MONDAY'S Channel 4 Dispatches programme (October 12) highlighted the dangerous chemicals used in United States animal husbandry in order to produce cheap food at much lower human health and animal welfare standards than in the EU. The UK Government is desperate for a US trade deal and the signs are not good when it, supported by most Tory MPs in Scotland, rejected amendment 16 to the UK Agriculture Bill which would have safeguarded food standards in trade deals and against the wishes of Scottish farmers who fear for their livelihoods due to cheap imports as no one can trust the Tories to keep verbal promises.

The lack of TV news coverage on the implications of the UK Internal Market Bill is astonishing, as it is opposed by the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the Law Society of Scotland and the STUC, who all fear lower standards and centralisation at Westminster. It removes state aid powers so no Scottish Government could insist on contract priority for Scottish businesses such as BiFab. It threatens the higher building standards we have in Scotland and free student tuition policies. It will force increased health privatisation in line with England and would limit any Scottish government introducing health measures on alcohol without Westminster agreeing to it throughout the four nations. It is also a clear attack on devolution powers and our Scottish Parliament has refused consent.

While it is understandable that most are preoccupied by the effects of Covid-19, we must wake up to the havoc caused by pressing ahead with Brexit, supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, in the middle of a global pandemic.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh EH1.

I WAS appalled to read of the ruination of our coastal seabed, despite the declaration of Marine Protected Areas ("Charity calls for MSPs to halt damage to 'protected' seabeds", The Herald, October 12). Trawlers are coming into the MPAs and scraping the seabed bare in a ruthless destructive search for shellfish and crustaceans. It seems that the SNP Government makes a fanfare when it announces protected areas but does nothing to prevent or punish invasion of those areas by destructive trawlers.

All credit to Open Seas, a charity campaigning for sustainability in our use of marine food supplies. The charity has raised the alarm over what is happening and has criticised the SNP Government for its failure to defend the MPAs from destructive trawling.

The response of the SNP Government spokesperson was breathtaking: "The decision to allow trawling to resume in the West Shetland Shelf Area was not made by Scottish ministers but by the EU, which chose to revoke the cod protection measures that were in place." There was no mention of any resistance to the EU action, nor of any protest against it. If the EU decides that the protected status of an MPA counts for nothing, then that is fine by the SNP Government.

The failure of the SNP Government to stand up for our MPAs is a humiliating surrender. The SNP thinks that it will improve its chances of being accepted as a new member of the EU, should that improbable scenario ever come true, by allowing the EU to do what it wants with our MPAs, our coastal seabeds and, indeed, our fishing industry. The SNP Government is selling out our precious natural resources in order to curry favour with the EU. Our coastal waters should be part of the natural heritage which we safeguard for future generations, but the Government is squandering it, even while it claims to be defending it. What a disgrace.

Les Reid, Edinburgh EH15.

SCOTLAND is a deeply divided nation. First, we had the independence referendum in 2014, with the electorate split 55:45 on this highly emotive issue. Next, we had the EU Referendum in 2016, another hard-fought and bitter campaign, with another significant split in the population, at around 60:40. Now, we have Covid-19 and the population is equally divided about enacting more stringent or less stringent control measures.

Most Scots hold strong and impassioned views on all three of these issues, yet for each of them there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. They are subjective beliefs and personal opinions on what “could” or “should” happen in the future – often cutting across families, regions, and social divisions. Sadly, the deep splits and fault lines which this triad of bipolar dichotomies has created in society will resonate for many years to come.

Ian Forbes, Glasgow G41.