Readers' Letters: Bruised Scottish Greens need to go back to basics

Is it time for Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater to re-focus their efforts? (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Is it time for Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater to re-focus their efforts? (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Is it time for Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater to re-focus their efforts? (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The Bute House agreement is surely finished, with the Green Party becoming a laughing stock by its failure to hold the SNP to task over repeatedly failing to reach its climate targets. After eight out of 12 years of failing to reach them, these targets have been consigned to history, showing the Greens in their true colours.

Unlike UK climate targets, which were delayed last year, Scotland’s targets were enshrined in law when combatting climate change was seen as a top priority by the SNP. When the Greens joined the SNP in power it would have been reasonable to expect that their top priority would be to get Scotland’s climate agenda back on track and targets met. Instead they moved away from traditional environmental issues to promulgate policies such as gender recognition and abortion clinic buffer zones, with nothing so far to show for them.

There have been gaffes like Lorna Slater’s ill-fated deposit return scheme and her chartering of a boat to the Isle of Rum on official business costing taxpayers £1,200 instead of £9.40 on the state-run ferry. Then there is fellow co-leader Patrick Harvie spending time criticising the SNP’s Fergus Ewing and Kate Forbes and his former leader Robin Harper rather than on a green agenda such as promoting biodiversity.

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The Green Party should get out of government and return to its roots as a radical pressure group, campaigning on issues that matter such as the 47 million cubic tonnes of sewage discharged into Scotland’s waterways in 2022. Humza Yousaf seems determined to hold on to this failed coalition. Perhaps it’s because seven Green MSPs have more policy ideas than his other 62, no matter how ill thought out, taking the heat off his and the SNP’s own failures.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Protect children

Here in the UK we have had a large increase in the number of children suffering from psychological problems relating to their biological sex. The Cass Review has revealed how badly those children have been treated by the health professionals who were supposed to be caring for them. Steps are now being taken to ensure that clinics are properly staffed and children properly treated.

The question remains, however – why are there so many children unhappy with their biological sex? Probably there are several factors involved, with social media well to the fore. Also, research studies have found that about 75 per cent of children now encounter hardcore pornography while still in primary school and all have seen it by the end of their first year in secondary. Such imagery may prey on children’s minds and contribute to the psychological problems which are now so prevalent.

Parents need to take stock of these issues. The internet can be very damaging to children if they are given uncontrolled access to everything it pumps out. The Government should take on the big internet companies and force them to make pornography available only to adult credit card holders. This is a serious problem and it will take concerted action by parents, teachers and Government to deal with it. The future of our children depends on us.

Les Reid, Edinburgh

Save our banks

Once upon a time RBS, or Royal Bank of Scotland as they were then called, boasted of how they were keeping their branches open because they cared about their customers. While their competitors were closing, you could be sure a branch of the Royal Bank still being nearby.

Now, even though the Government has bailed the bank out, we still own a sizeable chunk of it. I read that it is around 48 per cent, making the state overwhelmingly the largest shareholder and yet I read that they are shutting all the branches in south Edinburgh. Despite that, every time I go into the Bruntsfield branch there is a queue, just as there was in the former Comiston Road branch. Do they think that people don't need a bank to pay cash into? If not, why do they still go in and why should they need to form a queue unless there is a constant demand for banking services?

I know businesses that pay cash into RBS every day. How are they to manage that without a local branch? Catch a bus into the city? How do they suggest businesses deal with that?

It is high time the Government flexed its muscles as the main shareholder and told the bank that its customers who were kind enough to bail it out when it almost crashed the UK economy require banking facilities. I emphasise “require”. Economies need banks, even when the local government at Holyrood is attempting to close all avenues of enterprise.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Falkirk wedge

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The second review of the Scottish Parliament Constituency Boundaries has just been published by the Boundaries Commission for Scotland and Falkirk has not fared well.

Currently Falkirk has two MSPs – Michael Matheson and Michelle Thomson – covering the council area, and for an area and population the size of Falkirk that seems in order. But all is about to change should the boundary proposals go ahead, Falkirk will move to three representatives covering the Falkirk Council area.

Boundary changes are supposed to adhere to a list of principles, including geographical considerations, accessibility of the constituency area for all constituents, local government boundaries and local ties that could become endangered; those principles are not being seen in those proposed changes when it comes to Falkirk.

The idea of moving small villages out from the boundary of Falkirk for the purpose of the Scottish Parliament representative and tagging them onto neighbouring areas covered by different local authorities makes no sense. It is cutting a wedge through communities, a wedge through an historic town. This is not the first time Falkirk has suffered as a result of boundary changes, the new boundaries in place for the next Westminster Election also ran a wedge through historic Falkirk.

Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk

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