Sir, – On reading about the Dundee street (May 2) where the vast majority of UK- born citizens do not consider themselves British, I found myself asking why
Perhaps the answer, at least in part, is due to unrealistic comparisons.
Nowadays, more than ever it seems, we find our nation placed in a table comparing education, business, sport or whatever.
It shouldn’t happen so much, but it does, and we believe it.
Not surprisingly, given our size, we Scots tend to perform unfavourably with our larger neighbour. Ideally we should rejoice with them in their successes, but on the contrary we are moved with rage and blame the English for thinking “we are lower than them” as one resident claimed.
The owner of the local shop went as far as to say that some Scots, in international football, support the foreign team against England.
The reason for not passing as British, the resident claimed was “only because of the English” not the Welsh.
I seriously doubt there is a political cure for our prejudice, but there is an antidote in the Bible. Jesus taught: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
12 Walnut Grove,
Opposition star on rise?
Sir, – Should we be too hard on Diane Abbott for her gaffe about the costs of providing 10,000 extra police for England and Wales?
Certainly modern politicians are expected to be on top of their brief and trained to present policies and their financial impact in a professional way.
She fell short on all these counts. But in the long history of Labour election campaign mistakes, it might not be too serious.
Compared to Gordon Brown’s indiscretion in calling Mrs Gillian Duffy bigoted in 2010 or Ed Miliband standing beside a large tablet of stone with all sorts of promises on it two years ago, it may yet prove to be a minor setback.
Labour does need to realise that the public always want an accurate cost of any commitments that are made.
So far, the man responsible for its policy on the economy, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, has kept a low profile.
This will change once the party manifesto is published.
His homely, detailed, cost-conscious approach may yet prove attractive to voters, contrasting well with the more bland style of Chancellor Philip Hammond on matters like pensions, tax credits, tax incentives for business and the costs of Brexit.
It would be idle to pretend that he could do more than keep the eventual Conservative majority well down into double figures. He may still prove to be a star for an opposition campaign that at present seems to flounder under the weight of bad presentation.
24 Shiel Court,
Benefits of using statins
Sir, – I refer to your news story about the side effects of statins (May 3), particularly joint pain.
I suffer from osteo-arthritis and spondylitis and when I was first prescribed statins nearly 15 years ago, this had progressed to the point where walking even a short distance was painful and sometimes required two sticks.
After starting statins, almost overnight, certainly within two days, my pain was 90% reduced and I could walk 25 metres or so, perhaps 50 on a good day.
Only now, I repeat, nearly 15 years later, has my condition deteriorated back to that earlier level. I have no doubt they cause unpleasant side effects in some people, so does paracetamol.
Side effects are not compulsory.
100 Crail Road,
Walk away from EU negotiations
Sir, – The last thing EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his chums want is a smooth outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
They want to prevent Britain showing how successful a country leaving the EU can be.
It would be disastrous for them if Britain were to power ahead outside of the much-vaunted single market.
That is why Mr Barnier will make increasing demands on the UK of which the payment of £84 billion before negotiations begin is only the start.
We should walk away without an agreement and trade according to WTO rules.
9 Justice Park,
Hold Europe to account
Sir, – Instead of listening to the demands of the risible Jean-Claude Juncker and his threats of a bill for leaving the EU, Theresa May should lodge counter claims for the destruction of our fishing and agriculture, and the loss of our fully funded state pension scheme, all done under the guise of harmonisation, which is EU speak for theft.
Anyway, this murky organisation has never had an unqualified set of accounts in its life, so how does it know who owes what to anyone?
15 Gamekeepers Road,
High earners will be hit
Sir, – On the 10th anniversary of the SNP coming to power, opponents understandably chose to highlight the SNP’s many broken promises.
In response, the SNP’s official spokesperson quoted some selected statistical highlights in health, policing and council tax before mentioning three things they have given us for “free”.
Yet Scotland has, of course, learned the hard way that in politics as in life, few things are really free.
Low levels of morale across the health and care sectors, police suffering from experienced officers leaving at the earliest possible opportunity, and council budgets squeezed to the point where local services including education are demonstrably under resourced is not a track record to be proud of.
As for those “free” things, someone has to be picking up the tab, and just now because of the low price of oil, the rest of the UK is topping up our annual funding by some £9 billion.
If we wave the UK goodbye and plan to keep the “free” stuff, anyone in Scotland who has savings, a house or a decent salary had better watch out.
Nature raw in tooth and claw
Sir, – As I understand it, there is a lobby for ending the culling of deer by rifle, and replacing it with “natural” wastage of deer by wolves to be reintroduced to our countryside.
If I am right, the wolves would pursue the terrified deer until the animal, exhausted, would sink or be pulled to the ground at which point the wolves would end its life by tearing its throat and then its body to bits.
Or am I thinking of fox hunting?