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READERS’ LETTERS: Independent Scotland could tackle scourge of child poverty

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Sir, – Alex Bell claims that independence is not the solution to Scotland’s historical child poverty problem and that this is something no government on the planet has solved (Courier, December 10).

Both of those claims may be true but they miss the point.

Those who support an independent Scotland do so because they want independent Scottish governments to have the fullest ability to tackle, reduce and remove a range of inequalities.

This simply cannot be achieved for as long as an uber-parliament in London imposes limits on power.

The June 2020 Unicef report on “child poverty in rich nations” exposed the reality that it is small independent nations that are most successful in reducing the scourge of child poverty.

There is no reason why, with the same autonomy, Scotland cannot join those like Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg and Finland.

Alex Bell may deny the independence link but with the United Kingdom languishing bottom 20 out of the 23 nation child poverty league, he really needs to show why an independent Scotland cannot deliver better than the UK’s abysmal record.

Kevin Donnelly.

Mill Street,



Professionals often keep a confidence

Sir, – I worked as a mental health nurse for 30 years and my wife worked as a general nurse for the same time.

During our careers we never shared any confidential information about our respective patients.

We were very aware of our responsibilities to our patients and it never even crossed our minds to be other than professional in our duties.

In the Scottish Parliament Ruth Davidson MSP and her fellow Scottish Conservatives scoffed at the notion that our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would not have shared confidential information with her husband relating to allegations of wrongdoing by Alex Salmond.

I have to conclude that Ruth Davidson and her colleagues knew they would not have kept sensitive information to themselves but would have shared it with their partners and beyond.

You just have to remember all the leaks that have come out of Conservative sources.

Harry Key.

Mid Street, Largoward.


No deal is not same as Australian deal

Sir, – Boris Johnson repeatedly comments that without a deal the UK would move to an Australian-style arrangement with the EU.

This is highly disingenuous as, while Australia does not have a free trade agreement in place with Brussels, it does have around a dozen agreements on trade and other areas. It has, for example, agreements with the EU on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and scientific co-operation.

The pair also have a “mutual recognition agreement” so there is acceptance of each other’s safety certificates and product markings.

Australia also negotiated an agreement on the trade of wine, a huge export, in 2008.

Other arrangements help combat crime and terrorism and to allow the exchange of classified information.

The UK would enjoy none of these in the event of a no deal.

It should also be noted that the UK and the EU trade far more with each other, given their proximity to each other, than Europe and Australia.

If there is to be a no deal, the UK would wholly follow WTO rules, with all the challenges that brings.

This includes tariffs being placed on many goods traded between the UK and the EU, in addition to some quota restrictions and customs checks.

Alex Orr.

Marchmont Road,



Invitation in the post from France, PM?

Sir, – After four years, three prime ministers, two general elections, 64 resignations, umpteen U-turns and metaphors, Boris Johnson is about to secure the easiest Brexit deal in history.

However, before he does I hope he is invited to visit the location of Brexiteer Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s new car factory in Moselle, France.

Ian Wallace.

Chapman Drive, Carnoustie.