Readers' letters: I have a cunning plan – let's join the EU

It is striking but hardly surprising to note that Northern Ireland’s economy has performed better than all other UK nations and regions, official figures show.
Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European CommissionMaros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission
Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission

Office for National Statistics data on the Covid pandemic bounce back showed the region is thriving under the Northern Ireland Protocol, with its economic output over recent months only 0.3 per cent below the same period of 2019.

The statistics show Northern Ireland performed better than any other part of the UK, with Britain’s overall economic recovery falling 2.1 per cent over the same period.

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The Protocol, allowing Northern Ireland to be part of the EU single market, has clearly benefitted the economy, with trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland also going up since Brexit.

The benefits of being part of the EU’s single market are clear for all to see, it seems a marvellous invention and one the UK should maybe consider joining.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Spaces for People was wrong priority

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With political parties currently going through the motions of selecting candidates for next year’s council elections, I like to summarise the highlights of the past term in my head so I don’t end up voting on the short term performance of only the few weeks before election day.

One view of the council this term will definitely be framed by their response to the pandemic and I struggle to get over the waste of time and resources that was Spaces for People when a child and adult mental health services crisis was already brewing and blatantly going to get worse as people were locked down in their homes.

The SfP initiative was a vanity project, entirely unnecessary at a time when the streets emptied of cars and there was more space for people than you could shake a stick at.

But all that power seems to have been too much for SNP and Labour councillors to ignore and at the same time easier than trying to stave off a mental health crisis or, it seems, the bread and butter of day to day management of a city as bins overflow, weeds grow along pavements and sewers back up all across the city.

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Hopefully writing this letter will help me remember it all when election day comes.

Christopher Cowdy, Edinburgh.

Have yourself a merry little Pigmas

M&S range of charity “Merry Pigmas” cards featuring Percy in a Santa hat have sparked fury among some Christians. Despite Premier Christian News temperately saying "There are plenty of worse things to get outraged about before we get to Percy Pig”, other believers have fired back with the usual Christian centric indignation.

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“Absolutely offensive! We are a Christian country! Christmas is the celebration of Christ not anything else", and more importantly, “Imagine doing that with any other deity!”

Sadly they’re not wrong on that last point, but no religious ideas should be protected from satire. We must remember that despite our midwinter festival currently bearing a religious name, it holds many “true meanings” for different people.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society.

Blackford censure

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Ian Blackford is to bring forward a motion of censure against Boris Johnson for his 'disastrous actions', ie poor performance. If so, should he also not be bringing forward similar motion against the SNP government at Holyrood?

William Ballantine, Bo’ness.