Readers' letters: Cole-Hamilton backs wrong side on parliamentary ruling
Unionist MSPs such as Alex Cole-Hamilton voted unanimously to approve the Scottish Parliament Bills enshrining the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Charter of Local Government into Scots Law.
It is hypocritical, therefore, for him to attack the SNP for introducing sensible measures which Scotland’s Chief Law Officer and the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer deemed to be competent and virtually every academic constitutional lawyer has criticised the Supreme Court’s reasoning (Evening News 13 October).
Apart from legal opinion that the UK Supreme Court is in breach of Article 19 of the 1707 Treaty of Union and the 1689 Scottish Parliament Claim of Right Act, which outlines Scotland’s constitutional law, the Supreme Court decision should remind everyone that power devolved is power retained and that under the current arrangements we can’t stop a UK government trampling over democracy in Scotland.
Cole-Hamilton’s lack of concern on Westminster’s latest power grab explains why the Lib Dems only have two mainland MSPs.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.
Au pairs are proving to be a Brexit casualty
In the course of our four-year campaign to save the au pair programme prior to our exit from the EU, the government repeatedly told au pair agents and worried host families that anyone in need of flexible childcare could recruit British nationals who had lost their jobs due to Covid.
The predicted wave of redundancies following the end of the furlough scheme does not appear to be materialising, with BBC News reporting around only 14,000 predicted job losses from the one million plus still on furlough at the end of September.
As one of the few au pair agencies still open and struggling to find child carers for families who have to work weekends, evening and overnight when nurseries and childminders are unavailable, I have unsurprisingly not had a single British applicant looking to sign up for what is supposed to be a cultural and linguistic programme (and not employment).
We felt we made a strong case for a Youth Exchange Visa to allow young people to continue coming from the EU to work for up to a year with families. I have had endless calls since January from families struggling to find childcare to allow them to continue working unsociable hours and to complete their studies.
It is not too late for the government to do one of its many U-turns, though sadly several of the agency partners we worked with in Europe have already closed because they can no longer recruit applicants for the UK – and they certainly did not vote for Brexit!
Ruth Campbell, Au Pair Ecosse.
COP26 protestors need a new plan
The forthcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow is important to everyone.
It is depressing, therefore, that protest groups are lining up to spoil, disrupt or even prevent the summit from happening.
I have no doubts about their right to protest or of the validity of the reasons behind their various causes, but without success at COP26 and its successors, the next generations face a grim future.
What I do doubt is the effectiveness of their disruptive actions, particularly in light of the enterprising student who won her long campaign against Lidl through the use of social media.
Perhaps it’s time to update the old adage “the pen is mightier than the sword” to include the might of social media?
Ken Currie, Edinburgh.