I WOULD LIKE to suggest that it is not, as Dr Gerald Edwards claims (Letters, December 12), the Scottish Government that is scratching the bottom of the barrel, but Dr Edwards himself, when he claims that “under the SNP, Scotland is backing down “.
Since coming to power, SNP policies have resulted in the highest level of investment in education in the UK, with 1,000 schools built or upgraded, with more teachers than at any time since 2008, while the number of top passes is at an all time high since devolution. started, and Scottish students pay no college tuition fees. The new game-changing Scottish payment for children has been introduced and now doubled, and Scots are not being charged over the counter for their prescriptions, currently Â£ 9.35 per item in England.
I would say that far from ‘backing down’ Scotland is moving forward. However, we could have gone even faster if we had had an oil fund for 50 years, similar to that of independent Norway. Dr Edwards calls ‘It’s Scotland’s Oil’ an inappropriate slogan; it was not the slogan that was inappropriate, it was the fact that Scotland had no control over the oil wealth in our waters which flowed directly into the British Treasury. Scotland’s past is in the hands of Westminster; Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands, for good.
Ruth Marr, Stirling.
FISHING BOAT MADNESS STRATEGY
THE AMAZING hardly describes what I felt reading that a multi-million pound fund has been set up which will allow Scottish fishermen to buy boats (âNew fund allows young Scots to spend on boats for a “dangerous but rewarding” career “, 12 December).
Just a generation ago, a multi-million pound fund was set up to pay fishermen to destroy boats. Perfectly healthy boats were demolished and sold for scrap.
A few pages later in the same edition, you publish a report on the incursions into Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of so-called ‘rogue fishermen’ (‘Fury at fail to protect Scottish waters from’ rogue ‘fishes Â», December 12). It is suggested that the incidents reported are just the tip of the iceberg. It is also suggested that the lack of prosecution and inadequate sanctions do not prove to be a deterrent for this activity.
This report follows many others published recently by The Herald on Sunday, which focused on the damage to the seabed from indiscriminate and destructive bottom trawling both outside and inside MPAs.
It seems to me that there is more than a little irony in these two contradictory reports.
When will this madness end?
David Clark, Tarbolton.
WE PUT MIGRANTS AT RISK
CLARK Cross (Letters, December 12) is free to be skeptical of migrants, but he may be on the wrong target with those entering the water at Pas de Calais.
There is a simple answer to his question as to why they don’t get on the train or the ferry. Immigration control officers at ferry ports and on the train would have a duty to stop them, and for some reason that doesn’t lead to the same official assessment they get when landing on the beach. Many carriers will not even take on people who do not have a documented landing right.
UK administrative policy is clearly on the rise and is helping to put migrants at risk of death.
These Central Asians on the beach are not chancellors or liars. They are Kurds and Afghans fleeing the murderers.
The other part of his argument is more difficult to answer because the facts are not known. But if France’s involvement is limited to hindering embarkation on the foreshore, it does not seem that migrants are offered France as an option. There’s just as much milk and honey out there and, better yet, European citizenship on the horizon for the settlers. I cannot know what happened in other transit countries.
Interviews with the migrants, however, revealed something frightening. They experienced not only the merciful support of French volunteers, but also the hostility of French racists. And they think no racism awaits them in Britain.
I am on Angel Merkel’s side that we must help as many unfortunate people as possible and that wanting a new country is not a crime. Nonetheless, I have my own red lines, and I understand as well as everyone that the economically promising parts of the UK are already very crowded and expensive.
On the other hand, there are UK companies that are suffering from staff shortages because Europeans cannot enter unconditionally either.
Mr. Cross can choose his own opinions, but I would like to help him be precise and honest just as much as I would like to avoid kidding myself in any way.
Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.
* I don’t really want to get involved in the “feud” between readers Clark Cross and John Milne over “would-be asylum seekers”, but Mr. Cross’s response of December 12 puzzles me. He suggests that asylum seekers wishing to come to the UK apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter and once this is granted “… they would be free to travel to the UK. Uni or elsewhere â.
We know Mr Cross reads the newspapers so it is surprising that he does not appear to be aware of Brexit and that there is no longer freedom of movement between the EU and the UK.
Douglas Morton, Lanark.
A QUESTION OF EXPENDITURE PRIORITIES
A WEE comparison moment for Scottish readers during this eventful holiday season. For the reader’s information, Pfizer estimates it will make a profit of Â£ 1,000 per second over the next year from the production of Covid-related treatments.
People might not be surprised or shocked by such a figure; larger sums may be quoted for other giant pharmaceutical companies.
However, multiply that by 60 to get the profit per minute (Â£ 60,000), then another 60 per hour (Â£ 3,600,000) another 24 (Â£ 86,400,000) per day and finally 365 (Â£ 31,536,000,000) ) for the annual figure. Thirty-one and a half billion (Â£ 31.5 billion) just in profits.
So what. will you still be tempted to say? Our government spent Â£ 50bn in 2020 on British guns. However, the Scottish budget for our NHS in 2019/20 was only Â£ 13.4bn.
Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen.
UKRAINE SHOULD BE SEPARATED INTO TWO
I NOTE with interest the article by David Pratt (âIs the Ukraine Crisis Europe’s Next War?â, December 12). After the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Ukrainians had three decades to transform their country into a modern European state, but Ukraine remains a corrupt and impoverished nation like the Hispanic nations of Latin America. Three decades are enough to modernize a nation, as the Japanese demonstrated by transforming their country from an agricultural and feudal society into a rough European state in the 26 years from 1868 to 1894.
If we Westerners want to continue providing economic, humanitarian or military aid, then we must impose a solution on the Ukrainians so that they no longer waste this aid. Specifically, we are forcing them to divide Ukraine into two countries: Western Ukraine and Eastern Ukraine. The first country will receive most of the Western aid and the second will only receive humanitarian aid.
Most of the people in eastern Ukraine are sympathetic to Russia and its culture. We Westerners should abandon them to Russian revanchism.
Most of the people of Western Ukraine are sympathetic to Europe and its culture. They are expected to continue to receive Western aid if they cross the steps of a strict timetable to make Western Ukraine eligible for EU membership after an additional 26 years. If the people of Western Ukraine fall behind, we Westerners should also abandon them to Russian revanchism.
Dwight Sunada, Stanford, California, United States.
Â£ 2bn in ZERO NET SPENDING IS A WASTE OF MONEY
IN her recent budget, finance secretary Kate Forbes was generous with other people’s money. She has pledged Â£ 2 billion to tackle climate change when Scotland is only responsible for 0.13% of global emissions. She said her government (pushed by the Greens) “is absolutely committed to meeting our statutory climate change targets,” but only five countries have legally binding climate change laws; the 192 other countries only made promises that can and are being broken just a few weeks after COP26.
Japan is building 22 new coal-fired power stations. China burns coal to meet its energy needs. Countries rich in gas and oil have no intention of decarbonising. If Scotland spends Â£ 2bn this fiscal year, will China spend Â£ 400bn every year to ensure that its 30 percent reach net zero in the grim and distant future? What are other countries going to spend? Meanwhile, in Scotland there is real poverty, fuel poverty and homelessness, skyrocketing energy bills, bankrupt businesses and growing unemployment.
Mrs. Forbes fiddles as Scotland burns down.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow.
* A LETTER from DB Watson last week (December 12) was incorrectly titled “Renewable Energy Caused Double Heart Attack at National Grid”. The letter referred to the Scottish grid; National Grid is a private company and has not suffered from the problems mentioned. We apologize for this error, which was introduced at the production stage.
RITCHIE, NOT RICKY, WAS A PLANE VICTIM
I APPRECIATED Ron McKay’s memories of his involvement in the production of his top 40 single “War” and other banned songs (“Why the Beeb banned my top 40 single ‘War'”, December 12). However, to maintain your reputation as the Official Journal, it should be noted that Ricky Valance, the first Welsh singer to reach No.1, did not die with Buddy Holly in a plane crash on the ‘Day the Music died. “; this distinction belonged to Ritchie Valens.
Stewart Campbell, Helensburgh.