Self-service checkouts aren’t worth the hassle they cause

Letters
Four men breaking open the self-service machines: West Midlands Police

So last year customers stole £3.2bn worth of food at supermarket self-service checkouts? How many checkout assistants would that pay for? It makes you wonder if getting rid of all those staff to save money was worth it.

Deborah Everett
Ashton under Lyne

Regarding your article on the intrusive cameras at self-service checkouts, the answer to preventing theft is to do away with the wretched checkouts altogether.

They are not there to assist the customers but to cut down on staffing, dehumanising the whole experience while fattening profits and bonuses for the directors and raising unemployment.

Mike Margetts
Kilsby UK

Why aren’t we doing more to eliminate Ebola?

The resurgence of Ebola speaks volumes of the lethargic tactics of the World Health Organisation in curbing this unfolding catastrophe. Ebola has inflicted unspeakable anguish, entire communities have been decimated and yet the response of this global agency endowed with the betterment of humanity has been lethally and utterly inadequate.

Regrettably, the WHO has become a megaphone for global powers, a tool to implement their Western hegemony and colonialism. The battle against Ebola is more than just vaccinations, medical equipment and military deployment to deal with the mounting repercussions of the virus but sustained, affordable and equitable access to health services, local health services augmentation, health and social security nets and resilience to withstand shocks and mega disasters in low-income countries.

Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

Why haven’t we done everything in our power to help Nazanin?

It is argued that the shocking incarceration of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could be down to the UK and Iran haggling over the precise interest on an outstanding debt of £450m. Nowhere is the actual amount of the debt disputed so why, as a gesture of goodwill and intent, is the £450m not settled immediately?

The outstanding interest rate could be settled by negotiations by a third party if necessary. Might I also suggest someone other than our current inept foreign secretary gets involved.

G Forward
Stirling

The SNP’s economic plan for independence just doesn’t cut it

The SNP’s 2013 white paper and its Growth Commission report are chalk and cheese. The former relentlessly optimistic; the latter very different in content and tone. Why the massive shift?

The former sought instant independence, the latter adopts a restrained pace. This report isn’t a precursor to an imminent independence referendum. Consider merely one aspect: currency.

Nicola Sturgeon has spent two years using Brexit to justify indyref2. Yet the report ties Scotland to sterling and the Bank of England for at least 10 years.

EU rules require new members have their own currency for a minimum of three years and own central bank (recently estimated setup cost: £300bn) prior to joining, then switching to the euro and European Central Bank. That’s 13 years minimum outside both single UK and EU markets. Scary? And that’s just for starters.

The report shows independence has become a slow burn for the SNP. Sure, Sturgeon will likely demand indyref2 this autumn. Yet by reiterating “now is not the time”, Theresa May hands Sturgeon what she needs: time to attempt to build an independence case, based on glossy spin and unpalatable truths. May gifts a grievance Sturgeon hopes will deliver a 2021 Holyrood nationalist majority.

This report pitches for indyref2 no sooner than 2023-24 – in the meantime, let’s all look forward to achieving Denmark’s standard of living in 2048-49.

Martin Redfern
Edinburgh

Two points about the Growth Commission report. First, why did it take so long to appear?

Second, if labour is so scarce in Scotland, why not investigate the strange phenomenon that was recently reported of there being 150,000 adult Scots who have never been in paid employment?

Jill Stephenson
Edinburgh