mismanagement and a failure ever, in over 40 years, to produce a “clean” set of accounts.

Some estimates are that billions have gone adrift over years of EU administration, the latest question marks being over the spending of EU funds in Ukraine.

How can the UK government propose we continue to risk taxpayers money when it is not properly accounted for and apparently never has been?

Elizabeth Marshall

Western Harbour Midway, Edinburgh

So Nicola Sturgeon threatens post-oil boom Scotland with another independence referendum. She longs to be in a position to make us choose between two trading blocks: the UK or the EU.

For a standalone Scotland seeking European entry, there’d be no UK rebates or opt-outs, achieved over 40 years. We’d be forced to join the euro and schengen. Scotland was hardly welcomed with open arms when our entry was hypothetically discussed in 2014 - and the joining process would take many years.

The rest of the economically buoyant UK is by far our greatest trading partner, not the struggling economies of the EU. Plus, with close pan-UK social and cultural ties, do we want a “hard” international/EU border between England and here?

And let’s not forget we already have a Ukip MEP, plus, opinion polls suggest Ukip will be represented in Holyrood after May. Scotland has scant experience of immigration compared to England – would the end of European immigration into rUK herald what could be popularly regarded as an unacceptable level of immigration into Scotland?

Ms Sturgeon, be careful what you wish for.

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus, Edinburgh

It is instructive that Douglas Turner makes an ad hominem attack on Jane Ball, rather than answering the point she made (Letters, 24 February).

If the SNP were not the authors of “botched policies”, things would not be as serious as they are.

Regardless of which area of governance one considers, the SNP administration is making a fine old mess of it.

Jane Ball merely observed that it is odd for Scots to feel European without wanting to be British, especially bearing in mind that our EU identity results from our being British, not from being Scots.

Indeed, it is the same British Government which is giving us the chance to tell the EU what we think of the Common Agricultural Policy and their Fisheries Policy and their porous borders, their immigrant camps in France and their failing currency. And a few more things.

Perhaps Mr Turner has missed that rather important distinction, but I am sure that he is both proud of his British credentials which allow him to feel European, as he will be of the referendum that the (British) Government gave us to allow us to prove that we all wish to remain part of the UK.

I would say that three cheers for the United Kingdom are called for, Mr Turner!

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh

I am grateful to Mike Scott-Hayward (Letters, 24 February)for suggesting that we need not be America’s Trojan Horse in the EU but rather China’s extra offshore island. It sheds new light on our politicians kowtowing to Beijing and seeking Chinese investment here. Whether we have anything left of UK industry for them to use is questionable but our inventive financial services will no doubt whip up something.

LV McEwan

Kirkhill Road, Edinburgh

Anne Ferguson [Letters, 25 February] implies pro-UK views to Robert Burns. Most of his writings suggest a view in favour of Scottish independence. Around 1793, he wrote a long poem on “The Rights of Woman” ending with the lines “Ah! Ca Ira! The Majesty of Woman”. His use of “Ca Ira”, the title of a song popular in the French Revolution, alarmed the British authorities. This may have led him to write something they would like better.

David Stevenson

Blacket Place, Edinburgh

We’re doomed?

The Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis has published a new paper this week in the journal Nature Climate Change confirming there was virtually no “global warming” between 1998 and 2016.

Their research contradicts a study last June which attempted to dismiss the absence of warming as a “hiatus” and further claimed this could be made to “disappear” if the temperature data was “corrected”.

As the Climategate whistle-blower amply demonstrated, this is not the first time AGW doomsters have used dodgy methods in an attempt to hide the “inconvenient” absence of global warming in the last two decades.

(DR) John Cameron

Howard Place, St Andrews

Question of rape

When I hear people bemoan the low rate of conviction in rape cases, I always wonder how they know that more people were actually guilty.

Many rape cases involve just two witnesses, both of whom were drunk. Often so drunk that reliable recall of the events is impossible, and too drunk to assess their own expression of consent, or to understand the other person’s.

Any culture that condones drunkenness and casual sex will inevitably have a problem with rape. Sex is a powerful, wonderful and dangerous thing. Without clear structures for its expression, chaos can ensue, and damage is done. The concept of consent is a key factor in sexual activity, but, without further standards of propriety and restraint, it is insufficient to regulate sexual passion in practice.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe, Colinton, Edinburgh

Betting on oil

What if engineering group Weir is unduly pessimistic about the market trend of crude oil prices? (Business, 25 February)? Reportedly, one major investment strategist is optimistic about the trend of Brent crude oil prices in 2016. What is noticeable is the view that the trend is “possibly better than many people expect”.

To what extent should firms exposed to oil and gas markets take care of severe cost-cutting?

Surely a key problem of oil prices is whether they result from “real supply and demand”.

Or is it speculative “bets” on the future price of oil that cause the ups and downs of oil prices?

Arguably, it would be a travesty if jobs were being lost because of the influence of “casino-like” speculation.

Ellis Thorpe

Albany, Old Chapel Walk, Inverurie

Balls to blether

I wonder, in this age of digital wizardry, if I could have a button on my remote control that would let me watch matches complete with crowd reaction but mute the constant stream of mainly irrelevant drivel inflicted on me by commentators and their many assistants. The pundits, I can switch off.

James Thomson

Cockburn Crescent, Balerno