Letters: Why Scotland should go it alone

 

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Your leader on 12 February “raises a query as to the point of independence”. So kind to worry about how we poor dears will manage without you to tell us how to do everything. Or is your concern perhaps the other way round? Whatever, here are few “points of independence” to mull over.

Instead of Europe’s largest nuclear weapons store being in the Clyde, it will reside, close to those who actually want the obscenity, beside an English river. How about the Thames?

Relieved from the burden of financing the monstrosity we shall be able properly to finance worthwhile projects such as a decent road and sensible rail system. You are welcome to HS2.

You shall have all your NHS privatisers back to reinforce those currently devastating English hospitals for the benefit of the USA and English shareholders of American vulture medical companies.

Education will remain an investment by our people in our future, with the threat removed of a Goveian machine turning it into a commodity to be bought and sold like parsnips, as in your nation of shopkeepers.

An end will be put to the BBC banging on about Richard III “being a vital part of UK history”.

W B McBride

(Expat who will tak the Low Road hame yin day)

Bristol

You ask what is the point of Scottish independence.

It is to choose politics that could bring Scotland closer to the Scandinavian model of the collective value of a welfare state and an economy that is based on sustainable resources. If five million people cannot make a political success in social, economic and environmental terms from the huge resources that Scotland has, including its inheritance of excellent cities, then something would be very wrong.

This is an attainable vision for Scotland. It’s a better vision than the UK can offer.

Roger Read

Troon, Ayrshire

As you are probably the most cosmopolitan national newspaper in the UK, I was surprised at the tone of your editorial on Scottish independence. Perhaps you could set aside some space to explain why Scotland should find it so hard to obtain a working set of international treaties when the countries of the former USSR and the former Yugoslavia did not seem to encounter any real difficulties.

Roger Cope

Carlisle

I was deeply annoyed to see you giving so much space to the views of Irvine Welsh on Scottish independence (Magazine, 5 February), given that he no longer lives here or pays taxes here.

It is remarkable that the SNP campaign has involved various artists who no longer live or pay taxes in Scotland. Recently a Monaco millionaire tax-exile who used to live in Scotland told us we should be independent and create a country of low business taxes.

The majority of Scots who live and pay taxes in Scotland disagree with breaking up the UK and turning Scotland into yet another failed Celtic Tiger, and would appreciate it if The Independent could always ask anyone giving an opinion on the matter if they live and pay taxes in the UK before they pronounce on breaking it up.

M Smythe

Edinburgh

What else could be getting into meat products?

There is no significant danger from phenylbutazone in horse meat adulterating beef, and there is no reason to believe the horse meat is unhealthy to eat, either. The real danger is that unfit, prion-infected beef may be in these foods.

The presence of horse demonstrates that "safeguards" to prevent infected beef entering the food chain do not work. Although horse and other animals can be detected by their DNA, there is no test for the prion causing variant CJD, and only the careful tracking of safe, young meat from farm to point of sale protects us. Through incompetence, venality or deliberate fraud, this chain has been broken.

The major food processors and supermarkets have the financial power to ensure what they buy is safe, and the FSA has legal power, too. Now they and the Government are wringing their hands and hoping nothing will go wrong, but we shall never be able to discover what dangerous contaminants have been eaten over the past several years. I'm very glad my wife won't countenance the purchase of burgers.

Dr Gerald Freshwater

Lerwick, Shetland

Surely the whole point of the convoluted response to the BSE crisis was the need to be able to trace a cow from the field to the table. Where in this process is it possible for the cow to turn into a horse?

Richard Harvey

Frating, Essex

The directors of supermarkets guilty of passing off horse meat should be fined for allowing their companies to break the law. This would immediately raise standards and make the job of the FSA much easier in future. Instead we will, no doubt, have an inquiry resulting in several hundred recommendations.

Simon Garratt

Hertford

First BSE, now horses' bits. We vegetarians watch in bemusement.

Tim Symonds

Burwash, East Sussex

Richard's remains

The unseemly way in which the cities of York and Leicester are fighting over the remains of King Richard III does neither of them any credit.

York's principal argument, Richard's love of the North and her love of him, is very shaky. Lest we forget – within a year of the battle of Bosworth, Lord Lovell failed entirely in raising Yorkshire against Henry VII, and in 1486 the new king was met by York's Sheriff, two Aldermen and 60 horses, and escorted into York through crowds of adoring inhabitants before being entertained in lavish style. Richard spent much time in the North, but then again it was his job to spend time in the North and he was rewarded handsomely for it by his brother. Moving on to Leicester, I cannot think of a less suitable place for Richard to lie. It seems to me that mayor, university and council are ignorant of the fact that Leicester was a Lancastrian town through and through. It has even been suggested by the University of Leicester, the same university that dug Richard up, that Leicester was the "Lancastrian capital".

We should start showing some respect to the remains and bury Richard with his immediate family (father, brother etc); Fotheringay is the only morally correct choice.

Anthony Shelmerdine Boskovic

Saddleworth, Lancashire

As Richard III was Duke of Gloucester, a simple way to resolve the tussle between Leicester and York over his remains would be to re-inter them in Gloucester Cathedral.

Paul Dickens

Lytham St Annes, Lancashire

When doctors fail to join the dots

I would like to add weight to the theory of Chris Heron (Letters, 1 February) who suggested that the UK's poor cancer survival record may be due to doctors, not patients, and lack of a proper diagnosis.

My 41-year-old daughter went to her GP with a lump on her neck. She was seen by a registrar, who called in a senior doctor. Nothing to worry about, he said. He did not say come back if it is still there in two weeks, nor did he inquire about other possible symptoms, which we later realised she had.

Four months later, she made an appointment for a blood test, thinking her extreme fatigue might be due to anaemia. She was too unwell to go to the appointment and phoned to ask if someone could come to her. No, said the receptionist. Full stop.

Two weeks later I visited and took her to the surgery, where another doctor sent her for an X-ray because of her persistent cough. She had Hodgkin's lymphoma, diagnosed after we were sent from the local hospital's X-ray department to A&E, but no one had joined the dots.

We were told by the Lymphoma Association that it is often not recognised. Chemotherapy did not work. Eight months later she died, leaving two children, one five years old, the other 18 months.

This was not a case of a patient ignoring symptoms till too late. It was the doctors who did that.

Helen Watson

Reading

Skeleton from Labour's past

While Owen Jones (11 February) is right to mention the Labour MPs who bravely voted against war in Iraq, the Iraq war was without doubt a Labour Party war.

The bulk of Labour MPs voted for the war, and equally despicable were the unions who stopped short of direct opposition to the war and its aftermath at successive Labour Party conferences.

Is it any wonder that Labour consistently fails to be the credible opposition that we so desperately need when they lack the courage to confront the skeletons from their long period in office.

Chit Chong

Ryall, Dorset

Wonders of the double helix

When Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA at Cambridge in 1953, they could never have imagined how fashionable their discovery would become. It is incredible that arguably the greatest discovery in human history should be used to identify the body of Richard III in a Leicester car park (twisted like a double helix) and the presence of horse meat in a Tesco spaghetti bolognese.

As with the Moon landings, science always produces unexpected benefits to mankind.

Stan Labovitch

Windsor

Jesus' silence on homosexuality

Tom Baxter tries to use Jesus to defend his own views about homosexuality (Letters, 12 February), saying that "Jesus wanted man and woman to adhere to their natural, God-given natures".

What nonsense! Jesus said not one word about homosexuality and nor did he imply any such viewpoint. Jesus is the "divine origin of the Church" and he just wanted us to love our neighbours, whatever their colour, creed or sexual orientation.

Penny Joseph

Shoreham-by-sea, West Sussex

Heavyweight

America's fattest President, William Howard Taft, left the White House 100 years ago. He lived for twenty years afterwards and died in his mid-seventies as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. If health wasn't a barrier to his serving as President, why should it be for Chris Christie?

Mark Taha

London SE26

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