Readers' Letters: Thanks for the fine journalism, Bill

The Scotsman will never be the same again without Bill Jamieson. Bill had an amazing gift of the pen, a deep love of the written word and an extraordinary command of the English language.

Bill Jamieson informed and entertained Scotsman readers with his wise and witty words
Bill Jamieson informed and entertained Scotsman readers with his wise and witty words

He was a prolific writer using his extensive knowledge of commerce, finance and politics – but equally importantly, he always looked for the rationale, the purpose or what lay behind the events on which he was giving us his opinions. He was a bit of a philosopher at heart. He was a man of vision who always tried to find positive outcomes and avoid falling into the “doom and gloom” scenario and would not miss the opportunity to introduce his quick wit or sense of humour if appropriate. He took responsibility and leadership naturally and many millions felt they knew him, even though they never met him; he was an outstanding chairman of some great debates.

Despite his dedication to reading and writing, he found time for friendship, for the community and for his beloved garden in Lochearnhead. His talents and his wisdom influenced so many – and that is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Deirdre Kinloch Anderson, Brockham Green, Kings Road, Longniddry

Positive tonic

I was shocked and immensely saddened to hear of the death of Bill Jamieson. I always looked forward to reading Bill's column each week. I tend not to read many of your other columnists because they reflect a political viewpoint which I know about already. But Bill was different. Written in wonderfully readable and often amusing style, his columns were full of intelligent, fact-based analysis which helped us understand what was going on and how things could be fixed. Above all, though, his optimism and positivity in seeking solutions was a great weekly tonic against the backdrop of the uncertainties and divisions which seem to have engulfed our country since 2008. He will be greatly missed by every Scotsman reader, no matter their political persuasion.

Brian Carson, Belmont Gardens, Edinburgh

To the point

Very sad to hear of the death of Bill Jamieson. His articles were always interesting, precise and to the point, were factual, with a keenly intelligent observation of his subject matter. There was usually good humour scattered among the most serious of his writing and he loved his cat.

Jane Ball, Hendersyde, Kelso

Pricking prose

One of Bill Jamieson’s strengths was in revealing, and deriding, the numerous pages of verbiage in companies’ annual reports devoted to self-congratulatory boasting of what are now called “woke” issues, at the expense of adequate financial data credibly explaining the past and forecasting the future. He will be sorely missed.

John Birkett, Horseleys Park, St Andrews, Fife

Look to the facts

Brian Monteith (Perspective, November 16) hits the nail on the head in pointing out how the SNP has purloined Scottish patriotism to equate it with nationalism, so that many Scots of a patriotic bent think they have to be nationalists .The SNP is doing very well from this, and this, in part, explains how they are popular, even when their record in government is not great! Unionists are just as patriotic, but are more inclined to look at the facts.

William Ballantine, Dean Road, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Trumpeting

Am I the only one who fails to grasp the logic of SNP MP Pete Wishart’s accusation of “Trumpism” directed at the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack for his reluctance to consider another independence referendum? By portraying Jack’s stance as akin to that of the POTUS’s refusal to accept the result of the recent American election, he seems to conveniently forget what happened in the referendum and has scored an embarrassing political own goal in the process. I was under the distinct impression that the people of Scotland elected to remain part of the UK. If this was indeed the case, if anyone stands to be charged with trumpety-trumping it is surely Pete Wishart himself rather than Alister Jack.

Andy Davey, St Andrews Road, Peebles

Fishy

Coastal fishing communities in Scotland are facing a very unsettling time as the UK and EU continue to strive for a trade deal on fisheries.

It is somewhat ironic that at a time when the Westminster government are in dispute with the EU about taking back control of fishing grounds (which the Heath government originally gave away) that a framework agreement has now been reached between the U.K.and Faroe and Norway by means of two separate bilateral fishing arrangements. Previously these negotiations were led by the European commission on behalf of the UK and other member states. These framework deals which are effective from January 1 will agree who has access to fishing grounds with specific arrangements relating to the marine environment and protection of the seafood and fishing sectors.The agreements will be reviewed on an annual basis. It can only be hoped that these bilateral framework arrangements can act as a blueprint for the current negotiations between the UK government and the EU.

DG McIntyre, Main Street, Davidson Mains, Edinburgh

Man of peace?

Ian W Forde doesn't say it directly, but he suggests that Donald Trump is much more militaristic than previous US presidents (Letters, 16 November ). This is in contradiction to large amounts of data that I've seen, all of which is verified in the Democrat-leaning media.

For example, under Obama the US had launched 373 drone strikes as of September 2017, versus five under Trump. Obama authorised a $1 trillion upgrade to US nuclear weapon forces, and offered $115 billion in arms sales and training to Saudi Arabia, a record for any US president. Under the Bushes (both of them) at least three major wars were launched against Iraq and Afghanistan. Clinton launched military action in the Balkans, which did not have UN approval. But I'm not aware of any wars launched by Trump.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

Look to China

Perhaps Ian W Forde would share with readers what he would suggest to stop other countries burning fossil fuels, building coal-fired power plants, driving 1.4 billion petrol/diesel cars and populations breeding like rabbits (Letters, 17 November).

He might like to concentrate solely on China and give his solution on a country responsible for 30 per cent of global emissions, refusing to reduce them until after 2030 – maybe – yet building 1,171 new coal-fired power plants to add to the 2,363 they already have. Extinction Rebellion chooses easy targets, not countries like China where they would be locked up and the key thrown away. That is why, Ian W Forde, I repeat "XR supporters are cowards''.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

War no more

I feel honoured that two letters in today’s paper take umbrage with my own humble letter of November 14. I do feel, though, I should point out to Ian W Forde that Trump has been one of the few US Presidents to worry his own defence staff by withdrawing troops from many locations, hence fulfilling his campaign pledge to bring American troops home from “endless wars”.

Fraser Grant’s letter, on the other hand, is almost as amusing as I intended my own to be. Does he seriously think we are governed by opinion polls? It makes me wonder what his feelings were on September 19 2014 when he woke up to a Scotland that voted against independence, or even last week when the Scottish Parliament voted for the release of the legal advice sought by the Salmond Enquiry.

These real votes simply reinforce my point – one that obviously hit the mark judging by the responses. The SNP just cannot accept results.

Ken Currie, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

Asking for it

Unbelievably, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is photographed standing feet away from an MP who has just been, or is about to be, tested for Covid, and neither man is even wearing a mask. The phrase "asking for it" comes to mind.

Steve Hayes, Aithernie Court, Leven, Fife

Counting cost

The media is currently full of articles and readers' letters reviewing independence yet there seems to be little interest over the cost of implementing the goals of COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference due to be held in Glasgow in November next year.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, declared a Climate Emergency in spring 2019, yet has given little indication of the financial impact of COP26.

Indeed, the Economic Secretary accepted all the recommendations in the report by the Climate Emergency Response Group whilst casting a deafening silence over the £150 billion price tag.

Such a cost is 100 per cent of Scottish gross domestic product hence, if clearing a £5 billion GERS deficit was forecast by Andrew Wilson to require up to ten years of austerity, how long would it take to clear a £150bn debt ?Surely Indyref2 supporters need to take heed of the advice from MP Kenny MacAskill that “independence is irrelevant if we cannot fix the climate”.

Surely identifying how to pay for COP26 needs to take priority over IndyRef2 – or has Scotland decided that there will be no participation in the outcomes of the Glasgow conference ?

Ian Moir, Queen Street, Castle Douglas

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid Letters to the Editor in your subject line.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.