HAVE I gone through the looking glass to read that the fishing industry faces ruin through Brexit (“Fishing industry fears ‘going to the wall’ over Brexit red tape”, The Herald, October 10)?

Am I wrong in recalling the strident claim of Scottish fishing industry representatives during the 2016 referendum campaign that Brexit was vital for the industry?

Is it possible that the grim realities of the no-deal Brexit being forced through by Mr Johnson and his zealots are beginning to dawn?

Alas, too late.

Stefan Kay,


DESPITE UK government spin, it seems Northern Ireland is getting a special deal to effectively remain in the EU customs union, which means the end of a UK single market.

Northern Ireland will then have an unfair trading advantage over businesses in Scotland, including our fishermen and farmers whom the Tories claim to represent. They are expendable just as the Tories said when the UK negotiated to join the EU in 1973.

Such a deal is even worse for Scotland than Theresa May’s best efforts and an insult to our Scottish Parliament, which backed SNP proposals for the UK to remain in the customs union and the EU single market.

Voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are getting the Brexit outcome they voted for, but not Scotland, as an equal partner in the Treaty of Union, despite recording the highest vote to Remain.

The proposed Irish customs plan will hasten the reunification of Ireland and accelerate demands for Scotland’s future as a self-governing nation in or out of the EU.

Mary Thomas,


AS the Brexit negotiations rumble on between the UK and the EU the nature of the compromise which the UK will have to make drives a coach and horses through the legal commitments already given.

The Prime Minister is seeking to convince Brussels (and Dublin) that he has a better way of achieving what the backstop does, which is to guarantee that there will be no new border-related infrastructure or checks on the island of Ireland.

His proposal, however, represents a backtrack from the most basic commitments his government has made. These commitments are not just rhetorical, they are rooted in international law, which is what the Belfast Agreement is. But it is easy to forget that they are also in British law – in the very act under which Brexit is supposed to be conducted.

Section 10(2)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 explicitly commits the UK not to “create or facilitate border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after exit day which feature physical infrastructure, including border posts, or checks and controls, that did not exist before exit day and are not in accordance with an agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU”.

This could not be clearer: what is ruled out are not just posts on the border but any infrastructure, any checks, and any controls that do not currently exist.

There is nowhere in the world where two different customs and/or market regimes have a frontier across which trade flows without checks, controls and infrastructure. But all the energy among the Brexiteers has gone into trying to escape this inescapable reality.

The PM’s proposals acknowledge that even if all the magical technology works, there will still be checks, controls and (implicitly) infrastructure. The British government has broken its own solemn legal and political commitments.

Alex Orr,


TOM Gordon was right, on Saturday (“PM keeps hope of a Brexit deal alive, but all eyes now on DUP”), to remind us of the DUP’s pledge that it will always stand up for Northern Ireland. The DUP might be small in number but it yet has the ability to hole Johnson’s plan below the waterline.

H Stewart, Glasgow