A RECENT post on the Home Office Twitter account declared that “Britons will once again be able to travel with a blue passport when the iconic colour returns for the first time in almost 30 years”.

My attitude to this embarrassing and pathetic declaration can be summed up by Andrew Stroehlein of Human Rights Watch, who suggested that “the UK’s new blue passport will be a constant reminder that we used to have the right to live and work in 28 countries, but now in only one”.

I suspect that it is politically incorrect nowadays to suggest that “the lunatics have taken over the asylum” so I will put exactly the same sentiment in another way: “Brexiting zealots have taken over the Government of this country”.

There is, however, a much more serious example of this bizarre zealotry. The Department of Health wants to retain membership of the EU pandemic warning system as part of the EU-UK future relationship deal but Number 10 said no, in spite of senior health advisers warning that exiting the Early Warning and Response System would put public health at risk at times such as this.

Much more of this absolute nonsense and I will have no choice but to consider seriously voting for the SNP next year.

John Milne, Uddingston.

BORIS Johnson boasts on national TV that he has not only visited persons quarantined by the coronavirus outbreak but also to have shaken hands when visiting them. Such cavalier remarks of bravado are in stark contrast to his failure to visit various areas of England and Wales where thousands have been displaced and continue to endure the effects of unprecedented flooding.

Our Prime Minister regularly exudes bluster and bombast but appears lacking in true compassion when the occasion arises.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

AFTER Nicola Sturgeon's visit to meet Michel Barnier of the EU to discuss "future relationships" last month, it is clear she has no intention of working with the UK Government to make Brexit work, but instead is looking for ways to remain aligned with the EU rather than the UK. As part of the 62 per cent who voted for the UK to remain, I object to Ms Sturgeon hijacking my vote as an excuse for her to give me and tens of thousands of other No voters an opportunity to get it right, at a second attempt on independence. She effectively trashed the Edinburgh Agreement simply by introducing any "material change" as reason enough for a rerun of the referendum to drive a wedge between Scotland and the UK.

It seems the SNP and its supporters are determined to find as many differences with the UK as possible, as Alasdair Galloway's assertion (Letters, March 2) confirms.

He writes that Scotland is "part of a United Kingdom that in terms of spending and policy and so on we have increasingly little in common". Really? This begs the question, what have we in common with Estonia, Latvia and the like?

The deliberate "policy drift" he alludes to is no more than another divisive wedge for the SNP to do the opposite of the UK Government in its quest to batter a square peg into a round hole.

Ms Sturgeon claims "independence transcends everything" and we here in Scotland have had more than five years of hearing it.

The SNP has no credible plan for an independent Scotland other than nurturing festering resentments like a swollen plook to be burst upon the people of Scotland in the run-up to the 2021 elections, with nothing more than promises that it will be alright on the night.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.

DR RM Morris (Letters, March 3) in decrying Brexit and Boris Johnson, overlooks a useful adage: "Tell someone he/she is brave, and they will be brave," but, rather, that notion in reverse.

Mr Johnson was elected not as a paragon of moral virtue but to see Brexit through, as is the UK electorate's will, and to try to restore the nation's political morale and prosperity after his ineffective predecessors.

Dr Morris's pessimism about the UK's economy and workers, friendship with our European neighbours, threats from Tim Martin of Wetherspoon's and the malign influence of "ultra-rich speculators" are an overly negative, discouraging analytical prediction, dependent on his/her opinions.

It is surely too early to see the ultimate outcome of either Brexit or of Mr Johnson's best efforts.

One suggests that both Boris and Brexit deserve a chance rather than premature condemnation.

(Dr) Charles Wardrop, Perth.

FROM time to time we get correspondents in this newspaper defending the dismal record of the Scottish Government’s handling of our public services by cherry-picking statistics to denigrate the NHS in England but in doing so fail to acknowledge that we get almost 20 per cent more to spend on public services than England (equivalent to around £110 billion per year). Furthermore, they fail to acknowledge that health spending in England (according to the IFS) increased by six per cent in real terms but in Scotland by only one per cent during a recent similar six-year period.

Often mentioned is also the “Scandinavian model" as something we should aspire to along with “much higher” taxation – clearly they are happy to increase the burden on the 54 per cent who pay all the income tax in Scotland. But more importantly it ignores the fact that Sweden, despite its reputation as a left-wing utopi,a has brought in for-profit schools in education, has sliced welfare to pay off the deficit and has privatised large parts of the health service; as Mark Twain said: “why let the truth get in the way of a good story?”

What is also indefensible is that somehow our current fiscal deficit of 7.6 per cent (rUK less than 1.0 per cent) would somehow be conveniently ignored by the international money markets. if we ever seceded from rUK and the Scottish Government decided to borrow more. For example, one needs to look no further than Italy when according to Valdis Dombrovski (the European Commission vice-president for the euro) who, in response to their increased borrowing requirements to offset the economic impact of coronavirus stated it could be “counterproductive” due to sky-high interest rates – with a deficit much less than an independent Scotland.

In summary, whether there is an international financial crisis, a crash in oil prices, the impact of a climate emergency, or the scary consequences of the coronavirus, there is no doubt having the broad shoulders of being part the UK is indeed something to cherish.

Ian Lakin, Aberdeen AB13.

IT'S surely heartening that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were given a good welcome in Ireland this week (though security was tight), helping cement ties. This was described as an Anglo-Irish visit (why I have used their English titles), and for British royals to place a wreath at a memorial for those who have died for Irish independence, was a good pointer toward reconciliation between two ancient foes.

This should be a rebuke to those agitating against Scottish self-government and their sour forecasts of dreadful consequences. No, in Scotland’s life after independence, we will can enjoy such occasional royal visits, and our visitors can be assured they will be met with real Scottish warmth, and that there will be no requirement in our country to lay wreaths at memorials for what should be an act of peaceful, democratic transition. I should add that I am no royalist.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

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