Readers' Letters: Cameron will be a menace to UK's national security
Had Mr Cameron been a skilled negotiator it is highly probable he would have won sufficient concessions on control of our borders to have achieved a Remain vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Because he would not call Angela Merkel’s bluff and was incapable of threatening to lead the Leave campaign, he came home empty handed.
Had Cameron had any real understanding of the Middle East, Britain would never have intervened to support the revolt against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. Certainly, Gaddafi led a brutal dictatorship, however the alternative was not democracy and human rights but repeated bouts of civil war, a country carved into fiefdoms and various horrific Islamists groups energised.
In these difficult times, David Cameron represents nothing more than complacency and conventional wisdom politely and pleasantly packaged. He will be a menace to our national security and wider national interest.
Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife
The Prime Minister has taken a bold step forward to improve the Conservatives' chances in the next election. By sacking Suella Braverman and replacing her with James Cleverly he has brought back dignity to the Home Office. Braverman described the 300,000 protesters on the Armistice Day march for peace in Gaza as “hateful” and “polluting the streets with hate”. This is the language of the far right and is a downright lie. It's not the first time she has brought the government into disrepute, saying that homelessness is “a lifestyle choice”. She has achieved nothing while in post.
Bringing back David Cameron is a masterstroke not only because of his vast experience, his affable personality and calm demeanour but also as a signal that the Conservative Party has moved back to the centre ground where the next election will be fought and won. If the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, can pull some rabbits out of the Treasury hat next week in his Autumn Statement the opinion polls gap with Labour will shrink. Inflation is already probably below five per cent and the economy, which was predicted to collapse, is holding up.
If a week is a long time in politics a year is an eternity.
William Loneskie, Oxton, Lauder, Berwickshire
In good company
The return of David Cameron, as former prime minister to become foreign secretary, has some interesting precedents, including those with a strong Scottish connection. Arthur Balfour, who was born at Whittingehame House near East Linton in East Lothian, was Conservative prime minister between 1902 and 1905, before being appointed foreign secretary by Lloyd George in 1916. It was he who was responsible for the famous Balfour Declaration of 1917. This is believed to have been signed in the library at Whittingehame and is seen as instrumental in creating the Jewish state through “supporting a national home for the Jewish people”.
Alec Douglas-Home, whose principal family home was at The Hirsel near Coldstream, served as Conservative Prime Minister between 1963 and 1964, before becoming foreign secretary between 1970 and 1974 in Edward Heath’s government.
While Alec Douglas-Home is the most recent former prime minister to serve in the cabinet of a successor, he joins a list which includes the likes of Arthur Balfour, Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald and Neville Chamberlain. So, while unusual, David Cameron’s return to ministerial office is not unprecedented.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh
The return of David Cameron to frontline politics shows the dearth of talent on the Tory benches. During his first incarnation as prime minister Cameron was an abysmal failure. He was an enthusiastic supporter of “austerity”, the economically insane ideology on a par with Mao's Great Leap Forward. Cameron claimed austerity would reduce the national debt from £1 trillion to zero within five years. Instead debt doubled to £2 trillion.
Wages collapsed at the same rate as Greece. The NHS and council services were starved of cash. The result of this was that foodbank use went from 60,000 to one million by the time Cameron resigned. Another consequence was that the NHS was woefully unprepared for Covid-19.
Cameron decided to solve his party’s interminable divisions on Europe by holding a referendum on EU membership. Cameron arrogantly thought he would win and resigned so he could duck the consequence.
The only reason Cameron is not the worst Prime Minister in history is that he was followed by May, Johnson and Truss.
The Tory Party is now run by fourth-rate pen-pushers who mistake personal ambition for leadership and ability.
In his first incarnation Cameron, along with his hatchet man George Osborne, were the Burke and Hare of Westminster. Today that moniker belongs to him and Rishi Sunak. History suggests that then, as now, Cameron will make a mess of things.
Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee
Too much talk
It has been revealed that in the last ten years the SNP government has announced more than 520 strategies and plans. That's one every week.
These include 113 strategies on health and social care and 60 on the Scottish economy, both sectors that continue to underperform. Over 80 strategies have been published on climate change but, despite these, the Scottish government still cannot achieve its annual emission targets.
On top of the hundreds of “strategies” there have been more than 650 “consultation papers” on every subject you can think of. Instead of strategies and consultations (not sure if these include ferries, dual carriageways or potholes), the SNP government should listen to the late, great Elvis Presley when he sings “a little less conversation, a little more action”.
Jim Houston, Edinburgh
Net Zero Watch has reported that China is continuing to pay lip service to cutting greenhouse gases as it builds new coal plants and ramps up its existing ones, with Chinese officials saying that China needs to rapidly expand its coal-power generation due to the unreliability of wind and sun.
China accounts for more than 37 per cent of the world's greenhouse gases. The UK and Scotland? UK 1.0 per cent, Scotland 0.1 per cent. Climate minnows. Europe is expected to burn 185 million tonnes more coal than previously anticipated by 2030 due to reduced Russian gas imports.
The UN reports that world governments are planning to produce more than double the coal, oil and gas in 2030 than is allowed under the Paris Agreement. It is certain that all these breaches will not be discussed at COP28. Instead it will be the $100 billion every year that developing countries, including China, are demanding from the developed countries for the climate damage they allege was created by the developed nations. The 28 years of COPs have produced nothing but hot air and demands for climate compensation.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian
WInds of doubt
It's interesting to note that the SNP claims that Scotland possesses 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind capacity have been proved false.
A revised figure of around six per cent, while not inconsiderable, raises the question as to why the inflated figure was claimed in the first place. Was it through incompetence or deceit? Whatever the reason, it casts doubt on the veracity of any figures or claims made by the Scottish Government, including their blueprints for “Independence”.
Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire
Hope for Kirk
Your article “Worshippers stay away as 700 churches face closure” (11 November) gives voice to people lamenting the closure of Church of Scotland buildings due to falling church attendances and financial pressures. But it concludes on the hopeful note that this painful process will prove a turning point from which the Church can rebuild.
This seems unlikely. The Church of Scotland in its current form has been in decline since the 1950s, and applying the same medicine of retrenchment, albeit in bigger doses, will not give a cure.
The key insights for moving forward positively are these. Firstly, not everything the Church does has to be paid for by the Church. Secondly, not everything the Church does has to be done by Church members. Church buildings are substantial community assets and they hold the affection and energy of loyal people, which will be lost when the buildings go. What is needed is to use the convening power of the Church to bring local groups together in collaborative partnerships to serve the local community.
The Church has to meet people where they are. And if “where they are” is not in church on a Sunday morning it must minister to their needs during the week in other settings. Using the opportunities afforded by social enterprise and cultural activities, Church leaders and members must reach out in compassion to broader communities beyond our own membership. That is the recipe for turning decline into growth.
Jo Elliot, Session Clerk, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh
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