I AGREE entirely with Andrew Tickell’s assessment of politicians being opportunistic charlatans (Tory flip-flop on Police Scotland par for the course, The National, December 6). The “four legs good, two legs bad” style of debate is largely responsible for turning people away from politics and, more importantly, voting in elections. It appears to me that a smaller more tractable, electorate is the political parties’ preferred outcome.

As for the police, it makes perfect sense for a nation/region/geographical area of five million people to have a single police service. It’s a pity they weren’t more bold in the seventies when they merged the then city and county areas to create eight police forces. It’s arguable whether that merging ever saved money, just as the single force may never do so. Ultimately it comes down to operational performance whereby all command areas across Scotland are working from the same standard operating procedures (which will allow for local variations/requirements) with built-in resilience. This won’t happen overnight or even in just a few years.

To cite an example, in 2003 the three operational divisions in the City of Edinburgh (then part of Lothian and Borders Police) were merged into one “super” division. It took five years of “migrations” (moving resources around) before overall performance returned to pre-merger levels. Even five years would be an optimistic target for the national service.

I suspect there will be a realignment of management ethos and style and some may find this change more difficult than others. This may even be why we are seeing the ongoing misconduct enquiries, which in itself shows the system is working. Unfortunately the reporting style of the media leaves a lot to be desired, certain reporters seem to relish stating the word “gross” (as in gross misconduct) at every opportunity. A brief explanation of police misconduct regulations would assist public understanding. (Of course the same could be said of the single market prior to the EU referendum).

Major organisational change, like major construction projects will always require “snagging”.
David Bruce
via thenational.scot

THROUGHOUT the Brexit debacle a single trait of the UK Government and its “EU negotiating team” has glaringly stood out: blind arrogance. This blatant political disdain of the views of other parties, emphasised by an assortment of patronising comments and platitudes, was reflected in the smug dismissal of options proposed by the Scottish Government in the objectively constructed paper Scotland’s Place In Europe.

This conceit was also reflected in the initial derision expressed by UK Government ministers of the three fundamental criteria outlined by the EU as requiring agreement before trade talks could commence, which after six months of condescending bluster now appear to have been basically agreed in principle, if not in formal words. The Prime Minister’s presumption that the Conservative Party’s de facto coalition partners, the DUP, would simply go along with a concession that in effect would give Northern Ireland a separate trading status from the rest of the UK in favour of “regulatory alignment” (read customs union) with that of the Republic of Ireland, was not only vain and aloof, but alarmingly naive.

Scots have a long history of bringing those with arrogant pretensions down to earth, which regrettably has at times been wrongly assessed by some from south of the Border as an “anti-English” sentiment, and perhaps “now is the time” for Scotland to forge its own path forward while encouraging our English friends to ditch support for self-serving egotists, such as ex-Etonians Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, in pursuit of more socially responsible government.

Self-determination presents many challenges but there is no limit to what can be achieved with everyone, including all who wish to build a positive future in our country from wherever they may originate, considered as a valued individual and not simply a statistic to be quoted in a pompous political charade to re-establish the “Great” British Empire.
Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

TRAVELLING over to Cupar in the bus the other day I read about a French woman, married to a Scotsman, their marriage having been blessed with two children, born and raised in Scotland. The husband served as a soldier in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, now after all these years has been told by the Home Office his wife does not qualify to stay in Scotland.

This is not the first time we have seen such a ruling by the Home Office. A Canadian had to uproot the family from Scotland having married a Scot and brought up their children here. An Australian family were kicked out of Scotland because of rules interpreted by some official in the Home Office. I wonder if Prince Harry’s new bride to be will have the same difficulty with dual citizenship. Due to marry next year, at the taxpayer’s expense, dependent upon the state for their keep, and housed in a grace-and-favour house, in one of the most prestigious postcodes in the country, again at taxpayers’ expense. Then again, his future wife may have an offshore account like her future grandmother-in-law that she can count upon as proof of liquidity.

It really is time powers over immigration were transferred from Whitehall to Edinburgh.
Walter Hamilton
St Andrews