WE read with interest in this week's Orcadian that Alistair Carmichael has written to Michael Gove requesting that he forgoes banning chlorpyrifos.

This insecticide is harmful to humans, especially children, and the wider environment. The invertebrate life in a number of rivers has been killed off due to accidental spillages of very small amounts of this chemical.

Lead was once included in paint and petrol, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was once used with gay abandon, but we no longer do these things because they are harmful to humans and the environment.

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Carmichael claims that there may not be a viable alternative to this product, but surely it is up to the agricultural industry to find ways to use smart technology to protect plants and animals from attack by invertebrate life.

The sooner we abandon the use of non-specific chemicals the better.

J&K Southerington
Deerness, Orkney

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Day job clearly being done, GDP figures suggest  

HAVING had to swallow large servings of humble pie due to the Scottish economy performing much better than expected, one would have expected even a grudging acknowledgement from the opposition parties. No such luck. No evidence of recognition of the hard work the SNP government has done in the face of adversity. Instead, they resort to their default position. Indyref2!

The sight of LibDem deputy leader Jo Swinson babbling through an interview where not only did she drag out the old indyref turkey, but proceeded to get her facts hopelessly incorrect with regard to the quarterly figures. According to reality in LibDem world, the Scottish economy is teetering on recession. Oh yeah, Jo? In fact, it out-performed the UK economy fourfold.

But when have the LibDems ever let a bit of factual accuracy get in the way of a good rant? All the opposition parties have a dearth of positive, progressive policies ... [so] their tactic has been simply to avert the electorate’s attention away from their vapid ideas and to blame the SNP for all the country’s ills.

Well, it looks like the Scottish Government was in fact doing its day job, and doing it very well, to judge from the figures released on Wednesday. So my advice to those who voted these wastrels into Westminster is this: next time the hue and cry goes up about indyref2, look closely at the news as it is likely some positive progress has been achieved by our government!

Ade Hegney
Helensburgh

NOW that there has been time for some calm consideration of the money promised to the DUP to support the Tories, there are even more reasons than first apparent to feel angry, disgusted and frustrated.

That this is a bribe is patently obvious. It bears no comparison with City Deals, as these existed in England before being offered in any devolved jurisdiction and, in any case, required at least matched funding. Moreover, other coalitions or agreements on confidence and supply are normally based on horse trading on policies and not on handouts of taxpayers’ cash – so no comparison.

Worst of all, this money has not gone to a devolved government but to one party – one which is currently refusing to take part in government, meaning that, as a result of the failed talks, it may be left in the hands of the donating party to make decisions on its use under direct rule.

So we have one party, which failed to win the necessary votes for a strong mandate, paying taxpayers’ money to another party with a tiny minority for votes. Is this not subverting the result of the General Election as well as misuse of public funds? Surely, this is not only illegal but also a matter for the Electoral Commission?

P Davidson
Falkirk

GORDON McIntyre-Kemp is right to urge caution before we celebrate the relative out-performance of the Scottish economy as compared to the rest of the UK. As he points out, the Scottish Government still lacks the powers to fundamentally improve our economy. It should therefore be careful not to claim too much credit for the good latest figures.

When the inevitable adverse effects of Brexit and the English unsecured debt crisis hit home, the Scottish Government will be pilloried by the media as being responsible for the adverse effects. Instead, they should now be shouting loud and clear that Scotland needs its own distinctive economic policies to enable us to build on success.

Peter Craigie
Edinburgh

THE Ginger Dug’s column on the Orange Lodge in Scotland was very good, and needed addressed, but was somewhat misleading on a couple of points (No place for Orange parades in modern Scotland, June 5). He rightly points out the targeting of Scots of Irish descent, but we must not forget the Orange Lodge was imported from Ulster to Scotland at the end of the 19th century. Those behind the Orange Lodge are themselves of Irish descent but deny any Irish or Scottish nationality, claiming instead to be British. From its introduction the Orange Lodge has been a foreign intrusion into Scottish culture.

Linda Horsburgh
Dundee

MICHEL Barnier brings No10 down to earth by stating that British politicians have not grasped the reality that being out of the single market will not result in frictionless trade. We see Davis, May and even the more pro-EU Chancellor claiming that they want a transition deal. The CBI are demanding that No10 “negotiates” remaining in the single market until a transitional deal is done!

But the Article 50 timescale is set. The EU determined all outcomes irrespective of the sense of “entitlement” of UK ministers. As the Scots phrase says: “ Ye ken noo!”

It must rankle that the UK is being put in its place where before it could press the veto mechanism. Years of girning, moaning and belittling it from within have scunnered the EU. It is really saying that you get what you voted for and need to face consequences. No punishment intended. That was the choice made.

John Edgar
Blackford

NO doubt with Scotland’s growth exceeding rUK by 0.6 per cent and the Nuffield Trust advising rUK NHS they could learn lessons from the Scottish NHS, we’ll soon be hearing calls from the opposition that the SNP should STOP doing their day job?

Piers Doughty-Brown
Glasgow