GREG Russell reports that the Cabinet is on stand-by for fresh talks to agree a deal (Holyrood backs ‘People’s Vote’ referendum on final Brexit deal, November 8). Of course, to be more precise, it is to agree a final proposal to the EU to fill out the issue on the Irish backstop. There is no guarantee that it will be accepted either by the Cabinet, the UK Parliament or the Council of Ministers.

As there is still a refusal by Theresa May to publish the legal advice behind the latest proposal from No 10 on the backstop, one must question why the secrecy at this late juncture? Michel Barnier has reiterated to the Belgian media that the ball is still in the UK court! Are there ambiguities still being masked to confuse the Cabinet and the rest?

It seems to resemble a move to be vague to get initial acceptance by the Cabinet to conclude the withdrawal phase. The issues regarding the future relationship are still outstanding. Angela Merkel has recently stated that the withdrawal is the main issue at present, and no other scenarios post March 2019 are being considered.

It underscores again the weak position the UK Leavers have put the country in. Taking back control is a chimera. Theresa May instinctively knows this, despite all protestations to the contrary, and avoids that ultimate decision as she is in a three-cornered dilemma.

One must speculate about the next move if or when any withdrawal agreement is settled. Will Theresa May stay the course, or go? After March 29 2019 it is a new phase to negotiate a future relationship, and given the trudge by No 10 to formulate proposals and to have them agreed from within before presentation to the EU, the evidence so far is poor. The DUP has caused change of statements overnight. Furthermore, proposals have been made which the EU have stated in advance cross its red lines.

Chequers has already been declared “mort”! So what next? One can almost speculate that, following an agreement on withdrawal leading to the initiation of the transitional stage that still leaves open any future trade deal subject to the ultimate decisions so far avoided, Theresa May will leave the scene one way or the other and the poisoned chalice will be handed to another.

John Edgar

READ MORE: Holyrood backs 'People's Vote' referendum on final Brexit deal​

I FULLY understand Colin Armstrong’s frustration (Tesco says Scotland is a region amid flag row, November 6) over simply being honest about a product’s place of origin. What is the perceived problem with this?

I encountered an example of extraordinary and unexplained marketing of punnets of raspberries at my local Tesco this last summer. Now, I appreciate that there were more important events happening in the world than worrying about raspberries, but nonetheless I was perplexed to see the small punnet, bearing the saltire flag – correctly, in my view, as its place of origin was Arbroath – whilst the larger version, from exactly the same place and supplier, bore packaging plastered with the Union flag, and bearing the legend: “British raspberries.”

I do not regard myself as a troublemaker (although anybody who questions anything these days tends to be cast in this role), but I resolved to get to the bottom of this. My questions to in-store management met with evasiveness, so I wrote to headquarters. I received the answer that this is not the sort of matter which is normally commented upon.

Really? What about the meat counter? Here, I learned that beef sourced locally from Galloway, thus clearly Scottish, if announced over the tannoy system, must be hailed as “British beef”. What comment could be made about that, I wonder. Not overtly political? Pull the other one.

Brian D York

READ MORE: Tesco says Scotland is UK region in row over Union Jack on produce​

I WAS amazed at the fuss made over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. No doubt Saudi Arabia was amazed as well, as they execute people right, left and centre and nobody cares. People forget the depths of barbarity this fundamentalist country imposes on its people.

For example, Indonesian migrant domestic worker Tuti Tursilawati was executed by beheading by Saudi Arabia last Monday. Shockingly, Saudi Arabia did not notify Tursilawati’s family or Indonesian officials about the execution.

Tursilawati had been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for allegedly beating her employer to death with a stick in self-defence against attempted rape. She managed to run away, but was then raped instead by nine Saudi men before the police brought her into custody.

Her execution and the ensuing diplomatic row is now sparking calls for Jakarta to scrap a workers’ deal it has with Riyadh.

This is not the first time an Indonesian migrant worker has been executed by the Saudis, nor is it the first time the Saudis have failed to notify the worker’s family and Indonesian officials prior to the execution. The problem has become so severe that during a recent joint commission meeting between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi requested the Saudis to provide consular notifications in accordance with the 1963 Vienna Convention on consular relations. Wahyu added that President Jokowi has previously asked Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir for assurances that Indonesian migrant workers’ rights would be protected.

When Jokowi met with the Saudi foreign minister, the President asked Saudi Arabia to provide protection for Indonesian migrant workers and work to resolve the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in earnest.

It turns out the request was simply ignored. As usual the fuss will die down and it will be business as usual with a country that, if it wasn’t for money, no decent person would have anything to do with.

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