Madam, – Martin Redfern would have your readers believe the 55% of Scots who voted for retention of the union with England in 2014 are “ceaselessly” ignored by an SNP government working on behalf of all Scots (Ignoring the will of the majority, Courier, March 22).
The 55% he refers to have indeed been ignored, not by the SNP as he claims, but by a Westminster establishment they chose to place their faith in.
Space precludes listing every broken promise, but assurance of continuing EU membership and a respectful attitude towards Scottish aspirations will suffice in this instance.
Post-September 19th, 2014, Westminster had a once in a generation opportunity to address the democratic deficit at the heart of the drive for Scottish independence.
Subsequent events have seen that display of loyalty by the 55% trampled underfoot by an establishment Mr Redfern blindly supports, no matter the consequences.
Scots have been incredibly patient with the damage our neighbour’s dysfunctional English establishment has visited upon us generation after generation.
It is only right that their own electoral choices be respected, but that right doesn’t extend to once again inflicting those choices on a neighbouring country wishing to follow an increasingly divergent path.
Scotland’s citizens, the 55% and the 45%, deserve so much better.
We are ceaselessly ignored, mocked and sidelined by a London establishment openly discussing ways and means of reneging on any future EU agreements.
What chance Scotland in a continuing post-Brexit union with perfidious Albion?
c/o 15 Thorter Way,
An alternative to UK austerity
Madam, – It is intriguing to note that Portugal’s budget deficit fell to 0.5% of gross domestic product in 2018, the lowest level since the country returned to democracy 45 years ago.
This clearly demonstrates that there is an alternative to austerity as the deficit has fallen from 11.2% of GDP in 2011 when Portugal negotiated a €78bn bailout with the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
The reduction is mainly driven by an increase in government revenues, including taxes and social security contributions reflecting economic growth and rising employment,
Some other Eurozone countries expressed alarm when the centre-left Socialist government, with the support of the Communist Party and Left Bloc, took power in 2015 on an anti-austerity platform.
However, a series of government budgets cut taxes and restored civil servants’ salaries, eased a surtax on employees’ incomes and breathed new life into the welfare system.
So, while we continue to pursue an austerity agenda in the UK, what Portugal has demonstrated, despite concerns over the economic policies it is pursuing, is that there is another way.
Rather than blindly following an austerity agenda, the example set by Portugal is something we in the UK would be well-advised to take note of.
Flat 3, 2 Marchmont Road,
Scrap future referendums
Madam, – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tells us that another Scottish referendum is ‘as inevitable as it’s possible to be’.
Nothing is ‘inevitable’ until it has happened.
She makes it clear that she will decide on when it is to be. This is arrogance of the highest order.
Whatever happened to her pledge that she would not call another referendum until it was clear that was what a majority of the people of Scotland wanted?
Ms Sturgeon forgets that she heads a minority administration.
We cannot ever again allow the most interested party to choose the date, electorate and question in any referendum campaign.
The biggest mistake in the 2014 referendum was David Cameron allowing Alex Salmond to choose the date. He should have insisted the vote be held within a year of the Edinburgh agreement of 2012.
Instead, Mr Salmond campaigned for two years, with his followers spreading provable misinformation.
As for the question, it cannot again have a yes/no answer, which gives the ‘yes’ side a clear advantage – ‘yes’ sounds positive, ‘no’ sounds negative.
The question in any future referendum must be of the remain/leave kind. But even better would be not to have another referendum on any subject of major constitutional importance ever again.
Honesty about falling standards
Madam, – We need more Gordon Strachans speaking out, not just about Scottish football but about parenting and education.
Typical school reports say a child is making “satisfactory progress”. Compared to what?
Other countries? Our own dwindling standards?
Half of 15-year-olds are below standard in reading and numbers and far too many leave ill equipped to take on skilled jobs and unwilling to be challenged or told what to do.
Employers respond by employing immigrants.
Teachers, parents and politicians and their equivalents in football need to be honest about what’s going on.
They need to find out and complain, and start rolling back 30 years of declining standards, entitlement and blame culture.
1 Willow Row,
Reducing speed is effective
Madam, – Mr Bray of Forfar can’t get out much (20mph speed limits won’t work, Courier. March 27).
He certainly doesn’t get to areas of Edinburgh and Fife where this policy has already been successfully introduced.
Perhaps if he read the parliamentary research on the subject he would realise that not only does it slow speeding drivers but the faster the driver usually speeds the more impact the speed limit has. They not only increase road safety but also active travel.
While the schemes all cost money in the first two years, savings then accrue due to the reduction in casualties and the collision damage.
Perth Green Party,
122 Dunsinane Drive,