ROBINA Qureshi's Scotland's Future article ("Shelter from the storm", The Herald, June 2) talks of a "shameful asylum policy that reduces the UK to a pariah state". She's absolutely right.

How many times have you heard people say the UK welcomes refugees and asylum seekers? What rubbish. What it does do is put as any obstacles as possible in their way, and even if they do make it here, ensure conditions are as dreadful as possible.

And Scotland is bound by restrictions imposed by a UK-wide anti-immigration policy, so in so many ways, despite what many here would like to believe, we are doing no better.

The Scottish Government, Scottish MPs at Westminster, and our councils should be taking a hands-on approach and fighting for more legislative power, so we are in a position to right the many wrongs that are taking place every day.

I have spoken to asylum seekers in Glasgow who are afraid to speak out.

Whether in a hotel or a flat, they fear the knock on the door from Home Office contractors (who I'm told have keys and could enter without warning at any time – outrageous) telling them they are being moved to England, or worse still, Rwanda.

These are the same Home Office representatives that put the "lucky ones" in bug-infested flats, ones with filthy kitchens, or pigeons nesting and pooing in the stairway.

I've been to visit, so speak from experience.

Help in finding English lessons for the new arrivals, bus passes, food voucher schemes and access to the internet are a constant struggle. So too, education and health issues.

Charities do what they can, and should be commended. But why is there not a recognisable, comprehensive package provided by the Government to meet the needs of the people we've "welcomed" into our country?

Russia's war in Ukraine has put the treatment of refugees back in the spotlight. But again the UK falls at the first hurdle, making the process long and complicated, when other European countries simply opened their borders.

The UK's Housing Secretary, Michael Gove, launched a Homes for Ukraine scheme if people had space in their own home to provide accommodation. I know of one gentleman in Glasgow who offered his spare room. He was refused by the Home Office because he's a US citizen, who happens to have lived in Scotland for 50 years. And he told me there were at least 11 other similar cases he knew of.

So congratulations to the Hibernian football supporters who are sponsoring 54 Ukrainian orphans, and for the few people scattered around the country who have negotiated the bureaucratic nightmare of securing visas for refugees.

But really, we aren't doing enough for those fleeing persecution elsewhere, and we should be ashamed.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


SUPPORTERS of the Union are entitled to their views. I respect that. However, correspondents today (Letters, June 2) fail to understand one important point. The holding of another referendum featured explicitly in the manifestos of the SNP and the Scottish Greens during last year's General Election. Those parties between them won the election, formed a majority government between them and so have a mandate to carry out their manifesto promises.

Scotland is a democracy and that's how democracy works.

If these campaigners are arguing that a referendum should not now be held – and I think they are – then they are not supporters of democracy. That is a position I cannot respect. Nor should anyone else.

David Patrick, Edinburgh.


ADAM Tomkins ("The legal strategy Scots ministers will use in court to fight for Indyref2 Bill", The Herald, June 1) writes that UK referenda are advisory, with actual political decisions on Scottish independence reserved to the UK Parliament.

However, this rule seems not to apply to Northern Ireland. The 1973 Northern Ireland Constitution Act Part 1 (1) declares that “in no event will Northern Ireland or any part of it cease to be part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting for it in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1 of this Act”.

The Ireland Act of 1949 vested the power to alter Northern Ireland’s constitutional status in that region’s parliament.

Basically, politicians in London just invent constitutional rules as they go along: one rule for Scotland and another for Northern Ireland.

Councillor Tom Johnston (SNP), Cumbernauld.


ANAS Sarwar came of age this week in Holyrood. His forensic questioning of the First Minister – together with that of the other non-nationalist leaders – was superb. He has learned in the job. It was framed in a way to prevent as much obfuscation and scrambling for spinner-prepared crib folders as we normally have to suffer and his comparisons of the figures waiting for serious operations when the SNP came to power all those years ago and those waiting now was perfect. The sense of change in the political air is almost tangible.

Everyone, apart from zealous nationalists, knew this time would come and Old Abe’s dictum of being unable to fool all of the people all of the time has been proven correct once more.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


LET us assume that the Prime Minister has eventually conceded to an independence referendum, but this time it is not Scotland but England that has won the chance to vote on remaining in or leaving the United Kingdom. In this event and given the constant reminders that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get more out than they put into the public purse, what arguments would be made by those seeking to keep England in the UK?

Stuart Smith, Aberdeen.


ALTHOUGH all major political parties supported the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), criticism has arisen from some who do not appear to appreciate CfE’s wide objectives or from others who would prefer to return Scotland to reliance on the narrower teaching programmes of the past. While Scotland was recently lauded for leading Europe in the degree-level education of its people (EuroStat research 2011-19), some continue to criticise Scottish state-school education based on outdated concepts, selective statistics and limited league tables.

When in Austria recently I turned on the TV in my hotel room to listen to one of the few channels broadcast in English, France 24, and was interested to hear discussion around declining rates of proficiency in maths to the extent that today many applying to study engineering at French universities do not have the level of maths education considered sufficient for their chosen courses, and that there were particular issues in relation to encouraging more girls to learn maths. This interest turned to pleasant surprise when the one country singled out as an example where more progress is being made in this regard was Scotland.

Is it too much to hope that before we read another letter denigrating the standard of Scottish education that the writer has first taken the time to broadly and objectively consider what teaching is best suited to enabling all Scotland’s youth to successfully and responsibly achieve their career and life ambitions in today’s world?

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


THIS weekend’s forced £1 billion celebration of an institution that sits astride the British Establishment embodying the UK’s feudal inequality at a moment when millions are teetering on the brink of poverty is beyond obscene.

Along with other former British colonies, Ireland knows what it’s like being subject to the Crown. The Irish Times wrote: “Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.”

No wonder just 45 per cent of Scots support this archaic institution. It’s past time to throw off a vampiric state that has methodically stolen our assets and become a modern advanced nation.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.


CONGRATULATIONS, Your Majesty, on your Platinum Jubilee.

By an accident of birth you were born into a royal family and not one in a deprived area.

However, I suspect that whatever the circumstances of your birth or upbringing had been you would have made a very good fist of things.

No doubt public opinion will be divided as to whether your presence is a good or bad thing but no one can dispute that for the past 70 years you have carried out your duties in a truly professional manner.

W MacIntyre, East Kilbride.

Read more: So now we know – SNP cares more about indy than our children's education