ONCE again, the UK Government is seen to be a “laughing stock” in front of the world stage. James Cleverly was in New York giving a major speech about his views on migration. He is now suggesting that, apparently, the countries of Africa, India and south-east Asia have become much wealthier countries.

He argues that Western powers should support these countries in ensuring they are safe and prosperous to prevent an “outflow of people” and a “devastating talent drain”. Such talent as could be made use of for the UK, if only the likes of Cleverly could recognise the possibility of such talent within the people seeking refuge in the UK.

READ MORE: James Cleverly claims goodwill towards migrants isn't 'bottomless'

He also talks about the fact that migrants risk “burning” through the goodwill of UK citizens, whatever that might mean.

With reference to the UK Rwanda plan for dealing with illegal immigration to the UK, he admits the plan has not been easy and “hasn’t been quick”. Too bloody right it hasn’t. Two prime ministers and how many home secretaries later since Priti Patel, and still the Rwanda plan hasn’t been effective while costing the UK taxpayers millions of pounds.

It’s no wonder that Helen Dempster, a policy fellow at the Centre for Global Development, has confirmed what we have known for some time, that the UK, after “applying successive rounds of hasty cuts which have undermined any progress”, has been made “a laughing stock on the world stage”.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

I SUPPOSE that we should all initially welcome the news that a Japanese firm has agreed to invest in a major energy project in the Highlands despite the fact that a £24.5 million Scottish Government grant was needed to secure Sumitomo Electric Industries’ investment in the new cable factory for the offshore wind sector at Nigg. Presumably the tax incentives of a freeport also featured large in the decision.

How often have we heard the same promises of “high-quality jobs” over past decades, only to discover that in a few years’ time when, in this case, no further cables are required locally, the grants have vanished and “market forces” dictate the cables will then be produced somewhere in the developing world?

READ MORE: Japanese firm to bring £350m energy project to Scotland

It seems that the factory will manufacture cables which will be used to connect offshore wind turbines now being planned for Scottish waters. I cannot help but think these cables will inevitably be used to transfer electricity generated in or around Scotland to our energy-hungry neighbours south of the Border. We are in danger of repeating the mistakes of the 1970s when pipelines drained our oil to the south.

Ironically the cost of these cables, and the electricity passing through them, will no doubt eventually end up in as a part of our ever-increasing energy bills as we are charged unfairly for their use by the so-called “National” Grid.

I only wish the Scottish Government could find the same grants and tax incentives to save our only oil refinery at Grangemouth.

Brian Lawson

YOUR shocking exclusive article “Voter ID leaders to hundreds turned away in Rutherglen by-election (Feb 25) was informative and deserves a wide audience. Hundreds of voters being turned away at the polling station in a single by-election is a scandal that eats at the very heart of our democracy.

The Electoral Commission publishes reports on electoral procedures. One consistently striking element is how clean British elections are. The last General Election saw police recording only 158 cases of alleged electoral fraud nationally.

READ MORE: General Election Watch: Could voter ID impact marginal seats?

The Commission’s interim analysis of last May’s English local elections, with the voter ID requirement in place, reported that approximately 14,000 voters who went to polling stations were not issued with a ballot paper because they could not show an accepted form of ID. The Commission added that the 14,000 was an underestimate. 4% of non-voters gave their reason for not voting, unprompted, as the ID requirement, 3% blamed a lack of necessary ID and 1% their disagreement with the requirement.

Electoral fraud has long been a tiny problem. The authoritarian response of mandatory voter ID is a cumbersome, cynical ploy to disenfranchise folk that has no place in our democracy. Your Rutherglen story makes this clear. It is imperative that this rule is scrapped at the first opportunity.

Christopher Ruane

IN response to the letter from L Scott Moncrieff on February 27, the Electoral Commission would like to provide reassurance to voters that they do not need to go online to apply for voter ID if they don’t have accepted ID.

They can apply by contacting their local electoral registration office by phone or post. Electoral registration office teams are ready to help voters through the process.

Andy O’Neill
Head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland