READERS’ LETTERS: EU is in rude health while the UK is ailing

© PA

Sir, – The claim by many Brexiteers during the EU referendum campaign that UK membership of the EU was akin to being ‘shackled to a corpse’ has, like many other claims, proven to be simply untrue.

Latest economic growth figures indicate that the EU grew by 2.5% in 2017, with economies of Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria and Slovakia doing particularly well.

The UK economy grew by 1.8% overall in 2017, the slowest rate of increase since 2012 and the first time in seven years that the Eurozone’s economy grew more quickly than the UK’s.

The figures show the extent to which the UK is now trailing its European counterparts.

Growth across the European Union is at levels not seen since 2007 and the continent’s powerhouse countries – Germany and France – are seeing growth at levels not experienced since the financial crisis bounce-back of 2010.

In comparison, the data for the UK are no great surprise and come in in line with forecasts, but this does act as confirmation of the divergent economic fortunes of Britain and our neighbours across the channel.

As the uncertainty surrounding Brexit impacts on both consumption and investment, economic growth is being slowed down.

It should also be noted that we are still in the single market and the customs union, which gives us tariff-free access to the EU. That relationship will change when we leave.

For those arguing that EU membership is seeing the UK ‘shackled to a corpse’, these latest figures highlight that it is, in fact, the reverse that is truly the case.

Alex Orr.

Flat 2, 77 Leamington Terrace,



How Greens are holding us back

Sir, – The SNP Government faces a desperate economic future and apart from a forlorn belief that Scotland could be the first-ever nation to be taxed into prosperity, its only hope lies in a revival of North Sea oil.

So what is the prospect for oil scarcity and energy prices?

The history of energy economics shows that in spite of hysterical predictions in every era that mankind was running out of whichever source of energy that was important at that time, energy has grown more plentiful, as shown by the long-term fall in energy prices.

There’s been a huge surge in energy supplies due to the improved extraction of shale oil and the US will soon be the world’s major oil producer.

Sadly, we won’t share in this feast because the Green tail wagging the SNP dog means our shale will stay in the ground.

Rev Dr John Cameron.

10 Howard Place,

St Andrews.


Trump must share blame

Sir, – Yet again we see another tragic mass shooting in America.

While prayers for the victims’ friends and family are important, what is needed is change.

How many more innocent lives are going to be lost before America puts people’s lives ahead of the second amendment?

Donald Trump must take some responsibility for this latest event.

In 2016 Donald Trump repealed Barack Obama’s amendment to gun ownership where Social Security Administration would have to report certain mentally ill recipients to the national background check database.

The background check would flag up people when they tried to buy weapons and they would be denied. Donald Trump undid that legislation, citing human rights. That decision was grossly irresponsible.

People who go into a building and start firing a weapon indiscriminately at innocent people must have some sort of mental illness.

Things need to change urgently.

Gordon Kennedy.

117 Simpson Square, Perth.


Just the facts, please…

Sir, – Every week I await the return of Jenny Hjul’s column with all the eagerness of a turkey awaiting Christmas.

Ms Hjul, the very definition of a one-trick pony, once more turns her attention to the SNP and, as usual, fills her column (Courier, February 14) full of inaccuracies.

For instance, she suggests Stephen Gethins MP could throw his hat into the ring for SNP Deputy Leader, yet a mere four pages earlier, in the same edition of the newspaper, is a piece that finishes: “The Courier understands he (Stephen Gethins) will not launch a bid to be Nicola Sturgeon’s understudy.”

Then Ms Hjul asserts that “there are those in the party – Carolyn Leckie, for example…”

Ms Leckie is not a member of the SNP, as she is at frequent pains to point out in a regular newspaper column.

Indeed, she was recently quoted in that newspaper column as stating: “Although I don’t have a vote in this election, I will be watching it with some interest.”

Ms Hjul takes the maxim “never let the facts get in the way of a good story” to new heights.

Henry Malcolm.

331 Clepington Road,



Hold council to account on cash

Sir, – I have read your article about the Angus budget (Courier, February 16) a few times to ensure I understand it and now do.

This is now a tough way forward given the council tax was frozen for far too long, although this was needed in the early years, to force councils to improve efficiency and remove the ‘fat’ built up over years.

Councils now are better but still have a way to go, given we still have a growing deficit.

Councillor Bill Duff has a short memory when he refers to this budget as a ‘burach’ also known as a ‘kirn’.

He was in charge of finance when the SNP-led council ran up £15 million of the £18 million debit in five years.

He also approved the hiring of Ernst & Young to advise them on how to reduce cost – circa £1 million.

I could go on but it will fall on deaf ears, like the £120,000 upgrade to Montrose recycling, which now is at £340,000 and rising but is still no better than before, other than a ‘hot desk’ for an administrator who will probably go in the next round of cuts.

Councillor Duff once told me to do the maths. I have done the arithmetic this time – the previous council ran up a debit of £3 million per annum when in office, the new council has reduced this loss to £1 million per annum without the help of Ernst & Young.

They still need to work at efficiencies and there are many past examples of waste – the 3% increase in council tax is hard but needed to maintain what we have.

Angus Council needs to continue to reduce costs and not squander monies on works not required – like the upgrade of the Montrose Recycling Centre – and when found not fit for purpose, hold the persons/contractors responsible accountable.

George Sangster.





This puts us on wrong road

Sir, – My niece recently failed her driving test for misuse of the SatNav. Apparently, using the SatNav is a new thing that has been added in to the driving test curriculum.

She heard the SatNav say when approaching a roundabout that it was the third exit.

My niece then changed lane, safely, to the outside lane in preparation for a right-hand turn.

It turns out that the third exit was actually straight ahead so she had to make a manoeuvre back to the inside lane to take the correct exit.

This manoeuvre was deemed unsafe and therefore she failed.

My problem is that because she was concentrating on the SatNav she was not fully concentrated on the outside world.

Had she just had her eyes looking outside the vehicle and followed the road signs, she would have been fine.

Are we now training our young, inexperienced drivers to concentrate more on the SatNav than what is actually happening outside the vehicle?

This really frightens me, as I can see a lot of accidents, possibly someone running into my car, because they were concentrating on looking at the SatNav and not the actual situation on the road.

Surely the SatNav is just an aid and not something to be studied while driving.

Les Horribine.

103 Kinghorne Street,