Booze blame

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In the wake of the Scottish health minister Alex Neil’s statement that there is a direct correlation between Thatcherism and alcoholism (your report, 3 February), I feel moved to express my increasing amazement at the number of SNP pronouncements in which the Thatcher years are blamed for all of Scotland’s woes, past and present.

Indeed, such are the frequency of these vitriolic assaults that one might be forgiven for thinking that the SNP’s much-vaunted vision for Scotland is nothing more than a reaction to a government that has been out of power for decades.

I do not deny that Thatcherism had a negative impact on a great many Scottish people; nevertheless, Scotland has now had her own government with wide-ranging powers over social policy for more than 14 years – three years longer than Mrs Thatcher was in power.

It is therefore an admission of failure for the current health secretary and his predecessors to state that Thatcherism is at the “core of the social problems we have in Scotland today”, rather than an indictment of the Tory governments of the 1980s.

Perhaps if the Scottish Government spent a little less time brooding on the past and a little more time planning for the future, it could actually get to the root of some of Scotland’s problems.

Wouldn’t that better serve the people of Scotland than continual sniping at an administration that left office before many of us were even born?

Nathan Smith

Newhaven

Edinburgh

Alex Neil blames Margaret Thatcher for Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol. How fatuous. Scotland has a century-long pathological relationship with alcohol to the point that an alcoholic drink (Scotch) is its national drink. The SNP is pathologically determined to reduce the independence debate to “if you don’t like the Tories, vote Yes”.

Alex Salmond challenged David Cameron to a debate on independence, yet again, hoping to tap into this anti-Tory/anti-Thatcher sentiment amongst many voters. So far, David Cameron has steadfastly refused to pander to the SNP’s Machiavellian ruse.

I wish the SNP would have a little more respect for the voters of Scotland and stop this “by fair means or foul, Scotland will vote Yes”. The latest figures show that Scotland currently has a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the UK while its pathological relationship with alcohol persists. I blame Thatcher.

Neil Sinclair

Clarence Street

Edinburgh