Letters: Labour’s Tory policies bad news for Scots

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Ed Milliband jets in and out of Scotland to tell us that he will do everything he can to stop us using the Pound if the vote is ‘Yes’. He stands shoulder to shoulder with George Osborne on this one.

But hold on, it’s not just this one. The sad spectacle of Scottish Labour MSPs voting to retain Trident in the Clyde reinforces all my conclusions that the Labour Party has now lost all its political ideology as a left of centre movement.

For Labour MSPs, many of whom marched under CND banners in the past, to vote with the Tories in support of Trident is truly shocking.

This, only a few weeks after we have had confirmation that the UK government and the MOD effectively stopped the exploration of oil and gas reserves in the Firth of Clyde in order that submarines armed with nuclear missiles should be able to negotiate the waters of the Firth of Clyde.

With Labour’s continuing support for Trident on the Clyde, they deny the opportunity for towns in the West of Scotland, particularly in North Ayrshire, blighted by de-industrialisation and deprivation, to cash in on the immense benefits of oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

But there is more. Ed Balls has suggested that he will retain the Tory cuts programme if Labour is elected.

Tory and Labour stand side by side on illegal wars. Tory and Labour are being led like donkeys by the US into a new Cold War.

I was a Labour Party member for more than 20 years. I was a Labour councillor for more than 15 years. I was Labour Leader of South Ayrshire Council. I will vote ‘Yes’ next month.

However, there is hope for Labour voters. They have a unique chance to create a new restructured and proud Labour Party without the Millibands and the Balls and the House of Lords.

They should vote ‘Yes’ in September and vote Labour in 2016 - simple.

John Baillie, Allanvale Road, Prestwick

Honouring Elsie Inglis’ 150th anniversary

Saturday, August 16 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edinburgh’s Dr Elsie Inglis, the medical pioneer, suffragist and First World War heroine.

As there seems to be nothing official planned to mark the day, perhaps anyone interested would like to join me on Saturday morning, 10.30am, at the main gate of old Dean Cemetery (Dean Path), in paying respects at Elsie’s graveside. I’ll be giving a (free) short talk about her life in Edinburgh, also taking in the nearby memorials of two other pioneer medical women, both with fascinating family, literary and suffragist connections.

It has been suggested that a single flower might be brought by each person (no obligation), to be laid together with others at Elsie’s resting place as a communal tribute. This peaceful, well-kept cemetery, which leads to the Dean and Modern Art galleries, is a rewarding place to explore and photograph - although paths must be kept to.

This isn’t a Fringe event; it’s just a way of Edinburgh remembering ‘Dr Elsie’ - and bonny fechters like her.

Carolyn Lincoln, Pentland Drive, Edinburgh

Grouse shooting puts hen harriers at risk

SOME pundits have asked the public to trust gamekeepers before scientists when it comes to understanding raptor populations, stating they are best placed to judge on the licensed killing of raptors.

The ‘couthy country folk know best’ approach has over generations engendered a culture where the driven grouse shooting industry in particular believe they are justified in killing birds of prey, because scientists ‘do not understand’ and, therefore, the law is ‘wrong’.

This is best illustrated by the extinction of hen harriers from driven grouse moors in the east and south of Scotland. So embedded is the culture that any cessation would reduce the ‘take’ of artificially inflated grouse bags, thus rendering the industry financially unviable, which helps explain why they are so reluctant to cease the killings.

Public anger has reached such a pitch that on 10 August we saw the first ever ‘Hen Harrier Day’, a public protest in northern England - where only two pairs attempted to nest last year - calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting, which was attended by several Scots, as hen harriers are no respecters of national boundaries.

Logan D Steele, Bridgewater Avenue, Auchterarder

Salmond is in a pickle over the Pound

Alex Salmond has got himself into a bit of a pickle over keeping the Pound. He proposes de-coupling any last remaining democratic control over it by leaving the Union while the Pound is still controlled in London.

There might not be much democratic control held by Westminster over the value of the currency, but the moment Scotland leaves the Union it will lose all democratic control over the Pound. Instead Scotland will have to trust the judgment of capitalists in the City of London. Not something I’d want to do.

Scotland would be far better seeking to join the EU and using the Euro - at least this would give the people some form of democratic control over thecurrency. Or create a Scottish Pound, there are already Scottish Poundnotes, something we don’t have in England and Wales.

Either way, I don’t think Alex Salmond and the other Scottish Nationalist have thought this through very well.

Democracy isn’t perfect, but it is better than all the other options andhaving a small amount of democratic control over your currency is better than having none.

Duncan Anderson, East Halton, Immingham