READER Colin Dunning suggests that Scotland football fans should boycott the upcoming march against Israel (Letters, February 14). He is probably a little late with his suggestion, given that the match is virtually a sell-out. However, I wonder why he is singling out Israel for a boycott.

I can’t disagree with the comments he makes about Israel. But, if we somehow qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, should we refuse to participate as a protest against the Qatari regime, whose human rights record is questionable? Should we refuse to play against those eastern European countries – eg Russia, Belarus – where the interpretation of democracy and human rights is strange? Would Mr Dunning be happy if other counties refused to play against Scotland because of UK abuses of human rights, such as those of the Chagos islanders who were dispossessed of their homeland by the UK?

READ MORE: Letters, February 14

Lastly, I do agree that the current SFA slogan “Nothing Else Matters” is appalling. I shall go to the Israel match. Should we lose, I will be disappointed, but not as disappointed as when I look around and see poverty, homelessness and wars against humanity.

Douglas Morton

I HAVE lost count of the number of times I find myself nearly tearing my hair out over the story of yet another deportation/asylum refusal etc. I am equally infuriated by and tired of the standard Home Office statement about each case being decided on its merits, and the excuse – not reason, as there is none – of insufficient evidence.

What further evidence do they need that someone has lived and worked here for years, other than their National Insurance (NI) number, without which they could not have been able to work? Do they think everyone asking permission to remain is automatically an illegal immigrant working under the radar and fleecing the state?

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If they need more evidence than the NI number, how about their tax record – also held by a government department? As to spouses being deported on the pretext that it is not a “real” marriage, why not check the marriage register? There are multiple internal ways that can be checked – or are government departments banned from talking to each other?

In cases such as the Jamaicans deported last week, who will now have to support the wives and families so arbitrarily deprived of a father? The state? And what effect will the trauma for the children have on mental health services? I always thought that we had signed up to the UN Human Rights legislation which protects the right to a family life, but how is that legal commitment being honoured by the Home Office? Is this perhaps a governmental money-making scam that charges exorbitant fees to apply for these rights, and then charges even more to appeal against these wicked, inhumane decisions? Perhaps it is time we crowdfunded a pot of money to help such people fight their case.

It is certainly high time these cases were more widely made public. How about The National devoting a column per week to an update on as many cases as possible that have come to light? There should be no shortage of copy.

L McGregor

GRANT Shapps, just one day after the fanfare approval of HS2 between London and Crewe, dropped a strong hint that future stages of HS2 and NPR would likely be denuded – with twistier lines and slower running trains. But the latter need not be the case; Scotland and “The North” should not have to accept second best. This can be avoided by ordering some of the most advanced trains in the world.

Just last year, French manufacturer Alstom in the US became the second train manufacturer in the world to produce a very high-speed train that can run at HS2 speeds and tilt. The Alstom Avelia Liberty, effectively a tilting TGV, and the tilting trains from Spanish manufacturer Talgo, mean that future fast lines can be built more sensitively to avoid built-up areas (a major cost inflator for HS2 Phase 1) and be routed easily through hilly terrain.

These advanced trains would run faster on upgraded existing lines than any UK train we presently use, at speeds up to 165mph, and on the new HS2 lines at 220mph. It is highly unlikely the UK will have many new high-speed lines, but for a fraction of the price the UK can have significantly enhanced rail travel through clever use of upgraded existing lines and HS2.

It is time for our MPs and Department for Transport staff to update their technical knowledge so that tax-payers north of the Midlands can have their lives enhanced by reduced travel time and don’t lose out on technology that has been developed since the HS2 design started more than 10 years ago simply because ignorance and stasis have taken over at the DfT.

Angus Munro

IGOR: Master, you’ve created this monster from two evil Tories. What name will you give him?

Dr Frankenstein: I’ll call him Boris Carlaw.

James Arthur