Blog: Readers’ Letters: It’s too early to declare Brexit ‘calamitous’ – The Scotsman


Readers’ Letters: It’s too early to declare Brexit ‘calamitous’

In yesterday’s Scotsman the Leader column highlighted that 41 per cent of the population felt that Bexit has gone badly for the country and also that it might have been a “calamitous mistake”.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 7:00 am

Brexit has meant more form filling for UK shellfish exporters (Picture: Getty)
Brexit has meant more form filling for UK shellfish exporters (Picture: Getty)

Our views on the impact of Brexit are mainly formed through the various media outlets that inform us, who in turn receive their information through various contacts with access to those who know.

A further story in today’s Scotsman, on page 16, was an article which suggests that our salmon exports for January of this year were understated by some 97 per cent, which is quite a difference to say the least, and is a concern given that it was apparently the HMRC that provided the statistics on this particular export.

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I realise that our media love a good negative story, and particularly if it has Boris Johnson at its centre, but I suggest that the Brexit story has to unfold over the next decade before we can really see where it has left the UK in terms of world trade and influence. However, in the shorter term it would help if those exporters who have real difficulty with regulations etc could be identified and given the necessary support to ensure that difficulties are ironed out urgently.

An example of this might be the pictures of our shellfish exporters suddenly being faced with extra form filling and veterinary procedures at the turn of the year. We might wonder why this came as a surprise when others outside the EU had to provide the same detail to export into the EU – and not one official on site to help smooth the process!

We all have our own opinion as to whether Brexit is going to be of benefit to the UK or not but there are real opportunities out there for our business and wealth creators to investigate and nourish. Hopefully, we have to have the right mentality to take advantage of these after the coasting of the past decades of dependency on the EU market.

Now we will see whether we are a country of motivation and innovation or one that craves for the easy life within the EU cocoon.

A Lewis, Parklands, Coylton, Ayrshire

The SNP’s attempt to drag Scotland out of the UK will have disastrous consequences for the people of Scotland.

As a business owner in Scotland, I am disgusted with the lack of transparency and the refusal (or inability) of the Scottish Government to provide any financial forecasts, or any evidence of economic benefits of an independent Scotland.

It is worth remembering the manifesto of the SNP before the referendum in 2014, which provided a financial forecast which turned out to be pure fantasy. It was largely based on over-optimistic oil revenue tax receipts. In the event, the global oil industry crashed soon after, and had we been an independent nation, Scotland would have been bankrupted on a Third World scale!

Imagine if we had been an independent nation with Covid-19 to deal with!

The people of Scotland deserve a First Minister who is prepared to fulfil their responsibility to care for the people, instead of pouring all resources into the obsession with independence. Our hospitals, law and order and education are continuing to decline, despite being managed by the devolved SNP administration. Nicola Sturgeon and her narrow-minded government are an embarrassment to Scotland, holding up our progress as a thriving nation within the United Kingdom.

Colin Palmer, Crosshouse Road Kilmaurs

If anybody can rationalise how a nation that was perfectly able to function and prosper for hundreds of years, until some of the Great and the Good got their fingers burnt with a South American speculation, then sold their people to save their fortune and themselves, can’t now function in this world that we live in. I would like a full description of why.

John Cutland, Montgomery Street, Kirkcaldy

Has the impact of independence on the quality of care for us all been considered carefully?

Today there is an excellent working relationship between healthcare professionals throughout the United Kingdom which has saved countless lives. This is particularly evident in this Covid-19 period – sharing of information and best practice, the provision of vaccines to name a few.

What will happen if Scotland goes independent? Many of us have friends and relatives that are still alive thanks to the working together of healthcare professionals throughout the United Kingdom – please don’t let anyone tear this world-class cooperation apart.

Graham Whitbourn, Balmedie, Aberdeenshire

The singular failure of the Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP government to maintain education standards here in Scotland calls for change. Education for young people is probably the single biggest responsibility, after law and security, that any government should deliver for its people.

The statistics are damning. Scotland used to perform very well in the international comparative reviews in which it took part. However, the PISA report in 2018 (Sturgeon has abandoned participation in others!) showed that in Science we have dropped from 10th to 19th place, in maths from 11th to 24th, and in Reading from 11th to 23rd. This meteoric descent in the most essential of subjects is in spite of the First Minister declaring in 2015, “let me be clear – I want to be judged on this. If you are not, as First Minister, prepared to put your neck on the line on the education of our young people, then what are you prepared to? It really matters.” Well-honed rhetoric does not deliver grades. When poor results from surveys began to consistently emerge, she scrapped the surveys!

This result is unsurprising as the energy and time that the SNP have taken out to promulgate and extol the virtues of independence at every opportunity has diverted their focus, and soaked up the time and effort essential to improving, or at least maintaining, our education standards. Sadly, the same is true across most other areas of government in Scotland today. The future is ours to change. Let’s not miss the opportunity but make it a big change for the better.

Tim Hill, Blackhouse Terrace, Peterhead

By any standard, the U-turn by owners of six English football clubs intending to join a new European “super league” was rather spectacular. What went wrong?

Clearly, the foreign owners – and probably some senior executives – of these English clubs were arrogant and felt no need to persuade “stakeholders” as to the merits of their project: perhaps they did not even understand that other interest-groups were entitled to express their views. Club owners may have felt so powerful that they could ignore any objections from their clubs’ supporters, players and football’s governing bodies but they were probably surprised – like many of us – by the UK government’s determined opposition to what was clearly an unwelcome proposal.

It is not difficult to draw parallels between the actions of the would-be founders of the new super league and the Scottish government ahead of next month’s election. The SNP wants Scotland to be an “independent country within the European Union” (a contradiction in terms?) but seem a long way from gaining the acceptance of any party likely to be affected by Scotland’s withdrawal from the United Kingdom.

Any tentative conclusions about financial and legal matters reached before the 2014 Independence referendum are unlikely to be relevant because of the changes to all countries of the UK caused by both Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

If Scotland were to be accepted as a member of the European Union, the resulting new – and long – land border between the UK and EU could present a serious problem for England and presumably, also, for the EU: for confirmation, look no further than the current Brexit-related border difficulties in Northern Ireland.

Having already experienced problems with the implementation of the Brexit Agreement, Scottish voters would be well advised to demand more factual information from their government before contemplating another constitutional leap into the unknown.

Ian Johnson, Mill Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks

In the run-up to Brexit we had SNP politicians almost every day quoting a Fraser of Allander report that leaving the EU would cost 80,000 jobs in Scotland. Last month’s unemployment figures showed a rate remaining at 4.4 per cent unemployed, with an employment rate slightly up at 74.6 per cent. Why do we not hear such claims in the run-up to the Scottish Election? Could it be because this was simply a Project Fear tactic from the SNP who, as is often the case, don’t quite quote reality?

If this is the accuracy of their powers of prediction then surely the electorate must take their election promises with a pinch of salt. They even get their own predictions wrong on reduced class sizes, the education attainment gap, guaranteed treatment times and many others too long to quote on a single page. Nothing they seem to say or predict seems to happen. Their’s is a sorry 14-year record of government indeed.

Ken Currie, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

Scientists at the University of Reims have discovered that there are between 200,000 and 2 million carbon dioxide bubbles in a 250ml bottle of lager. That is fantastic news, so instead of wasting billions of taxpayers’ cash trying – and failing – to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground to “save the planet” all we need to do is produce more lager and instead of storing it underground give it away.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

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