Sir, – The focus on Covid, the Scottish Parliamentary elections and the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, have dominated the headlines, but the Brexit chaos hasn’t gone away.
It was held up as our liberation from unnecessary regulation and a bright new future on the world stage, but we don’t hear much of that now. And the reality is that, so far, Brexit has been a disaster, with exports in January down by 40.7%, and imports from the EU, our main trading partner, down by 28%, the biggest fall in exports since records began.
For some smaller businesses the paperwork, bureaucracy and health certification has meant that exporting to the EU is no longer viable. Some have just given up, while others have relocated to, or opened an office, in the EU.
None of this presumably was part of Mr Johnson’s plan.
And it is likely to get much worse shortly, because our government didn’t get systems in place in time to control goods coming into the UK. So our borders have actually been open since Brexit.
New regulations and checks come into effect shortly, which, on past form, will cause chaos and lead to shortages and price rises, with many European companies probably cutting their losses and giving up on the UK altogether.
And now we have the return of sectarian troubles in Northern Ireland.
Then minister for international trade, Liam Fox, said in 2017 that it will be “the easiest deal in human history”.
We don’t hear much about that now.
Is muirburn an embarrassment?
Sir, – Scotland will host the COP26 conference on climate change later this year.
April 15 sees the end to muirburn (heather burning).
From October until mid April grouse shooting estates have carte blanche to set aflame large swathes of heather moorland. Nothing else benefits from this scorched earth policy.
Where there is heather there is often peat, a carbon sink and holds back vast amounts of CO2. Muirburn can degrade the peat and release this gas.
The Scottish Government actually pays landowners to incinerate our upland landscape. However independent advice to the Scottish Government recommends strong legal regulatory control on muirburn.
Public opinion is against this practice and our politicians should support the independent advice and perhaps save some embarrassing questions at the COP26 climate change conference come November.
Henry Street, Kirriemuir.
Duke played ‘royal bloke’ to perfection
Sir, – Prince Philip’s passing marks the end of male values little regarded in this age of snowflakes and safe spaces: duty, self-sacrifice, hard work and dedication allied to a cheerful, unapologetic masculinity.
His inability to suffer fools gladly, to put his foot in it and his love of dangerous sports were a world away from a generation of undergraduates who need precautionary trigger warnings before they read Shakespeare.
In contrast to the wet-eyed and self-indulgent, Philip had a steely gaze, dynamism and charisma.
Rev Dr John Cameron.
Howard Place, St Andrews.
Minnow in a large European pond
Sir, – What will freedom mean to us personally in an independent Scotland?
We will be dealing with a party and a leader who regard unaccountability as a perk of office, who have failed education, the health service and the economy.
They are obsessed with rejoining the EU.
England will be a foreign country. Our young people will find it harder to follow a career down south. In short, we will be an isolated country perched on the edge of Europe.
At the moment we have the best of both worlds. Why exchange a successful union for the vague chance of becoming a minnow in a large European pond.
John R Nicoll.
Queen Street, Broughty Ferry.