THERESA May’s proposed scrapping of the Human Rights Act (You won’t take away our rights, The National, December 30) will curtail the power of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The new measures will erode the right to life, to privacy, to a fair trial, to protest and to freedom from torture and discrimination. It will enable the government to deport more people and defy ECHR’s requirements.

The abolition of the Human Rights Act is being done, under the guise of “restoring national sovereignty,” and “bringing decision-making back to Britain.” In so doing, the Government, by falsely implying that the ECHR is part of the EU, is also using it to whip up a nationalist and xenophobic campaign.

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The Conservative Government is proposing to get rid of the Human Rights Act on the basis of an amalgam of lies, falsifications and non-sequiturs about its operations, pointing to the key reason for its abolition.

It aims to dispense with all the democratic norms that restrict the ability of the ruling class to wage war on the working class at home and abroad in pursuit of its financial and geostrategic interests.

The Government’s intention to repeal the Human Rights Act is a warning. The ruling class is breaking with democratic forms of rule.

Like its counterparts elsewhere, Britain’s ruling elite is responding to the growth of social antagonisms with a militarist foreign policy, for which it has no popular mandate and a wholesale assault on democratic rights.

Alan Hinnrichs

TWO billion pounds would be a very welcome boost to the Scottish Economy and make great inroads to tackling the plight of poverty.

This whopping sum of £2bn was revealed this week as the amount of unclaimed benefits in Scotland, by the impartial Scottish Parliament Information Centre. Those unclaimed benefits include, tax credits, pension credits and housing benefits and would go a long way to tackling poverty.

They are in many cases unclaimed by the countless millions of working poor, those on the national minimum wage, on zero hours contracts, no income security, waiting on the next knock at the door.

We have a Prime Minister in Theresa May who told the country she will lead a government driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but in the interest of everyone, yet Westminster continues on the road of scathing welfare reforms and sanctions, pursuing a regime of fear, a fear to claim the benefits one is entitled. May’s Government has already shown (with no mention of social care in the Autumn Statement) evidence of a continued protection towards those who can afford accountants and financial advisers.

It has shown no mercy for those on the other side of the financial spectrum, leaving them to continue in poverty, having absolutely no respect or recognition that many living in poverty, not claiming their benefits are saving the country millions as they care for loved ones.

The people of Scotland deserve the benefits they are entitled to and if there was ever evidence needed to devolve full welfare powers to Scotland, surely those figures provide it!

Catriona C Clark
Banknock, Falkirk

LESLEY Riddoch (Why is it being left to BBC Alba to shine a light on our cultural heritage? The National, December 29) totally hits the mark with her comments and I particularly have an issue with the disappearance of the wonderful Transatlantic Sessions programmes.

The quality musicians from both sides of the Atlantic that performed were professionals at the top of their game and the programmes wrapped you in a wonderful atmospheric Scottish winter blanket of snow outside cozying up to a blazing fire within.

These programmes were never given proper promotion and I frequently only found them scheduled by chance.

Not only did we have the wonderful TV programmes, I still enjoy the six series of Transatlantic Sessions Albums that accompanied the shows and strongly recommend them to lovers of quality song and music.

Christine Smith


Do the English here see Scotland as an adjunct of England?

THE letter from Simon Barrow (Blood and Soil Bile has no place in our campaign, The National, 29 December 2016) is full of holes as regards logic. He accuses G Ross of racism, but is coming to another country and then voting against the expressed wishes of the people of that country not a form of colonialism, and, by implication, racism?

Having made a study of the two referendums – the independence referendum and the EU referendum – I can only conclude that many who voted No in 2014, also voted Leave in 2016, and I find that position both illogical and incomprehensible.

If someone voted No in 2014 because he or she objected to Scottish independence, either on economic grounds or on the fear of being taken out of the EU, it makes not the slightest sense to then vote Leave in 2016. That position is entirely inconsistent with even a modicum of logic and sense. The only explanation for that two-pronged stance is if the voter was in thrall to the Union and the UK and wished to ensure Scotland had no say whatsoever.

If, as voting patterns suggest, English-born Scots voted in numbers against independence, what does that tell us? It tells us that a surprisingly large number of English-born Scots do not regard Scotland as anything other than an extension of England. Because if you have moved to Scotland, for whatever reason, and if you are investing your future and, perhaps, the future of your children in Scotland, would you not regard Scotland as your home and owe it at least some allegiance?

It makes no sense unless you specifically do not see Scotland as a separate part of the UK, but as either a colonial possession or as an adjunct of England.

The overlap of No and Leave, however, throws doubt on the large number of No-voting, English-born Scots having any idea of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland as separate, but cohesive, parts of the UK with equal rights to make their own decisions – because we are told consistently that the UK voted as a whole for Leave, when, in fact, it was only England and Wales.

My own view is that, for the sake of a peaceful transition to independence and a cohesive country thereafter, we keep our inclusive vote for all who live here, but I also suggest, quite amicably, to those who think, through arrogance and a sense of superiority, that they have the inalienable right to destroy the legitimate aspirations of their adopted country, to think again. This is far from “blood-and-soil” nationalism. This is democracy and liberalism at its best.

What Mr Barrow seeks to justify with charges of racism against independence-supporting Scots is nothing less than colonialism, and not a stone’s throw from that which Ghandi fought against in his determination to free his people from the yoke of British imperialism. The Union is dying, just as imperialism is all but dead, and the break-up of the UK is a necessary part of that transition to an ordinary future for all of us on these isles. It is the greatest pity that many simply cannot see beyond the end of their collective nose, and as so often has to be the case, will be forced to, eventually.

We need to face this issue before we embark on another independence referendum, or, like the Quebecois, we will find out perfectly legitimate aspirations thwarted by a minority who deeply resent our sense of ourselves. Having said that, there are many English-born Scots who supported our aspirations and I hope with all my heart that they will continue to do so. They are valued and appreciated, as are our “foreign” Scots, and, I hope, will come with us into a better and independent future. It is to be hoped for fervently, that, in the fullness of time, we all come together again in one alliance of British Isles people, just like our Scandinavian cousins.

Lorna Campbell, Moray