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Big business bids to bypass voters

Big business bids to bypass voters

Sir, I write to alert your readers to one of the biggest threats to face public services, and our health service in particular, in decades.

It comes in the form of an international trade agreement currently being negotiated without any reference to the electorate.

The agreement is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Negotiations for this trade agreement (which were initially held in secret) would allow the wholesale incursion by the private sector into public services and public procurement.

If passed, this agreement would make it nigh on impossible to bring poorly-performing privatisedservices back under public ownership.

TTIP is purely about increasing the power of multinational investors generally big business and hedge funds and reducing regulation on these bodies. TTIP would establish in law the right of multinational companies to sue nation states in a special court the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) if the nation’s regulatory framework were deemed a barrier to free trade.

Campaigning bodies including War on Want, the People’s Assembly and trade unions are alerting people to this threat.

People should contact their councillors, MSPs, MPs and MEPs to demand that they act and have public services taken out of TTIP before it’s too late.

Dougie Orchardson. 74 Farewell Road, Dundee.

Boldly going into the future

Sir, It was with some hilarity that I read of thelatest unionist attempt at bribing we Scots ahead of the referendum. This time we are offered a spaceport if we take leave of our senses and vote to stay in this increasingly corrupt union.

The UK Government has no spaceships and doesn’t have the wherewithal to acquire any. I suppose, therefore, a spaceport without spaceships would be an apt accompaniment to theaircraft carriers which have no aircraft. No mean feat.

All joking aside, as the recent launch of a satellite by a Scottish company shows, Scotland is already to the fore in the satellite sector and small and innovative Scottish companies have considerable potential for future growth and development.

It is already well known that these Scottish companies and those associated with them are keen to have a satellite launch base in Scotland, and the former RAF Kinloss base would be ideal.

An operational spaceport would provide Scotland, plus our British and other European neighbours, with a key piece of infrastructure for the industry. It would provide skilled jobs and opportunities to those companies which provide hi-tech supplies and services.

These is no reason why an independent Scotland could not provide such a facility. After all, the UK Government’s investment in space has been a miserly £300 million. With all of her wealth at her disposal, an independent Scotland could easily exceed that especially if it is done in partnership with interested parties in Europe.

There is no reason for us to succumb to this blatant piece of bribery by Westminster.

Jim Duthie. Gray Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

Steel yourself for some irony

Sir, In Monday’s Courier Colin Jackson of Glenrothes accuses Alex Salmond of shooting himself in the foot, when he has done exactly that to himself.

Rather than blaming Mr Salmond for the use of Chinese-made steel sections, I think he should put the blame on the Westminster government that destroyed the steel-making capacity in Scotland and made many in that area unemployed.

Dave Gordon. 7 Milner Street, Dundee.

Sterling is a central issue

Sir, We Scots are on the precipice of a referendum, looking down into the thickening mist of uncertainty while Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon downgrades her predictions for prosperity.

I have news for Ms Sturgeon: a Yes vote will result in lots of changes, not least of which is the value of the pension pound in my pocket.

The major parties of Great Britain have told First Minister Alex Salmond Scotland cannot remain within the sterling zone.

Without the protection of the zone, Scotland will be forced into the euro, which might take up to 10 years, or to establish a Scots pound, the value of which will be unknown for years, until negotiations can be concluded.

Neither of these alternatives are practical or affordable to Scots and the printing of new Scots notes will not put a value on them.

I remember the time when a Scots pound spent in England was valued at 19 shillings and sixpence rather than 20 shillings, so my concern is the value of the money in my pocket.

I believe David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne realise the necessity of Scotland remaining with sterling, so any negotiations will be a little one-sided and the conditions and impositions upon keeping the pound will be onerous enough to have a significant effect on independence. The Nationalist party must know this yet refuse to tell the people.

Alan Bell. Roods, Kirriemuir.

Some snake oil? No thanks

Sir, In response to Monday’s letter from R Bertram, almost all No campaigners are residents of Scotland, but we have made a judgement that a Yes vote will set our country back and we therefore reject the proposal placed in front of us.

Sometimes, standing up for something you believe to be right involves saying “No Thanks”.

One of the reasons why Scots have always done so well in the world, and within the union, is that they have always exercised their powers of critical analysis when faced with new or evolving situations.

This has proved especially useful when confronted with the snake oil salesmen who cross our paths from time to time, offering us all sorts of milk and honey.

Those same people never take it that well when their spurious advances are rejected, but their disappointment is more a reflection of the inadequacies of their own ideas, not the general population, who know better and exercise their discretion.

Victor Clements. Mamie’s Cottage, Aberfeldy.

Questions are being generated

Sir, I was surprised to learn that the Law Society of Scotland had issued a statement claiming there were still issues concerning Scotland’s independence which need answers.

Much as I agree with this, what surprised me was that such an eminent body seemed ignorant of the fact there can be no answers without negotiations there can only be aspirations and groundless denials.

I should like to know, if oil revenues are going to be no advantage to an independent Scotland, why is Westminster so determined to hold on to them? Do you think there is some subterfuge being practiced?

Also, Westminster cast doubt on the funding for renewable energy development. Scotland would not receive funds from household bills in the rest of the UK. But surely, if Scotland funds the research and development, it will recoup the outlay from its export of generated power by the charges made for this energy.

Yes, power could be purchased from the continent, which, although it may be feasible in the south of England, would not be practicable for the majority of England and Wales.

Perhaps, since we are getting so close to September 18, when the nation will make up its mind, it is time to speak earnestly about the issues and not muddy the waters with half-truths and scaremongering.

Brian Rattray. 124/2 Gylemuir Road, Edinburgh.

Pavements: a grey area?

Sir, Who has the right of way on the pavements in Carnoustie High Street? Is it cyclists or pedestrians or do both have the same rights? Perhaps a member of Angus Council, the police or Tayside Roads can provide an answer.

Dave McNicoll. Carnoustie Golf Shop, 122 High Street, Carnoustie.

Care matters cause concern

Sir, Revelations regarding the lack of care discovered by the Care Inspectorate are a source of worry for relatives, after reports of patients left unattended without sustenance for hours and, worst of all, not having their medicine administered correctly.

As a carer, I make a point of visiting my wife frequently and have a good relationship with the management of the home because I ask questions about general health, appetite, weight, medication and recreation, in order to satisfy myself she is receiving a reasonable level of care.

I regret to say that, at times, I have been the sole visitor to the unit’s lounge. I realise visiting can be a problem for many due to work or transport problems but I would urge relations to try because it can be a comfort to the patient and will provide assurances they are receiving the Care Inspectorate’s recommended standards of care.

J. Harrison. Cavendish Avenue, Perth.