Sir, – While I disagree completely with the comments of Jim Shaw (July 4) I accept his right to have an opinion on events.
However, he must get his facts right before he puts pen to paper.
The Common Fisheries Policy was not the sole reason for the demise of the Scottish fishing fleet.
He might just have forgotten that it was the Heath Government in the 1970s which took the UK into Europe.
It did all the negotiating, and to get easier access, tried to placate other EU countries by giving away valuable fishing rights and access.
I am sure Mr Shaw will remember the leaked document from the Tories which said the Scottish fishing fleet was “expendable”.
So much for Westminster “protecting” the Scottish fishermen.
Around the UK most of the valuable fishing grounds, and most of the fish are in Scottish waters, but all major decisions on the CFP were taken in Brussels by UK ministers, none of them Scottish.
The French and Spanish ministers always fought their corner well, whereas the UK ministers were a bit like a damp cloth and rarely put forward any of the advice given by the Scottish representatives.
As for the comment on Spanish boats acting with impunity, this is totally wrong.
The Spanish fishermen have never been allowed access to the North Sea and only fish on the west-coast grounds.
They are not trawlers but gill-net boats, fishing for hake and there are only about 10 in total.
There are also about six French trawlers who regularly fish the west coast and northern waters for deep-sea species, a lot of which the UK market cannot take due to consumer preference.
These vessels all have historical track record access and quotas to fish legally.
While I do think the EU Parliament seems to be pretty costly, it might also interest him to learn that currently, the EU Parliament costs are £2.34 per person per year, whereas the UK Parliament costs more than double at £ 5.51.
Opportunities for Scotland
Sir, – The comments by European Commission trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, that the UK will not be able to start talks on a new trade arrangement with the EU until other aspects of its exit have been settled, should act as a wake-up call to Scotland.
Between Brexit and the signing of any new trade deal, business between the UK and EU would be conducted under World Trade Organisation rules, damaging businesses and economies .
In the worst-case scenario it could take up to a decade for the UK to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU. Scotland has a higher reliance on trade as a contributor to our economic output than the rest of the UK, with just under half our international exports destined for the EU and we will see our economy hit hard.
We, however, have a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of those companies who would look to relocate from the rest of the UK to an independent Scotland as providing a gateway to the EU’s single market.
Edinburgh has the potential to take the UK’s finance crown from London.
The Centre for Policy Studies has warned an independent Scotland “could be a Greece without the sun” and hypocritically warned that Scotland leaving the UK would “entail significant economic risks”.
It is the UK Government that has created economic risks for Scotland, but we have a tremendous opportunity to deliver huge economic benefits for our nation. This requires us to take control of our own affairs within the EU as a full member.
77 Leamington Terrace,
Waste collection is good value
Sir, – Angus residents are objecting to a charge of £25 per year to have their garden waste collected by Angus Council.
Here in Aberdeenshire, we do not have the luxury of a kerbside garden waste collection.
I have just returned from dumping my green waste at Laurencekirk recycling centre.
Firstly, I had to pack the garden waste into a large bag, heave the bag into my car, drive six miles, unload, pull the bag up a ramp and then dump it.
I drove the six miles home and had to brush out and vacuum the car.
This took about 40 minutes of my time plus fuel and wear and tear on the car. This procedure is repeated about 12 times every year. Angus residents are getting good value for their £25.
15 Napier Place,
Women’s strong role in farming
Sir, – I noticed an article in your farming supplement (July 2) that the Scottish Government has commissioned research into the role of women in agriculture.
Do these people never read The Courier farming pages which contain unbiased and straightforward articles on agricultural topics? Or do they know the history of the Second World War?
Have they never heard of the Land Army women, volunteers and conscripts, who worked on the land throughout and after that war in order to feed us?
Many became more skilled than the men they replaced at farming tasks. They had plenty of opportunity.
Are the experts in the Scottish Government not aware that today’s farmers’ wives are, mostly, fully involved helping their husbands run the farm?
A T Geddie.
68 Carleton Avenue,
It was wrong to highlight slip
Sir, – I was disappointed to read your article about Jeremy Corbyn misspelling his surname.
Every emailer, letter-writer or indeed, journalist has at some point made a typing error and sent it too quickly.
It is dealt with in a sympathetic way by anyone receiving it who actually understands.
It is trivialised to the term typo because it is trivial.
It does not imply any intellectual frailty which was the implicit message this underwhelming little article seemed to be trying to portray.
19 New Gilston.
Sir, – There was a lot of talk on the BBC Scotland EU debate about a Scottish immigration policy to attract the skills we need. No one highlighted the fact that there are 160,000 unemployed people and 70,000 vacancies in Scotland.
Many immigrants are here because our own people are either not skilled, educated, motivated, mobile enough (due to the cost and shortage of housing) or they are indeed undercut by cheap immigrants because wage regulations are not observed by many employers or policed by the authorities.
None of these issues are EU powers and while they are very complex and ingrained, and if addressed, welfare budgets would be lower, tax receipts higher and the extra growth would create a demand for immigrants that no one could complain about because we genuinely had a shortage of British workers.
It seems all politicians realise how intractable a problem it is and prefer to paper over the cracks with immigration.
Around 50,000 UK graduates are working in jobs which don’t require any qualifications, around 5,000 of them in Scotland.
Surely we can plan our education system better than this?
1 Willow Row,
Sinister motive behind meters
Sir, – British Gas is to offer “free time” electricity for eight hours on either a Saturday or a Sunday to 2.4 million customers in the hope more will be encouraged to take up smart meters.
Other companies are certain to follow.
Energy companies and the Government want more smart meters and the excuse is that smart meters can give the consumer daily energy usage figures and no estimated bills.
Thus smart meters will be able to apply variable tariffs with higher prices during the early evening peak but one energy expert has warned the proposed tariff works out at around £250 a year more expensive.
The real reason is more sinister in that the safety margins on electricity output are dangerously low thanks to unreliable wind turbines.
When blackouts threaten, then smart meters could be used to cut off supplies to those with high usage.
The Government needs a proper energy policy not one dependent on the wind and hot air.
138 Springfield Road,