Nationalism isn't the problem in our interconnected world

I agree wholeheartedly with Denis Bruce (Letters, March 8)| that, in our globally interconnected world, we need nations to form close links and work together.

Where I disagree is that the hindrance is necessarily “nationalism”. Before one can profitably contribute, one should surely show competence in arranging one’s own affairs. The desire of Scotland, therefore, to run our own affairs is not an isolationist ambition, but to have all the powers of self-government, so that we can form links and cooperate for mutual benefit with as many countries as possible.

Within the Union, this is not possible, as the withdrawal from the EU, to satisfy Westminster and the English nationalist majority for Brexit, clearly shows.

The Union is preventing Scotland from maintaining the strong links we had and from working for mutual benefit with 27 other countries, in the way that even Malta, with its tiny population, is able to do. Neither separation, nor nationalism, is blocking this cooperation, but the inability to make our own decisions for ourselves. Even in an interdependent world, independence is normal.

As an aside, may I perhaps comment on Tom Cassells' last sentence? Whatever motivates Alexander McKay, obviously does so for a number of other equally recognisable letter-writers with the same tunnel vision, who never explain their opposing case.

P. Davidson,


End these unfair pensions

Taxpayers pay for the public sector yet public-sectors workers are more than eight times more likely to enjoy gold-plated retirement benefits than the private sector.

These findings are not from some disgruntled worker in the private sector but from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Final-salary schemes in the private sectors are rarer than hen's teeth.

The ONS revealed that final-salary schemes in the private sector fell from 5.3 million in 1997 to 1.5 million in 2019. Over the same period those enjoying a final-salary scheme in the public sector rose from 4.5 million to 5.2 million.

Time for the public-sector final-salary pension schemes to be frozen for new employees and a less beneficial defined-contribution scheme introduced, as has been necessary in the private sector.

A prospective employee will know this so it is their choice.

Clark Cross


An unhelpful analogy

It is irresponsible for Ron McKay to cite the so-called millennium bug to pooh-pooh the concerns over the Covid-19 virus ("Coronavirus: can we panic yet?" Herald on Sunday, March 8).

Because of the fact that software written from as early as the 1970s, when the year component of a date was regularly stored as just two digits, was still being used at the end of the 1990s, there was indeed a risk that systems based upon them would cease working properly come 2000.

The reason that the date passed on the whole without incident or "with a yawn" as Mr McKay flippantly puts it, was because many programmers put in a heck of a lot of work to ensure that the systems would continue to function, and even then there were a few systems which did fail because they had not been rendered compliant.

The Y2K phenomenon was wholly under the control of humans – they had written the code and were able to fix it. The success of that operation therefore should not be irresponsibly bandied about as "proof" that fears are being exaggerated over the spread of disease or climate change which are definitely not entirely under human control.

Jane Ann Liston

St Andrews

A modern-day Falklands War?

Could coronavirus become Nicola Sturgeon’s Falklands’ war? The nationalist leader is under significant pressure from within the SNP, following her failure to deliver indyref2, let alone independence.

Remember how Margaret Thatcher’s popularity surged and her longevity in power became assured, after UK success in the Falklands’ conflict? If anyone can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, it’s Ms Sturgeon and her hugely creative spin-doctor team.

Martin Redfern


Eight months and counting ...

Back in the early days of Boris’s bidie-in’s pregnancy, before he planned the North Channel Bridge as a successor to the London Garden one and lost his first Chancellor, Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg were warning about climate change.

The floods down south seem to be evidence that they were right.

Wee Greta isn’t due in Glasgow until November, for the climate summit. Does that give the Scottish people enough time to reject Brexit Boris, express our solidarity with (in no particular order) our Greek, French, Polish, German, Swedish, Spanish and other European friends, rip the mince out of Westmonster, celebrate some of Rabbie’s wisest words – “the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley …” – and give her the welcome she deserves in a part of Europe that understands her?

Norrie Forrest