Danger of double standards in SDL row

© DC Thomson
Anti-fascists in Perth on the day of the SDL rally.

Sir, – I have always respected John Swinney as a level-headed politician but his recent remarks make me question my opinion.

I am referring to the recent demonstration by the Scottish Defence League (SDL) in Perth against the proposed mosque there.

He apologised that he would not be there to protest against the SDL.

It should be patently clear to Mr Swinney that the cornerstone of British democracy is the right to freedom of thought and speech and the right to peaceful demonstration, irrespective of his opinion.

To deny this to any section of the community would be extremely dangerous.

The SDL are entitled to the same rights and protection as any other group or organisation.

It would appear that this is not the case as Police Scotland and the local authorities sanctioned a counter demonstration by the extreme left anti-fascist league at the same time and on the same day.

This was a recipe for confrontation and was evidence of poor judgement on Police Scotland’s part.

I am no fascist but I agree with the SDL in their opposition to this mosque, voted through by the back door.

It is my opinion that, after recent attrocities in Manchester and London, no new mosques should be built in Britain until Islamic terrorism ends.

It’s a sad reflection on our democracy that the only chance to show your opposition to this mosque would be to protest alongside the SDL.

Jean Gardner.
3 Nicoll Building,


Electric car row lacks rationale

Sir, – In yet another attempt to “get one over” on Westminster the SNP-dominated Scottish Government has said it will phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2032, whereas Westminster set a date of 2040.

Scotland will never be ready for the mass electrification necessary for electric vehicles by 2032.

Each rapid charge point will cost £40,000 and roads and footpaths will be in a permanent state of digging up.

One wonders where all the extra electricity will come from?

The grid already has to contend with unreliable wind.

Scottish politicians monotonously tell us that Scotland is leading the world in reducing emissions, ignoring the fact that Scotland has an insignificant 0.13% of total global emissions.

Scotland has 2.6 million vehicles — the world has 1.2 billion.

This vanity project will cost Scottish taxpayers hundreds of billions and will ruin what’s left of the Scottish economy.

Scotland deserves a government which is not dictated to by the Green Marxists.

Clark Cross.
138 Springfield Road,


Seeking a simple solution

Sir, – So the SNP plans to ban new petrol and diesel car sales from 2032, eight years before the rest of the UK.

I think I have idenitifed a problem — won’t people just travel to England to buy one?

Geoff Moore.
23 Braeface Park,


Proms no place for politics

Sir, – I suspect that Gordon Kennedy, who was so outraged by EU flags at the Proms (letters, Sepember 16) was writing tongue in cheek.

If not I suggest he visits the Waldbuhe, a major concert venue in Berlin for one of the Berliner Philharmoika concerts.

As a finale they often play a traditional German piece, during which all the woodwinds allow German flags to drop from their instruments — all except one lady.

She allows a Union flag to drop from hers (British Union, I hasten to add, not European) much to the delight of the audience and the fascination of the ZDF cameras who keep returning to her.

She has been doing this resolutely for a number of years.

Has Mr Kennedy been seduced by the jingoistic sentiments of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance?

The Last Night of the Proms is a joyous celebration of international music, not an occasion for political posturing.

For the record I voted Leave, but am willing to recognise there may be other views.

Laurie Richards.
100 Crail Road,


Accept the will of the people

Sir, – We voted to leave Europe, something our politicians can’t accept.

These people don’t believe in the will of the people.

The setup of our so-called democracy gives perpetual power to the establishment.

We have someone in the Labour party saying this week he is a socialist!

What next, someone in the SNP claiming to be a nationalist?

The UK government should forget about being nice and PC to our European neighbours.

Give them a date when negotiations will come to an end and the money stops with Declaration of Unilateral Independence from Europe, with all treaties and agreements null and void.

As for us paying money to Europe, we should be asking them about compensation for the gold that the Yanks squeezed out of us when we stood alone.

Like all baby boomers we spent a lifetime paying back the Yanks for the debts incurred fighting to free Europe, only to see that fool Blair put us back in debt fighting an illegal war based on a lie.

Our politicians are dragging their feet but the people have spoken — we need to get on with it.

Jack Phimister.
63 St Clair Street,


Agitating for a referendum

Sir, – On the SNP website, External Affairs Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, in essence tells us that her party is ditching its long-held support for the Catalonian separatist movement.

Nicola Sturgeon, of course, is trying to use Brexit to agitate for indyref2 — she needs Spain’s Madrid Government on board if she has any hope at all of an independent Scotland one day joining the EU.

Ms Hyslop also reminds us of the important democratic process encapsulated in the Edinburgh Agreement in that it enabled the will of the people to be expressed regarding SNP plans.

It is regrettable that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have seemingly overlooked that, by signing the agreement, they agreed to accept the result.

Martin Redfern.
Woodcroft Road,


Behaviour was a disgrace

Sir, – I had the grave misfortune to be travelling on the last train from Edinburgh to Dundee on Saturday last, along with a first-time visitor to Scotland.

The train was packed to capacity and there was standing room only.

This was bad enough in iteslf but what was much worse was the appalling behaviour of fellow travellers.

Most appeared to be considerably the worse for wear through, presumably, alcohol.

While drunks may be tolerated, the language used in top-of-the-voice communication between groups of travellers was nothing short of utterly despicable.

The noise levels were, by any decent standard, beyond acceptable.

Brought up to believe in the disciplined conduct of people in the UK, my companion was understandably extrememly shocked and distressed.

It was interesting to note that, throughout the entire duration of the journey, no one from ScotRail was anywhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, the people engaged in the loutish behaviour were not, as one might imagine, only male adolescents.

Rather, they included drunken, young and middle-aged females.

Is this what has become of society in Scotland ?

A drunken rabble uncaring for other travellers and simply concerned with utterly selfish behaviour?

If so, it speaks volumes about the declining standards of parenting and education in Scotland.

It is, sad to say, most definitely a negative pointer in matters of foreign understanding.

Nor does it bode well for potential future investment in our society — something that should concern all right-thinking Scots.

Derek Farmer.
Knightsward Farm,