GERALD Edwards (Letters, October 3) is quite right to challenge the idea that those who oppose independence are somehow “fearties”.
In fact, those who stood up against the mass hysteria and national emotional spasm in 2014 and since have shown enormous personal courage – from the Better Together street stand workers who would come back in tears at the treatment they had received at the hands of nationalists to the elderly lady who came to our local polling station with her “No Thanks” badge under her coat to avoid the scorn of the assorted Bravehearts assembled to “persuade” her and others.
Moreover, the epithet “feart” has also been regrettably used by Scotland’s Makar, Kathleen Jamie. Let us hope that in the interest of national unity, she will soon apologise for that slight and indeed will write a paean in praise of those who saved Scotland from ruin and who remain determined to stand up for rationality and common sense.
Peter A Russell, Glasgow.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
GERALD Edwards is critical of George Archibald for this use of the description “feartie”, claiming that he “is taking the usual line of the nationalists that all will be well and there is nothing to worry about”.
The great Canadian economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said economic forecasting was devised to make astrology look respectable. Where do you think all the economic forecasts written in 2018 and 2019 predicting the first couple of years of the 2020s are now?
The reality of the difficulties of forecasting did not, however deter Better Together, which was a treasure trove of “warnings” about independence.
We were assured with great authority and solemnity that there would be no EU referendum, an assertion proved wrong at just after 10pm on Thursday, May 7, 2015. “Negative scaremongering” according to Alistair Carmichael, then Secretary of State for Scotland.
The mere suggestion of Boris Johnson becoming PM would be described as “utterly ridiculous” and that “Boris will never get anywhere near Number 10!” Indeed, Blair McDougall described him as “a clown”.
In similar way, rejoining the EU sounds anything but “good” to Dr Edwards. We would be net contributors as one of the wealthier EU countries but omits that the poorer members are new accession countries in Eastern Europe and countries in the Mediterranean. Scotland’s GDP per capita was approximately the same as France in 2019.
There would, “naturally”, be a hard border, which “of course” would decimate trade with the rest of the UK. Yet Scotland is one of the remaining UK’s main trading partners. It is in the interests of both sides to make that relationship work.
But what do we get in return by being in the EU? We secure open access to one of the largest and wealthiest markets in the world, which has a much higher growth rate than the UK. Since 2008 growth in the EU GDP per capita was 17.7 per cent, while the UK’s was 3.7%. Sounds good to me.
One of the characters in Tommy Handley’s wartime programme It’s That Man Again (ITMA) was Mona Lott, whose catchphrase was “It’s being so cheerful that keeps me going”. I would suggest that Dr Edwards has an affinity with that role.
Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.
IMPOTENCE IN THE FACE OF SCORN
IT’S perfectly respectable, if misguided, for Gerald Edwards to be afraid of Scottish independence, but I really must take issue with his ludicrous description of Scotland’s place in the UK as having “a loud voice as one of four”.
Did it somehow escape his attention that the UK Government contemptuously ignored the loud cry of every single part of Scotland to remain part of the EU, and that we have been utterly powerless to prevent the subsequent theft and renunciation of our cherished rights? Or that Scotland’s impotence in the face of Westminster’s scorn stood in pitiful contrast to the EU’s steadfast support for Ireland’s “whispers”?
May our future be characterised less by futile bellowing, and more by fruitful and respectful engagement with rule-based organisations who uphold the Vows they make. That is very clearly not the case in Tory Brexit Britain.
Andrew Smith, Bonnybridge.
* DR Gerald Edwards thinks that Scotland in the EU would sacrifice “a loud voice in one in four” in Westminster, “to a whisper as one in 28” in the EU. In Westminster Scotland has no means of stopping legislation with which it disagrees. In the EU every member state has a veto.
Colin Campbell, Kilbarchan.
JOHNSON WILL HAVE TO COME CLEAN
HOW does Boris Johnson get away with it?
He has been shown up in his radio and TV interviews with Nick Robinson and Andrew Marr to be not only a serial liar but also a flannelling filibusterer.
It would appear that not only has he lost the plot, he has also become a stranger to the truth. His solipsism appears to allow him to live in a fantasy world of his own making and he won’t take any contradiction.
Even the Wizard of Oz was revealed to be an imposter and he had to come clean about his role-playing. That day must be fast approaching for our PM.
In his world he would have us believe pigs could fly but in the real world they are going to be killed and incinerated when they should be gracing our supermarket shelves in time for our Christmas festivities, while Mr Johnson’s failure to act on the shortages of skilled labour to provide us with an oven-ready turkey and ham feast has left us asking for more.
Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.
LET US CLING ON TO HOPE
LAST Sunday, October 3, got off to a bad start with my reading of the letter from Clark Cross headed “COP26 will achieve nothing”. It was yet another episode in his relentless stream of negativity regarding all attempts to face up to and tackle climate change, species loss, ecosystem degradation and pollution.
However, after such a disappointing start the day came to a much more optimistic end with my watching The Duke of Cambridge and David Attenborough lead their programme The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet. Protect & Restore Nature. In this programme we were given a picture of what humanity can achieve. Yes, there is much cause for despair but we must recognise that determined action founded on a robust hope will achieve much. Hope, not to be confused with a groundless optimism, is the greatest resource available to us.
It would indeed be foolish to put all that hope in our “leaders” and “let them get on with it”. As I have argued before it is up to us to tell these leaders what we expect of them and, if sufficient numbers do so, they will have no choice but to listen. What will lead to ultimate disaster will be our indifference. And the unremitting negativity of some.
I suggest that your readers, Mr Cross in particular, read at the very least the Opening Summary to Our Common Agenda, “a roadmap to begin rebuilding our world and mending trust”, recently launched by António Guterres, the UN Secretary General.
John Milne, Uddingston.
COUNCILS NEED TO WALK THE WALK
AS a lifelong supporter of energy efficiency and sustainability, I am reading with great interest the articles and letters around COP26. Iain Macwhirter’s “Ten hard lessons from the United Kingdom’s Great Gas Gazump” (September 26) was well written and on point, as were the the letters in response by Tony Philpin and Clark Cross (October 3). However, all these words, and mine, are in vain when faced with the incompetent local authorities (mine being South Ayrshire) that continue to pursue archaic and indiscriminate policies that positively penalise any attempt to improve ageing and inefficient housing by modernisation.
With personal experience of having taken on a project to modernise an uninhabitable property and decarbonise it for future generations, I find myself being penalised by my local authority (200% council charge without regard to Covid restrictions or additional time required to source materials) to the detriment of my project. “Computer says no” with regards to individual attempts to help the environment as far as the local authority workers are concerned.
Governments and local authorities can spin as much as they want about COP26 and about climate change, but somewhere along the journey they are going to have to start walking the walk as Tony Philpin asks.
Tom Cassells, Ayr.
WE NEED INQUIRY INTO ART SCHOOL
I READ Ron McKay’s article on the Glasgow Art School (“Feeling the heat: Who will report blame for Art School inferno?”, October 3) with increasing anger and disbelief.
“Power without responsibility” seems to have become the motto of the board of governors of the school. Not only is Muriel Gray’s lack of accountability disgraceful, the fact that the board has complied with this leaves its members collectively culpable.
The whole board of governors needs to be dismissed, and certainly none of its present members have shown themselves fit to be appointed as chairman. This debacle requires a public inquiry and the appointment of an independent figure of proven competence to lead the board.
The lack of input from the present Government in Westminster is interesting. Previous Conservative governments were ready to rebuild Windsor Castle and York Minster before the flames had even died out; does the much-vaunted “Union dividend” stop at Carlisle?
Perhaps Messrs Jack and Gove could explain why there is a total lack of input when it comes to one of the most important 20th century buildings in Europe. Is it because it is in Glasgow not London?
Dr Iain McLellan, Kilmacolm.