SO Liam Fox – previously disgraced Defence Secretary – is preparing his get out. Is his confirmation of the looming crisis a prime case of project fear or sour grapes?

We have also had the pronouncement from Mark Carney and in his case I have decided it should come under the banner “Project Fair Warning”. Remember 2008 when the banks behaviour caused the financial crisis and we saw people having to queue outside Northern Rock bank to get their cash before the bank went bust? It has to be said that the bankers themselves did not go bust and, unless I am underestimating them, they might well be reviewing the no-deal Brexit as another opportunity to cash in. In the past 10 years they have continued to treat customers badly. Witness Hodge Bank which told me in a letter prior to the expected Bank of England rate rise which did not happen in May that they were going to reduce easy access interest rates. Or Hampshire Trust Bank who have offered special “loyalty” interest rates for renewal of maturing funds this week only for me to find that there are better products on offer from them.

READ MORE: Fox ridiculed for embarrassing Brexit U-turn

I also recently found out to my cost that there is no longer the 14 day cooling off period on certain types of account – Nationwide being an exception.

So, should bank customers wait and see what happens? Or should we take the Fair Warning, play safe and start to withdraw our savings from the banks now? And why wait to see if we are granted a people’s vote. Let’s all write to our MPs demanding the immediate abandonment of Brexit and copy the Prime Minister. That would surely be a better indication of the true will of the people than a poll of only one thousand of us.
Robert Johnston

I NOTED with interest Tory trade secretary, Liam Fox, warning that a no-deal Brexit was now more likely than the UK getting an agreement with the EU. Quite bizarrely, this appears to be the same Liam Fox who little more than a year ago said that a post-Brexit free trade with the EU should be the “easiest in human history” to achieve.

According to Fox, this no-deal Brexit is due to the “intransigence” of Brussels. Quite a common strategy to use it must be said. If you cannot get what you want, blame the other side. However, the “facilitated customs arrangement” being promoted by the UK Government is a non-starter. The EU simply cannot allow a country that isn’t a member of the customs union collect duties. Likewise, the UK simply cannot cherry-pick what regulatory aspects of the EU it wants to remain aligned with and which it doesn’t.

The EU has made clear at the outset what its “red lines” are and it cannot be seen to be doing anything that threatens the integrity of the single market and customs union.

Fox is guilty of looking to deflect blame, pure and simple, turning his fire on Brussels when the European Commission made its position clear from the very beginning.
Alex Orr

THERE’S no doubt that in a general sense “the UK Government has unilaterally moved away from the original devolution settlement as agreed”, as Nan Spowart quotes a Scottish Government spokeswoman saying (Fury as more rail delays predicted on Highland main line, August 6). However I do not see how that can explain the unequal treatment of the road and rail routes between Perth and Inverness, which is what her report is about. The choice of whether to spend money on road or rail upgrades remains fully devolved.

READ MORE: Fury as more rail delays predicted on Highland main line

Right from its election as a minority Government in 2007 the SNP began a process of cutting rail investment projects in order to spend more money on road building. Certain MSPs were quite blatant about this in demanding that the Edinburgh Trams be cancelled so that the money could be spent on dualling the A9, a project with no sound business case (though cynics sometimes observe that the only “business case” a road scheme needs is that the local Chamber of Commerce favours it). The Edinburgh Trams survived, but any rail project not too committed to make scrapping feasible fell victim to the SNP’s desire to attract the Top Gear vote.

The fact that the promised 10 minutes journey time reductions on the Highland Main Line are insufficient to compete with a dualled A9 or a breach of Alex Salmond’s promises matters less than that they are the natural consequence of minimising spending on rail to that which can produce attractive headlines while prioritising road building. I am afraid that the slogan “SNP Baad”, however unjustified in other areas, seems right to anyone who wants to see Scotland’s railways meaningfully improved and expanded.
Andrew McCracken

SOME time ago, The National, mainstream media and the Scottish Parliament gave coverage to The Historical Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill (Holyrood backs law to pardon gay men convicted before 1980, June 6) which in essence pardons men convicted of historical same-sex sexual offences (legislation which was rejected by Westminster).

Personally, I am of the opinion that this course of action is the correct one as gay men have been the victims of prejudice and discrimination in the past. However, may I sound a word of caution about future “retrospective legislation?”

Using the same logic, other formerly illegal practices that were enshrined in law, are now no longer felonies due to the repeal of various acts of parliament. In the 1990s, the then Labour Government legalised pictorial and visually recorded pornography. Does this mean that people fined and imprisoned for possession of pornography, prior to legalisation, are entitled to a pardon? The Scottish Parliament recently debated the lowering of the age of sexual consent from 16 to 14. The debate found in favour of the status quo. Had the age of consent been lowered, however, would that have meant that sexual offenders imprisoned for crimes against 14 to 16 year olds, prior to the change in law, be entitled to a pardon?

READ MORE: Holyrood backs law to pardon gay men convicted before 1980

Unfortunately, these are moral questions. Who decides the moral fabric underpinning our society? Are politicians best served to decide what is right and what is wrong in our country? For example, is it the role of the state to decide who is a bigot and who is not? After all, fining or imprisoning a bigot is unlikely to change his or her prejudices. In the end, perhaps the matter is not up to the state, but to the individual.
WJ Graham
East Kilbride