Sir, In the dozen or so years since the 9/11 outrage, more than 20,000 terrorist incidents have been perpetrated across the globe in the name of a massive, inter-connected jihad.
Tony Blair and other western leaders are adamant such activity has “nothing to do with Islam” but the expressed opinions of the perpetrators make that seem unlikely.
There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the London bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan when he claimed: “Our religion is Islam. We are at war and I am a soldier.”
Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers were incompetent clowns but they were also jihadists full of vicious, apocalyptic dogma.
The problem for western nations welcoming Muslim refugees is that they are cloaked in eternal victimhood which justifies all terrorism by reference to a perceived grievance.
It is not a question of integration because Glasgow’s risible bombing-duo Bilal Abdullah and Kafeel Ahmed were respectively an NHS medic and PhD researcher.
A climate of denial only helps such terrorists and we need tougher border controls as well as realistic Human Rights which allow the expulsion of those who would harm us.
Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Woeful lack of knowledge
Sir, Your article, Gaelic historian attacks attempt to ‘impose’ language on lowland areas, demonstrates the woeful lack of knowledge of Scotland’s linguistic history and its contemporary presence even when referenced to a so-called “leading Gaelic historian”.
Over the course of Scotland’s recorded history, Gaelic has been spoken in every area of what we now know as Scotland (even the Northern Isles, where in early historic times Gaelic-speaking missionaries settled amongst the Picts).
Historians, especially, should be aware that the presence of Gaelic speakers in all parts of Scotland is well attested by written records and also by place names (such as Aberfeldy and Milnathort), which bear witness to a Gaelic heritage.
There is no part of Scotland which does not have a ‘Gaelic heritage’. Today Gaelic speakers can be found in every local area of Scotland. The 2001 census records Gaelic speakers present in every electoral ward in Scotland, and this is likely to continue to be the case when data for 2011 is released later this year. In 2001 the Highlands and Islands were home to 55% of Scotland’s Gaelic speakers, and the Lowlands were home to 45%. These figures are likely to become 50/50 or even reversed in the 2011 data.
Both the UK and Scottish Governments recognise Gaelic as one of our national languages. This is now guaranteed by international treaty. As such, Gaelic speakers have every right in a democratic society for their heritage to be recognised. To deny the heritage is to deny democratic rights, human rights and treaty obligations.
John A. MacKay. Ceannard (CEO), Bord na Gaidhlig, Inverness.
Partridges on the increase
Sir, The sad decline in grey partridge numbers as lamented by Angus Whitson in his Saturday column, is a matter of serious concern for the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust which has spent almost 80 years researching this iconic bird of Britain’s farmland.
Yes, the numbers of grey partridge have declined dramatically since the Second World War and yes, the intensification of agricultural practices has a huge part to play in this downward trend. However, our intensive research has shown that this trend can be reversed by sensitive, targeted land management.
In a recent study published in Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, grey partridges were shown to have increased by 81% on farms and shooting estates that are participating in the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Partridge Count Scheme.
Primarily it is shooting estates with private gamekeepers that have implemented the full package of management measures. The future fate of partridges in the UK rests on the balance between the economics of agricultural production, agri-environment measures and the commitment of the shooting community.
Katrina J Candy. Head of PR & Education, The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
What about the jobs lost?
Sir, Scottish Government ministers regularly regale us with large numbers, sometimes erroneously, of jobs created by the renewables industry but are surprisingly quiet when jobs are lost as a consequence of their environmental and renewables policies.
In March 2013 more than 100 quality jobs were lost when the Cockenzie coal-fired power station was closed before the end of its design life. Last week almost 600 jobs were lost when Scottish Coal went into administration.
Investigations in other countries have found more jobs are lost due to green policies than are gained. Undoubtedly, here in the UK, other businesses have reduced staff or closed due to rapidly increasing and uncompetitive electricity costs. It is long past time for an independent review of Scotland’s environmental and energy policies before the whole system collapses, with inevitable consequences for our economy.
GM Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross.