Why does Lesley Riddoch (Perspective, 30 March) strike an undue note of pessimism about an SNP twin-track strategy for independence? It will achieve its objective if real leadership is shown. Anyone who knows anything about time management knows it is unwise for a leader to meddle in every detail of employees’ work.
I’m sure Nicola Sturgeon can set the parameters for the party’s Westminster MPs, and let the experience of Messrs Hosie, Robertson, Salmond and others take matters forward in the House of Commons.
Those matters will be complex enough. They will include ensuring the Smith Commission proposals are put on the statute book; that some of the worst aspects of welfare reform are mitigated; that the statutory minimum wage is enhanced; that pensions reform meets Scottish needs; that the reduction of the deficit is taken forward in a humane and prudent manner; that non-nuclear defence needs north of the Border are fully met; that there is scrutiny of changes in the energy market; that taxation policy helps improve the position of lower and middle income voters.
All this will need to complement Holyrood’s work on concessionary travel, free tuition and access to further and higher education, making the National Health Service more and more responsive, reform of local taxation, tackling the troubling problem of youth unemployment, promoting Scotland on the international stage.
I see nothing to suggest that the talent and resources are not there to campaign effectively on both fronts in Edinburgh and London.
Lesley Riddoch draws a false analogy over the most consummate leaders coming unstuck when fighting on two battle fronts. This is a political, not a military, campaign and, on balance, the SNP leader has the strength to handle it.
Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have recently been attempting to ingratiate themselves with English voters.
Indeed the First Minister at the SNP conference said: “So to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, I make this promise. The SNP stands ready to work with you in making that positive change for all of us.”
So why this sudden interest in the UK? The six SNP MPs at Westminster had an abysmal attendance record. They took full time salaries and expenses but only attended part time.
Their attendance ranged from an appalling 41.5-51.8 per cent. Even their leader in the Commons turned up only 44 per cent of the time.
They explain that they only attended and voted on matters that had a direct relevance to Scotland. But surely most issues are pertinent to Scotland, if only because of the Barnett formula and its consequentials?
Clearly Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, the SNP representative on the Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, neither cared for Scotland nor the UK as she did not turn up to any of the Committee’s meetings.
Since 2010 her attendance was 0 out of 55.
One can only assume that Alex is on yet another ego trip and Nicola is determined to destroy the United Kingdom.
It is a bit rich for our First Minister to refer to Westminster as a discredited parliament when the administration of which she has been a leading member has done so much to discredit the Holyrood Parliament.
We have a Presiding Officer from the majority party and every committee has a majority of SNP members who edit every report by deleting any criticism of the executive.
As a result, we have many changes imposed on Scotland which we shall live to regret, such as the appointment of guardians for every child who can overrule the parents and a national police force imposing Strathclyde practices from Shetland to Stranraer.
The House of Lords does an excellent job in revising legislation and holding the government of the day to account for its actions. It needs reform with the agreement of the major parties, not abolition.
The Westminster committees are not dominated by the government parties and many are chaired by an opposition member. They do an excellent job.
We need a strong government, not a weak one with the SNP causing disruption after the election. There are many challenges facing us still including further strengthening the economy and securing our defence in the face of terrorist threats and a Russia which continues to flex its muscles.
How refreshing – and surprising – to hear the SNP at last making pronouncements on policy (your report, 30 March) as opposed to just banging the nonsensical anti-austerity drum.
Not surprising, of course, is its motive. In order to maintain the veneer of appeal to potential Labour voters, in typical chameleon-like fashion, it now opts simply to steal Labour’s policies.
More original and more enlightening would be a list of the cuts to services and increases in taxes it would impose to plug the multi-billion pound hole which would result from full fiscal autonomy.
Not at all surprising are the latest moves in the restriction on freedom of speech reported in the same issue. Nicola Sturgeon’s gagging of her own MPs should set her own house in order nicely.
And Alex Salmond’s move to try to control the BBC (same issue) would dovetail very effectively with this in the next step to ensuring that the public only hear what the SNP power cabal allows us to hear.
Ms Sturgeon is “very proud” of her success in introducing all-women lists. Is she – or any Nationalist – equally proud of the SNP’s most recent blatant attempts to suppress democracy?
It is a frightening thought that Scotland may well be following in the footsteps of Singapore.
Braid Hills Avenue