NICOLA Sturgeon demands a referendum with her preferred timing, wording, franchise and other terms and conditions, so ensuring that in every way possible the approach taken favours the outcome she is seeking.

If she really wants to open talks with the UK Government, perhaps indicating she is prepared to compromise and jointly develop a genuinely fair referendum might help get such discussions started?

Keith Howell, West Linton.


TO be October 2023 or not to be? Nicola Sturgeon grandstanded at Holyrood with her "cunning plan". One small but very valid point: Where are the crucial details?

Throughout Ms Sturgeon's long career, words have been the only commodity she has supplied. This time we need to know the definitive answers but, as usual, the pro-independence campaign swings into action anyway – but where can it go? Ms Sturgeon obviously does not think the Supreme Court will back her (along with practically everyone else). Making a future General Election all about independence is ludicrous.

Do Scots really want all this disruption from a political force that wants nobody to notice its serious everyday failings in favour of a utopia that does not exist?

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


WHAT Ruth Marr (Letters, June 26) does not mention is that the 62 constituency seats won by the SNP last year were contested under the discredited first-past-the-post (FPTP) system. This meant that the party won 85 per cent of those constituency seats for just 44% of the vote. Similarly, in the 2019 General Election it won 81% of the seats with just 45% of the vote. As it did not receive a majority of the vote, any "mandate" is hanging on a very sticky wicket indeed, notwithstanding that the First Minister herself urged people to vote for her even if they did not support an independence referendum.

In fact the SNP benefits from FPTP to a far greater extent than do the Tories.

That just might be why the SNP has gone rather quiet on calls for electoral reform. Heaven forfend that it might only receive the percentage of seats indicated by its share of the vote.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews.


DESPITE the barrage of barbs directed at the Prime Minister for the catastrophic loss of the two recent by-elections, he has stated that there will be no psychological transformation in his character ("Ministers’ lack of support for PM is striking", June 26). So the leopard is not going to change its spots.

It will just be more of the same – more bluster, more boasting, more of his casual relationship with the truth, more sound bites minus delivery, more assaults on the time-honoured conventions of Parliament, more limitation upon human rights, more breaches of international law, more refusals to take responsibility for his failure to uphold the standards of integrity expected from someone who is supposed to observe the ministerial code, and more grandstanding on the world stage while he dodges the bread and butter issues of the general public at home.

How many times have we heard him intone recently "humbly and sincerely", words worthy of a practised Uriah Heep tribute act and as deserving of the same credence?

It is about time the Tory Party got shot of him. His credibility is totally shot with his trustworthiness becoming thinner and fainter with every passing day.

Can it be that his hubris has led him to believe that he is both indispensable and invulnerable?

This electoral superhero has transformed himself into his own self-destructive Kryptonite, which will take his party down with him, if it cannot find the courage to cut him adrift promptly.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

THE death of 53 illegal immigrants in a lorry in San Antonio, Texas is sadly not a unique event. Very similar tragedies have happened in Mozambique in 2020 with 64 dead Ethiopians, in Essex in 2019 with 39 Vietnamese killed, in Austria in 2015 with 71 fatalities and in Dover in 2000 when 58 Chinese citizens died.

A moment’s thought would tell us that throwing open the borders is not the answer to these tragedies. Already the United States and Britain have high sustained rates of legal immigration. Ending restrictions would lead to movements of people on a vastly greater scale overwhelming our public services, undermining our economies and destroying social cohesion. More fundamentally, neither the British nor the American public would consent to such a policy.
Nor is increasing the already high level of legal migration the answer, as the demand would still vastly exceed the supply. Criminal networks can make tens of thousand per illegal migrant smuggling them into the UK. Prostitution and other forced labour is part of their business model.
The only other possible solution is enforcement. If we consistently detained and rapidly removed those who entered Britain illegally the flows and the tragedies would soon stop, as would the associated modern slavery. Until that happens the virtue-signalling, the tragedies and the exploitation will continue.
Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.


ALTHOUGH I on occasion find myself in agreement with Clark Cross, I must take issue with his letter (June 26) on migrants.

He claims that “Channel migrants … are predominantly economic migrants”. Published government figures do not support this claim, as they show that more than 70 per cent have their claim for asylum granted. Moreover, legal aid would be unnecessary if the Home Office had anything remotely resembling a fair, efficient and speedy system in place for processing their applications.

The suggestion that “genuine asylum seekers” would seek safe haven in the first EU country they reach is also too simplistic. Clearly, this would flood those countries where refugees are likely to arrive first, while others, like the UK, could outsource the responsibility which our international commitments demand. Besides, the UK being an island to the northwest of such countries, it is almost impossible to reach it first, unless, of course, via the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic. A safer route?

In any case, these people want to come to the UK because the British Empire forced the English language on them, while many already have relatives here. These two factors obviously make starting a new life here more attractive.

I also believe a change in the law is needed, not in in the right to legal aid, but in the regulations that ban these people from finding work, and so force them to require support from the public purse, while they undergo the long and tortuous processing, sometimes for years. At a time when Brexit has created such a shortage of workers in so many areas, such as NHS staff, HGV drivers, hospitality staff and more, we could surely find amongst these asylum seekers many folk fully qualified and ready and willing to fill such posts and support themselves while waiting.

P Davidson, Falkirk.


CLARK Cross appears to share the same abhorrent approach to asylum seekers as Priti Patel.

A "simple solution" would be to stop legal aid for them because they are "predominantly economic migrants" he champions, after obviously picking a figure out of the air, and flying the flag for unparalleled prejudice.

Is he aware there are many in Scotland from Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, who fled because they are Christians and faced persecution, abuse and death threats at home?

Yes, they want to make a better life for themselves here – indeed, just a life. What is wrong with that? The Scots have been moving to different countries for that reason for many years. But like the English abroad, they are not called economic migrants. Instead we use the term expats, and we celebrate their achievements.

Asylum seekers arriving here face months, possibly years in not very appealing conditions as the Home Office claims system is extremely slow and inefficient. During that time, they are not allowed to work and have to survive on £5 a day. And yet we have industries, including hospitality, crying out for staff. The Scottish Tourism Alliance is calling for a change in immigration policy.

So instead of Mr Clark's "Stop legal aid" the headline should be "Let asylum seekers work".

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


DOES the Home Secretary speak for the British public (Letters, June 26)? She makes me ashamed to be British.

I am glad the UK treated her parents decently when they had to leave Uganda.

I am not ashamed that I was a Conservative Party activist for 50 years of my life. I left at the betrayal of the European project of peace, stability and citizenship across a great and democratic continent.

Those public figures are to be despised who fired up xenophobia and fantasy in the most ignorant of voters. The damage they did was in the spirit of an era of lies and hostility. The damage will be repaired by generations now rising towards authority. It shall then be time to rejoin the European Union.

Tim Cox, Switzerland.