Sir, – To believe Theresa May’s deeply divided cabinet could go to the country for a day and come back with an agreed plan for the future of the nation was a stretch.
Particularly as the plan, as presented by the Prime Minister, suggested a much softer Brexit.
In addition, the plan as it was presented only covers goods, but not services, which may be good news for workers in the car industry, but not so good for workers in financial services, most of whose jobs will now move to Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin.
This separation of goods and services also presumably keeps the UK out of the jurisdiction of forthcoming EU legislation to tackle tax avoidance and money laundering, one of the key aims of the Brexiteers and their financial backers, who are up to their necks in this odious business.
It also leaves our precious NHS, coincidentally celebrating its 70th birthday this year, open to privatisation and exploitation by big global medical corporations, another of the main aims of the Brexiteers, most of whom have financial interests in this outcome.
And where lies Scotland’s interests in all of this?
The UK Government has already published a Trade Bill, which is currently going through the Parliament at Westminster.
This Bill offers no opportunity for our elected politicians in Scotland to have a say on post-Brexit trade deals.
The UK Government does, however, need the Scottish parliament to give its consent to the Bill before it becomes law, and Holyrood has the power to withhold that consent if it chooses.
Local members of Trade Justice Scotland met recently with Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie, who has recently been appointed SNP spokesperson for International Trade, and were reassured that Mr Hosie is very well aware of the issues for Scotland, and will do his best to make Scotland’s case.
But Westminster is no respecter of the Scottish Parliament, and ultimately, will do as it pleases.
5 Carmichael Gardens,
Blue shark in the Forth?
Sir, – In response to Alex Lawson’s letter, “Mystery of the deep” of July 7.
Mr Lawson noticed a shadowy black shape skimming and “darting” through the water below the Forth Road Bridge, and estimated it at 15 to 20ft long.
The most likely candidate is a blue shark (prionace glauca).
Blues are swift swimmers, have large pectoral fins and can attain 15ft in length.
Although they are not commonly found in the Forth estuary, they can tolerate a water temperature range of 5 to 25 deg C – which, at this time of year and with the present weather conditions, falls into this range.
The comparison with a stickleback-fish is interesting, as a blue shark, seen from above, would appear very like a giant stickleback.
6 Swallow Apts,
Keep bibles out of hotels
Sir, – I recently swapped good-natured letters with the Premier Inn, St Andrews, about the bible on our bedside cabinet when we stayed there.
A piece of minority religious literature with its well-known litany of anti-scientific, illiberal and anti-gay views did not say “welcome” to us.
In its apology, the hotel explained that, “We pride ourselves on accepting and respecting the variety of religions, ethnicities and sexualities.”
If “respect for all religions” were to extend similarly to promoting all their literature, there would be no room by the bedside for your alarm clock!
Unlike the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, which sensibly decided not to place Gideon bibles in its wards, the Premier Inn is a private company and can promote any religious belief it wants.
Maybe it should reconsider its assumption that Christianity is the default for all and keep its Gideon bibles to be supplied on request to those believers who have forgotten their own?
Edinburgh Secular Society,
Crematorium garden disgrace
Sir, – I am not sure just how much money is being spent during the refurbishment and new layout at Perth Crematorium.
I went there with flowers and also to tend to a rhododendron we planted in the “summer garden”.
As I had not taken a scythe with me I could neither see or get near the rhododendron for weeds growing around four or five feet tall.
It is a jungle!
I notice the beds near the memorial plaques are in the same condition.
Maybe they could manage to get somebody to weed the gardens? It is a disgrace.
1c Cross Street,
The finest care from PRI
Sir, – I recently had a very close friend die in Perth Royal Infirmary of pancreatic cancer.
As he had no living relatives, he asked his closest friends to be there at the end of his journey.
I found the care, professionalism and the compassion of the medical staff in Ward 4, and specifically Ward 6, to be outstanding.
They were so caring to my friend and to us as we sat there in his final hours, from bringing us refreshments to just listening.
I am proud to live in a country where we have an NHS with dedicated staff. We hear about underfunding and low morale, but the level of care and dedication remains unchanged at ground zero.
Well done NHS Tayside.
117 Simpson Square,
Leave Scottish brand alone
Sir, – It now appears the Conservative Party want to rename all produce from Scotland as British. Do the Conservatives want a successful Scotland or do they want Scottish food and drink producers to lose out?
The Scottish brand is not about politics, it’s about promoting goods at home and abroad.
The Scottish brand is successful, and viewed as fresh, quality produce. Why would you would want to change that?
It’s symptomatic of Conservative thinking that anything branded with a Saltire, or anything uniquely Scottish, must be challenged as it is a threat to established thinking.
Those few Conservative politicians who were elected went on record as supporting Scottish business and producers.
Until now they have failed but there is still time.
Davis was out of his depth
Sir, – David Davis, the former sugar salesman first elected to parliament in 1987, was one of the government whips who pushed through the Maastricht treaty in 1992, which led to the euro and greater EU integration.
Never short of personal ambition, he ran twice, unsuccessfully, for the Tory leadership resulting in a decade in the back-benches.
Rescued from obscurity by Theresa May in 2016 he was a controversial choice for Brexit Secretary.
Widely criticised for his admission to the Brexit select committee that no formal impact assessments had ever been made on the economic impact of leaving the EU, he has always looked out of his depth negotiating with Michel Barnier.
Mrs May thought him as a safer pair of hands than Brexiteers like the “buffoon” Boris Johnson or Liam Fox, the former GP she inexplicably chose as international trade secretary.
Now as many expected, Davis has proved a bolter and gloom shrouds Brexit, which is looking ever-more preposterous.
Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,