Johnson sets the tone for a rotten government- Readers' Letters

What a week in politics we’ve just had. We’ve seen insults from the Tory MPs in Westminster to their Scottish leader in Holyrood; news that senior newspaper editors attended some of the forbidden Downing Street parties; further revelations of a party the evening before the Queen buried her husband of 70 years; an admission from the PM that he attended the party at Downing Street on 20 May, 2020; reports that the PM and his then girlfriend broke the rules to go to their second home – a deed that would see Catherine Calderwood lose her job as Chief Medical Officer in Scotland only a matter of weeks later – and the High Court ruled that the UK government’s fast-track VIP lane which awarded generous PPE contracts was unlawful.

All eyes are on No. 10 as the row over Downing Street parties during lockdown continues to make waves

Is it any wonder the PM is now isolating having had a close relative confirm they had Covid? This is a rule he does not need to follow now, so he’s reverted to following rules that do not exist and ignoring those that do. There must have been a lack of fridges nearby.

As if this isn’t bad enough, something tells me there is more to come. A fish rots from the head down. Even if the PM was not at most of these parties, it speaks volumes about the kind of leader he is that those around him felt empowered to hold these parties. This is on him. All of it.

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This is all happening in a government lead by the Conservatives, a government we in Scotland have rejected at the ballot box for more than six decades; a government which reveals the lack of respect it has for the Scottish electorate in their treatment of their own Scottish leader; a government which such a large majority in the Commons that unless Keir Starmer relents on his insistence that he won’t work with the SNP (another indication of these Westminster leaders ignoring the democratic wishes of the Scottish electorate), we will be stuck with for decades to come.

Maggie Rankin, Stirling

Peter Principle

The increasing attacks on Boris Johnson cautions us to “hate the sin, but try to love the sinner”.

For me the PM will always be the one who honoured the Brexit referendum despite being a Remainer; and who set the UK ahead on the Covid vaccination ‘race’.

Sadly, after such a promising start, the PM has proved to be a classic case of the Peter Principle: administrative chaos being caused by persons promoted a level or more above their natural ability. Functional to dysfunctional in one ambitious leap. It’s all very sad.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Philip’s take

The most noxious complaint these last few days is anyone enjoying themselves the day before the Queen buried her husband the Duke of Edinburgh was shameful.

Considering Prince Philip's revulsion towards the Cult Of Diana and the unedifying scenes of studied hysteria which followed her death, one can imagine his take on these sanctimonious hypocrites, especially in the middle of a pandemic where thousands of others beside himself died nowhere near his 99 eventful years.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Devil you know

Despite growing public disgust the SNP seem to have stopped demanding Boris’s resignation in the last few days. Perhaps they've realised, with council elections in 100 days, replacing their main electoral asset with Rishi Sunak could be a disaster.

As the new broom who found the money for furloughs and vaccinations, he'd be an asset appearing with Douglas Ross, especially if the Tories (and, I hope, Labour and Lib Dems) positively campaigned to transform local government in Scotland and highlight the SNP’s failings.

Just for starters there's the shocking decline in education and local services missing £350m in council funding, train fare rises and services cut from from 2,400 to 2,100 when the SNP-Green coalition takes over ScotRail in April.

Perhaps this is what Douglas Ross was thinking about when he called for the PM's resignation last week?

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

How to oppose

Brian Wilson (Scotsman, 15 January) seems to be blaming the Opposition parties for the accession of Boris Johnson because they did not vote for Theresa May's Brexit deal and therefore, he claims, the Tories were bound to get rid of her and put Johnson in No. 10.

I have always thought that the job of Opposition MPs was to vote against bills which they do not support and in which they do not believe, rather than to second-guess what the Government might do should they lose.

The responsibility for the present incumbent of Downing Street and his behaviour lies squarely with the Conservative Party.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews, Fife

Waiting game

A Social Market Foundation study found that "in 2021, more people support than oppose road pricing as a concept, with the majority of people agreeing that road pricing would reduce congestion and pollution” (Scotsman, 14 January).

I have yet to hear of any survey that did not get the result that was wanted, but Scottish Transport Minister Graeme Day used this survey to say that Scotland "needs to take bold action to tackle the climate emergency and this world-leading commitment makes the scale of our ambition clear".

Graeme Dey and his green friends should come down from their green ivory towers and admit that Scotland has a miniscule 0.15 per cent of global emissions, that "world leading" is because other countries, especially China and India, are too busy burning coal to be bothered with Scotland's boast, which is immaterial.

Scotland has 2.5 million cars but there are 1.446 billion in the world. Mr Dey and those who agree with these SNP/Green anti-car policies should publically pledge that they will never own or travel in a petrol/diesel vehicle or have goods delivered by them. We're waiting.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Ukraine and Nato

There is much in Stewart McDonald and Lesia Vasylenko's article on Nato and the Ukraine (Scotsman, 15 January) that I would agree with. However it is predicated on the questionable premise that Ukraine being admitted to the Alliance would make possible Russian invasion of, and overt aggression towards, that country much less likely. I'm not so sure.

Clearly, it is not up to Moscow to decide who does and who does not get invited to join Nato. The oft-mooted "no further expansion east" agreement between Russia and Nato is a classic example of Russian disinformation. No such agreement was ever made.

However, a recent article in Der Spiegel, published on the same day,commented; "Just how far the US and the Europeans would go to defend Nato countries like Estonia and Lithuania remains an open question – not to mention non-members like Ukraine". The lack of reaction to the recent Russian annexation of Crimea and interference in the Donbas region is illustrative, and begs the question whether Ukraine being a Nato member would have made any difference.

Meanwhile, all the sabre-rattling, bluff and brinkmanship has brought Russia's aspiration to regain centre stage as a superpower to world attention, which may be all that Putin wants to achieve. We should find out one way or another over the coming weeks.

Stuart Crawford Lt Col (Retd), Haddington, East Lothian

Energy review

Brian Wilson's article “Scots energy sector must be reviewed" (Sotsman, 15 January) is timely but needs to be a very wide review and include the GB energy sector.

Currently the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Ofgem have completed a consultation on "Proposals for an expert, impartial Future System Operator with responsibility for both the gas and electricity systems”. The result of this consultation has still to be published but on the basis of the consultation remit it is unlikely to provide transparency for all aspects of operational and generating costs in the sector. The problem is highlighted by Dr GM Lindsay's letter (Letters, 15 January) where he raises the question of subsidies for wind, solar and biomass generators.

If he is correct in suggesting that the offshore wind subsidies to some plants is £100 per MWh the government should make clear that the tax payer is paying for some of the electricity price through taxation. If these subsidies are intended to reduce the price of electricity that consumers pay, it is not working, as the Wholesale Cost of Electricity is now at an all time high of £108.5 per MWh and the price of electricity is expected to increase in April 2022 by a substantial amount.

Taxpayers and consumers deserve better and it is time for the UK government to publish all relevant cost data for the energy sector. This data should include the effect of commercial borrowing repayments for infrastructure investments on both the Wholesale Cost and the Standard Price of Electricity.

It is a well established fact that government borrowing for infrastructure investments is the most economic method and the UK government should explain why this is not being used in the energy sector.

C Scott, Edinburgh

Giant killers

I note Graham Bruce’s excellent “sleeping giants” letter of 13 January.

Garvary Wind Farm’s 37 turbines will indeed stop his wonderful view of golden eagles and ospreys. Just of late we had a spectacular view of the white tailed sea eagle majestically flying up the Kyle of Sutherland. Many winter migrating skeins of geese will also disappear, minced in the carbon fibre blades of Garvary Wind Farm.

Michael Baird, Bonar Bridge, Highland

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