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Enhanced relations with India should be a top trade priority for post-Brexit Britain
The UK’s trade dependence on an economically stagnant Eurozone and a Chinese economy controlled by an increasingly belligerent and expansionist government is unsustainable. Our departure from the European Union offers a unique opportunity with which to diversify our trade, achieve sustainable growth, and reassert our position on the international stage.

The EU is currently the UK’s single largest trading partner. However, the economic outlook for the continent is unfavourable. Coronavirus has served to exacerbate existing economic difficulties facing the Eurozone. A collapse in the oil price, a crash in economic output, long-term economic stagnation, and irresponsible spending have left the Eurozone facing the threat of ‘Japanification’ characterised by long-term deflationary pressure and anaemic growth.

Europe is no longer the reliable trading partner it once was. It’s unlikely to deliver the economic growth necessary to drive the increase in demand for our goods and services we require. While we should seek to maintain effective trade relations with the EU, we also need to seize the opportunity Brexit offers and strengthen ties with emergent, fast-developing nations to grow demand for British exports and stimulate our domestic growth.

Just as Covid-19 has catalysed economic threats in Europe and elsewhere, so too has it laid bare the revisionist nature of the Chinese government: a government that persistently ignores international trade agreements, flouts intellectual property rights, suppresses democratic protests in Hong Kong, persecutes its own citizens, and undermines the sovereignty of its neighbours.

Brexit offers us greater capacity to reassert our position on the world stage and, in coordination with other allies, use our foreign and trade policies to discourage wayward nations such as China from acting with impunity.

The Foundation for Independence is a recently established organisation committed to highlighting the opportunities Brexit offers, such as enhanced trade, and setting out how these can be capitalised upon. Its inaugural report, published this week, identifies trade opportunities for the UK in the Indo-Pacific region. It offers a compelling case for why the Government should make Britain an engaged partner in the region, with trade shifted away from the EU and China toward stable, reliable, fast-growing partners around the Pacific rim. It identifies countries with similar economic development profiles to the UK, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore, and Commonwealth members, such as India.

The report explains why developing trade with these countries should not be regarded as compensatory, but rather as enhanced opportunities, tailored exactly to our national interest and available only as a direct, positive consequence of Brexit.

Existing EU trade deals with Japan and South Korea are cited as examples of the unsatisfactory arrangements that currently constrain the UK. These deals are criticised for their failure to address key priorities around services and data flows important to our needs. Our EU departure presents the opportunity for a root-and-branch review of existing trading instruments put in place by the EU and to customise these to our needs.

Through the newly formed Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Department, a key priority, the authors argue, should be to spearhead international efforts to cast a spotlight upon, and deter China’s actions through diplomatic forums, such as the UN and the WTO.

Economically, it argues the country’s dependency on China should be reduced significantly in areas key to our national security, including the import of pharmaceuticals and Chinese direct investment in infrastructure.

Rightly, it also calls for the development of a ‘special relationship’ with democratic India. Predicted to become a $10 trillion economy by 2030, India’s rapidly expanding demand in sectors central to the UK economy, such as financial services – matched with its expanding ‘consumer’ class – makes it a key priority for trade development post-transition.

At the moment our relationship with India is lacking. At 17th, UK is languishing far outside the ranks of India’s key trading partners, with bilateral trade worth a relatively modest 20.5 billion.

The Commonwealth, the Department for International Trade and the commercial, education and research forums in place between our two countries should be used to promote awareness of the UK as an investment centre for India and vice versa. We should also make it easier, for example, for Indian students to study in the UK by relaxing student visa restrictions for the estimated 130 million Indian students who, by 2030, will be at university age.

The UK is currently confronted with a profound crossroads. The centre of gravity of global trade is shifting. Brexit offers us the opportunity to adapt to that change by developing stronger ties with countries all across the globe. We need to embrace that opportunity.


As I examine the news from around the world I have noted what I deem as a lot or rubbish being written on how folk like Boris Johnson and Donald Trump were slow to close things down in March and thus caused many more deaths.

My problem with this is that the sheer cost of the lockdown is something that's going to be very hard to pay back and thus I can quite understand the reluctance of leaders to put draconian measures into place. The costs we are bearing will need to be paid back eventually which means you and I will need to pay more tax. Also the young among us will probably be harder hit as jobs won't be as easy to find.
From what I can see someone can be infected but show almost no symptoms and as we go through the Winter with Flu and Cold season how will we distinguish between these and the virus?. This means the chance of it being passed on is greater than ever.

The standard advice of self distancing, washing your hands and wearing a mask when shopping or going into an environment where self distancing is impossible all makes a lot of sense. Anyone not following this basic advice is both stupid and selfish in my opinion.

At the end of the day we need to find a way of punishing those that don't follow these basic rules by naming and shaming them. "Send them to Coventry" and for those that don't understand that saying it simply means we should shun them by not talking to them or interacting with them. If we decide to open up access to work and play then it's not down to Governments but more down to you and me to take action. We do need to open up for business to take place around the world. And if a pub decides to accept a name as 'Donald Duck" then they either need to sack the person that accepted that name or the pub has to be closed. All people have some identity they can show such as your drivers license so should be able to get people's names and addresses that will help trace people.

I can say I don't like wearing a mask but I can wear one for a short periods when shopping but am now doing online shopping for groceries. When you wear a mask both mouth and nose should be covered and I only make this point due to reading about many people that only cover their mouth.

The back to Schools and Universities is now showing why the young are now recording more infections than older people. However this also means that they are more likely to spread the virus as they often don't show symptoms and are less aware of the possibilities of spreading the infections amongst family and friends.

To me the crucial need is for much better testing and much faster reporting of test results. There are far too many reports of inaccurate test results and far too much time taken between testing and getting the result. We also need to do a better job with dealing with the virus as some countries appear to be much better at keeping people alive than other countries. We need to find out how this is happening.

I would also point out that surviving the virus doesn't mean all is now well as it's clear that at least some people continue to have illness as a result of it and that they can still be infected down the line.

So in conclusion I say we have to take personal responsibility by ensuring we keep a safe distance, limit personal interaction where possible, wash our hands regularly and wear a mask when shopping or socialising and especially where self distancing is not possible. In my view the Government must take on the work of ensuring accurate and fast testing and encouraging companies to get a vaccine out sooner rather than later. We continue to see moans in the media about handling the virus but much of what is said is a load of rubbish and is often politically driven. We can well do without the media bias and just take personal responsibility as outlined above.

I'd also suggest that we report anyone or any business that flouts those rules as in that way you become part of the solution.

Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as world news stories that can affect Scotland and all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in a number of newspapers you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish which I do myself from time to time.

Life expectancy in Scotland stalls again with men in Glasgow dying 7 years before those in East
Scotland continues to have the lowest life expectancy of any of the four UK nations, new figures have revealed.

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Andrew Neil: Broadcaster to leave BBC to become chairman of GB News
The channel could shake up the TV news landscape, currently dominated by Sky News and BBC News.

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The cat who hitched a lift on a worldwide tour
When former Edinburgh Rugby player Dean Nicholson packed his job in to travel the world, he hoped it would be a life-changing experience.

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A Loyal Scotland fights for Britain, 1707-1918
SCOTTISH REGIMENTS acquired a reputation for exceptional fierceness early on.

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Alex Salmond inquiry cannot proceed due to obstruction
But convener Linda Fabiani said it had been completely frustrated by the lack of evidence being handed over.

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Brexit: Government Brexit plan gets MPs final backing
The legislation, which passed through the House of Commons by 340 votes to 256, will now go to the House of Lords.

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How do nationalists avoid facts? By telling fairy stories instead
THE SNP HAS GIVEN up trying to provide a reasoned case for leaving the UK. It tried to construct one in 2014, but it turned out that its case, presented in the 649-page tome, Scotland’s Future, was based on sand.

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Designer reveals why Fair Isle’s famous patterns still thrill dedicated followers of fashion around the world
Anyone with an interest in knitting, or indeed fashion, will be familiar with Fair Isle.

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Ruth Davidson in stitches as Nicola Sturgeon squirms amid brutal FMQs grilling
RUTH DAVIDSON burst out into laughter in the middle of First Ministers Questions (FMQs) as she watched Nicola Sturgeon desperately try to defend the SNP's handling of the Alex Salmond inquiry.

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Irexit threat: EU nightmare as Irish politicians draw up plan to leave Brussels bullies
Ireland is watching the Brexit process unfold as an opportunity to learn how to make a swift exit from the EU, according to a leading Irish diplomat. Ray Bassett, a former Irish Ambassador and Good Friday Agreement delegate, has said it is now time for Ireland to leave the Brussels-led bloc. Dr Bassett said that the EU bullies had the hallmarks of an empire as he urged Ireland to shift its trade towards the US, Canada and the UK instead of the EU.

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Repeated and embarrassing U-turns show Sturgeon is more Heath than Thatcher
NIGHTMARES follow a mad inexorable logic, like a runaway train heading for collision. Increasingly, that’s what I feel when I watch the First Minister during her daily briefings.

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Electric Canadian

A History of McKillop, Ontario.
By Lillian Grummett (1967) (pdf)

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Thoughts on a Sunday morning - 27th September 2020
By Rev. Nola Crewe

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The Fighting Edge
A novel by William MacLeod Raine (1922) (pdf)

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Canadian Farm Cook Book
Compiled by The Women's Department Canadian Farm (1911) (pdf)

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Scottish Studies Foundation September 2020 update
Got in an update from the Scottish Studies Foundation in Toronto which you can read at:

Electric Scotland

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Got in section 1 of the October 2020 issue which you can read at:

Here we are again. The pandemic must be getting to me because yesterday I fixed a drawer that had been stuck in my office for months and months. (This meant I had to take a drawer apart in order to get to the stuck drawer. This drawer has those little gizmos you have to release to remove it. My nice neighbour came and showed me the little gizmos!). I also cleaned out a total of FOUR desk drawers. And, everyone sit down and hold on tight, I vacuumed my complete office!

I don't ever remember being so thrilled about doing such things before. Mmmm.

This edition of BNFT is for October 2020 Section A. My hope always is that you all enjoy the contents. I do always have the best time creating a publication from lots of blank paper. Every page is a tiny miracle for me.

The Clan Colquhoun ad has new information in this issue, so please read it carefully. If YOUR clan needs new information please don't forget to let me know.

Don't forget to let me know if your email changes.

Please send me your queries. I'll print them for free.

If your group is planning a Robert Burns Celebration this January, please send me the information, so I can help you publicize it.

As always, please take care and be careful. We WILL get through this.

Aye, beth

Barkland Croft
A series aiming to give a virtual tour of the U.K.'s most remote, inhabited island - Fair Isle. Join me, Rachel, as I guide you round the sights and locations of the island that has been my home for the last five years. I hope to share with you the stunning scenery of the isle and a look at life here.

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Sir James Hutton
Did a major update to our page about him by adding biographical content from New Zealand.

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Musings of a real Tank Commander By Stuart Crawford. Added Part 19.
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The Reformation in Moray and Mr. Robert Point
By Frank D. Bardgett (pdf)

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Memorabilia Domestica
Parish Life in the North of Scotland by the Late Rev. Donald Sage, A.M., Minister of Resolis edited by his son (second edition) (1899) (pdf)

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Scottish Banner
Got in the October 2020 edition which you can read at:

For the sake of the Soldier
Voluntary Work of Brisbane Women, by Rita MacLeod (1917) (pdf)

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From the book "Parish Life in the North of Scotland" by the Late Rev. Donald Sage, A.M

1. Mr. James Smith was ordained minister of Avoch in 1787. He married Miss Houston, daughter of the Provost of Fortrose, two years after his settlement. He preached the gospel, but more as a theory, or subject of history, than as the message of salvation. He read his sermons, and in composing them was most anxious about the construction of his sentences and the accuracy of his style. As a pastor he was diligent and painstaking. He was low in stature, had a short neck, a large head, shaggy eyebrows, and a fearful squint. He was temperate in drinking, but his ravenous appetite for savoury meat was the means of shortening his life. Money-making was the ruling passion of his soul. He claimed a right to the churchyard, not only to the grass, which legally belonged to the clergy, but even to the rights of sepulture. All the parishioners, if they opened a new grave, must pay him ten shillings sterling. This, however, was put a stop to in the following manner.

A poor man had come to reside in the parish, who lost one of his family by death. A place in the churchyard was assigned him, and he proceeded to open the grave. Mr. Smith sallied out, and demanded ten shillings. The man replied that such a charge was neither according to law nor equity, and that never until then did he hear of such a demand. "It is the law here, however," replied the minister, "and you must submit to it before you open your grave." The poor fellow applied to the Fiscal, and stated all the particulars of the case, adding that the breach in his family had touched him sorely, but that such inhuman treatment was sorer than all. The Fiscal's indignation was roused. "Go," said he, "open your grave and bury your dead, if the parson attempts to prevent you, knock him down, and I will secure you against consequences." The man proceeded to obey; but he had no sooner entered upon his task than Mr. Smith endeavoured to resist. "Weel, sir," said the man, "before I pay your demand we must try and settle the account with our fists, so that either you knock me down or I you." Mr. Smith walked off, nor did he ever make a similar demand again. In money-making he was not a little helped and urged on, even contrary to his own better judgment, by his wife, the death of their only son James bore very hard upon both of them.

2. By the providence of God Mr. Cook was led to accept, in 1829, of a call to Cross, in the Island of Lewis. In 1833 he became minister of the East Church, Inverness, and in 1835 of Reay, as successor to Mr. David Mackay who, for a long time previous, had been aged and infirm. On the 12th of October of the year of his settlement in Lewis he addressed to me an interesting letter, describing the feelings of a faithful minister of Christ when suddenly removed from the society of a religious people, such as the majority of those were whom he had left, to the midst of a population rude in manners, filthy in habits, and lying under the thickest folds of moral and spiritual darkness. The people of the Hebrides were utterly unacquainted with the ordinary means of religious instruction. Their public teachers were both idle and inefficient. The ministers of Barvas and Stornoway were models of Moderatism in their day, but they were the "ruins grey" of what their system was in past ages. My friend Mr. Cook, however, found among the people generally a willingness to be taught the things of God, which they knew not before. One poor man had to testify that he never either witnessed or heard of a diet of catechetical instruction, and another that five of his children had been baptised, but that not one question was ever asked of him by the "reverend" incumbent concerning his own salvation or that of any of his children. The sacraments were administered, but in a stupified manner, and the usual services were curtailed or mutilated. Tents for the sale of intoxicating drinks were erected on the communion Mondays, and from them proceeded all the riot and drunkenness of a Highland country fair, commencing almost immediately after the benediction was pronounced at the thanksgiving-day service in the open air. Mr. Cook's firm but humble and unassuming services, though despised by the God-disowning multitude, and covertly opposed by his faithless fellow-ministers, were to a large extent acknowledged from on High. Not only at Ness, but throughout the whole island of Lewis, a strong religious light broke out, while the savour of Divine things was, by the purity of gospel preaching, universally diffused throughout the moral wilderness of the Hebrides. Even until now the fruits remain. In that land God is well-known; the gospel is not only understood, but ardently sought after, and now, long after the venerable and faithful pastor, who first sowed the seed, has left the Lewis and the world, "this man and that man" there, as in Sion, may be seen whose names are written in the book of life. I may mention, in passing, though Mr. Cook was not permitted to see it, that about twelve years ago, a great and plenteous rain of spiritual blessing was showered down from on High, with which it pleased God to visit his heritage in these distant isles, so that it has become one of the most enlightened parts of Christian Scotland.


And that's it for this week and hope you all have a great weekend and mind and keep your distance, wash your hands and stay safe. Don't be stupid or selfish and instead be considerate of others and wear a mask if going shopping or into a crowded place and consider whether you should indeed go into a crowded space in the first place.

Also there are no free lunches. While we are spending billions on this pandemic it will need to be paid back by the tax payer in the years ahead.