Readers' Letters: By-election is Yousaf’s chance to put money where mouth is

The constituents of Rutherglen and Hamilton West have signed a petition in sufficient numbers to remove sitting former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier from her seat.

I wonder if First Minister Humza Yousaf will regard the forthcoming by-election as a de facto referendum. Given that the last by-election, in East Kilbride, showed a whopping 71 per cent voting for pro-UK parties, I suspect not.

Jon Herd, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

Trust has gone

The upcoming by-election is a great opportunity for First Minister Humza Yousaf to put his money where his mouth is, reckons reader (Picture: Paul  Ellis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)The upcoming by-election is a great opportunity for First Minister Humza Yousaf to put his money where his mouth is, reckons reader (Picture: Paul  Ellis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The upcoming by-election is a great opportunity for First Minister Humza Yousaf to put his money where his mouth is, reckons reader (Picture: Paul Ellis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Should anyone wish to understand why politics and politicians are held in such low regard, look no further than Margaret Ferrier, now ex SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. Her obstinate refusal to resign and stand down as an MP following her conviction in court and a 30-day Parliamentary suspension for breaking Covid rules simply demonstrates in the clearest way possible how many of our political representatives do not follow the principles of honesty and integrity in discharging their representative duties.

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These representatives need to reflect on what it means when they are referred to as “Honourable Members” in Parliament. It will be a long road back before trust in politicians is restored.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Sheer ignorance?

I had a wee chuckle at Margaret Ferrier’s lame statement that she always put her job first. Well she did, didn't she, she refused to resign – maybe that was something to do with safeguarding her better than average Government pension. Mind, she never put her constituents or the wider population, not only in Scotland but also England, first when she mingled with them knowing full well at that time government rules were that any symptoms of Covid meant you isolated until you received a negative test result.

No wonder her constituents are so angry, does she still not realise that her actions could have killed people

J Moore, Glasgow

Let it be

The answer to The Scotsman's Leader article question, “Holiday lets licence plan another SNP fail?” (2 August) is an unequivocal yes. Using typical political jargon, the reason for reform is a “wide-ranging support appropriate to local circumstances”, which encompasses noise, anti-social behaviour, litter and a negative impact on the housing stock.

These factors apply almost exclusively to certain urban hotspots, particularly a minority of irresponsible Airbnb establishments. Most of Scotland's current 17,800 self-catering units operate flawlessly, providing nearly 30,000 jobs and a visitor spend of some £867 million. The ill-conceived licencing plan only creates further unnecessary levels of bureacracy and complexity, with certification required for measures relating to fire safety, water purity, electrical installations etc, etc which managers and agencies are already perfectly well aware of and fully comply with.

I have been involved in running successful holiday lets for nearly 40 years in rural locations and have never witnessed a single example of these negative impacts. According to the Scottish Government's Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment, “a benefit of licencing will be improved access to affordable rented homes”. This is a one-dimensional, unfounded perspective which provides a convenient smokescreen for yet another SNP policy failure. They have only spent half of their £25m Rural and Islands Housing Fund (re: affordable homes) and according to Homes for Scotland, have an overall housing shortfall of 85,000 homes. If Fiona Campbell of the Association of Scottish Self-Caterers’ predictions of a 61 per cent loss of such businesses proves to be correct the Scottish Government’s anticipated licencing revenue will amount to around just £7m over a three-year licencing period. Spread across Scotland's 32 council regions, this averages out at just £218,750 each, a sum that barely covers the salary of a top regional council executive.

It is blindingly obvious that the short-term licensing plan is a very blunt and unwieldy instrument that does indeed need urgent reappraisal.

Neil J Bryce, Kelso, Scottish Borders

Short-term view

Alexander McKay's effusive praise of former prime minister Tony Blair's cavalier attitude towards energy conservation and the Net Zero agenda tells us all we need to know about how urgent the climate crisis actually is (Letters, 2 August).

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The short termism that is represented by “having one's finger on the electoral pulse” is exactly what's landed us in the dire situation in which we currently find ourselves. There is always enough money for war but never enough money to pay for genuine security, decent housing, transport, health and vitally, preserving and protecting our environment rather than wrecking it.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh

Open for business

Robert Farquharson (Letters, 2 August) says that “only one Scot out of eight thinks that the next five years of life in the UK will be better than the previous five” and as the SNP will be in power until 2026, I can understand why. The SNP and Greens are trashing Scotland’s economy: local retail; oil and gas; fishing; shipbuilding; distilling; brewing; airports and now the letting sector – “two-thirds of holiday lets and bed and breakfasts will close their doors by the end of September” (your report, 2 August), hitting the Festival next year when tourists will have nowhere to stay.

The SNP and Labour have it in for the oil and gas industry, which is an essential for industry and export and for 90,000 jobs, but they don't care.

The “broken Britain” he refers to has joined the CPTPP, which includes Europe and has a combined GDP of £12 trillion and accounts for 15 per cent of global GDP. The IMF now admits the UK's economy, contrary to its own predictions, will outperform Germany this year. That Britain?

Of course, then there’'s national debt as a percentage of GDP, of which Mr Farquharson makes a big deal. The UK's is 102.64 per cent. Not wonderful, but compare it to the rest of the G7. Ours is the second lowest. Japan's is 255.39 per cent and the USA's, 126.43 per cent.

Clearly, exploiting our oil and gas reserves will help that. Nissan's and Jaguar's battery plants are positive signs that the UK is open for business. Lotus's £2.5 billion investment confirms that. Scotland’s problem is having a “government” which is anti-business, anti-investment and anti-British. That's why Scots are gloomy.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Stay secure

It is reported that the Prime Minister has given the green light for 100 licences to be granted in September to companies that want to press ahead with further oil and gas extraction in the North Sea. No doubt this will be immediately opposed by both the SNP and the Green Party – but such matters are not devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

In the longer term, without question, the Government's target of hitting net-zero emissions by 2050 should be met, but under the current security risks created by the crisis caused by the Russian/Ukrainian war it would indeed be sheer folly to impose a ban on new oil and gas licences.

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The SNP has certainly changed its tune over the years. I am sure that most of us can remember when their war-cry was: “It's Scotland’s oil”, but of course, these days they have little option but to pay heed to their “bed companions” – the unelected Greens – without whom they would certainly lack a majority at Holyrood.

There is no doubt at all that the time will come for commitment to net-zero emissions, but it must not be imposed to the detriment of the UK economy which, because of the current worldwide crisis caused by the effects of the Russian/Ukrainian conflict, is under threat.

Of course, it has to be said that the SNP is always on the lookout for ways and means of undermining the UK Establishment.

Robert I G Scott, Northfield, Ceres, Fife

​Plastics plea

We must not forget the importance of the petrochemical industry in the manufacture of plastics. Oil is too important a resource simply to burn.

D Gerrard, Edinburgh

Oh crumbs

Murdo Fraser (Perspective, 2 August) thinks Scotland should be grateful for a few crumbs from Westminster’s table when his party has just levied a further pound on a bottle of whisky and other spirits produced in Scotland, which is in addition to the £80 billion expected from taxes on oil and gas operations in Scotland’s North Sea, including the Energy Profits Levy, over the next few years with not a penny invested in Scottish renewables or manufacturing.

Mr Fraser forgot to mention that the Peterhead Carbon Capture project was first proposed prior to the Tories coming into power and an application for planning permission was made to Aberdeenshire Council in 2015, with the station due to open in 2020. It was all ready to go until the Tory Government pulled the plug in December 2015. The National Grid was privatised under Margaret Thatcher, and it has been starved of investment and poorly regulated. Scottish renewable providers can’t connect their projects for decades, if at all, and are charged ten times what English providers have to pay to use it.

Many projects are simply refused access, even if they promise not to push power back onto the grid when it is not needed.

Despite energy-rich Scotland providing a cash cow for Westminster, Scottish households continue to face the highest gas and electricity standing charges in the UK.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

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