Readers' letters: The Brexit legacy is bad for Scotland

In 2018 the comedian Frankie Boyle joked that one potential benefit from Brexit would be that “the Irish would get to witness a British famine.”

While perhaps not appealing to everyone’s sense of humour, it is clear after another miserable week of Westminster autumn statements, OBR Reports and IFS projections that tragically he may have a point.

There is no doubt that the worst long-term economic recession that we now find ourselves in since the second world war is a social catastrophe that makes GB feel like a poor country for most of its inhabitants.

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GB’s economic strength in the post-war / post-empire late 20th century were underpinned by three things: membership of the European single market, the financial clout of the City of London and North Sea oil/ gas revenues. These are all now history.

For the last three centuries most Scots, perhaps reasonably, thought it best to throw their lot in with powerful and prosperous England, diminishing their own nationhood in the process.

However, any benefits from this arrangement are no more and its early 21st century outcome is a resource-rich Scotland whose citizens are impoverished by their ongoing membership of a GB union in long-term decline.

It is clear there is no path back to the days of ‘cool Britannia’; last week the Paris Bourse overtook London as the largest stock exchange in Europe; unlike Norway there is no sovereign oil fund to benefit our citizens’ and crucially there is no prospect of GB rejoining the single European market in the forseeable future (as recently confirmed by both Conservative and Labour parties).

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Faced with the above, even the most dim-witted of ‘proud Scots’ of a unionist persuasion may eventually realise the blindingly obvious, ie that in order to protect the nation of Scotland from the long-term self-harm inflicted by England’s big Brexit mistake, and ensure the future prosperity and security of its citizens, Scotland must manage its own considerable resources as a normal independent state, and rejoin the single European market.

And soon, before the GB-inflicted damage to our economy deepens.

Mr D Jamieson, Dunbar.

Democratic fears for judge-only trials

Pardon the pun, but I believe 'the jury is still out' regarding top defence lawyer Frances McMenamin's warning to the Scottish Government that judge-only trials for men accused of sexual assaults will risk democracy.

The not-proven verdict is also in Holyrood's cross hairs.

Months ago, controversial, anti-vaccine actor Lawrence Fox campaigned for a trial by jury in his widely anticipated defence of 'free speech' after he called people paedophiles in a Twitter row.

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Mr Fox suggested he wouldn't get a fair trial if it was left to a judge alone to decide if his comments were criminal because involuntary bias might affect the verdict.

Although I believe absolute free speech is not a given right for a number of reasons, because it must be used responsibly - protecting national security or not cracking racist or homophobic jokes that can be another's discrimination, for examples - Mr Fox did have a point regarding judges' involuntary bias.

There again, if involuntary bias could be problematic for judges, it could just as easily be the same for jurors.

If these moves are only about saving money and improving conviction rates, then they must be resisted at all costs.

Jack Fraser, Musselburgh.

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