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Abandon plan to merge police forces

A British Transport Police officer on duty at Dundee railway station.
A British Transport Police officer on duty at Dundee railway station.

Sir, – I see from your report (June 23) that the First Minister seems determined to press ahead with the plan to have Police Scotland absorb the Scottish operations of British Transport Police despite almost everyone who has anything to do with policing the railway being against the idea.

As usual, Nicola Sturgeon has trotted out the “access to specialist officers” line as a reason for continuing with what is nothing more than a good old-fashioned power grab.

There is no sound operational reason for this change.

It is only happening to satisfy a political whim, perhaps the need of the Scottish Government to remove the word British from the title.

What has been entirely disregarded in the process is that policing the railway is an entirely different task from mainstream policing.

It is a dangerous environment and there are myriad regulations peculiar to policing the railway that BTP officers are familiar with but which Police Scotland officers will have to be trained in at no little expense.

This is every bit as bad an idea as Police Scotland has proved to be and it should be abandoned.

George Thomson.
44 Viewforth Place,


Put families at centre of law

Sir, – A bizarre ruling by the English High Court – the equivalent of our Court of Session – that two grandparents must never be told that their daughter has had twins should give us in Scotland cause for concern.

The same ideological approach, which denies the existence of the family, underlies the law and social policy here and led, for example, to the named person scheme.

In this case, it is apparently a breach of the mother’s human rights to even tell her parents or sister of the children’s existence.

This shows quite how callous and unjust modern human rights law can be, and quite how far it has drifted away from both human nature and common sense.

The mother of the twins has reportedly refused to divulge the contact details of her own parents. I find it surprising that the judge does not order her to do so, and if she refuses, remand her for contempt of court.

If she was refusing to divulge the details of a mere bank account, no judge would think twice about issuing an order.

The proverb that blood is thicker than water reflects experience, scientific research in evolutionary biology and common sense. It is high time it became a fundamental principle in family law.

Otto Inglis.
6 Inveralmond Grove,


Children failed by Westminster

Sir, – Steven Lyall (June 22) makes a number of points regarding the general election. His conclusion is the SNP’s results were due to their record on education.

However, education in Scotland is the responsibility of Holyrood. With three quarters of their tenure remaining, the First Minister and her government can only be rightfully judged at the end of this parliamentary term.

However, I sympathise with Mr Lyall’s confusion. The election campaign conducted by the unionist parties was one of mendacious and misleading content.

The Conservatives in particular, happy to engage in a deliberate act of confusion regarding reserved and devolved responsibilities, left themselves free to treat the Westminster election in Scotland as though the SNP were the sitting government, thereby avoiding any real scrutiny of their own record.

Mr Lyall is correct that poverty is a major hindrance to closing the attainment gap.

He is also correct in his assertion that the extremely limited control we have over our economy leaves Holyrood vulnerable to British Government policies, with yet another generation of Scottish school children being failed by the London establishment.

Ken Clark.
335 King Street,
Broughty Ferry.


Time for a UK republic?

Sir, – Now that Prince Harry has revealed, presumably on the basis of inside information, that not one of the royal family wants to be king or queen, would this not be a good time to relieve their burden and begin the process of becoming a republic?

Les Mackay.
5 Carmichael Gardens,


Britain relies on migrant workers

Sir, – It was with great frustration and irritation that I read the letter from your correspondent Jim Shaw (June 22) regarding his assertions and opinion about the logistical pressures on public services in London due to the amount of immigration to London and the rest of the UK.

Migration is an exceptionally positive and necessary component of our economy and these same public services that he feels are under so much threat from immigration, would not be in a position to operate without a labour force from outwith the United Kingdom. The paradoxes are blinding.

Craig McGeoghie.
10 Newhall Gardens,


Too stupid to govern?

Sir, – Scottish farmers are up in arms about late payment of EU subsidies.

The Scottish Government has accepted culpability and has provided loans short term as they try to sort matters out.

The farmers are hugely reliant on these EU subsidies. Many of them have just voted to come out of the EU. Am I missing something?

It is all a bit like our fishermen running to the Tories that sold them out in the first place.

Maybe we are the only country too stupid to run our own affairs after all.

Dave McEwan Hill.


New tax will not boost tourism

Sir, – Alex Orr’s claim (June 23) that the replacement of the current air passenger duty by the Scottish Government’s lower air departure tax will lead to an increase of “nearly one million passengers every year” is questionable.

He should consider the fact that the word “departure” features prominently in the name of the new tax indicating that it would apply only to those passengers departing Scotland.

How this will increase arrivals and tourism in Scotland is a mystery.

GM Lindsay.
Whinfield Gardens,


EU setting terms of departure

Sir, – Delay with the Brexit process, and a likely unsatisfactory outcome, is because our politicians and civil servants have known nothing else but EU documentation, process, and method, and are being led by those at the moment.

Our exit from the EU is being conducted on EU terms, as outlined in Article 50, one of the documents created at the time of the Lisbon Treaty of 2009.

Without any original thinking from our side, we will have to leave on EU terms. Is that actually what we voted for?

Malcolm Parkin.
Gamekeepers Road.