COASTAL fishing communities in Scotland are facing a very unsettling time as the UK and EU continue to strive for a trade deal on fisheries.

It is somewhat ironic that at a time when the Westminster Government is in dispute with the EU about taking back control of fishing grounds (which the Heath government originally gave away), a framework agreement has now been reached between the UK and the Faroes and Norway by means of two separate bilateral fishing arrangements. Previously these negotiations were led by the European Commission on behalf of the UK and other member states.

These framework deals, which are effective from January 1, will agree who has access to fishing grounds with specific arrangements relating to the marine environment and protection of the seafood and fishing sectors.The agreements will be reviewed on an annual basis.

It can only be hoped that these bilateral framework arrangements can act as a blueprint for the current negotiations between the UK Government and the EU.

DG McIntyre, Edinburgh EH4.


IT was interesting to read of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce's trip to Shanghai to deepen ties, with another visit in prospect ("We can learn from China on mass testing", Herald Business, November 14).

China's president Xi Jinping has spoken recently of wanting to strengthen cooperation at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) – the trend toward peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit is unstoppable, he said. The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, which includes member states such as China, India and Russia, many observer nations and dialogue partners (for example, Turkey). It is said to be the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.

Reports are that SCO leader President Xi wants UN rules-based multilateralism. However, he insists he is opposed to interference by external forces in the domestic affairs of the SCO member states "under any pretext". Paradoxical? Lack of such interference has become common throughout the world; it is one reason why the UN has found its outdated global rules, especially financial, broken so often.

But could there be opportunities?

Ian Jenkins, Hamilton.


DR Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, would like to see the Ineos plant at Grangemouth closed down. At the moment Ineos is still importing ethane from the US shale gas fields in tankers that arrive regularly at Grangemouth. This is part of a 15-year deal to feed the production of materials that mostly go on to make plastics.

If we do not manufacture plastic can anyone explain how we can get face shields to protect oneself against the coronavirus?

Michael Baird, Bonar Bridge.


HAVING duly processed the pros and cons of versatile wee “so”, multi-functional as adverb, conjunction, pronoun, adjective, and interjection (Letters, November 9,11 & 12), and its ability to induce irritation or pleasure, my conclusion is a brief “So?”.

But what about “and”? And what about “but”?

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.