ERIC Melvin (Letters, December 10) is spot on with his observation that the European Union has been instrumental in maintaining peace in Europe since 1945 but, as he points out, British people are less likely to be aware of the significance of this concept. Having never been invaded and occupied, the UK was spared the wholesale destruction experienced elsewhere in Europe during the two world wars. However, there is more to the story of Brexit than attitudinal myopia.

Prior to David Cameron’s decision to hold the referendum on Brexit, I do not recall any hunger for it apart from relentless anti-EU propaganda within the right-wing press, and dissatisfaction within the extreme right of the Tory Party and the knuckle-draggers in the Brexit Party. Where were the hordes of ordinary Britons demonstrating in the streets against the “iniquitous” EU?

In fact, the UK was trundling along quite happily as part of the EU until the Brexit campaign introduced the idea of having lost something. I doubt if most people would have known the meaning of the word "sovereignty" prior to Brexit or even been aware that we had "lost control" of anything. The other 27 EU members do not seem to share this peculiar attitude. They settle down to talk about issues instead of throwing toys out of the pram if they do not get their way.

Now it looks very much as if No Deal is looming. I would not be the least surprised if this has been planned from the beginning. The European Research Group will settle for nothing less than total control – although what they are left in control of is a somewhat diminished UK, the constituent parts of which look likely to split from one another before long. I also suspect that, having insulted our European allies by causing them endless trouble, the UK will not be favoured with much sympathy in future when this might be useful.

Sadly, we deserve everything that comes to us as a result of Brexit. We have thrown away not only the bathwater but the baby as well. Scottish independence now looks even more like the lifeboat we need to rescue us from Westminster’s jingoistic exceptionalism and everything that goes with it.

Dave Stewart, Glasgow G11.


LISTENING to Dominic Raab on the news programmes on Thursday (December 10) I have been left wondering what he means, as the end game in the Brexit pantomime plays out, by "not giving up on democratic principles". Just what democratic principle is being challenged by the EU?

I think it should be remembered that it is the UK that has decided to leave. The English and Welsh nations, in 2016, voted to leave the EU. The UK Government then moved to implement that decision. Arguably the democratic wishes of Scotland and Northern Ireland, who voted to stay, were compromised, but I doubt that is what he is concerned about.

Be that as it may the EU, since then, has taken the position that, as the UK wishes to continue trading with the EU, it should do so according to the trading conditions it requires from its trading partners. Not unreasonably the EU holds that it is not itself which has caused the impasse, rather it is the UK Government, which wishes to achieve conditions advantageous to itself, thus threatening the integrity of the EU.

What democratic principle is being threatened in the EU's position?

Jim Proctor, Paisley.


I HAVE watched in despair as this Government has absolutely ruined this country as we know it. It has told lie after lie after lie to us. Companies are tearing their hair out unable to make plans and yet the Government is advertising telling us to get ready for 01-01-2021 while ministers are running around like headless chickens – each one worse than the last. I am ashamed to be called British and dread going abroad again and being looked upon with pity.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.


THOSE of us with long memories will remember Charles de Gaulle, the then President of France, giving a resounding "Non!" to the UK’s request to join the then Common Market, now the European Union. What we wanted, he didn’t.

Having joined up post-de Gaulle, we are now negotiating to make a clean break from that union. However, apparently French President Emmanuel Macron is giving a resounding "Oui!" in leading the demand that the UK remains tied as closely as possible to its laws and regulations. What we want, he doesn’t.

Once again we are at odds with the French over Europe. Whilst this must be straining the old entente cordiale a bit, it does give me the opportunity to exercise my shaky grasp of the French language and customs by quoting their saying “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose".

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.


I HAVE a great deal of sympathy with the politicians of Edinburgh and Midlothian over the Scottish Government's dictat's re levels of restrictions. Each day it publishes localised data in map form. Here in rural Lanarkshire, we have been on the cusp of level 0 or 1 as per the Government’s criteria. Yet here we are lumped into the rest of Level 3 of South Lanarkshire.

If this Government actually looked at the data it publishes, it would see that the issue is the conurbations of Carluke and north into the central belt (although the area around Forth is one of the lowest, and how do they explain that one?). So here we are in the Biggar area, a now nominally level 3 area, butting up against a now nominally level 1 area of the Scottish Borders.

On my daily dog walk I cross into the Scottish Borders area, thus I am breaking this Government’s rules – this despite the fact that the adjacent area within the Scottish Borders has a higher incidence rate than here.

Methinks the Scottish Government needs to have a geographer look at the data rather than a statistical modeller or medic

Dr Andrew Highton, Elsrickle, Lanarkshire.


ALAN Tomkins, owner of several Glasgow restaurants, states: "No one seems to understand why restaurants are closed when supermarkets are open" ("Restaurateur: Why are we not being treated the same as shops?", The Herald, December 11). The simple answer is that supermarkets are a necessity in the provision of foodstuffs for most people whilst a visit to a restaurant is a luxury which many folk can ill afford even in normal times. It does seem that the licensing trade continues to bleat loudest albeit in receipt of some Government assistance whilst other small retailers and the public in general suffer in silence.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.


MSPs Alex Neil and Kenneth Gibson are right to highlight concerns that councils are undermining parental choice over childcare for early years (“Councils accused of threatening viability of private nursery sector”, The Herald. December 10).

For not-for-profit Kiwi Pre-School Playgroup in East Kilbride, this intervention comes two years too late. Sadly the fears the MSPs are now highlighting, were flagged up to local politicians by our group more than four years ago and we were repeatedly brushed away by South Lanarkshire Council. In 2018, the playgroup was forced to close after more than 40 years in the town, for the very reasons now being discussed.

Sadly, as now, Maree Todd was Children’s Minister and despite writing to her many times and others in power, we never had any real help, apart from Lisa Cameron MP, who also met with a brick-wall attitude from the council. To put it in a nutshell, councils want all the Government funding for the extra hours for themselves and so they can “control’’ learning, like in state schools.

It’s a dangerous road to go down and leads to no freedom of choice for parents and it leaves the industry bereft of all the experience and “out of the box’’ thinking the voluntary and private sector brings to childcare.

Rebecca Hay, Ex-chair of Kiwi Pre-School Playgroup, East Kilbride.


I AM aware that a great effort is being made to reduce the amount of single-use plastic, especially in the food sector. I am appalled at the amount of this which we, in a two-person household, put in our bin for landfill collection each week.

I understand that certain councils can recycle a certain amount of this and others do not. Should councils not be obliged to recycle any material which can be dealt in this way?

We have heard of a Scottish firm which uses recycled plastic to make a road surface which is better than conventional materials. I suggest that this firm be subsidised to increase production and an incentive be given to firms making use of this material.

Am I naive to suggest that this would greatly reduce material going to landfill and giving better lasting road surfaces?

Ian Turner, Bearsden.


I PAID my monthly visit to Santa’s Chinese Grotto yesterday. It may be stretching things a bit to call it that but it’s Christmas and the place is definitely a wonderland. Those of you familiar with Springburn’s huge Chinese supermarket will know what I’m talking about.

How many shops do you know where the native Scot would struggle to know if you were supposed to eat the product or rub it on a sore bum? I have in the past eaten some of their raw spiced sausages assuming they were already cooked; don’t do that unless you want to spend days in the loo. But you see thing like frozen hens' feet, all the bits of a pig except the oink, durian fruit, a zillion different types of noodles, jars of sauces that you haven’t a clue what they do or taste like, 97 different types of soy sauce from as many different countries and bizarrely it would appear Poland is part of China. I could spend days in the store just trying to decipher the labels.

It makes one wonder if somewhere in deepest Beijing there is a Scottish hypermarket where bemused locals wander about gawping at haggis, tablet, pies and Irn Bru.

My one complaint is the name the chose for the store; they called it See Woo when as it's in Glasgow it should be See Woo Jimmy.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.