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READERS’ LETTERS: Time to stop playing petty political games

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Sir, – Alan Hinnrichs writes (Letters, October 1) “Brexit is the Titanic” and, furthermore, that “independence” is our last chance to board the nationalist “lifeboat”.

That much of his criticism of the Tories could be laid against the current independence-addicted Scottish Government and its lacklustre performance leads to the conclusion that it would be a safer bet just to rearrange the deckchairs on his Brexit Titanic rather than risk a lifeboat not knowing where to go.

But there are also more important considerations for Scotland, and the rest of the world, than those based on who can run Scotland more cheaply – which, along with the somewhat racist view that Scottish politicians are better, seems to be the main subject for those for and against independence.

When President Woodrow Wilson decreed self-determination as a means to reduce the power of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, it did a great deal more for nationalists, fascists and racists than it ever did for democrats, although it has been erroneously claimed as a victory for democracy.

Scotland is now subjected to a daily barrage of argument to separate from the United Kingdom. Yet we know that separations, and borders and emphasis on nationalities, are a fundamental cause of contention that can lead to conflict. When you consider recent past history, remaining part of the UK gives us the best chance for peace in the UK, and remaining part of the EU offers the best chance for peace in Europe.

Why can’t our politicians take one, tiny step to try to arrange things that will help secure peace in the long term, rather than playing their petty political games?

Andrew Lawson.

9 MacLaren Gardens,



Let market forces decide

Sir, – Negotiating a decent Brexit deal with the EU is proving impossible, and Chancellor Philip Hammond has now revealed that hundreds of civil servants are occupied by the task.

As EU intransigence was one of the main reasons for leaving the EU, why don’t we just go now and let market forces decide the outcomes.

They worked well before the EEC and the EU, so will no doubt serve us well again.

Malcolm Parkin.

15 Gamekeepers Road,




UK should be calling the shots

Sir, – Aren’t we all fed up of the gloom and doom of “no deal” for Britain?

Do we really want to be part of an organisation whose accounts cannot be audited by anyone in the world due to the total lack of financial accountability?

Who would want to deal with people knowing any investment would go straight into the pockets of, well, who knows?

Look around in any supermarket and see the wines and cheeses from France, the fruit and vegetables from Spain and other Mediterranean countries. Then count the number of German cars in your street.

Consider the effect on those countries if they had no customers – the blow to agriculture in the EEC would make our soft fruit problems pale into insignificance.

Think of the effect on the German car industry of a three-day week, and the possibility of a change in government which might allow into power those who wish to end freedom of movement within Europe.

To paraphrase a famous US president: “Think not what we can do for Europe but demand what they must do for us”.

Alan Bell.




Everybody is a Brexit expert

Sir, – I am amazed by the number of correspondents who apparently have the knowledge to criticise either the Prime Minister or her opposite number in the Labour Party over decisions or propositions they have made regarding Brexit.

It would be interesting to know, whence does their expertise in international politics arise?

A A Bullions.

6 Glencairn Crescent,



Stop dodging responsibility

Sir, – It is jolly nice that our SNP MP Stephen Gethins has asked his party colleague, the finance secretary Derek Mackay, if the Scottish Government “could further soften the impact of austerity on local councils and schools most affected” (Courier, October 3).

Is Mr Gethins now recognising that his party, the SNP at Holyrood, is responsible for the cuts to Fife schools?

After all, the Scottish Government decides how much money to give councils, and it is solely in charge of education in Scotland, which is fully devolved.

Does he mention that the SNP has inflicted a near-10% real-terms cut on Scottish councils since 2010, despite the Barnett Formula ensuring that Westminster’s contribution to Scottish finances has barely fallen in real terms in the same period?

Or explain why the SNP decided to withhold the Barnett bulge from councils and schools, diverting it instead into its own centralised pet projects, while hiding behind “Westminster austerity”?

Is he also going to ask David Alexander, SNP co-leader of the administration at Fife Council, or Faye Sinclair, SNP convener of Fife Council’s education committee, to consider lifting the axe which they are holding over Fife’s teachers and school children?

Of course not.

Why not?

Because, Mr Gethins tells us, “it is all too easy to blame Fife Council and the Scottish Government who are having to mitigate these cuts”.

When will SNP politicians stop using nationalism to dodge the responsibilities they were elected to exercise?

Linda Holt.

Dreel House,



Still time to sign crucial petition

Sir, – I would like to thank all residents, visitors and workers in north east Fife who have signed the petition to keep out of hours services in St Andrews Community Hospital.

Between the online petition and the paper version, nearly 5 ,500 people have signed to date.

However, we still need more signatures.

The online petition can be accessed at

until October 8, but it will subsequently close.

Over the coming weekend there will be opportunities to sign a paper version of the online petition in St Andrews.

This will be at Church Square, near the Scooniehill Road Community Centre, and at the Cosmos Community Centre car boot sale at Abbey Walk, St Andrews.

These signatures will be added to the online petition numbers.

It is important to note that this closure affects all residents and visitors in north east Fife.

As far as I, and many others, are concerned, we must do all we can to keep the out of hours services, the minor injury unit and the on-site medical cover for in-patients in St Andrews Community Hospital.

In addition, readers may wish to express their opinions on the matter to the minister for health, Jeane Freeman.

She can be contacted at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, postcode EH99 1SP.

Alternatively, she can be emailed at

Penelope Fraser.

34 Grange Road,

St Andrews.


Horrors are now coming to pass

Sir, – I can remember being told in the lead-up to the independence referendum of the economic Armageddon that would be waiting in the wings if Scots had the temerity to vote for making their own decisions free from the shackles of Westminster.

Well, here we are four years down the line and most, if not all, of the dire warnings of what would befall Scotland have all come to pass.

And every day the impending Brexit chaos, which, of course, a majority of Scots voted against, brings yet another horror story.

Remember when we were told medical research would suffer in an independent Scotland?

What do you know, heart drug trials in Scotland and the UK are to be stopped by a US drug firm due to fears over Brexit.

I only hope we can soon have a Scotland that breaks the link with Westminster.

Graeme Finnie.

Albert Street,