AFTER the shambolic Brexit deal that he negotiated, did we really need further proof of the ignorance of Lord Frost on a subject on which he pontificates? Yet again he reveals both arrogance and ignorance, in demanding that Scottish representatives be banned from using embassies and other UK diplomatic facilities abroad.

Does he not know that Scotland PAYS annually for the use of these?

Every year, when the notional budget allocation for Scotland is decided, a proportion is then deducted specifically for these services, as happens with every other so-called “shared” expenditure, such as for defence, including Faslane and the new submarines being built in Barrow-in-Furness, and everything else that Westminster controls and claims to be of benefit to us. Only then is the residual amount confirmed as the Scottish budget.

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Let us not forget that, currently, that includes a share of the failed Test and Trace app, the unusable PPE paid for at an exorbitant profit margin and other fraudulent payments, none of which Westminster is trying to claim back.

Perhaps it would be useful if The National could list for us all the things that are deducted in this way, along with the amounts for each. And remember, these are not handouts or subsidies, these come from the taxes paid to the Treasury by Scotland, and take no account of what we pay for England, such as the £7.36 per megawatt hour to send 40% of our renewables south via the National Grid.

There is a bit of advice I once heard – engage brain before operating mouth. If the cap fits…

L McGregor

I AM an ex-Merchant Navy officer and was subsequently more than 20 years in the oil industry, where I was involved in the costing and managing of offshore contracts worth many millions.

With this experience, words cannot express how disgusted and frustrated I feel at the utter incompetence of the management of the building of the two little ferries for CalMac currently under construction at Ferguson’s shipyard.

They are five years late in delivery and the cost of the two has risen from the original estimate of £100 million to £300 million. How can this be? Were there no competent project managers and engineers employed by and responsible to the owners or the government?

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These are tiny ships, only about 1000 tonnes each, and a year should have been more than enough to complete them.

As a complete contrast in efficiency, P&O’s latest liner, (ironically called Iona) which is a massive 187,000 tonnes – 90 times the tonnage of these ferries – started construction in May 2019 and was completed, on time, in only 18 months, despite the enormous complexity of a ship with all the facilities required to cater for and entertain 6000 passengers.

This shameful ferry episode will tarnish the reputation of Scottish shipbuilding for many years and I doubt if it will ever recover, yet no-one has taken responsibility and I have heard of no-one being sacked. The yard, on the other hand, has awarded large bonuses to their staff, apparently unknown to CalMac.

James Duncan

I CANNOT be alone in being affronted by the proposal that the Stone of Destiny be removed from Scotland to London for the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III.

Edward I of England in his rampages through Scotland seized the Stone specifically so that he could place it humiliatingly under his own throne as a lasting and insulting symbol of the subjugation of a recalcitrant Scotland, which had fiercely resisted his suzerainty.

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Much was made of the return of the Stone to Scotland in 1996 as a token of respect for the Scottish nation. Surely King Charles would do well to avoid repeating the insult and humiliation of the symbolism intended by Edward Longshanks.

Indeed, his own respect for our nation would be greatly enhanced if he were to decline to have the Stone reinstalled under the Coronation throne.

Richard Allison

WE welcome the news that after discussion with the National Secular Society (NSS), the Committee of Advertising Practice has decided to ditch new, stricter regulations about “causing harm” to groups including religious believers.

The problem was showcased a few years ago when an ad for Antonio Federici ice-cream was banned for its depiction of two priests seemingly about to kiss, deemed “offensive to Catholics”. The NSS rightly argued that the banning of images of gay affection was in itself discriminatory and offensive.

This highlights a not uncommon clash between protected characteristics – touched upon, of course, in the SNP leadership election – but it is hard to argue that an ideological religious choice should be allowed to trump someone’s very nature and identity.

Neil Barber
Edinburgh Secular Society