This image of a tranquil evening scene at St Mary’s Loch was supplied by Alistair Milne.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
SOME FACTS FOR THE BRIT NATS
Paul Singleton (letters, May 24) will be surprised to learn that I agree with him – a first for me.
I agree that Scotland needs to grow its workforce – not only in the NHS – but right across the board. But (before he gets too excited) he avoids, as usual, facing up to the facts:
z His British nationalist government, with its disgusting, xenophobic immigration policies (instigated by Theresa May), has tied Scotland’s hands when it comes to recruitment in order to boost our working population.
z His dysfunctional Home Office in London not only prevents people who want to come, live and work here, contributing to our welcoming society and economy, but also, perversely, insists on deporting good people who have already established themselves in our country, with jobs and families, simply to satisfy the right-wing racists in the British nationalist party he supports. Scotland needs to control its own immigration policy to build our workforce to meet our unique needs.
Could Mr Singleton explain how he reconciles these two opposing facts, or is he so obsessed by “the precious union of Great Britain” that he doesn’t really care, choosing instead, as he always does, to attack Nicola Sturgeon and the democratically-elected government of Scotland.
Furthermore, Martin Redfern (letters, May 24) seems to be suggesting that Scotland should happily accept the status quo regarding broadcasting and does not deserve fair coverage by the “Biased Broadcasting Corporation”, or any other media outlet, which reflects the society, culture, politics and interests of its people, like any other nation.
For his benefit, and that of other British nationalists, here are some facts:
z Scotland sends over £320m in licence fee money to BBC London – it gets back 54.6% for Scottish broadcasting;
z Northern Ireland gets back 75%;
z Wales gets back 95%;
z England retains 100%.
Scotland can surely do much better than this for its people than this same old, outdated vision of the future.
PRESIDENT OF A MARXIST STATE?
The responsibility of government is not for the privileged few – it’s for everyone.
If you want a republican Scotland (if and when the next Scottish independence referendum arises), then vote for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as president of an independent Marxist republican Scotland.
This is what was planned by Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill in 1979 as the Republican Scottish National Party. Both were subsequently sacked for collusion with Sinn Fein, but returned to power later. Nicola Sturgeon was later put in power for one reason only – to achieve independence for Scotland and, if successful, to leave soon after.
This situation and voter indoctrination is similar to Sinn Fein regarding Southern Ireland, its politics almost identical to the Scottish nationalists’, including abolition of the monarchy.
There is no place for Scottish nationalists in the bigger picture of Brexit and the opportunities for our younger generation that they duly deserve.
Sturgeon and her ‘family’ want an independent Scotland for personal political power.
The Scottish people have always had a good relationship with England, Ireland and Wales (contrary to Scottish nationalist propaganda), and will find the correct conclusion finally (their grandchildren are too precious to throw this away).
EXPERIMENTING WITH OUR FUTURES
The SNP’s Growth Commission report unwittingly presents the strongest possible case for why Scotland should remain in the UK.
By admitting that it might well take a decade before an independent Scotland could contemplate establishing its own currency, let alone start the process of trying to rejoin the EU, the SNP experts reveal just how much Scotland would have to go through to deliver Nicola Sturgeon’s ambition.
Left outside the UK and EU over an extended period, Scotland would be forced to apply austerity in the form of higher taxes and cuts in public services in order to replace the sharing of resources across the UK, and to start the long climb to making our economy truly sustainable. It might be that over a decade into the future, Scotland could start to prosper, based on replicating the success of some other small countries like New Zealand and Denmark.
As the people of Scotland ponder how likely that transformation would be, they will have in mind how the SNP government has fared in overseeing our education and health services over the last 10 years.
Those wanting independence at any cost will be readily convinced, but I suspect the great majority will not want to encourage this latest SNP experiment with all our futures.
The SNP blueprint for independence ran to 354 pages, showing that it will take 25 years for an independent Scotland to match the GDP per capita of other small advanced nations.
However, the figure that should send out shockwaves was that Scotland’s existing public sector deficit is £13.3bn, the equivalent of 8.3% of GDP.
The Scottish Growth Commission calculation that this will reduce to £9.45bn (5.9%) by 2021/22 seems highly improbable. Reducing the deficit to £4.1bn (2.6%) by 2031/32 is pie-in-the-sky economics.
We should not be surprised since so many of the Scottish Government’s numerous pledges and forecasts have not come anywhere near fruition.
FLAGGING UP THEIR SUPPORT
Lauderdale Community Council has become one of the first (as far as I know) in the Borders to arrange for Rainbow flags to fly to over its town hall.
This will happen on Saturday, June 16, in support of Pride Edinburgh.
The community council is funding one of the flags and the other is to be paid for by donations from local businesses. I know many of us on the council are proud of this small symbol and the response from the public on Facebook has been universally positive.
(on behalf of the community council)
PROMOTING CHARACTER ATTACKS
The Scottish Government has launched a public consultation on family law, particularly as it affects the arrangements for the parenting of children after separation or divorce.
Families Need Fathers (FNF) Scotland has been pressing for some years for such a review to address the spectrum of issues that arise at our monthly local group meetings, or are raised by individuals who get in contact.
We are asked for help not only by separated fathers, but by mothers, grandparents, new partners, aunts and uncles who have discovered how blunt, slow and expensive the current system can be, often at the expense of the relationship of both parents with their children.
The civil servants who are conducting the consultation will be coming to several FNF group meetings in the next few weeks to get insight into the personal, financial and relationship costs of the current system.
We will also have a separate evening meeting in Glasgow on Wednesday, June 27, to discuss the consultation.
We believe a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting after separation will help the individuals involved draw up arrangements that genuinely put the interests of their children first. There are too many incentives in the ‘winner-takes-all’ approach of the current system that promote character attacks on each parent by the other, damaging relationships long after their court case is over and the sheriff has gone home.
However, it is vital that your readers who may have experience of the current system should take part in the online consultation. This is a once-in-a-generation event.
The Scottish Government link is: https://consult.gov.scot/family-law/children-scotland-act
There is also a series of child friendly questions which are available at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/reviewofchildrenscotlandact1995
For further information on our proposals, contact us at 0131 557 2440, or www.fnfscotland.org.uk.
LIVES DISRUPTED OR EVEN RUINED
We are the board of the Final Say For All Foundation, dedicated to highlighting the stories of those most affected by Brexit, but who were not permitted to vote in the European Union referendum.
Our aim is to raise awareness that Brexit is not just about big issues like GDP or foreign policy. It’s also about ordinary people living ordinary lives and those lives being disrupted, lessened or even ruined by it, and by the approach of the UK Government towards UK citizens living in the EU27, and EU27 citizens living in the UK, and migrants more generally.
The Leave campaigns promised that the rights of EU27 citizens in the UK would not change, and this was reiterated by the Prime Minister after the referendum. Since then their lives have been held in limbo, often at extraordinary cost to their welfare, as the government has used them as bargaining chips in negotiations. None of these people had a say in what is now happening to them.
UK citizens in the EU27, most of whom are not retired and live ordinary working lives, have been treated no better by the government.
Despite the EU27 vowing to reciprocate all guarantees the UK Government was willing to make to EU citizens, it refused to make such guarantees. As such, more than a million UK citizens have been left with no certainty about whether they will be able to continue the lives they have built. Most of these UK citizens had no vote in the referendum.
While agreements on some aspects of both sets of citizens’ status have been made in principle, there are still outstanding issues. What’s more, the government has refused to request that issues of citizens’ rights are ring-fenced in negotiations, so continuing rights are entirely dependent on other issues such as the Northern Ireland border being agreed.
We believe that people, whichever way they voted in the referendum, did not intend that this level of harm and uncertainty be imposed on their friends, neighbours, doctors, nurses, teachers and fellow citizens. If they were aware of it, we are convinced that they would not want it.
We have therefore collated stories from every region of the UK ( finalsayforall.eu/blog) to show the concerns and anxieties the UK Government’s position is causing to every-day people disenfranchised by that very government; the pain it is causing, not only to those citizens, but those effected in a secondary way.
Nicola James, John Ling and Michael Moss
NARROWING ODDS AGAINST DEATH
Every year more than 3,000 men in Scotland are diagnosed with prostate cancer – and almost 1,000 of them die.
In some cases their deaths could have been prevented had they received earlier diagnosis and treatment.
In an effort to raise awareness about prostate cancer, and encourage more men to talk openly about the disease, Prostate Cancer UK is launching a new partnership with bookmaker William Hill in Scotland.
Over the next three months prostate cancer information and leaflets will be available within all William Hill shops, awareness posters will be displayed on washroom doors and all staff will receive training on key prostate cancer messages.
Volunteers from Prostate Cancer UK, who have lived or are currently living with the disease, will also visit shops and talk to staff and customers about their own experiences. Customers will have the opportunity to buy one of the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ pin badges in store or simply donate via collection tins.
Anyone who would like to find out more about prostate cancer is welcome to come into William Hill shops during the campaign to pick up information.
Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can also contact Prostate Cancer UK’s specialist nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383, or visit prostatecanceruk.org.
(volunteer engagement team leader, Prostate Cancer UK)
(area manager, William Hill)
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Are you living with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, or do you care for someone who is? Are you a health professional working in this field?
If so, the cross-party group (CPG) on heart disease and stroke in the Scottish Parliament wants to hear from you.
The CPG is holding an inquiry into the prevention, detection, treatment and management of high blood pressure in Scotland.
The inquiry will gather information from people living with high blood pressure, those who care for someone with the condition, and clinicians and organisations with an interest in high blood pressure services.
A report of the findings will be published in January 2019 and will make recommendations to the Scottish Government.
If you live in Scotland and have ever been told that you have high blood pressure (even if you don’t need to take medication to manage this), you can share your views through answering the questions in the survey at bhf.org.uk/hbpinquiry You can also share your views there if you are a clinician or work for an organisation with an interest in hypertension services in Scotland.
(senior policy and public
British Heart Foundation