Letters: Scots Tories need an independent party

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HOW much longer will Boris Johnson tolerate the leader of the Conservative branch in Scotland trying to undermine his Brexit strategy (“Johnson set for clash with Davidson over no-deal on trip north”, The Herald, July 29)?

As in the EU referendum, Scottish Conservatives in the leadership election knew precisely what they were voting for – Brexit on October 31, deal or no deal. To suggest otherwise is insulting and to oppose the mandate given could be viewed as undemocratic.

It is unclear if Ruth Davidson’s views command the support of a majority of Scottish Conservatives but many are appalled by the lack of support for a new Prime Minister elected with a huge majority. There are two logical options to resolve the current strife; a new Scottish leader or an independent Scottish Conservative Party.

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Regardless of personalities, an independent Scottish Conservative Party now seems inevitable after Brexit. Scotland receives billions of pounds from the UK under devolution so the cunning plan of a few million pounds extra to “strengthen the Union” is not going to sway voters. The only credible alternative to the SNP’s “Independence in the European Union” is Scottish Conservative “Independence in the United Kingdom” by that or any other name.

James Robb, Helensburgh.

ALAN Fitzpatrick (Letters, July 27) accurately, but possibly unwittingly given his viewpoint, described Boris Johnson’s performance in the Commons as “bombastic”. It certainly was high-sounding with little meaning. He also demonstrates the propaganda I have come to expect from Brexit supporters in your Letters Pages: “optimistic and positive” Mr Johnson versus “sneering Opposition”, and “intransigent EU” being set up as the fall guy for a pear-shaped Brexit.

John Connor (also Letters, July 27) requests that Mr Johnson should be given full support, because “the fact is” he is so charismatic. That’s his opinion: the demonstrable fact is that Mr Johnson has been a liar and a cheat; does it make it OK that it was done with charisma? And how likely is he to do it again?

On the same page, Doug Clark adds his weight to the argument. For some reason, he excludes the BBC and press from the media and is unaware that the balance in the written press, overall, is and has been significantly for Brexit. Can I suggest he checks the research on the EU referendum carried out at the University of Loughborough? However, I suspect that doesn’t fit the propaganda he peddles regarding risk to the foundations of our democracy and economy.

In my opinion, the damage to our democracy was flamed by David Cameron’s priority of the Tory Party over the UK, and the damage to our economy is at the hands of hard-line Brexiters and their desire to leave the EU with no deal; but, obviously, that’s not a fact. Propaganda is defined as information that is not objective, using selective facts and loaded language to produce an emotional rather than rational response.

Your three correspondents appear keen to follow Mr Johnson’s lead, “doubters, gloomsters and doomsters”, with their use of propaganda rather than rational argument. I anticipate, with the appointment of Dominic Cummings to the PM’s team, this will be ramped up across the country in the next three months.

Kieran Watters, Hamilton.

ALLAN Sutherland (Letters, July 26) has an interesting approach to Brexit. While I agree with him that “the key is obviously the Backstop” he produces no evidence to back up his assertions that “cracks in the hard-line EU edifice are appearing” nor that “a technological and discreet security solution can undoubtedly be found.” The use of the word “undoubtedly” does not counter the widespread lack of certainty that a technical solution is about to appear on the horizon.

He ought to read the Irish Times article which quotes the US House of Representatives speaker on the matter of the Irish border. Nancy Pelosi warns Boris Johnson that “there would be no chance whatsoever of a US-UK trade deal if the Northern Ireland peace agreement was weakened by Brexit [because]Congress would not endorse it”.

Brexiters have, for the past three years, failed to give any serious attention to the issue which failure may well bring the whole, and not just the hard-line, Brexit edifice crashing down with unicorns prancing in the ruins. If that happens it will not be the “fault” of the perfectly reasonable stances of the EU, the Irish Government and the House of Representatives but of geography, history and wishful thinking on the part of such as Mr Sutherland.

I also take issue with his suggestion that “it’s dawning on the Irish that No Deal will engulf them more than anyone else”. The Irish have never been under any illusion whatsoever about the disastrous impact of No Deal on their country. However, to them the consequences of any possible weakening of the peace agreement are unthinkable and rightly so.

John Milne, Uddingston.

THE SNP attacks Alister Jack, the new Scottish Secretary, for his sensible approach to a WTO (“no deal”) Brexit where he dismisses claims of serious harm to our economy (“Scottish Secretary: No deal will ‘generate bumps’ along the way”, The Herald, July 26). Its cries of doom are not because it really believes no deal would be “catastrophic” but simply as an attempt to use fear to prevent us leaving the sclerotic EU at all. In this it is at one with Europhile doomsters like Dominic Grieve or Philip Hammond.

In May 2016 HM Treasury published a report entitled “The immediate economic impact of leaving the EU”. In it the Treasury said that under its “shock scenario” a vote to leave – just voting to leave – would result in an immediate recession, 3.6 per cent lower GDP within two years and unemployment up “by around 500,00”. In its “severe shock scenario”, after two years GDP would be six per cent lower and unemployment would increase “by around 800,000” if the populace had the temerity to ignore their and many others’ warnings of “catastrophe” and vote leave.

The predictions were completely untrue. The economy continued to grow, wages rose faster than prices, unemployment fell to a record low and inward investment reached a record high.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson tries to heal Brexit rift with “fantastic” Ruth Davidson

But think of the advantages of a WTO exit. First we are free of EU rules permanently and immediately. The backstop has gone. Northern Ireland continues to be in alignment with rest of the UK. Trade deals can be signed across the world in short order. We save £33 billion. Uncertainty is ended, not dragging on for years. The Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy no longer apply – the UK Government can support farmers and fisherman in the best way possible. And EU-UK trade would continue as before, not least because the EU sells us £90bn more than we buy from them. That is why the head of Calais port has guaranteed that trade will be unrestricted. The EU fears a WTO deal – a clean break – because Britain would prosper while the EU fell further behind. That is the reason they and their acolytes are so opposed to it. It would demolish the whole European project.

William Loneskie, Lauder.

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