ISN’T Dominic Raab’s supposed “Bill of Rights” replacing the Human Rights Act (HRA) simply another Tory government bluster and a smoke-and-mirrors illusion?

The simple fact is that while Britain remains a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which Raab says will continue, then the ultimate arbiter in human rights matters will remain with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

We should not forget that the intention of the HRA was to allow human rights cases to be heard in Britain’s Supreme Court, established along with the act itself. But that Supreme Court remains subservient to the Strasbourg court.

The real effect of introducing a “Bill of Rights” is clearly to ensure that anyone making a complaint under the ECHR will necessarily have to take the case directly to Strasbourg, which will make litigation impossibly expensive except for those with the extensive financial resources to afford it. In this way, the rights of ordinary citizens will be trampled on, their lack of funding effectively denying them access to their rights; human rights in reality only available for the wealthy.

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Britain was the driving force and founding signatory of the ECHR; we should be promoting not shamefully trying to weaken it. But then, there are no depths that this Boris Johnson Conservative and Unionist Party won’t plumb to.

Let’s just add this to the long litany of this government’s appalling policies and behaviours and remind Scots that the only way we can avoid the wild excesses of our dysfunctional Westminster government is to vote to take back control through independence.

Jim Taylor


SURELY Keir Starmer’s rejection of support for current union strikes and the Durham miners gathering should be a final wake-up call to the unions. What is the point of donating to a party that’s supposed to defend you against the anti-worker’s rights party currently residing in Downing Street?

They would be better supporting rejoining the common market and seriously considering donating their Scottish subscriptions to the SNP, who they know genuinely support fair working practices.

Steve Cunningham


THE article “Transformative change needed to protect Scottish biodiversity” (Sunday National, June 19) informed us that “Scotland is home to an estimated 90,000 animal, plant and microbe species” and then in the next sentence asserted that “2019’s The State of Nature Scotland report found that 49% of Scottish species had decreased”, thereby implying that more than 44,000 species were in decline. If this were true, it would be cataclysmic, but it is a misrepresentation of the facts.

The State of Nature Scotland report found that since 1994 there has been a decrease in the abundance of 49% of 352 monitored species, not 49% of all Scottish species; ie this part of the report presented evidence for the decline of 172 species, not 44,000. Furthermore, the State of Nature authors do not claim that the monitored species are representative of Scottish wildlife: they are restricted to four iconic groups – moths, butterflies, birds and mammals. No microbes, plants or fungi are included; no marine species; no beetles or flies, the most species-rich insect groups in Scotland.

This is the latest of numerous misrepresentations of The State of Nature Scotland report that have appeared in the press and online since its publication in 2019. It seems that many who view the report become so fixated on its sensationalist “headlines” that they fail to read the less alarming facts on which these are based.

Dr Iain Wilkie

Strachur, Argyll

Reading the heading “Schools are growing the farmers of tomorrow” (June 21), I understand the intent, but sadly, tragically even, the reality is much different. Until we have sea change in our countryside, our schools are growing the farm workers of tomorrow.

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At least for a wee while until the bulk of the progeny realise that actual opportunity to be a farmer in their own right – ie one who has a home in the countryside with land on which he or she can make decisions and work toward the production of food – then our farmers shall remain an ever-decreasing minority from families inheriting ever-increasing scales of enterprise and most likely educated in fee-paying establishments.

Sadly, the EU adopting the Scottish NFU-promoted lack of capping to agriculture support, ie subsidies, introduced a tidal wave sea change to our rural scene with large-scale landowners farming previous tenanted farms themselves and established owner-occupying farmers expanding their enterprises as other farms came on the market.

The most promising possibility to turn back this tide would be the introduction of Annual Ground Rent, which would radically shift the burden of taxation from the poor to the privileged and open the door to rural opportunity and real possibility rather than frustration for farmers of tomorrow.

Tom Gray