Basking in the recent glorious sunshine and bursting with pride from the spectacular (if a little kitsch) opening of the Commonwealth Games, Scots could be forgiven for thinking that we had at long last stumbled on a sort of Celtic paradise.
But the SNP majority at Holyrood has given us a sinister glimpse of what an independent Scotland will look like if we vote Yes on September 18. A parliamentary committee system, dominated by the SNP, to ensure government policies are driven through with no opportunity for checks or balances. Democratic decisions voted through by local councils called in and overruled by SNP ministers. Armed police patrolling the streets of our major cities. An energy policy based on useless and massively expensive windmills, steadily destroying our landscape, driving over one million Scots families into fuel poverty and leading inexorably to electricity blackouts.
As an integral part of the UK, Scotland currently enjoys full diplomatic representation in 267 embassies and 169 trade offices around the world. In contrast, Alex Salmond’s vision is for an independent Scotland to finance around 70 to 90 embassies and 27 trade offices. Currently, as part of the UK, Scots have a respected voice in the UN Security Council, the G7, G8 and G20. An independent Scotland would never enjoy the same international clout.
It is a deeply depressing outlook and endless talk of a fairer Scotland, social inclusion, stopping London Tories from pulling Scotland’s strings and all the usual nationalist guff, cannot hide the dangerous and divisive political experiment that the SNP has embarked upon. Scotland, as we have all come to celebrate in the past few days, is a great country. But we have achieved greatness as part of the United Kingdom.
Struan Stevenson (Conservative Euro MP for Scotland), Northumberland Street, Edinburgh
Tenement bike racks are great initiative
I’m all in favour of the proposed on-street bicycle racks (News, July 26) as a measure to remove inconvenience and danger to users of tenement staircases where many bikes are presently secured.
Edinburgh council is to be congratulated for this initiative, but I have to confess myself absolutely baffled by explanation of it offered by transport convener Lesley Hinds.
According to your report, Ms Hinds stated: “The point is that whether you are a bike user or not, if you live in a tenement area you have got somewhere safe to store your bike because if you are not a cyclist it can irritate people.”
I find that quite astonishing.
Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent
Withhold benefits from unregistered voters
Those to blame for Scotland’s 300,000 unregistered voters are the Justice Secretary, Lord Advocate and Police Scotland who have not prosecuted a single person, despite it being an offence, punishable with a fine of £1000, not to register on the electoral roll.
Scotland’s legal authorities have allowed 300,000 people to opt out of their responsibilities to society, with absolutely no sanction whatsoever, as prosecution could have brought in £300 million for the public purse.
The way to ensure that those 300,000 people are registered to vote is to make access to taxpayer-funded benefits conditional on being registered on the electoral roll.
Therefore, unless your name was on the electoral roll you would not be able to receive jobseekers allowance, state pension, pension credit, working tax credits, child benefit, housing benefit, council tax benefit, free prescriptions, free bus travel for the disabled and over 60s, or any help with the bedroom tax.
Additionally, access to social housing tenancies should be conditional on being on the electoral roll.
Those 300,000 people would soon register to vote if they were hit in the pocket or were denied access to taxpayer funded benefits.
Jim Stewart, Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh
Who coordinates Capital’s roadworks?
While I fully appreciate there will always be emergency roadworks, mainly carried out by the public utility services who seem to be a law unto themselves, it would be interesting to know who in the council programmes other non-emergency roadworks.
A prime example of problems is at present on Market Street. Network Rail is partly to blame by closing off Waverley Station to all vehicles, however Edinburgh City Council must be responsible for the present situation, which is as follows. On the north side from Waverley Bridge new parking bays have been installed but are all coned off and out of use due to pavement works opposite on the south side. This has reduced the road to a single lane controlled by temporary traffic lights. Under North Bridge there is a recessed bay sufficient for around six cars to drop off or pick up passengers, but this has double yellow lines.
Surely this work should have been delayed to at least after the Festival.
John M. Tulloch, Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh
Let poor nurses wear lighter uniforms
Nurses are right to demand NHS bosses scrap a strict uniform policy and allow them to remove their heavy scrubs which are causing them to stew in the summer heat (News, July 25).
Conditions must be unbearable at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and this will affect the quality of patient care. They can’t be expected to do their jobs properly in such hot temperatures, it could lead to them collapsing in the sweltering conditions.
June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian