Douglas Ross’s ‘grand coalition’ is a flawed proposition - Readers' Letters

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross suggests a “grand coalition” of parties supporting the union to prevent the SNP from gaining power (Scotsman, 9 March), but has he thought this through?

If sufficient people vote for these parties in May to enable them to win more seats than the SNP then of course they can oust the SNP from government. Nothing new here, this has always been the case. But there are two problems. Firstly there is the fact that unionist parties fighting an election take votes from each other and so might allow the SNP to prevail again. And, if a grand coalition is successful it will not just be able to head off an independence referendum but it will have to run the country for five years and the parties forming such a coalition are unlikely to agree on much else. It will be a recipe for chaos.

It has been suggested that one way around this is to form the grand coalition before May's election with Labour formally supporting Conservatives in seats which the Conservatives are more likely to win, and vice versa. This already happens informally in seats like Edinburgh South but in this case the less popular party would not even put up a candidate. Looking at current opinion polls it is obvious that in practice this would mean many more Conservatives becoming elected and

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probably forming the next government. I can see why this idea is attractive to Douglas Ross but suspect it would mean the end of the Labour Party in Scotland.

Conservatives repeatedly tell us that the coming election is not about independence but about how the country is run. So why do they suggest ways of opposing independence in an election they say has nothing to do with this topic? If opposition parties think that the SNP is making a mess of running Scotland then not only should they fight an election on this proposition but also tell us how they will do better – the only truly democratic way to gain office. So far this hasn't happened.

Ian McKee

The Cedars, Edinburgh

Brexit is worse

Douglas Ross’s claim that Scotland leaving the UK would be “immensely worse” than Brexit is a load of dross (Scotsman, March 9).

That’s because the UK economic model is broken. The entire economy is based on rentier capitalism which is the extraction of rent from fixed assets like land, buildings and infrastructure. This form of capitalism doesn’t add value, but extracts it.

The UK financial system, one of the most concentrated banking systems in the world, feeds off this value extraction. It is dominated by five big commercial banks that create money mainly for financial and asset transactions and buying ownership rights. This type of lending is unproductive. No new wealth in the form of goods and services is being generated.

The UK Government created this monster by its decades-long mass privatisation of the public’s assets. It willingly ceded its purchasing power over these public goods to for-profit private entities. The predictable result has been gross asset price inflation and is the reason productivity and innovation have stagnated, living standards have fallen and poverty and inequality have soared.

Scotland has not prospered in the Union. Our innovative power has been emasculated and our resources shamelessly exploited. Our vast natural wealth, educated population, history of innovation and international focus mean we are poised to build a nation that benefits all, not just an entitled few. In order to do so, we need to get out now.

Leah Gunn Barrett

Merchiston Crescent, Edinburgh

Don’t blame club

As a fervent life-time Celtic supporter may I congratulate Rangers FC on their championship win.

Might I also take this opportunity of absolving the club from any blame whatsoever in the actions of supporters celebrating at the stadium and in the city centre.

If we are to take this moral high ground that the Club are responsible (along with the tripe that states players are “role models”), then what next? On arriving in court charged with some offence, will you be asked to confirm your name, date of birth and address and then what team do you support? On completion and verification, it is only right that the club in question be docked points for the nefarious actions of the dolt in the dock.

Society will be what it will be. Oh, and can we have the already alluded to “high transmission levels expected” confirmed for the centre of Glasgow and surrounding areas? I fear my wait for this information may be a long one!

David Millar

West High Street, Lauder

Glasgow locked

There has been much said about the scenes following Rangers success at the weekend. And there will probably be much said about the scenes after the next Old Firm game in two weeks’ time. However, what must not be said is that restrictions are tightening because of the spread of the virus.

As someone who has “done my bit” I am no longer willing to have my physical and mental health continue on their downward spiral because of the selfish ones who will not think of others.

I would suggest that the First Miniser follows the example of other countries and lock down the city (Glasgow) and counties (Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire) and let the rest of us continue or way out of prison to degrees of freedom. Because I for one am beginning to feel what I do makes no difference so why bother.

Elizaeth Hands

Etna Court, Armadale

Inglis statue

Your article "Gender bias of public statues is highlighted” (8 March) should be a timely reminder to Edinburgh citizens that the only statue to a women in the city is of Queen Victoria.

I know times are hard, but it’s a few years since the Lord Provost, Frank Ross, launched a fund to pay for a statue to Dr Elsie Inglis, the pioneering surgeon and physician, who set up the First World War Scottish Women’s’ Hospitals in France and Serbia. The fund has stalled well short of its target of £50,000 but we can kickstart it if folk are willing to donate via Virgin Money Giving. Elsie Inglis and her (mainly female) supporters managed to raise the equivalent of £50 million in today’s money for her hospitals.

Elsie Inglis and her faithful women staff possibly achieved as much as Florence Nightingale and Mary Secole managed in the Crimean War to bring medical treatment, sanitation and control typhus amongst the troops they served so bravely.

Fiona Garwood

Sassoon Grove, Edinburgh

Powerful Press

Your report that the Society of Editors has expressed indignation at a suggestion that some sections of the Press might be bigoted and swayed from their "vital role" in holding the rich and powerful to account (9 March).

Some years ago, one tabloid was so busy exposing three-in-a- bed footballers and adulterous clergymen that it didn't notice that its pension fund had been embezzled. That bastion of integrity, The News of the World, was forced to close as a result of its illegal phone tapping. Its proprietors are still paying out substantial out-of-court settlements to its victims. The Daily Telegraph's preoccupation with the parochial interests of the Home Counties somehow prevented it noticing Conrad Black's financial irregularities.

It seems that the Press only hold a carefully chosen selection of the rich and powerful to account.

Peter Dryburgh

Falcon Avenue, Edinburgh

Equal rights?

Nicola Sturgeon says she wants to rebuild and revitalise Scotland (Scotsman, 8 March). She wants to know who has the right to decide the kind of country we should be, the people of Scotland or Boris Johnson.

I would like to ask her who has the right to decide whether rural Scotland should be carpeted with wind farms, the people who live there or the Scottish Government which refuses to allow communities the same right to stop a development in its tracks as those living in England, where proposals are required to demonstrate community support before planning permission can be granted.

Let’s remove the bribe (otherwise known as Community Benefit) which is offered in varying amounts by wind farm developers to encourage communities to accept the industrialisation of their landscape and the resulting negative impact on people and wildlife and give us the same right to make our own decisions as our English cousins and then we will see how many wind farms get built.

Aileen Jackson

Knockglass, Uplawmoor

Last chance

US politician John Kerry has said that COP26 Glasgow climate conference will be “the last best chance” to avert the worst environmental consequences.

However, at the start of the 2005 COP 11 in Montreal, campaigner Mark Lynas wrote “Montreal represents a last chance”. In the run up to COP 13 in Bali in 2007 Tony Juniper, executive director of Friends of the Earth, said “Bali could be the last chance”. Just before the 2018 COP 24 conference in Katowice Greta Thunberg said “this is our last chance”.

How many more last chances are we going to get?

Geoff Moore

Alness, Highland

Changing royalty

I note that that in view of the allegations put forward by Meghan and Harry you put forward the suggestion in your editorial that it is time for the Royal Family to change (9 March).

But we must also consider that this is not the first time. “The Firm” behaved in the same manner towards Abdul Karim, Edward VIII, Diana, Sarah Ferguson and now Meghan. We know through the interview that the Queen and Duke have been exonerated so it is their duty to look into the matters and make changes, modernise.

Hasan Beg

Harcourt Road, Kirkcaldy

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