China syndrome

Shouldn’t there be a moral dimension to relations between the Scottish Government and Communist China (your reports, 4 and 5 November)?

It seems all that counts is the realism summed up in the Roman proverb “pecunia non olet” (money doesn’t stink).

But as Joyce McMillan argued recently for upholding human rights, “freedom is what keeps us all safe”.

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Surely if we believe in basic freedoms at home we should seek to embody them in our relations abroad.

Is there no room any more for what was called Wilsonian idealism or Roosevelt’s “four freedoms”?

It isn’t merely coincidence that a basic civil liberty of “free collective bargaining” was sacrificed at Grangemouth.

Arguably, a possibly independent Scotland, though small in “hard power” terms, should practise the “politics of morality” abroad as well as at home.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk


The First Minister has gone to China on another of his delusions of grandeur trips.

No doubt Alex Salmond will have been fobbed off with a few meetings with minor Chinese trade officials and his “success” and “achievements” were no doubt already written by the SNP’s spin doctors before he left.

These are the occasions on which Mr Salmond seems most happy and the fact that all could have been secured by a minor official from the nearest British Consulate matters little when a gargantuan ego is involved.

Meanwhile, in the real world, we still wait for an answer to why “getting together” to solve the Grangemouth crisis is good but sticking together as the UK is bad.

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Or why his supporters continue to pillory the BBC, the most scrupulously fair broadcasting organisation on the planet, the envy of most, and almost dementedly scour the programme schedules for evidence to the contrary.

Do we really want people with this way of thinking breaking up the UK and running a separated Scotland? I think the opinion polls may have already answered that.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg