YOUR story about seaweed (Scotland urged to capitalise on seaweed crop, The National, September 5) sparked some memories for me. Some time in the early 1980s, I think,

I was delivering a copy of the Scots Independent newspaper to a fellow SNP member in Corstorphine. Like myself, he was also a caravanner and he had just returned from a holiday in Argyll.

He told me about a seaweed processing plant in Barcaldine, on the Firth of Lorn. Apparently they were shipping in seaweed from the Far East for processing.

I do not remember exactly how the story developed, or the time line, but I contacted the then editor of the Scots Independent, Colin Bell, co-incidentally vice-chairman of publicity for the SNP at that time.

He researched the facts and it turned out that seaweed on the west coast of Scotland was contaminated by waste water from the Sellafield (formerly Windscale) nuclear power station in Cumbria. Colin published this scoop on the front page of the Scots Independent, and many other newspapers picked the story up. I will have the appropriate copy of the Scots Independent in my loft, but shudder to approach it!

I do not know if SEPA – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency – was in existence at the time, but the ludicrous situation of having to import seaweed to the west coast of Scotland was stunning.

I wonder if the contamination issue was ever resolved and if the seaweed processing plant in Barcaldine is still there?
Jim Lynch

David Davis's Brexit statement brought home what a laughing stock the UK has become

I WATCHED the statement by David Davis on the Brexit negotiations and it struck me, as these pictures were beamed worldwide, how much of a laughing stock the Disunited Kingdom must appear abroad. A minister standing at the despatch box, uttering verbal flatulence and behind him on the green front bench, two smirking liars. Our country safe in their hands? I think not.
Terry Keegans

DAVID Davis’s empty statement on the implications of Brexit was designed to cover up the massive shockwaves the EU referendum vote has created, and the unpreparedness of the Leave side to make any contingency.

An unprecedented 15-page warning was issued from Japan that the UK could see an exodus by major corporations unless it maintained access to the EU single market. Almost half of Japanese investment in the EU goes to the UK through leading firms such as Honda, Mitsubishi and Nissan.

EU leaders have made plain that the UK cannot have access to the single market while restricting freedom of movement.

The Tory plan for Brexit was outlined by Nigel Lawson. Writing in the Financial Times, he proclaimed: “Brexit gives us the chance to finish the Thatcher revolution.”

This “revolution” – more appropriately, this counter-revolution – he wrote, was achieved by a “thoroughgoing programme of supply side reform, of which judicious deregulation was a critically important part”. Withdrawal from the EU could now “make the UK the most dynamic and freest country in the whole of Europe” ... “to finish the job that Margaret Thatcher started”.
Alan Hinnrichs

MANY Brexiteers, including some in the Government, will gleefully point out that since the vote in June many indicators suggest that there has been no meltdown of the economy, so leaving the EU will do no harm to the UK .

Newsflash! We have not yet left the EU, nor have we indicated to the EU that we are leaving as our PM has not triggered Article 50 to start that process. So the optimism of Brexiteers on the state of the economy is premature to say the least. It is rather like a man jumping off a skyscraper and being heard to mutter halfway to the ground: “So far, so good.’’
James Mills

I AM writing concerning something that happened in an Edinburgh school. The IDL, that is, Interdisciplinary Learning, is an S1 project between departments within the school. The school in question is Portobello High in Edinburgh. It is a great idea. Children learn that learning is across the whole school. They learn that all the subjects are connected, and learning is an holistic adventure.

What was chosen for the main topic? An examination of the song Rule Britannia. I heard this and nearly fell over. I would like to know why this topic was chosen. It does seem just a bit biased. The song itself was written by a Scotsman, James Thomson, but that is not the point. In these heavy political times, the topic seems vastly inappropriate. Who came up this, and why? There are plenty of Scottish songs, from Burns to the Proclaimers, which chart our deep history.

Yet Portobello High deems it fit to drag out this imperialist nonsense as a bona fide lesson to children, who are highly impressionable and open to suggestion. It seems a strange lesson to teach our children.
Hugh Jones

Read the response of Portobello High School headteacher Ruth McKay to Hugh Jones's letter

AS the development trust movement in Scotland continues to grow and mature, more and more people are recognising the contribution these community-led organisations can make towards local economic development and the Scottish Government’s place-making agenda.

Perhaps less widely recognised is the extent of the voluntary commitment which makes all this happen. A recent survey of DTA Scotland members identified volunteer hours to the value of more than £4 million. When this is added to the £21m of self-generated income, this equates to a community contribution of £25m towards regeneration activity in Scotland!

Equally encouraging is the growing level of community ownership. There is now some half a million acres of land under community control, and all sorts of other physical assets thriving under community ownership.

DTA Scotland members reported community-owned assets with an aggregated value of £89.4m, with many more asset acquisitions in the pipeline.

There has never been a better time for communities to take control of their future through the acquisition and management of assets and use community ownership as a catalyst to drive local regeneration processes.
Ian Cooke
Director, DTA Scotland

IN reply to John Edgar’s letter regarding Tesco lettuce grown in Scotland and “packed for Tesco Stores Ltd Welwyn Garden City”. Welwyn is where Tesco Stores’ head office is.

A Google search about lettuce packing reveals one farm growing for Tesco packs on site. I suspect that’s what’s happening with Scottish produce. It just says “packed for Tesco”. I’m not saying Tesco don’t take Scottish goods south for packing. But they’ve certainly opened a can of worms with their recent changes.
Denise Killen