I NOTE that the UK Government is to look at ways to counter differential income tax rates between Scotland and the rest of the UK ("MoD move to stop tax rise", The Herald, March 12). This is surely a daft response to something Westminster set in train itself, by devolving income tax powers (as opposed to other tax powers) to Scotland.

Will it also look to compensate for other anomalies between the nations of the UK? Differing council taxes (England’s rising at twice the rate of Scotland)? Cost of living/standard of living? How about education/health costs?

Scotland offers scenic beauty; more space for leisure; empty coastal waters; islands galore; cheaper housing and so on.

Will the MoD introduce cold weather payments for those serving personnel and their families living in Scotland? A “midge compensator”? A weekly “dreich allowance” for our wetter climate? Will Scotland get a per capita share of admirals and generals, or do they all have to stay in London? How about a per capita share of MoD spending?

This is absurdist nonsense, motivated by the Tories who have few actual policies in, or for, Scotland.

GR Weir,

17 Mill Street,


I SEE that mitigating measures to Scotland’s new tax system are being suggested by the Conservatives in relation to the possible impact to forces personnel based in Scotland. Those affected are those earning in excess of £26,000 per annum, and incidentally the Conservatives make no mention of personnel earning less than this figure who will see a slight decrease to their tax bill.

This is a very interesting scenario considering those personnel are all in the British Forces, whether based in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK and many are affected by stealth tax and other taxes applying in difference parts of the UK. For instance in Scotland, forces personnel receive free prescriptions, eye tests, and no tuition fees, yet in England charges apply to all three. Are the Conservatives in suggesting mitigating measures prepared to turn the table and mitigate against charges imposed on forces in England for charges mentioned?

Catriona C Clark,

52 Hawthorn Drive,

Banknock, Falkirk.

IN the past I have commented positively on David Torrance's journalistic ability, while disagreeing fundamentally with his position on constitutional and political matters. I've had the pleasure of meeting him and found him erudite and personable. So it is with considerable sadness that I read his throw away remark that the "Clause 11 kerfuffle" is "the world's most boring constitutional crisis" ("Playing the history card could be key to Labour's resurgence", The Herald, March 12)

In so doing he has finally fallen into the same trap that Conservative and Unionist commentators have of being unable to answer the reality of what is a serious situation that has massive constitutional repercussions whichever way it is finally settled by resorting to trivialising it as a matter of no significance to anyone other than rabid SNP supporters.

Throughout both the independence and Brexit debates Mr Torrance argued effectively and with knowledge, albeit from a position with which I fundamentally disagreed. That he now no longer seems either able or willing to do so in defence of the Conservative Party's stance on Clause 11 merely reinforces my view that he has defaulted to the same behaviour that my grandson adopts when he's been found out, of sticking his fingers in his ears and blowing raspberries.

So sad and disappointing.

Bill Mitchell,

Upper Ardelve, Kyle.

IT was a delight to read the volley of letters (March 12) revealing that the debate on the use of Gaelic language signage in Scotland is still open. I would however rectify a point made by Duncan MacLaren who seemingly accused me of being somewhat anti-Gaelic. Not so; my message is one of appropriateness and remains simple – keep Gaelic for the Gaels – even though it is a language which appears to me to be arrested in its development.

I have no problem whatsoever with police vehicles in Lochmaddy having Poileas Alba on the bonnet. Locals will understand it. However, I have no desire to learn the Gaelic tongue and refuse to be coerced or encourage it in others. As Dr MacDonald in the letter after Mr MacLaren's reminded us, Scotland has many languages including Scots. Why are we not promoting the broad Scots Doric as equally Scotland's language?

It seems to me that those who support the aims of nationalism wish the solidarity which comes from identifying with a very specific culture. However they often fail to realise that in a country as socially diverse and multicultural as Scotland they inevitably discriminate against others. This includes those who identify historically as being Lowland Scots such as myself and also those who see themselves as modern British Scots.

It is disingenuous to believe that extending the promotion of Gaelic signage in the Lowlands is anything other than smoke and mirrors. It mimics the use of the French language in parts of Canada but without the arguable demographic imperative.

I view the Gaelic Languages Act (2005) as culturally illegitimate and should be amended as it is prejudicial to good social harmony among all native Scots and the integration of immigrants. This would particularly be those who believe that the language of Scotland, as in the United States, is English. Even our own Act of Union in 1707 was in English.

Anyone who voted for independence in the 2014 referendum and who believes that continuing to expand the range of places in which we witness Gaelic signs is helpful to their cause should think again. It is probably having the opposite effect as the general public will increasingly feel harassed and disenfranchised by a sub-culture in Scotland that would have us all in kilts heading for the annual Mod.

Bill Brown,

46 Breadie Drive,


NATIONALIST Scotland is in a froth about flags. The Keep Scotland the brand group campaigns to have the saltire on all Scottish produce and is outraged if a Union flag is found on any of it. The Bridges for Indy group makes a spectacle of itself by taking over bridges and waving the Saltire from them. The Scottish Government decrees that the Union Flag should be flown from official buildings on one day a year only. Have we really nothing more important to be concerned about?

Jill Stephenson,

Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh.