THE Tory Party concept of a “compassionate country” has resulted in the UK falling, on a population basis, to 19 in the list of 20 European countries receiving asylum applications.

The “sixth-wealthiest country” in the world has probably benefited the most financially from the exploitation of the natural resources of countries from which the asylum seekers have fled and from arms sales into war-ravaged regions where many of them have lost their homes and family members. The boast that is claimed to offset this dereliction of humanitarian responsibility that the UK is one of the largest contributors of foreign aid (seventh in Europe per capita in 2019) has also been blown apart in recent times with the near 30% reduction (relative to Gross National Income) in this aid below the UN target, and the revelation that more than half of the remaining “foreign aid” budget is actually being spent in the UK.

While personally I find it difficult to comprehend why some still think that a Westminster government will better further the overall interests of the people of Scotland than an independent Holyrood government, I am dismayed that the current constitutional arrangements that those persons wish to sustain enable successive UK governments, with seemingly heartless Home Secretaries such as Priti Patel and Suella Braverman, to represent my view on the treatment of fellow human beings desperately seeking refuge. These arrogantly self-centred people do not represent my values nor the ambitions for the future society I wish my children to inhabit and I am confident that together the citizens of an independent Scotland can build a prosperous, egalitarian and compassionate country of which we can all be proud.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry

UK's shameful behaviour

I SHARE Neil Mackay’s disgust with Westminster’s cruel and racist treatment of refugees and asylum seekers (“How on Earth did Britain get into this despicable state?”, The Herald, November 3). Given our long history of imperial meddling overseas and of resettling our own people in foreign lands by force of arms, the UK’s current behaviour is a disgrace.

I was surprised to learn from Adam Tomkins’ article that Home Secretary Suella Braverman is Buddhist (“There are two Britains. One is inclusive, one sadly is not”, The Herald, November 3). In Buddhist temples the commonest figure, other than the Buddha, is Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva embodying compassion, also called Guanyin in China and the Kannon Goddess of Mercy in Japan. So I’m at a loss to understand how Ms Braverman can be both Buddhist and devoid of compassion.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara. When he fled Tibet in 1959 to escape Chinese repression, India welcomed him and his followers, and has continued to support him, despite Chinese objections. India was a poor country in 1959 and showed decency and compassion to refugees; the UK is a wealthy country today but treats those who come to our shores as invaders and enemies, to be penned in squalor until they can be thrown out. “Shameful” doesn’t come close.
Doug Maughan, Dunblane

Albania should put own house in order

ACCORDING to comments from Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, the UK Establishment is being unreasonable and biased towards the young men who are baling out of their home country and illegally coming here in boats originating in France. The alternative narrative, however, is that it is widely accepted throughout Europe that Albanian gangs of young men now control many lines of illegal drugs, people smuggling, prostitution and worse.

It would seem that the obvious question that the Albanian PM should address, rather than infer that the UK is wrongly targeting Albanians, is why, in his terms, the youth of Albania should wish to leave his idyllic country and come to the UK in the first place.

The press and the authorities have not come out of this with any credit at all through their lack of scrutiny and comment as demonstrated through not raising these issues of concern, all of which are widely accepted and documented in wider society.
James Martin, Bearsden

Woes down to SNP incompetence

JOHN Swinney has brought forward £650 million of cuts within Scottish Government spending ("£400m cuts to health branded ‘dangerous’", The Herald, November 3) yet the Government continues to persist with its giveaway policies. It is madness that only those aged between 22 and 55 pay bus fares, that those who can afford to pay get free prescriptions and free further education. This is not fair taxation, this is giving the rich services for which they could easily pay in full or in part.

The reality of government has suddenly hit the SNP within a worldwide crisis resultant from international affairs over which it has little or no control. Oh how the nationalisation of ScotRail has turned round to bite their bahookies with large-scale pay rises, and just where will the necessary investment to bring the industry up to the standards we were promised come from now? And just how much of the budget will be taken up by the ferries scandal?

The Rangers scandal? The Rest and be Thankful scandal? The independence referendum funding? Hundreds of millions exceeding the £650 million of cuts announced.

Mr Swinney, it is not Westminster or the Tories – the reality is the SNP's incompetent handling of the economy..
Peter Wright, West Kilbride

Hope is on the horizon

THE London-funded media are up to their old tricks of trying to make us feel that the Scottish Government is not doing a good job. Do they think that takes our minds off the shambles that the UK Government is now making at Westminster?

No chance; the faster Scotland rids itself of the debts and shortages that Brexit is bringing upon us the better.

Every time I don’t put on that extra light to make the room cheerful, I think of the coming referendum or its equivalent that will set Scotland back in its comfortable membership of the European Union with Erasmus reconnected for our young and easy immigration from Europe to assist care for our elderly and help our farmers. It is nice to have something pleasant to look forward to once we lose Brexit’s stranglehold.

I can not understand why the rest of the UK appear unaware that Brexit is beggaring them as it is us. Nor, if being independent from Europe means so much to them, why Labour and the Conservatives wish to prevent Scotland being independent.
Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh

Labour will not flourish again

JOHN Milne (Letters, November 2) says Scotland cannot afford any more Tory austerity or nationalism. I take it that he regards his nationality as Scottish and does not consider that a fatal affliction. His previous letters show that he retains fond memories of the good old days when Labour ruled the roost in Scotland. Perhaps he has not noticed how Labour stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories and LibDems in the Better Together alliance in 2014, failed to defend us against the madness of Brexit in 2016 and, like the Tories, morphed into an anti-immigration, xenophobic Ukip clone.

Voters south of the Border are now clearly experiencing great difficulty in distinguishing between the policies of the Tory and Labour parties. Mr Milne's cherished Old Labour has sailed off over the horizon, never to return, and Labour in Scotland will never flourish again while it remains shackled to the ball and chain of unionism.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie

Indy parties have no majority

IN response to Ruth Marr (Letters, November 3) I would point out that she and all independence supporters appear to miss the point that, while the SNP has won a large majority of the constituency seats at the last general and Scottish Parliamentary elections, if one looks at the votes cast in each of those elections, which is the manner in which the result of any independence referendum would be judged, the SNP and the other independence parties failed to achieve a numerical majority, each time receiving less than 50% of the vote.
Bob Hamilton, Motherwell

Education could rescue us

OUR political leaders keep banging on about growth of the economy as the way out of the trouble we are in now, but none has any strategy for its success. Quick fixes include lower taxes, higher taxes, less regulation, cuts in public services, higher interest rates, all on the table without any real idea of their effect. There is no mention of education except in the cuts that schools, colleges and universities will have to endure.

A highly educated population of engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs will create the growth required. Invest in the education of our young population and they will solve the problem for us – eventually.
Iain MacDonald, Kilmacolm


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