Sir, – It was with mixed feelings that I read of legally set traps being vandalised and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association’s concern.
I can appreciate the frustration of the keepers attempting to control vermin by these means. I am curious though, to understand how this problem lies, at least in part, at the feet of “wildlife activists”.
Can someone from the SGA explain what this term means? The inference is that out there on our uplands are a bunch of vigilantes hell bent on trap destruction!
As a regular walker of the Angus glens I am all too familiar with fenn traps, crow traps and snares. Some estates have a staggering amount of fenn traps and, even when legally set, can trap and kill non-specific wildlife like birds and rabbits.
Snares are an horrific way to control vermin.
Deer, badgers, sometimes cats can be caught in these devilish devices and death can be slow and painful.
In recent years in the Angus glens snares have been left unchecked and fenn traps used illegally. So it is no surprise people take exception to some of the methods employed to keep a check on vermin. Vermin being not just stoats, weasels and foxes but can also include our iconic mountain hare and ravens.
If we rid our uplands of traps then Nature would find its own balance. It always has.
6 Henry Street,
Drinkers will still drink
Sir, – The admirable aim of alcohol unit pricing is to make a bottle of cider in the convenience store £7.99 instead of £2.99 – so the serious drinker will say, “Goodness me, that is beyond my slender means, so I will now curtail my drinking, something I was thinking of doing anyway for the sake of my health.”
Look at the film Lost Weekend for guidance on the actions of a man who wants, and has to have, a serious drink.
Let the man be heard
Sir, – Although one prefers C4 News to the less than impartial BBC, one was taken aback by the unduly aggressive treatment of the former First Minister on the subject of his forthcoming show on RT.
It would have been nice to hear the interviewee’s replies, had they not been immediately drowned out by a volley of shouted accusations, bordering on hysteria, implying treason and worse.
This was not so much an interview as an interrogation.
The only thing lacking was a torch shining into Mr Salmond’s eyes.
Was there really any need for Jon Snow to continually interrupt and talk over his commendably calm guest?
Who does Mr Snow think he is –Andrew Neil?
5 Drummond Avenue,
Sticking up for my beliefs
Sir, – Derek Farmer’s reply to yours truly, (The Courier November 16), sadly highlighted the arrogance normally associated with those who believe that everybody is out of step but them, which surely begs a response.
His assumption that my knowledge of Balkan history is such that I was unaware of the terrible atrocities that followed the break-up the union forced upon those states by the dictator Tito.
I was, in fact, on holiday, in Croatia during the year prior to conflict breaking out.
Our lovely tour guide, a Serbian, made us aware of the inevitability of war because certain leaders in her country were determined to make it happen. As for Ireland, it is surprising that he chose to ignore the fact that its divided society is the historical result of Westminster-led British interference.
It is a bit rich for someone who regularly criticises the Scottish Government to object to SNP members at Westminster sticking up for their beliefs.
Allan A. MacDougall.
37 Forth Park,
Bridge of Allan.
When small is better
Sir, – It is always a pleasure to read letters from Derek Farmer because they highlight the fact that there is no rational argument for continuing Westminster rule over Scotland.
His letter (November 16) refers to “nationalists”.
Perhaps he can explain why Scottish nationalism is bad but his British nationalism is good, or why Catalonian nationalism is bad but Spanish nationalism is good. These independence movements are not nationalist, they simply want a decent government, which both Westminster and Moncloa (Madrid) are not.
His assertion that “fragmentation of centuries-old democratic sovereign states is not the best way forward” is simply incorrect.
The United Nations Human Development Index clearly shows that smaller nations are better at looking after their citizens than larger nations.
This is not a coincidence, it follows from a core Green principle that political decisions should be made as close as possible to those affected by them. Holyrood is in Scotland, Westminster is 300 miles away.
Which parliament is better attuned to the needs of the people who live here?
Finding the compromise
Sir, – It was good to hear a slightly more positive tone from Nicola Sturgeon after her talks with Theresa May at Downing Street, although her description of what she requires to be happy with the EU Withdrawal Bill needs some deciphering.
The First Minister concedes that some UK-wide frameworks will be needed in relation to the 111 powers returning from Brussels under Brexit, but insists such frameworks must be by consent and not imposed.
That might sound reasonable if only Ms Sturgeon could be trusted to approach this in a genuine spirit of compromise. Instead, the suspicion is that she seeks points over which she would have an effective veto.
Meanwhile last week, in the Westminster petitions debate, SNP MP Martyn Day said he would be happy to block Brexit, and later his colleague,Tommy Sheppard, made it clear that indyref2 would be triggered if they did not get what they want on Brexit.
With these types of threats commonplace from the SNP’s side, the UK Government will need to tread very carefully to find the basis of a compromise, which so often we have seen the SNP defining as simply getting their own way.
The nanny state at work
Sir, – State paternalism operates under the guise of protecting us from ourselves but it ends in the destruction of liberty and responsibility. The state isn’t an abstract entity, but a bunch of ministers and bureaucrats whose mismanagement of our police, health and education demonstrates they’re too incompetent to supervise our private lives.
In the last decade, the pervasive authoritarianism and centralising tendencies of our nationalist regime has made Scotland the most intrusive of Europe’s nanny states. Aside from the irritation of having a moral Gestapo controlling the minutiae of our lives, their policies rarely yield the desired outcome.
Consider the Orwellian “named person” act, bans on smacking and football songs, and limitations on choices, such as junk food.
Fracking bans and windmill subsidies increase fuel poverty, perverse drugs laws fill our prisons and alcohol’s minimum pricing is simply “prohibition-for-the-poor”.
10 Howard Place,
Road tax dodgers
Sir, – It comes as no surprise to me that there is a shortfall of £100 million caused by road tax dodgers.
I thought at the time it was madness to abolish the tax disc for road tax.
I think there should be three discs in plain sight on every road vehicle – as well as road tax there should also be one for insurance and one for MOT.
93 Whyterose Terrace,