Readers' letters: Anas Sarwar lacks any genuine principles

Anas Sarwar’s lack of genuine principles and the reasons why he should not be trusted are demonstrated by his unwillingness to openly back his own “Scottish Labour” policies when public criticism of these policies arises in the mainstream media.

The GRR Bill and the Hate Crime Bill were emphatically supported by Labour MSPs but where have been the voices of Mr Sarwar and other “Scottish Labour” MSPs when these policies have come under attack?

When Humza Yousaf’s comments about ridding Scotland of Tory MPs were criticised in the most recent episode of Debate Night, Mr Sarwar who previously had made similar comments himself, simply diverted to repeating his pre-prepared anti-SNP sermon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

​An unscrupulous charlatan will tell his granny “porkies” to win power and as Mr Sarwar is seemingly devoid of true sincerity anything he says should not be believed.

Anas Sarwar and Sir Keir Starmer at last month's Scottish Labour Conference (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)Anas Sarwar and Sir Keir Starmer at last month's Scottish Labour Conference (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
Anas Sarwar and Sir Keir Starmer at last month's Scottish Labour Conference (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

This is especially the case when he repeats the historically oft-repeated Labour Party con of indicating how things will be improved under Labour without providing serious explanations as to where the necessary money is going to come from, or any realistic time-scales.

​Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

Careless talk

It is interesting how alarm has erupted across Scotland at the SNP’s hate crime law which will end free speech in less than a week’s time. We have been given assurances about how sensitively it will be handled, but also that every single complaint will be investigated. We all know that there are simply not enough hours in the day for the police to do so. If it requires finding “a balance between alleged criminality and freedom of expression”, I think we all know what that means. It means 1984.

Anyone can and will complain about comments on the TV, radio, comments overheard on the bus, loose talk after an evening's drinking, and much, much more. This country had free speech in my youth, but no more. How can we have allowed ourselves to get to this state? How can we allow the SNP to destroy our freedoms in such a blatant way?

This insane law means that there will no time for police to do their real job. It will be “he said, she said”. Everything else – and I mean everything – will be put on hold, except for the odd historical crime. Current crime will soar and the courts will be unable to function. Police officers will no longer be seen in public.

The only hope for the people of Scotland is for a legal challenge going to the Supreme Court and for this dreadful excuse for a law to be found illegal, like the SNP’s previous gender legislation. We can but hope.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Taxing situation

In praise of the Continuity SNP/Green council tax freeze, Robert Farquharson (Letters, 23 March) makes an extraordinary remark: “Hopefully, preparations are being made for the ‘mass exodus’ northwards of households and businesses which must surely follow.” Ironically, this comment is juxtaposed with a bleak editorial warning of threats to Scotland’s economy from higher taxation.

Mr Farquharson’s wishful thinking is the kind of unsubstantiated bluster we hear regularly from separatists. Judging by a post-Budget surge in demand for property around Berwick-upon-Tweed from Scottish buyers, recent population movement has actually been in a southerly direction. It’s even rumoured that among these tax refugees are some of Holyrood’s growing number of highly-paid special advisers. As the editorial points out, some of us wouldn’t mind paying more if only our money was spent wisely, but that instead “Scotland has high taxes and crumbling public services. Education, in particular, has been falling down international league tables, as England performs well. The SNP government’s deal with the public is broken and delivering little in return.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Farquharson also boasts of “Holyrood’s vastly superior proportional representation”. But this is the same system which allows a fringe party – without a single constituency seat – to enter into coalition government and exert disproportionate influence on public affairs.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Reality check

So Dundee-born Mark Blyth, now professor of International Economics at US Ivy League university Brown, was invited to speak at recent separatist conference the “Scotonomics Festival of Economics” – and trashed the case for independence.

Let's leave aside the obvious question for the hapless organisers: “What were you even thinking inviting him?” and focus on his truth-telling. In explaining that “you can't really say that Brexit is the worst thing ever and then commit the biggest Brexit of all time”, he states what is obvious to the majority in Scotland, though not to the SNP, Alba, the Greens and their dwindling supporter base.

Time and again, Blyth trashed the nationalists’ naive economic narrative, spelling out the risks inherent in the SNP apparent strategy du jour of Scotland defaulting on its share of UK debt, meaning that it’s impossible to borrow, that Scotland’s energy is owned by asset managers and an independent Scotland will be incapable of buying it and that a Scottish currency could very readily turn the country into a mini-Argentina.

And, of course, let's not forget that, without swingeing austerity and massive tax hikes, Scotland would have zero chance of joining the EU for many, many years. The nationalists may want to turn their backs on the piggy bank that’s known as Westminster and the Barnett Formula, but don’t expect Brussels to come dashing to the rescue any time soon.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Cross purposes

Amid the furore about the colour of the cross on the new England kit, I have to ask where the English football team gets the blue on its strips?

I can only presume that it comes from the union flag. The flag cannot represent us in Scotland if it belongs to them, unless of course England reinvents itself as “Southern Britain”. However, I will still remain forever Scottish, never British/English.

Ni Holmes, St Andrews, Fife

Open and shut case

What is wrong with the jobsworths who have banned the Jacobite train from running because the carriages have vintage ‘slam doors’ (Scotsman, 21 March)? Of course they do! They are vintage carriages with authentic fixtures and fittings, and are used nationwide by a plethora of heritage lines without problems – after all, they were only a few years ago still being used on main lines at full intercity speeds!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I used to travel all over Britain on such trains, and stationmasters had a very simple protocol for ensuring they were all closed as the train departed – they would personally shut any that were still open.

Or is this simply the opening shot in a conspiracy to drive heritage trains out of business by those who wish to destroy our great transport heritage?

Ian McNicholas, Ebbw Vale, Wales

Wrong track

After widespread criticism, Network Rail has removed religious messaging from the departure board at King’s Cross station.

A good-spirited “Happy Ramadan” would have been sufficient: nobody needs to be told they should repent their sins when running for a train, to say nothing of the inevitable demand for comparable recognition from other religious minorities.

Easter weekend brings similar concerns about different celebrations of the Spring Equinox.

Beginning with Eastre, a bunny-friendly pagan goddess, themes of rebirth abound: eggs are an obvious metaphor; garden centres are bustling and for Christians it is represented in their resurrection story.

It is odd that some Christians don’t seem to recognise these seasonal concurrencies in their annual proclaiming of Easter’s “real” meaning.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society

Hit the jackpot

I write with regard to your front page headline “SNP urges Tories and Labour 'don't abandon Waspi women’” (Scotsman, 25 March). I am a 60-year-old woman. I fully expected to win the lottery this week and indeed had planned my financial future around it. Not only did I not win but, shockingly, no-one from Camelot contacted me to warn me that I would not be winning.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I will therefore be seeking compensation for my lost winnings. This is no more unreasonable than expecting compensation for pension payments I am not entitled to and had been told 30 years ago I would not be entitled to.

Anne-Louise Crocker, Shoreham, Kent

Wipe the smiles off

Five eco-warriors, members of This Is Rigged, stupidly glued themselves to two oil tankers in Grangemouth which had not been used for years. (Scotsman, 23 March). They were found guilty at Falkirk Sheriff Court of vandalism and criminal trespass. Why were they only fined £840 each?

London’s Court of Appeal has just ruled that environmental activists cannot rely on their political or philosophical beliefs as a defence to criminal damage. Now it is up to the courts to stop the damage and disruption and impose either Draconian fines or Draconian jail sentences. Your photo showed three of them smiling and laughing as they were arrested by the police. They wouldn’t be smiling and laughing if the courts imposed meaningful sentences.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts – NO letters submitted elsewhere, please. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line – be specific. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.