As Scotland’s oldest dedicated pro-European campaigning organisation, at the forefront of the fight to keep us in the EU, we were heartened to see the Prime Minister pledging a ‘wholly positive’ campaign.
The benefits of our EU membership are plentiful. Whether it is climate change, energy security or international trade, decisions taken by the EU are more effective than the ones made by 28 individual states. As an example, European decisions helped us to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by almost 90% over the last 40 years.
It has also provided important social protections for workers in Scotland and across the continent, be it the 48-hour minimum working week or minimum-paid annual leave.
And of course, the single market of over 500 million people, the largest single market in the world, is vital for businesses, with over 300,000 Scottish jobs dependent on our exports to the EU. It also allows the freedom to travel, study and work across the EU, bringing many benefits to Scotland.
The peace, stability and prosperity that the EU has brought to Scotland through our membership is to be absolutely cherished and we are happy to see the Prime Minister aims to promote the positives.
Derek Hammersley, The European Movement in Scotland, Cumberland Street SE Lane, Edinburgh
Is smoking in cars such a big problem?
No-one would question the desirability of banning smoking in cars with children aboard – although, given the assumption of a threat to health from secondary inhalation, such a ban should surely apply also to adult passengers, even if they themselves are smokers.
But does the problem actually exist to any significant degree? ASH Scotland are renowned for raising objections to smokers on flimsy or downright non-existent evidence.
ASH Scotland has made claims made of children supposedly taking up smoking because of ‘attractive’ packet designs and the putative danger from smokers in children’s play areas.
I have extensive experience of accompanying young children on outings to playgrounds in several parts of the country without ever encountering this situation.
I’ve never smoked in my life, however, when it comes to restricting people’s freedoms there must be convincing proof of danger to others, and if that be the case with smoking in cars, there must be an even greater case for banning smoking in homes with children in them.
Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent
The search is on for Edinburgh’s butteries
Last week I was in Edinburgh to get the train to Darlington to visit friends who have a liking for ‘butteries’.
I also fancied one with a coffee, so I thought I would buy a few butteries. Could I find one? No luck in the centre of Edinburgh. Maybe a baker with an Aberdeen connection somewhere in the city shall bake them but I could not find one near the city centre.
Edinburgh, you shall have to up your game and get ‘butteries’ in the shops and on the breakfast menus.
Awe the best fae Fife (where you can get butteries).
Roy McIntosh, Bankwell Road, Anstruther, Fife
Tories wrong to refuse Med migrant support
It is deeply disappointing to see the Prime Minister opting out of participating in the EU-wide relocation scheme for migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean.
The UK and our neighbours and friends across the EU have a moral obligation to offer a place of safety to these desperate people fleeing conflict and persecution. This is a view also shared by the United Nations refugee agency, which has called for EU member states to do more and provide ‘concrete commitments’.
It is hugely disappointing that the UK has chosen not to partake in the EU’s collective efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in danger. And the Prime Minister must reconsider his position and agree that the UK will take its fair share of those in need of protection.
In turn, we in Scotland must also stand ready to welcome a proportionate share of those who desperately need our help.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
Help Animal Aid fight game bird cruelty
Animal Aid has gathered new disturbing footage of partridges and pheasants used to produce eggs for the shooting industry, being imprisoned in bleak cages.
At one establishment, partridges were confined in tiny barren metal boxes for weeks without respite. The units are essentially sweat boxes – both the floor and roof are made from rigid mesh and four solid metal walls define each ‘cell’.
At another farm, we filmed feather-pecked, stressed pheasants in so-called enriched cages: the floors and roofs were made from mesh, and a single tree stump allowed just one bird to perch on it at a time. There were no nest boxes, no foraging materials.
Animal Aid has fought for many years to ban the production of birds for ‘sport’ shooting. An urgent interim goal is to outlaw the cruel and oppressive cages for birds used for breeding. Please join us. Order a free Stop Shooting information pack from Animal Aid today (www.animalaid.org.uk).
Fiona Pereira, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent