Madam, – Like most of your readers, I would think, I was not aware of the Chagos Islands, a British colony of small islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, until it hit the news recently.
The islands were formerly a part of Mauritius but, when Mauritius gained its independence in the 1960s, Britain retained the Chagos Islands and forced the population of 2,000 people to leave so that the US could build the huge, and notorious, Diego Garcia military base in this strategically important position.
The reason it is now in the news is that the displaced population took a case to the International Court of Justice and it adjudged last month, by a majority of 13 to 1, that Britain had committed an unlawful act and must return the islands to Mauritius.
The UK has unprecedently rejected the judgment of the court, and the one dissenting voice on the ICJ was the US, not exactly an impartial party.
Given that the ICJ is the final arbiter and upholder of international law, and that previously the UK would have been seen as one of its supporters, this is a very serious step.
It not only damages the rule of law in the world but also does great harm to the UK’s reputation, especially at a time when it is desperately in need of good will in the wider world.
5 Carmichael Gardens,
Time to reflect on Brexit
Madam, – We have been led into a political and constitutional crisis without parallel in modern times by a prime minister who grossly under-estimated Brexit’s complications.
She also failed to be honest with her party or country about the compromises and trade-offs that leaving an economic union after almost 50 years was bound to entail.
In addition she refused to regard as legitimate the interests of the 48% who voted to remain, deepening the divide within the nation.
The alternatives to membership are unattainable, unappealing or both .
So Mrs May must go and Article 50 withdrawn because we need time to reflect on where we go from here.
Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,
A betrayal of the people’s will
Madam, – Have we just witnessed the end of democracy in the UK?
A total of 321 MPs have taken it on themselves to overrule the will of the 17 million and do everything in their power to stay.
The British people who thought their vote to leave was safe in the hands of our democratically elected MPs are now being betrayed.
Are we now entering a new era where our politicians behave like some Communist state?
Mrs May should go to the Queen and dissolve parliament and let these undemocratic MPs face the public in a general election.
I hope the public will punish them for their betrayal of the British people who deserve better than what we saw tonight in Parliament.
Once again they have failed us.
John G Phimister.
63 St Clair St,
Independence on back burner
Madam, – Nicola Sturgeon wants to imagine the latest Brexit developments will help her independence dream.
Yet the latest Survation poll makes clear that the people of Scotland are still strongly against having a second independence referendum in the foreseeable future.
The first minister would do better to reflect on her previous assurances that a re-run would only be called when it was clear that the people of Scotland wanted one.
With these new figures showing two-thirds of Scots do not want Indyref2 in the next five years, there is clearly a strong risk of a voter backlash in subsequent votes if the first minister ignores the public mood and demands the power to call another referendum.
Credentials in question
Madam, – Two eco-ferries approved by the Scottish Government and being built at the Ferguson Marine Engineering shipyard may not be green after all.
The ferries are designed to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and not diesel but an academic paper from University College London says the LNG will only have short-term benefits since fleets of planes, boats and vehicles will be needed to transport LNG thus “locking in fossil fuels infrastructure for decades”.
It will also be recalled that the Drax power plant burns wood chips transported by diesel ships all the way from America or Canada, so there is nothing green about that.
It is therefore insulting that taxpayers subsidised Drax with £789 million in 2018 and £729 in 2017.
Posturing politicians and pseudo scientists have a lot to answer for.
138 Springfield Road,
Railway station talk at trust
Madam, – The next talk in the Dundee Civic Trust series will be on March 21 at 7.45pm after the Society’s AGM. Graham Steel of Nicoll Russell Studios will describe the redevelopment of Dundee’s Railway Station.
He will tell the unusual story of the challenges of designing and building this complex six-story structure and the dramatic swinging of the two halves of the frame across the East Coast Main Line.
Dundee Civic Trust has a wide interest in all aspects of Dundee’s environment, promoting the protection and conservation of the historic environment as well as supporting the best of new developments.
The trust has a strong and active membership and new members are always welcome.
Dundee Civic Trust.
Madam, – Over the weekend Professor Ronald MacDonald said a Scottish pound could cause pensions to drop by 30%.
It must feel like Groundhog day for John Swinney.
In 2013 a number of newspapers reported a secret Cabinet document which predicted a near 30% drop in pensions in an independent Scotland.
1 Willow Row,