Letters: Smith Commission is a Tory trap set for Scotland

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Henry Philip and Susan Whittle (Letters, 2 December) are oblivious to the fact that the Smith Commission’s proposed powers for Scotland is just a rehash of the Tories’ Strathclyde Commission and is a Tory trap set for Scotland.

The Barnett Formula block grant will be reduced by two thirds without the Scottish Government having the flexibility of varying different taxation revenue streams other than hiking income tax if it wants to spend money on improving public services.

Westminster will still control most of Scotland’s taxation revenues and the bulk of Scotland’s social security spending.

While Northern Ireland is being offered control over corporation tax, Scotland is not even trusted with powers over abortion or broadcasting or corporation tax or with the vast range of powers that would normally come with a federal system as promised in the Tory and Labour joint ‘vow’ made before the referendum.

As for the SNP getting on with governing, there is now a record number of NHS staff in Scotland and crime is at a 40-year low - just some of the reasons why the SNP’s popularity remains twice that of the other parties, which is amazing after seven years of responsibility.

Mrs Janice Thompson, Walter Scott Avenue, Edinburgh

St John’s are wrong over Farage mural

For many years St John’s Episcopal Church has exploited its prominent position on Scotland’s most famous street to display large murals promoting its liberal, left-wing agenda, with scant reference to the truths of the Christian faith.

The latest propaganda piece to confront passers by on Princes Street depicts Nigel Farage as an ‘evolution’ of Hitler.

Anyone engaging in public discourse has a duty to refrain from excessive rhetoric and resist the temptation to demonise opponents. St John’s fail in these regards.

Do they really think that an immigration policy akin to Canada’s is as evil as the holocaust? Is UKIP’s desire to leave the EU comparable to the Night of the Long Knives? Does scrapping the HS2 project rank alongside causing a worldwide conflict costing millions of lives?

In claiming an association between Farage and Hitler, St John’s Church is guilty of hate-mongering.

Personally, I prefer to discuss the views of others in open debate, pointing out where I think they are misguided, but always accepting that well-meaning and intelligent people can come to different conclusions than I do.

Should St John’s wish to enter into respectful public debate instead of offensive and intemperate mudslinging, I, as a Christian and a UKIP member, would be happy to oblige.

Richard Lucas, Broomyknowe, Colinton, Edinburgh

Tynecastle stadium is three quarters there

Why are we at Hearts FC still talking of moving from Tynecastle? We have three perfectly serviceable stands, only the main stand needs replacing.

I cannot see how it would be more economical to relocate to a new stadium than to replace the main stand with a steel-structured one.

It should not be beyond today’s engineers to design and plan the project so that it could be completed within the close season or an extension of it by arranging away fixtures either side of the close season.

Adam McMinn, Edinburgh

Liz Lochhead can join any party she likes

Once again come a Tuesday I began to read Martin Hannan’s column on Liz Lochhead joining the SNP with my usual trepidation, until, upon giving it some thought - and it sticks in my craw to say so - I agreed with him, in that I don’t care what political party she joins.

Needless to say, though, as usual Mr Hannan resorts to political posturing. He reminds us that 1.6 million people voted ‘Yes’ in the referendum, conveniently forgetting that a majority voted ‘No’.

He then went on to inform us that a gentleman called Macmillan is a turncoat, stating that the chap had been a member of the Labour Party but had voted for the Tories at the last general election, adding sarcastically ‘there’s freedom for you’.

Correct, Mr Hannan, its called democracy. You also have a nerve calling anyone a ‘turncoat’ when you yourself were a Labour Party supporter.

Jim Taylor, Edinburgh

‘Cultural differences’ no answer to crime

A Czech national, living in Arbroath who was found with £9000-worth of cannabis growing in a secret room escaped a jail sentence when he blamed ‘cultural differences’ in his homeland. He was instead ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid community work.

The Sheriff, Lindsay Foulis, at Perth Sheriff Court, said that she appreciated that in the Czech Republic legally licenced organisations were allowed to grow cannabis.

What next will Female Genital Mutilation be downgraded and described as “it’s their culture”?

Will the ritual slaughter of animals and birds in the streets of Perth be excused with the comment that that is what they do in their own country?

Will the sale of “bush meat” in the Perth High street be ignored and the police told not to interfere?

This Sheriff should be dismissed.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow