NO ONE can have missed the developing shambles that is the party of the UK Government’s behaviour in trying to negotiate Brexit since triggering Article 50.

First we had the letter from Theresa May to the EU linking trade deals with sharing security information. Are we seriously in a state that would now trade human safety to save money on tariffs?

Then we had the former Conservative leader Michael Howard raising the prospect of war with “another Spanish-speaking country” over Gibraltar when no military or expansionist threats had even been made by Spain. While those two examples were bad enough, of equal concern to the business community in Scotland would be the performance of the secretary of state for Brexit, David Davis, at a committee of MPs on March 15.

Loading article content

Asked if a new economic assessment had been made by the UK Government Mr Davis replied: “Under my time, no...You don’t need a piece of paper with numbers on it to have an economic assessment.”

Imagine the response if a business person went to their bank manager asking for a loan on that basis. But his performance also got worse. He didn’t know the implications of leaving with no deal on the transfer of personal data, which is needed for the tech industry.

He “assumed” the “Open Skies agreement” – which has reduced airfares across the EU – will be lost. And then he confirmed financial services will probably lose “passporting rights” to trade in the EU, saying: “I would expect that to be the case, that’s an area of uncertainty.”

Again, would any business person pass muster for a loan from their bank if they approached them with such a business plan?

The UK faces going back 60 years in time by falling out of not only the European single market but every existing and pending trade agreements the EU has ever signed; a customer base of over one billion people.

Yet the UK Conservative Government’s approach to diplomatic negotiations appears to be a mixture of arrogance, ignorance, incompetence and hubris. There is a chance this May to show the UK Government that its behaviour is unacceptable. Any votes the Conservatives get in the approaching local elections will only encourage this behaviour. They need sent a message to shake them back into reality.

James MacDonald, Oban

MR Alfie Ward of Biggar writes that Ruth Davidson is “... out and about scaring the elderly over pensions…” (Letters, The National, April 10) I was not aware of this but am not surprised. I have read reports, though, that the UK Government is considering discontinuing the “triple lock” policy, so how can Ruth Davidson have the dishonesty to make pensions an issue when the Scottish Government has stated that they would keep the policy?

I am very impatient with the idea of separation from the UK being “a threat to the pensions of Scots”. Any action or neglect as a result of Independence would be illegal. This is the case whether the pension is the state pension, a public services pension, a private pension or an armed forces pension. I agree this might not stop the present government who do seem to think that they can justify and do whatever they want to do.

I have a medical condition for which I receive specialised and expensive supplies from a distributor in England. Without them I would die. So I do have cause to empathise with the fears of other pensioners. However, I would expect that if the lines of supply were cut then the Scottish Government would quickly establish new channels with European countries.

Victor Moncrieff, Lanark

MUCH has been written in these pages this week concerning the commemoration of the battle of Arras in April 1917. Quite rightly the focus has been on the Scottish involvement.

My great-uncle, Arthur Ives, was not a Scot, but he fought and died in this battle. I do not know his motivation for joining up, but he was a member of the machine gun corps with probably the lowest life expectancy of any soldier.

A century later I look at my seventeen-year-old grandson preparing to go to university in the autumn. Hopefully he will have a long and productive life ahead of him. Hopefully he will be able to live in a Scotland which will be at peace with the world and not fighting wars on behalf of the warmongers of the UK or the USA.

Uncle Arthur died on April 25 1917. He was “blown to pieces” with not enough body parts to be found to give him a proper burial, just his name on the wall at the Arras Memorial in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery. He was also seventeen-years-old.

Robert Mitchell, Stirling

IN debating GERS with Richard Murphy, Kevin Hague has followed the usual script from Unionists (Kevin Hague thinks Scotland should know its place – I don’t, The National, April 13).

They always bombard their opponents with flagrant untruths, straw men and mistakes. Their arguments contain so much tripe in such a small bursts that a debunking of them all is extremely difficult.

When they are shown their errors the Unionists simply repeat exact same points.

When Kevin Hague trots out his economic credentials I’m reminded of Dr Andrew Snelling. He has a PhD in geology, yet has written copiously about his belief that the Earth is 6,000 years old.

Or Dr Gerardus Bouw, who believes the Earth is stationary at the centre of the universe with sun, stars and planets orbiting it. His PhD is in astronomy.

Under all his hot-air and bluster Hague was forced to concede that GERS tells us nothing about the finances of an independent Scotland. It’s was difficult to discern what his actual point was. However even this admission will not stop fanatical Unionists citing GERS as a matter of faith.

Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee

ONCE again Clark Cross would prefer that Scotland be further disadvantaged in this unbalanced Union, as he reports that she “faces a steep rise in grid charges” for the world leading renewable power provided here, and to the rest of the UK! (The Long Letter, April 13).

This industry, according to Mr Cross, has received “huge subsidies from the UK consumers for years” – he will know of course that this “subsidy” is to be terminated as the UK, because of its special status, will no longer have to concern itself with the state of the environment. Will Mr Cross explain why Scottish producers of conventional power, transmitted to the rest of the UK, pay more for this honour than producers in the south-west of England who are more distant, in some cases, from “large markets”? Will he also remind us that it is partly the provision of wind generated power from Scotland that enables the UK to meet it’s renewable targets – or face huge fines which most now know the UK can ill afford as it “regains control”? The sense of grievance, exhibited frequently by Mr Cross, puts the rest of us to shame – we really must complain more loudly and at greater length about the iniquities imposed upon is in this inefficient, archaic, parochial Union and determine, that when we are independent, we will no longer subsidise the ludicrous behaviour exhibited by Westminster on all almost daily basis. Mr Cross portrays himself as just another “proud Scot but” in each letter – or is he simply a troll?

Bill McLean, Dunfermline

WOW! Nato is no longer obsolete! So says President Trump (I still find that a difficult concept). Still, it’s good news, I suppose, that he has changed his mind on the matter. After all Nato is a pretty big deal, as he would say.

But stay! Suppose he changes his mind again? Oh dear, what a worry. Perhaps I should just ignore what Trump says. It’s so hard to keep up.

Peter Craigie Edinburgh