Herald letter: “Goodbye Lenin” and the Scottish Six.

THE prospect of a new Scottish BBC TV channel and its associated new jobs is great news. We can all look forward to fresh talent and a broad range of new programme making. And it is certain to be better than the dire Scotland 2014/15/16.

The complaint that some are making regarding the lack of a Scottish Six on BBC1 is also misplaced: most people have a recording or streaming device which will allow them to watch the new Scottish Nine at any time, without missing their favourite drama which is broadcast at the same time (or vice- versa.)

I am also reminded of the film Goodbye Lenin, where former East German citizens create “news” videotapes to hoodwink a sick person over the fall of the Berlin Wall. If people are so keen to have a Scottish Six, they could record the Scottish Nine O’Clock news, and play it at 6pm the next day. (Just a suggestion …)

Peter A Russell

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Herald letter: EU Migration (features Alf Garnett)

YOUR correspondent Douglas Mayer (Letters, February 21) in quoting the Lincolnshire town of Boston unfortunately parades many of the misapprehensions which bedevil any discussion on immigration.

Above all, he claims that unlimited EU immigration has led to disadvantages for local people in access to jobs, lowered wages, and in the public services they receive. As Alf Garnett would have put it: “Comin’ over ‘ere, pinchin’ our jobs and ‘ospital beds and school places.” Indeed, what is possibly most depressing about such views is that they have not moved on from the 1960s.

Surely it is better to see the benefits that immigration has delivered both nationally and locally.

In the case of Boston (where I have relatives) the business plan for many local agricultural employers is based on growth which is only possible because of the expanded labour supply provided by EU migration.

Likewise, public services which require minimum population densities and levels of demand continue to serve the town only because of EU migrants. The most obvious example is a local hospital maternity unit, which would have closed had it not been for a revival in the number of births, due to EU migrants. In time the babies will become schoolchildren, who will require schools, which will be kept open instead of suffering closure because of falling rolls.

“So,” shout Alf and his latter day successors, “‘oo is going to pay for it all?” The answer is of course that part of the working population who pay more in through taxation than they take out in services and benefits – which includes the EU migrants.

Peter A Russell

Herald Letter: Labour’s Record.

THE causes behind the collapse of the Labour Party in Scotland are so various and complex that they will keep academics in business for many years to come: indeed, it is the combination of factors, both external and of the Party’s own making, into such a perfect storm that has made that collapse so complete.

However, views such as those expressed by Ian Thomson illustrate one of Labour’s own most obvious political failures: “the egregious failure, when placed with a large majority, to rebuild the country’s schools, welfare services, and health provision”. If Mr Thomson truly believes this, he is mistaken, and Labour itself should have better informed him.

In fact, Labour rebuilt hundreds of schools, for example the whole secondary estate in Glasgow, and committed resources to deprived areas for this purpose throughout England. It also created the welfare provision which is now so viciously under attack from the Tories (with no relief offered by the SNP, despite the new powers of the Scottish Parliament). And it invested in the NHS so that satisfaction levels were at an all-time high.

Like every government, the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were not perfect. However, Labour might have done rather better if subsequent leaders were more inclined to make known its many positive achievements, from devolution to lifting hundreds of thousands of children and pensioners from poverty.

Peter A Russell

Herald letter:referendum outcomes

DAVE Biggart Letters, February 9) makes a simple but fatal error in his equation of the No vote in 2014 referendum and the Scottish Remain vote in 2013. He fails to see that the first was a vote in Scotland only and the second was a vote of the whole UK.

It is simple and elementary democracy to respect both of these on their own terms – that is, according to the votes cast for or against each proposition by the respective electorates.

We knew all along that in the case of the EU referendum every Scottish vote was equal to every vote elsewhere in the UK. Therefore the border between Scotland and England means in this case as little as that between East and West Sussex – where the respective votes cast were also equal.

Peter A Russell