Sir, – To every sane person on the planet, the obscene horror of the events in Paris will have been viewed with disgust and revulsion yet not, I think, without the realisation that it was almost inevitable and certainly, it will have also been accompanied by the depressing thought that this incident won’t be the last of its kind in Europe.
It would be a tedious waste of time and effort for politicians of whatever colour to embark on a process of recrimination and blame for the unprecedented situation that has arisen. There is no debate here.
We are faced with a death cult, in love with the gruesome process of inflicting death and terror upon whomsoever they see as the infidel, to be eliminated or punished in accordance with their bizarre beliefs.
They also consider martyrdom as the highest moral achievement to be rewarded by eternal bliss in paradise, no matter how base the means of achieving it are.
Our leaders will have to face up to the fact that this abomination must be suppressed and eliminated with a ruthless and merciless intention.
There must be no disagreement or scoring of party-political points on this course of action. The final objective that the civilised world must achieve is the complete eradication of this vile and evil opportunistic cult which is well armed and organised and shamefully supported by many European citizens, apologists and appeasers.
And there can be no doubt that as Scots, we will be no less affected than any other European citizen.
Our ability to travel safely abroad or visit public places anywhere in the UK is already under threat from this wicked and perverted cult which brings unwarranted shame on Islam and even humanity itself.
Nicola Sturgeon featured on Desert Island Discs on Sunday with Kirsty Young and admitted that while she was a very strong critic of Margaret Thatcher, she was reading Charles Moore’s biography of the Iron Lady because she is interested in the whole art and science of decision making.
This is good news because if she follows the actions of what Mrs Thatcher would have done given the circumstances which we now face, I think we would all sleep a little more soundly in our beds at night.
Iain G Richmond. Guildy House, Monikie.
Trade privacy for security
Sir, – The horrific scenes we witnessed in Paris underline the unquestionable importance of the new Investigatory Powers Bill, dubbed the “snoopers charter” that Home Secretary Theresa May outlined last week.
Our intelligence services should be able to access any information they require in order to preserve our safety.
If we have nothing to hide we should not feel threatened by these proposed increased measures.
The incredible work of our intelligence services, here in the United Kingdom, has obstructed six terrorist plots at home and nine abroad this year alone and their job is only getting more difficult.
As a journalist and historian once stated: “Our ability to monitor terrorists’ communications is the only edge we have over them.”
Each and every one of us could one day be an innocent bystander with our lives cut short simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I, for one, have no objections to trading off my privacy for my security in order to lower these chances.
Kirstene Hair. Mains of Ardovie, Brechin.
Assad is not our enemy
Sir, – President Hollande declared France was at war with the lunatic fringe of militant Islam and launched reprisal raids against Islamic State and other jihadi targets. How very George W Bush.
But what can be done in a Europe which now houses 45 million Muslims and is weakened by open borders, Angela Merkel’s madcap invitation to refugees and Edward Snowden’s revelations?
Well, my enemy’s enemy is my friend. We united with the vile Stalin to defeat Hitler and the fact is neither Putin nor Assad is our enemy, no more than Muammar Gaddafi of Libya or Saddam Hussein of Iraq were.
As terrorists now know our standard security surveillance techniques, we need enhanced powers for United Kingdom agents to intercept private electronic communications.
And Europe’s Islamic communities have a crucial role to play in identifying the radicals in their midst because far more Muslims are dying at the hands of ISIS than Christians.
Rev Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Close borders of Europe
Sir, – One lesson from the Paris atrocities is the need for proper border and other immigration controls.
It is clear that for the foreseeable future, the main European countries must re-introduce full border controls. In the current circumstances, the Schengen vision of a borderless Europe is not simply dead but deadly.
Another lesson is to remind us that the very first duty of the state is provide security for its people.
That duty falls firmly on the individual states and not the Brussels bureaucracy, which is both legally and psychologically incapable of protecting us.
A key part of that duty is to vet all people entering their territory.
Furthermore, our own security in Europe will have to take priority in our dealings with the wave of migrants from the Middle East and Muslim Africa. Those who don’t share our values will have to be barred entry to Europe.
It follows from this that the Refugee Convention will have to be qualified so that a state can refuse asylum to any person who does not share its values. It should be for each state to decide what its values are.
Among our core values are: the broad equality of the sexes, public justice, toleration of homosexuals, democracy, freedom to change and reject religion, a spirit of inquiry and freedom of speech. All these stand at odds with the terrorists’ world view that has its roots in Saudi Arabia.
Talking about these vital issues is not going to help. Immediate action is needed.
Otto Inglis. Ansonhill, Crossgates.
Flawed system of food rating
Sir, – Does Dundee West End Councillor Richard McCready have any relevant qualification that permits him to pontificate about hygiene standards in Dundee’s pubs and restaurants?
He urges the public to boycott eateries that have an improvement-required notice imposed upon them under the auspices of the Food Hygiene Information Scheme. (FHIS).
As co-owner of one of the restaurants exposed in your article (November 11) I take exception to the councillor’s ill-informed and irresponsible denigration of some of Dundee’s longest-serving food outlets.
Your front-page headline correctly states that these are a set of new standards governed by Food Standards Scotland. This is bureaucratic dogma dreamed up by a self -serving body to justify its existence.
Its rating system is inherently flawed.
Basically, you pass or you fail. So the filthiest cesspit in Dundee is given the same rating as an establishment with a shortage of thermometers and some cracked tiles on a toilet floor.
Mr McCready needs to climb off his soapbox and do some legwork.
If he does not, I would urge the voters to inform him at the next election that improvement is required.
Robert Colston. 16 The Avenue, Castle Huntly, Longforgan.
St Andrews rail link pointless
Sir, – Re-establishing the rail link to St Andrews (November 13) would surely be the biggest waste of public money since the Edinburgh trams and an even more useless project.
What, pray, is the “stature” of St Andrews that it deserves such a link more than hundreds of towns of similar size?
Its antiquity? Its prestigious university? Golf and tourism? All these are sustained perfectly well under the present system, with buses running every 10 minutes during the day and every half hour during the evening. If this is not enough for Jane Liston and Team StARLink, they are asking rather a lot of a country in which thousands are on the breadline.
But I fear it might be just the sort of thing which the Scottish Government might think a good headline-grabbing opportunity.
Antony Black. 79 Blackness Avenue, Dundee.
Unfairness of jobs policy
Sir, – In relation to job losses at HMRC, Nicola Sturgeon stated that the Scottish Government has a no compulsory redundancy policy.
She delights in any difference from the UK Government approach.
But is she right to assume the moral high ground?
No responsible employer seeks to make staff redundant. Redundancies at HMRC will be phased over many years and may mostly be voluntary. Compulsory redundancy is always the last option.
But is Ms Sturgeon’s policy fair on the taxpayer, particularly those in the private sector not protected in the same way?
As has been shown at HMRC, change happens. What was fit for purpose some years ago, may no longer be effective.
As the Scottish Government matures, it may find itself in a similar position.
With more devolved powers coming to Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon tells us she needs to increase the Scottish Government’s 17,000 headcount.
Has the time now come for a more realistic approach to central government employment policy?
Martin Redfern. 4 Royal Circus Edinburgh.