AMID the current outcry over the ridiculous immigration proposals from Westminster I was saddened, but not really surprised, by the rant against immigrants from the lady in the Question Time audience. She illustrated clearly how there are still many who have been taken in by the lies told over many years by Tories, both in and out of government, to enable them to cover up and avoid blame for their failings, in provision of adequate housing, staff for the NHS etc.

It seems, though, that they are still thirled to their mantra that immigrants are a burden, fleece the welfare system, are unskilled and steal British jobs by accepting low pay, while all the eight million not economically active are just lazy scroungers. In Priti Patel’s book that means pensioners in their seventies and eighties, those dying of cancer and other terminal illnesses, children with severe handicaps and students studying to become “highly skilled” can take their place. It sounds great, I am sure, to a xenophobic Tory determined to continue a hostile environment.

READ MORE: What Scotland can learn from the Question Time guest’s bigotry

This mantra insults immigrants. They contribute far more to the economy than they take from the state. Many are highly skilled. A member of my family survived cancer for 20 years in good health thanks to the skill and care of one Indian, one Greek and one Romanian doctor. How many doctors can we train up before the end of this year? No-one is stealing British jobs if there are not enough people unemployed, or there is a mismatch of skills. Could plumbers fill chefs’ posts?

In Angus, I believe, there were fewer unemployed by far last year than were required to pick the fruit. Also a huge proportion of those on low pay are either directly or indirectly funded by the very government which wants wages to rise, or employed by huge businesses which are allowed to avoid tax, or by businesses struggling to stay afloat against Tory austerity.

READ MORE: SNP urge Question Time review after BBC broadcasts racist rant

There is, however, another unintended consequence. If a company, such as a home care one, has a substantial proportion of its staff from abroad, and can no longer fill these posts, it may well be unable to fulfil its contracts and will go under. Then all the British employees will lose their jobs too, become unemployed and claim benefit. If a whole sector of business is thus affected, or perhaps several sectors, what will then be the effect on the economy? Mortgages unpaid, negative equity, yet more food banks? Another recession and more austerity? Will people still be happy that we have got rid of those immigrants who were “stealing our jobs”?

But this is just like the Australian system, which works fine. Indeed? Even that is quite strict, but has at least one sensible variant that this proposal does not – the possibility of different visa conditions for different states to take account of their different needs. The Scottish Government set out in careful detail just how that could work to the benefit of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the document was binned out of hand.

So what we have now is a pick ’n’ mix Australian system, one that a) suits the xenophobic English Tory voters and Unionists, and b) imposes a totally unsuitable system on Scotland that can be guaranteed to damage our economy and impoverish us.

So what is gained by Westminster and the Tories? Two things that guide their every action. First, a tighter grip on power and second, a wealthy Scotland made too poor to be independent and so tied forever to the “precious Union”. Worth any price, that.

L McGregor

LAST Thursday’s Question Time was another illustration that the BBC can no longer be considered as a “public broadcaster”, educating and informing their viewers. Although Question Time is touted as a serious political discussion, they plainly view it as entertainment – it has about as much informative value as Judge Judy.

Jim Palmer

MY biggest concern about the racist rant which has dominated the Question Time issue since last week was the silence with which the audience received it. I would like to think she would have been shouted down by a Scottish audience.

David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

WATCHING Rough Guide to the Future last week, a thought occurred. Gradually everything is being directed towards an app on your mobile. Am I alone in thinking this will ultimately give the mobile companies total control over most humans on the planet?

If they “pull the plug” you won’t be able to shop, bank, or officially exist as a person. As this all started with the Industrial Revolution, were the Luddites really the baddies, or did they just have a vision of where it would lead to?

Barry Stewart