IT is no surprise that UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss is ignoring Scottish interests ("Food and drink sector condemns ‘rushed’ Australia trade deal amid calls for consultation", The Herald, June 11).

The Tories are consistent in this at least. Their frantic pursuit of suboptimal trade deals halfway around the globe also ignores English and Welsh interests. In addition to being a pittance of what Boris Johnson and his Brexiters threw away by exiting the EU, these rushed deals will undercut farmers and businesses here and allow in products that don’t meet EU health, safety and environmental standards.

Any child knows an open market on your doorstep is far more valuable than one on the other side of the planet. Brexit is a recurring own goal and its negative impacts will unfold for years, wreaking economic and social havoc.

The G7 meeting is a reminder that it’s not just the economic fallout from Brexit that has substantially weakened the UK, but the geopolitical fallout is just as severe. President Biden issued a rare diplomatic reprimand to the UK, demanding that it respect the Northern Ireland Protocol it signed barely six months ago, or risk not having a US trade deal.

The US has no need for a UK unmoored from the EU. Brexit has relegated the UK to a bit player on the world stage and its decline is measured by Mr Johnson's Global Britain bluster.

Scotland understands that its future lies in international alliances and cooperation. Mr Johnson cares little about either, which is why we must get out now.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.


IT is astonishing that both STV and BBC TV failed to cover the news that 14 leading Scottish food, drink and transport organisations wrote to Liz Truss on the lack of consultation over the Australian trade deal. Our food and drink sectors are worth £6 billion a year to the Scottish economy but are seemingly not important to our broadcasters.

The marginalisation of the Scottish Government’s legitimate concerns over Brexit and the subsequent power grab of money and powers formerly held at Holyrood have been echoed by the Welsh Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford.

These issues have also been downplayed by our broadcasters and encouraged me to sign the UK Parliament petition to devolve the legislative powers over broadcasting to the Scottish Parliament in order to get a broadcasting service representative of 21st century Scotland plus more coverage of our arts, history and sport.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.


NICOLA Sturgeon’s hatred for Donald Trump was well documented, childishly declaring "don't haste ye back" when he left office this year, much to the applause of her sycophantic fellow MSPs.

But where is the same hatred for Joe Biden? US foreign policy has remained largely unchanged, except it has a more toothy and suave grin. Tens of thousands of asylum seekers are still held in facilities across the US. The Vice-President emphatically told Guatemalans "don’t come here". Even the much-maligned Trumpian theory that Covid-19 is man-made is now a plausible explanation for the origin of the virus.

But will the First Minister utter a word about this as she did during her "Orange Man Bad epoch? Could it be that it was all just virtue signalling and based on personal prejudice? Surely not.

David Bone, Girvan.


I WAS reading tweets from SNP supporters praising their leadership for taking a stand on not allowing cruise ship passengers to disembark at Greenock ("Operator axes Scotland trip after cruise ship barred from docking", The Herald, June 10), yet not a word was said about the 6,000 allowed into the Glasgow fanzone without tests or having to prove they are negative or have had the vaccine.

Yet those on these cruises have had to prove they have a negative test result as well as having been vaccinated. The cruises are also for UK residents only, they sail from British ports and cruise around the British Isles and dock in British ports where they will give some sort of boost to local trade in this dreadful pandemic. The ships are running at 50% or less capacity, so most likely in region of 2,500 passengers, with not all of them wishing to see the wonderful sights of Greenock.

So, what group is the most likely to spread Covid-19 – is it the British passengers on the cruises who have had to provide a negative test result and proof of vaccination or is it the football fans allowed into Hampden Park and fanzones with no requirement to prove negative test results or vaccinations?

I know which group I would pick.

Ken Tweed, Milngavie.

* HERE we are again. Football rules OK ("No changes to Euro fanzone as ex-minister stresses trials need", The Herald, June 11). Nobody at the Scottish Government cares about the adverse impact of allowing this to happen, which could result in more Covid infections, more deaths, more police having to tolerate mob rule behaviour as witnessed at George Square, not to mention the poor council workers who are drafted in to clean up the litter and other unmentionable detritus.

This is a narrow-minded Government which is prepared to adjust the rules on a whim while disregarding the majority of people who have kept to the rules.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.


LIKE many readers, I am sure, my wife and I have endured several cancelled holidays over the past two years. This summer we thought we would be "smart" – that is, avoid going abroad but settle for the next best thing – the Channel Islands. Our chosen destination was St Helier on Jersey and accordingly we booked flights, hotel, car hire and the like well in advance. Everything went smoothly and no Covid-related issues were raised – Jersey is part of the British Isles, so what could go wrong?

However, amongst a raft of procedures, the Jersey Government has determined that all visitors to the island are required to complete a travel form within 48 hours of arrival. This we duly did and subsequently received a confirmatory email, which is when things started to unravel. We also received a second e-mail which indicated that because we lived in a "red" zone we would automatically have to isolate in our hotel for 10 days. Apart from the additional cost involved, this would not have been practical as our holiday booking was for one week only.

I subsequently checked on the Jersey Government website and discovered that East Dunbartonshire (where we live) was red-listed along with Glasgow and, from what I could see, most of Scotland. So, I may have been guilty of naivety or just plain stupidity but, in my defence, I am not sure how widely publicised these restrictions have been. Hopefully, readers will learn from my mistake and not end up feeling as daft as I do at the present moment.

Rob Kelly, Bearsden.


I WAS shocked to read so many untruths in the Agenda article "The dark side of lambing" by Mimi Bekhechi (The Herald, June 10).

I am a 29-year-old shepherdess in Scotland who has worked on our family livestock farm my whole life and am part of the Scottish farming community which produces some of the highest-welfare lamb in the world.

We are now some 10 weeks on from when we started lambing and the gruelling hours and physical labour involved in this job are testimony to the welfare standards we maintain to ensure the health of ewes and lambs is maintained without compromise throughout this time.

The following claims are untrue:

* "Sheep were often left with gaping wounds which were crudely sewn": This is ludicrous. Many years we shear in excess of 300 sheep with no wounds and no animal ever requiring a stitch. I’m not saying no sheep has ever sustained a cut from shearing, but this is rare and would be treated with the upmost care.

* "Many lambs not slaughtered for meat are exploited for their wool": Wool in Scotland is pretty much worthless at the moment. There have been many years when the cost of shearing sheep is excessive of the money gained for their wool.

Shearing is not done to make profit but is done to maintain animal welfare. Sheep that are left unsheared over summer run the risk of becoming a breeding ground for larvae, bringing about a very painful condition where maggots would hatch and infest an unsheared animal which has not been well looked after. For education purposes, lambs do not produce an adequate fleece for shearing until they are over a year old – by which stage they are no longer lambs but are called hoggs. Therefore, no lamb is ever exploited for its wool.

* "Hundreds of thousands of these lambs will die before they’re even eight old": No lamb is ever slaughtered as young as eight weeks old. There would be nothing to gain from this. On average, lambs will be slaughtered for meat between six to nine months. Lamb is particularly popular in Britain but if you wish to eat meat which has had a longer life grazing our beautiful Scottish pasture then I strongly recommend trying hogget or mutton.

* "One sheep who was suffering from mastitis couldn’t even stand up": I have no proof that this is a lie and if it is true then it angers me to hear. Hand on heart I can say that any ewe suffering from mastitis is always treated with pain relief and antibiotics to cure the infection.

I love each and every sheep I have on our farm. I would treat any injury or infection with the utmost care – the same care I give to all my NHS patients, where I work as a physiotherapist. Lambing is an absolute joy and rearing sheep is a wonderful experience for anyone who gets the chance to experience it. Do not believe the rubbish written here by someone who I strongly expect has never actually reared a sheep herself.

Emma Doods, Kirkwood Farm, Strathaven.


IN my garden, which I have worked on for 25 years, many of the plants and shrubs are now in full bloom. Broom in the nearby park has also been flowering lavishly this year, and all should be buzzing with insect life in these warm sunny days.

There is however not a single bee, nor indeed any other insects, to be seen anywhere, perhaps the end point of a year-on-year decline in numbers. So much for the much-vaunted period of respite and recovery for nature during our spells of lockdown.

Any pleasure in the season of floral display leaches away, leaving only a dull ache of sorrow at the inexorable losses we are sustaining day-by-day and mostly in our heedlessness don't even notice.

May MacLennan, Stirling.

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