BILL Ramsay, the SNP CND convener group refers to his paper and Zoom meetings entitled “Guantanamo on the Clyde” (Letters, September 6) which argued against proposals for a cash-strapped Scotland leasing the Trident base to the UK, thereby (pardon the puns) torpedoing the SNP’s flagship antinuclear policy.

It’s yet another example of reasons why the whole of Scotland may not go independent.

This week Shetland Islands Council members voted to explore issue of the isles becoming autonomous.

It’s not so far-fetched. In 2012 SNP MP Angus McNeil told the BBC Orkney and Shetland could remain part of the UK “if there was a big enough drive for self-determination” and the day before the 2014 referendum Alistair Carmichael, MP, suggested Shetland could becoming a self-governing region similar to the Faroes (Denmark) or a Crown dependency, like the Isle of Man.

The islands are not alone. Recently Jamie Blackett, deputy leader of George Galloway’s Alliance 4 Unity party, wrote in favour of Borders and Dumfries remaining in the UK.

This idea has legs: Dumfries and the Borders is a contiguous land connection, with a history of economic and cultural relations to the south. Remaining in the UK would encourage a revival of an area badly affected by de-industrialisation as businesses move to a more stable fiscal, tax, pension and political environment and single market.

Add 61.4 per cent “No”-voting Edinburgh and East Lothian and the resulting East Coast Panhandle would terminate at the Forth Bridges, whose southern landfall is within Edinburgh’s boundaries.

Growing anger and frustration in Grampian at perceived SNP victimisation on business rates, funding, the recent lockdown and the lack of “levers” to diversify our post-oil economy is fuelling demands for more autonomy there too. If the Aberdeen and Edinburgh city regions, with per Capita GVAs of around £45k opted out, Scotland’s £25.5k average GVA would fall 10% to around £23k and Scotland would be looking for a new capital city.

So what if a British Prime Minister, invoking the right of self-determination, “vowed” that any council region voting Remain by 60% would remain in the UK?

In 2014, 11 out of Scotland’s 29 Remain voting regions voted No by 60% or more, including Borders, Dumfries, East Lothian, Orkney and Shetland, Aberdeen City and Shire, and Edinburgh. In fact only 124,000 of Edinburgh’s 500,000 inhabitants actually voted to leave.

The Balkanisation of Scotland would be horrible and suicidal. To paraphrase John Swinney we’d truly have been “too wee minded, too poor, and very stupid” to have allowed the SNP, Scotland’s 21st century “parcel of rogues” to “drag us out of the UK against our will”. But if push came to shove thousands of Scots – me included – would rather live in a “Little Scotland in the UK ” than Nicola Sturgeon’s People’s Republic of Lesser Caledonia.

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Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

IT will be a very sad day on December 31 when Scotland is dragged out of the EU against our will. With Brexit we are expected by the Westminster Government to accept lower food standards from America. We have for some years now appreciated the high standards of food hygiene and good quality from the EU.

With Brexit looming the Westminster Government wants us to accept lower food standards. This is not at all suitable for children or people suffering from ill health. We were in the EU with a good relationship and had no reason to leave. Scotland needs independence and to return to the EU as soon as possible.

Susan Swain, Dunbar.

ENFORCEMENT SHOULD BE KEY

ONE word missing in the debate about house party raves and also not mentioned in concerns about the proposed Hate Crime Bill is the word enforcement. Ample legal means already exist for tackling both these antisocial problems, such as, for a start, breach of the peace which is, as far as I am aware, wide-ranging enough to encompass raves and public utterances of hate, both surely readily distinguishable for what they are. Enforcement of existing laws ought to do the trick. Fundamental in both instances is the element of danger to the general public, which in fact is why these two particular instances are topical – raves because of the spreading of Covid, and how the voicing of hate has likewise the capacity to become active violence.

As so much of law seems to entail verbal dexterity and vocabulary confidence, I would suggest the word “enforcement” be accorded some sorely needed prominence and that those in its service do more to curtail such antisocial events as raves and hate voicing. There is no cause to introduce new bills and laws, which anyway further along the usual human roadway would begin to suffer the same lack of enforcement that is the subject of this letter.

Ian Johnstone, Peterhead.

WE ALL NEED TO ACT RESPONSIBLY

MARTIN Redfern (Letters, September 6) claims that Nicola Sturgeon “consistently uses the pandemic to, if not overtly claim but definitely suggest Scotland is somehow better, more worthy than England”. Ms Sturgeon has done no such thing; at her daily updates she has concentrated on informing the public of the latest Covid situation in Scotland and answered questions from the press, and she has repeatedly expressed her determination not to get into political name-calling despite the efforts of some sections of the media.

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The worrying rise of cases in Scotland, throughout the UK and in many parts of the world are naturally concerning, but while the First Minister’s behaviour throughout this pandemic has been exemplary, she needs the rest of us to behave equally responsibly in order to flatten and stop the spread of the virus. Mr Redfern’s accusation of Ms Sturgeon using “this deadly disease to try to create division and build enmity”, is pernicious nonsense, although I do detect efforts to create division and build enmity running throughout Mr Redfern’s letter.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

I HAVE not been so disappointed in such a long time as when I viewed coverage of the Saving Scotland protests last Saturday (“Biggest weekly increase in virus cases since May”, September 6).

I understand and accept, although I do not agree with, the fears and protests against a return to lockdown, the imposition of wearing masks or other restrictive controls. Where I do have a problem is with the “fruit loops” who think that the Covid issue is a hoax or some kind of deep state conspiracy. Maybe they think that the First Minister and the Prime Minister are in fact co-ordinating everything for their reptile alien masters.

If these people have any genuine grievances please articulate them properly with reasoned arguments instead of defaulting to the non-proven and mob-rule accusatory shouts of “conspiracy”.

Tom Mann, East Renfrewshire.

THE belief that mass testing will enable us to control the spread of Covid-19 is mistaken, because the coronavirus will not stop circulating until a majority of the community has the immunity, which can only come from a vaccine or from having had the disease.

At the moment an effective population vaccination looks a long way off so those who are at relatively low risk should be encouraged to get back to school, university or work, where they may be exposed to the coronavirus but will develop personal immunity.

Now the NHS has the capacity for the effective treatment of severe cases, quarantine and lockdown should be discarded along with other disruptive strategies known to devastate the health, social and financial wellbeing of individuals and the nation.

Rev Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

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STAY CALM OVER XR

TO look at the hyperbolic headlines originating from the activities of the Extinction Rebellion group, which deprived so many readers of the enjoyment to be derived from their perusal of their Sunday papers, you would have thought they had committed atrocities commensurate with those of the notorious Pol Pot.

An angry Government is now contemplating, in populist mode, legislation to criminalise such public protests.

For a long time we have prided ourselves on being a nation which delighted in free speech and recognised the value of peaceful public protest.

That now appears to be a dwindling perspective and we look as though we could be turning the corner into becoming close to a police state where anyone can be penalised for daring to oppose current orthodoxy – and this from a Westminster Government which claims that it wants to restore our sovereignty along with our British freedoms through Brexit.

We are on the verge of ending up in the world George Orwell envisaged in both Animal Farm and 1984 where the authorities dictate what it is permissible to say or do.

Who knows what will happen if they ever devise technology to read our thoughts?

Losing one’s Sunday papers is a minor inconvenience in relation to the punishments the authorities are considering for those who dared so far in that direction.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

ELECTRIC SHOCKER

THE latest insult to motorists is that councils could be given the power to create green-coloured parking spaces for electric cars.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has already approved plans to let EVs use bus lanes. Motorists already pay the highest fuel duty in the world. Fuel duty is 57.95p per litre plus VAT, which equals 69.68p per litre or £3.24 per gallon. Meanwhile the rich and pampered electric vehicle owner who pays zero towards the roads gets a grant of up to £4,500 and expects local authorities and other public bodies to install EV charging points and privileged parking for their convenience.

There are 1.2 billion petrol/diesel vehicles in the world, increasing to two billion by 2035, so the 40 million in the UK is not going to solve world-wide pollution. It cannot be long before UK motorists take to the streets as the Yellow Vests did in France when faced with an unacceptable fuel duty rise.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.





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