Readers' letters: Nations must have power over borders

The current stushie in Australia over Novak Djokovic’s vaccination status highlights the importance of the ability of nations to exercise policy measures at their borders to protect their citizens.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 7:00 am

Unfortunately Scotland, as a willing partner of the UK, has no such power over its national territory and is left exposed to the policy measures of Westminster.

Shrill claims from unionist politicians that there is ‘no border within the UK’ are factually incorrect; the Scotland-England border was ratified in the 1237 Treaty of York and enshrined by the 1707 Act of Union.

The continued existence of this border today benefits ordinary Scots in numerous ways – not least from the free prescriptions, personal care and tertiary education, higher NHS/carer pay and more progressive tax system (higher tax rate on top earners but significantly lower tax on average Scots) compared to our southern neighbours, all implemented by the current Scottish Government.

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Unsurprisingly a future independent Scotland will indeed have a border with all other countries, including England. This is international normality.

Everyone knows that most borders within 21st century Europe (with the recent exception of the post-Brexit UK-EU border) don’t have checkpoints or barriers to manage customs/excise and immigration matters.

They are soft, smart and managed via cooperation and digital technology.

So, like all other nations an independent Scotland would manage our national border with policies on trade and immigration that benefit our citizens and businesses.

Scottish businesses know that their ability to trade on equal terms with our European neighbours (the world’s largest single market) and the wider world is as important as our existing trade with England.

It is absurd for Tory, Labour and LibDem unionists to suggest that trade with England should take precedence over the wider world.

Neighbouring Ireland - with its rapidly growing economy and close deep EU and US connections – illustrates the alternative connected future that awaits an independent Scotland.

Mr D Jamieson, Dunbar.

Heating or eating will be a tough choice

Millions of British families will have to choose between eating and heating as they face huge energy bills increases this year.

Already around 4 million homes in the UK are classed as fuel poor and this could quickly rise to 6 million.

The cleverly concealed 15 per cent of green taxes and VAT of 5 per cent on gas and electric bills, totalling £10 billion a year, must be immediately cancelled.

Those earning over £100,000 should be taxed at 60 per cent not 40/45 per cent and the extra put into a fuel poverty fund.

This ineffectual government must find ways of curbing escalating energy bills or there will be rioting on the streets of Britain.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

God bless Fido, but not same sex couples

In another bizarre and acrobatic twist of reasoning, Pope Francis has suggested people who choose to have pets over children are acting selfishly, adding it "is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”.

So the very humanity Catholic doctrine denies its clerics then?

Reminding ourselves that The Vatican regularly “blesses” Fido but absolutely not the love of a same sex couple, we must again ask why this religious sub-group gets tax payers’ money to run schools.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society.

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