Letters: Commons vote on Syria was missed opportunity

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Lakhdar Brahimi, the Algerian United Nations diplomat, who served as the UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria until May, fears that Syria is descending into a Somalia-style failed state run by warlords, which will pose a serious threat to the future of the Middle East.

The Commons vote in August last year against intervention shattered the hopes of the Syrian revolution.

President Assad got exactly what he wanted from the cruel farce of UN peace talks. Refugee camps are now bombed by the Syrian army without any thought of a response while the FSA have been left to fight Isis and the army without adequate military support.

Many of their senior officers have finally resigned because promises of aid have never been fulfilled.

The Commons vote did far more to encourage the Syrian army’s savagery and the threat of Islamist terror than has ever been accepted.

Brian Devlin, Manse Lane, Galashiels

Channel 4 programme exposes dirty tricks

I’m disheartened but not surprised at the allegations presented in last week’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme about the SNP Government applying pressure on business leaders and organisations who might speak out against separation.

We’ve all come to expect threatening and abusive comments online from the so-called ‘cybernats’ spewing out their invective from the safety of anonymity, and I was treated by campaigners with derision and disrespect on my own doorstep for daring to say I was a firm ‘No’ vote.

Now it’s clear that this bullying behaviour is not only sanctioned but engaged in at the very top of the separatists’ campaign. How shameful. Voters deserve to hear the experts on both sides of the debate, not have one side shut down.

Alison Meynert, address supplied

Granton is a better site for new housing

Hazel Sears of Halliday Fraser Munro Chartered Architects and Planning Consultants quite rightly points out in her letter of June 18 the need for housing in Edinburgh and tries to make a case for the Cammo/Maybury 
development.

But why not leave this area as it is and look instead at the swathes of building land around Granton that were cleared specifically for this purpose?

Why destroy the Cammo/Maybury area, which offers green space, amenity and a beautiful gateway to Edinburgh, when there is land ready and waiting for housing development at Granton?

Rosemary Macdonald, Corstorphine Bank Drive, Edinburgh

Crucial for referendum ‘No’ voters to turn out

I agreed with John Davidson (Letters, June 19) when he quoted the bookies’ odds on the referendum.

The crucial thing is that every ‘No’ voter votes. You can bet your bottom dollar that every ‘Yes’ voter will turn out, so it is vital that all those opposed to the break-up of the UK and the ruination of Scotland turns out to vote. Not to do so would be equivalent of voting ‘Yes’.

As long as everyone votes we will be spared the nightmare of separation from the UK.

Donald Lewis, Beech Hill, Gifford, East Lothian

How Scotland got from there to here

The Norman and French conquest of 1066, once administered by the Plantagenet dynasty from Angers or Chinon in the valley of the Loire, in defeat and retreat moved to Westminster on the Thames, which should give us pause for thought so far as the story of the Middle Ages is concerned.

More locally Edinburgh on the Forth replaced Perth on the Tay in another change of base – less important in the scheme of things, as a later Anglo French Stuart changed his base and brought into legislation ethnic cleansing in the form of the Statutes of Iona 1609, which required that Highland clan chiefs send their heirs to Lowland Scotland to be educated in English-speaking Protestant schools.

There is some justice in the fact that the Stuarts, the worst enemy any people could have, went down with the Scots on April 16, 1746, and accelerated a diaspora which gives us the cosmetic, cosmopolitan and tourist resort that is North Britain today.

David Plenderleith Phillips, Broomfield Crescent, Edinburgh

Oil and gas revenues woefully undervalued

The doom-laden predictions for the oil and gas sector by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) curiously relies on production estimates well below industry projections (July 11).

Using oil price predictions from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and official production forecasts from Oil and Gas UK would see £31.8 billion of revenue generated between 2017-19, considerably more than that forecast by the OBR.

In addition, while the OBR is suggesting 10 billion barrels of oil and gas remain in the North Sea, industry experts Oil and Gas UK say up to 24 billion barrels, with Sir Ian Wood, who undertook a report on the state of the sector just last year, also giving this same figure.

Now, all of these people know infinitely more about the extent of the reserves remaining in the North Sea than the OBR in London does and maybe it should start talking to the experts.

We have seen record investment in the North Sea in recent years, entirely because companies are determined to boost production, and there is clearly huge potential for Scotland’s black gold for many years to come.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh