THE report that the final cost of the replacement Forth road bridge, the Queensferry Crossing, is coming in at £1 billion below the initial estimate surely offers a unique opportunity for the

Scottish Government to invest in several long overdue rail improvements in Fife.

Reinstating the five-mile stretch to Leven providing direct hourly Fife Circle services to Edinburgh would require no more than five per cent of this £1 billion.

The technical reports and strong positive case are already completed so we are just awaiting a decision. Investing in other connections such as the Forth Rail Link (Dunfermline-Stirling), Newburgh station and perhaps even the St Andrews link would be justified, all of which would improve access for sizeable communities presently excluded and, above all, reduce congestion on the existing road network.

The Edinburgh-Glasgow corridor has received huge recent investment so it is long overdue to address the major gaps in rail coverage elsewhere in the Central Belt. What are Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government still waiting for?

Dr Allen Armstrong,
Secretary, LMRC - LevenMouth Rail Campaign

Cameron's ‘one-party state’ comments are a load of drivel

I FEAR Prime Minister David Cameron has made careless use of language in his reported phrase “one-party state” to describe the future of Scotland under an SNP government.

What he probably means is a country in which one political party is so popular that very large numbers of people vote for it, to the extent that it wins an overwhelming number of seats in its parliament.

Please let Mr Cameron understand that the key word is “vote”. Trying to understand why the SNP is so popular would do much more for his party than using extravagant language. Or he might take a few tips from Ruth Davidson, who seems a decent enough quine.

Gordon Cook

YET again we hear, in an interview with Ruth Davidson on Good Morning Scotland, the same drivel about a one-party state in Scotland. Is a one-party state not one where only one party is allowed to field candidates and everyone must vote for that party? Certainly not the case in Scotland with our multiplicity of parties.

Did we hear this inane rubbish in times past when the Tories consistently won most votes in Scotland? Or when Labour did the same? It would appear that it is only a one-party state when a majority vote consistently for SNP. So those previous majorities were the result of the wise thinking of Scots, while voting SNP indicates total disengagement of the brain!

What an insult from those who want us to believe we are better with them! I will NEVER vote for any party that denies positive thinking behind my voting decisions, but thanks, Ruth, for being yet another Tory to give the SNP a boost.

P Davidson (no relation!)

THE Out Campaign believe they have winners with “Regain our Sovereignty”, “Bring back Democracy” and “Control Immigration”. These themes seem to resonate with the population in England and, of course, the Tory press is doing all it can to peddle these myths. A major concern is that the “In” Group do not seem to be able to explode them.

If the English vote “Out” and Scots vote “In” what a horrendous mess will follow. So get going with your positives, “In” campaigners, or you may be too late.

Mike Underwood

SCAREMONGERING, dishonest information, misleading statements, banks leaving, food price rise, more expensive fuel, Borders flung open and uncontrolled immigration leading to terrorist infiltration, huge job losses, spin, smears, threats, desperate and unsubstantiated claims ... familiar? Project Fear, the regurgitation, see it on a screen near you.

John McHarg, Yes2

A FRIEND has just sent me a video clip from Yes, Minister, which I can recommend to anyone thinking about the EU referendum.

In it, Sir Humphrey patiently explains to his rather dim minister what the UK Government’s policy really is towards Europe. For 500 years, he says, England has systematically prevented a united Europe by switching support between one nation and another, changing sides regularly so as to always hold the balance of power. After unsuccessfully trying to destabilise the EU from outside, Sir Humphrey goes on, we decided to join and make a right pig’s breakfast of it from the inside!

So if Sir Humphrey is right, the real judgment the voters have to make is whether we have already messed the EU up to the point where we can now leave them to quietly disintegrate, or whether we need to stay inside and destabilise them some more.

Cameron obviously thinks we haven’t yet delivered the coup de grace to the European ideal, while Boris thinks it’s job done. Oh, and when the Minister complains that this approach seems rather cynical, Sir Humphrey replies, “Well Minister, we call it diplomacy.”

Peter Craigie

IT’S good to see the crucial questions around CETA and TTIP being discussed in your pages. But Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp’s contribution was disappointingly superficial (We must be wary of throwing the baby out with the TTIP bathwater, The National, March 4). He argues that (a) the “daft stuff” won’t make the final TTIP draft, (b) it’s really just about getting rid of trade barriers and (c) we need to seek “the achievable goal of keeping essential public services and quality standards out of the deal”.

Unfortunately, the “daft stuff” – secret tribunals of corporate lawyers with the power to overrule democratic decisions, opening up of public services to corporate profit and the lowering of environmental and regulatory standards – is precisely what the whole thing is about. These are the big prizes for the corporate giants. This is what they, and sadly the European Commission, are fighting so hard for! Most of the old tariff-based barriers to trade have long gone, and for the big players it’s “daft stuff” that is left.

I hope Business for Scotland might campaign far more vigorously against all this “daft stuff” and recognise they are being promoted strongly by the mega-corporations whose ultimate goals are very different from those of Scottish SMEs. We also need the UK Government (what a hope) and the Scottish Government to absolutely rule out the NHS and essential public services from the scope of these dangerous deals.

Robin Waterston
St Andrews