AS the Scottish Game Fair kicks off today at Scone Palace, we are proud to lead the call for more grouse in Scottish restaurants. Today’s consumers want to know the provenance of their meat and they want to eat locally sourced food. Grouse is a locally reared, free-range meat low in fat and high in calcium, iron and protein, which offers traceability from hill to plate. It is a gift for those wishing to eat only Scotland’s finest food.

Estates today are experiencing huge demand from visitors keen to shoot some of the world’s most challenging quarry in some of the world’s most glorious scenery. This is a time-honoured tradition synonymous with rural Scotland. But are Scottish restaurants serving grouse? Only a few. We would urge all Scottish restaurants to make the most of this wonderful resource and to put grouse back on the menu come August 12.

Whether it’s a simple dish of fresh roast grouse or a complex consommé, grouse is a great appetiser or hearty main course. Help us celebrate the best of Scottish food and help us bring grouse to a new generation of consumers.
Andrew Fairlie
Martin Wishart
Carina Contini
Mark Greenaway


Nurses need cut in managers not salary increases

IT matters not how many increases in salary for nurses is given. Until we cut back the top-heavy management in our hospitals and reinstate the three-tier system of qualified staff on the wards there will continue to be untold pressure on nurses to perform to their best ability for the good of the patient.

When I became a State Registered Nurse in 1983/84 a ward had a complement of a senior nurse (Sister), staff nurses, Enrolled Nurses and auxilliary nurses. It was later in the 1980s that the whole swathe of the essential ENs was dispensed with to allow for the brand of managers to come in and “improve” the running of the NHS hospital. Alas, the canteen was given out to private tender, plus the cleaning – the latter falling seriously below previously high standards.

Considering the strictures having been placed upon them, staff have been doing a tremendous job to bear the load. However, more pay is not going to relieve the intense pressures some nurses are experiencing nor the quality of job satisfaction.
Janet Cunningham

IT is more than a little ironic that as Scotland, through being part of the UK, prepares to leave the EU, Estonia, with a population around a quarter that of Scotland, will take over the EU presidency on July 1.

The presidency is responsible for driving forward the EU’s work, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among member states.

During the next six months this will focus on key areas, including single and digital markets, the energy union and closer integration of eastern partners in Europe. It also wants to focus on the promotion of e-solutions and the information society in EU policy areas. Interestingly, its prime minister, Juri Ratas, has declared that Brexit is not a priority for the presidency, in a sign the EU is moving on from Brexit.

Estonia, which next year will celebrate its centenary of becoming independent, takes over from Malta in holding the presidency of European Union, an island with a population less than that of Edinburgh.

During the independence referendum, the Better Together camp claimed that the only way to guarantee Scotland’s place in the EU was to vote to remain in the UK. Indeed, Scotland was to “lead the UK” not “leave the UK”.

Times have indeed changed since September 2014 and we are, despite these assurances, heading for the EU exits. Of course, we could have the best of both worlds, part of a single market with the rest of the UK – as promised to Northern Ireland in its relations with the Republic of Ireland – and still members of the EU.

For that to happen of course requires the confidence, as Malta and Estonia have demonstrated, to take full control of our own affairs and be the masters of our own destiny, leading not leaving the EU.
Alex Orr

ON the likelihood that the current Westminster government was never likely to sanction a second indyref Sturgeon’s announcement only delays testing that resolve, with no obvious political gains being made from the concession. May, on the other hand, by pressing on the issue over timing and conflating the various measures that could be used in assessing the wishes of voters, and with significant media support for her views, has been able to avoid in at least the short term the need to make a contentious decision on the matter.
Peter Gorrie

I WAS struck by the statement from Nicola Sturgeon to “reset” the timetable for an independence referendum, originally to be held in the autumn of 2018 or spring of 2019. In my address to the SNP Conference in 2016 I attempted to remit back a motion from an Edinburgh branch which stated “every avenue” should be explored to keep Scotland in the EU but, if there was “no viable solution to safeguard our membership as part of the UK, Scotland should prepare for a second referendum and seek to remain in Europe as an independent country”.

I noted my concerns, saying: “It would be remiss of me not to flag up the issues this motion outlines. Let’s look at it, let’s remit it back, and bring it back when we’re actually more secure, safer, in what potentially could be achieved for Scotland when that deal is more advanced, we are aware of the impact, and know what’s actually on the table.”

That this position has now been adopted is to be greatly welcomed.
Name and address supplied

SO much is talked about Section 30 and its requirements. So what is a Section 30 order? This was a scheme dreamed up by the Labour government and implemented with the Scotland Act in 1999, whereby once again legislation was passed by overwhelmingly English votes purely to thwart any attempt by the Scottish Parliament to hold an independence referendum or unilaterally declare independence.

The 1707 Treaty of Union, albeit gerrymandered by the English, at least had an equal number of commissioners from Scotland and England who drew up the Articles of Union. I can nowhere find in it any mention of Scots requiring permission of the English Parliament to dissolve it.

Courtesy suggests we would inform Westminster of our intention to hold a referendum seeking to dissolve the Union, nothing more.
Stuart Farquharson