ON Thursday The National gave an update on the long-running dispute between Holyrood and Westminster over the missing millions of EU farming support money (Missing £160m EU farm money finally ‘repatriated’ to Scotland, September 5), and which has been welcomed by Fergus Ewing.

While this money, should it ever materialise, will be very welcome to the farming industry, we should not get carried away in our exuberance at this miraculous reincarnation. For years we have had a variety of excuses regarding this cash; it has been used up, reallocated and, basically, as far as the Westminster ministers were concerned, we could whistle for it.

From the minute Chancellor Javid, as if by magic, discovered this serious mistake made by his predecessors in the London governments, it has been mentioned quite a number of times from the government side of the House, and on every single mention it has been accompanied by a phrase along the lines of “following the representations made to ministers by the hard-working Tory members from our Scottish constituencies who have worked tirelessly to get this matter sorted ...”

I’ll bet they have. This is all hogwash. Scottish Government ministers and Scottish members of parliament have been raising this situation with government ministers for years, and not as much as a squeak has been heard from the Scottish Tories. Not a single reference was made to the actions of the Scottish Government representatives in all of this.

The sudden reference to the hard-working Scottish Tory members has only been occasioned by the desperate need of Prime Minister Johnson to try and retain the support of farming voters in the mainly rural areas of Scotland which these misguided members inhabit, now that it has become painfully obvious that an early election is on the cards.

If there was no election on the horizon the £160m would not have been heard of. I hope that all the farming voters in these areas will put their crosses in the correct box when the time comes and ensure that Johnson loses all his Scottish support, and that that will help add to the defeat of this lying and unscrupulous government.

George M Mitchell


THE first First Minister’s Questions of the new parliamentary session got under way on Wednesday and opposition parties had much to go on, with the Scottish Government’s 2019 Programme for Government being unveiled only three days before and the Westminster Government’s Autumn Spending Review only the day before.

Despite this, the Scottish Conservative care-taker leader Jackson Carlaw MSP chose to go on Brexit!

Quite unbelievable considering this week’s developments at Westminster within his own party, which included sackings, deselections, withdrawal of the whip and resignations.

Jackson Carlaw, in his choice of topic, clearly demonstrates the clear contempt the Conservative party have for the country, a country in crisis of their making.

Catriona C Clark


WITH reference to the comments of “name and address supplied” (Letters, August 14), I write to make corrections to your correspondent’s assumptions pertaining to the Levenmouth Railway.

The rationale underpinning the new railway is not a romantic attempt to turn Leven into a Victorian seaside resort in an era when holiday demographics, travel possibilities and human expectations are now far different. Rather, the new Leven Railway will generate Edinburgh commuter inward-migration, attract inward business investment, provide an optimal employment and education-related travel modality for Leven’s populace and significantly enhance the area’s rail freight development potential.

Leven and the remaining Fife reopenings (Dunfermline to Alloa, Newburgh and St Andrews) all have different rationales underpinning their equally compelling business, logistical and environmental cases, and each is meritorious of implementation, as indeed are some other rail-related schemes currently being promoted in other parts of the country.

It is a most unfortunate circumstance that those opposed to railway developments (whether some or all) seldom consider the multiplicity of reasons underpinning such proposals and almost invariably resort to making claims of sufficient bus provision without any knowledge of bus uptake data, intermodal drop-off rates or the optimal modality for ensuring en masse transfer from car to public transport – this, unsurprisingly, is rail.

The Levenmouth Railway will be a great success for the town and surrounding area it serves and will make a further positive addition to one of our most precious assets – the national rail network. I look forward to visiting Leven, by rail, in a few short years’ time (and even more so when I can start the journey at St Andrews railway station!)

Dita Stanis-Traken

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