Readers' letters: Church of Scotland should take lead on road to independence

My church has just welcomed two other local congregations into its community. That is three congregations in all that have joined us and must mean that the Church of Scotland membership is diminishing like snow off a dyke.

When you consider that St Giles’ is already given over to the care of Historic Environment Scotland, there is an air of constant decline. If it goes on, the General Assembly will only need a church hall for their meetings, even a large pub would do if it gets much worse.

So why is this happening?

I believe that it is because we have lost all hope of leadership and guidance from our Church leaders. We are the Church of Scotland. Why is our Church not demanding a Scottish Government in complete charge of our country?

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The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets last yearThe General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets last year
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meets last year

“We favour ‘reconciliation’,” I was told by one minister. He meant “lie down and lick Westminster’s boots”.

A majority of Scots no longer wish to do that. We have a parliament. We want to vote for Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Greens, Scottish parties that know Scotland’s needs and can govern Scotland. We have rich resources. We have a well-educated workforce. Why do we not have a Scottish Church that will lead the way to self-government?

If the Church of Scotland continues to sit on the fence it will be seen as an uncaring frivolity. Scotland cares and its Church should support and lead its members as they used to.

Otherwise it will find that it is left with a Central Office in George Street and a hotel in Israel, both haunted by the furious ghost of John Knox.

​Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh

Scotland’s ‘B’ team

There will be no “independence” from the UK for Scotland. Economically, administratively, defensively and politically it could only be an absolute disaster. And judging by the withdrawal of most of the key figures from the present SNP administration, they must consider that to be the case too.

The replacements initially for Alex Salmond a few years ago, and now Sturgeon and Swinney et al are hardly inspiring and most likely doomed to failure before they even start. Let’s face it, most of them have already held fairly senior positions in earlier administrations, and have failed to shine. And as for the SNP having to rely on the Green Party to have a majority in Parliament – just how farcical is that? The Greens have not been elected by the voters.

The whole concept of a Scottish Executive, as envisaged by its Labour/Liberal founding fathers, should have led to improvements in regional government, but the growth and influence of the SNP with its narrow political views, has resulted in unacceptably inefficient standards in Scotland's administration.

The fiasco at Holyrood simply cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely – if the so-called Scottish Government is unable to make major improvements within all aspects of the administration, then the experiment of an Executive in Scotland should be abandoned, and all governmental powers returned to Westminster.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife

It wisnae me!

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First Minister Humza Yousaf may have criticised the governance of the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon (Scotsman, 7 April) and promised a review so that improvements can be made.

However, as a politician holding senior positions within that regime I don’t remember him publicly disowning the lack of transparency and accountability which everyone knew existed within the Scottish Government or even threatening to resign because of it.

It surely suited Mr Yousaf to acquiesce in the blame deflection politics used by the old guard and nothing seems to have changed. Westminster will still be blamed for everything even if an issue falls within the Scottish government’s area of devolved responsibility.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirling

Shoogly peg

Harold Wilson’s old adage about a week being a long time in politics has once again been shown to be true.

After the past few tumultuous days, the question seems to be: can Humza Yousaf last longer as First Minister of a devolved region of the UK than Liz Truss did as PM of the entire country?

Humza Yousaf’s tight victory may prove to be indeed a poisoned chalice. The self-declared “continuity candidate” has hung his jacket on an already extremely shoogly peg.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Second place

Yesterday marked both the 89th birthday of the SNP and the 38th birthday of First Minister Hamza Yousaf, and given the events of the past week you may wonder what they have to celebrate.

However, apparently the prospect of getting something between ten and 18 seats in the Central Belt of Scotland is something for the Scottish Labour Party to celebrate. Maybe we should remind them that they had 41 seats prior to the 2015 General Election.

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When I was born in 1972 the Conservative and Unionist Party had a five-figure majority in East Fife constituency and now they are third behind the SNP and Liberal Democrats.

So, if it is suggested the SNP do not have much to celebrate what about the political parties that celebrate second place in Scotland?

Peter Ovenstone, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

Loiter within tent

I was alarmed to see the large blue tent in Nicola Sturgeon's front garden along with police officers carrying shovels. My first concern was for the Ukraine refugee that the former First Minister said that she would house in her home, but who we have never seen.

Paul Lewis, Edinburgh

Easter joy

Tomorrow is the day that millions upon millions of Christians throughout the world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Steuart Campbell is right (Letters, 7 April), it is impossible for a dead man to rise from the dead. It is precisely the overcoming of that impossibility that makes Jesus’ resurrection so special. It is, after all, the seal for Christians, the guarantee, of their future physical resurrection. It is also the power behind the “new birth” or spiritual resurrection that every true Christian believer experiences.

But did it happen? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Surely if is true then this changes everything.

Mr Campbell’s ideas about the New Testament seem to be based on a hatred of everything Christian and remind me of 1950s-style theology. Dispassionate, academic research is needed on such an important subject. There are many excellent books which discuss the question, on both sides of the debate. I recommend the tome Professor N T Wright produced in 2003, The Resurrection of the Son of God.

Yesterday I tested positive with Covid so I will not be rejoicing with my friends in person. But I will still be rejoicing. As Paul says so bluntly: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.” And as Paul goes on to say: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Hallelujah!

Iain Gill, Edinburgh

Road to Emmaus

Steuart Campbell describes the resurrection of Jesus as impossible. This is hardly surprising, as he's agreeing with all those involved in the events of that first Easter Sunday, from the disciples, the women who went to pay their respects at the tomb, Mary Magdalene, who mistook him for a gardener and the shattered Thomas, who demanded to see for himself. Mr Campbell is quite possibly is in agreement with the Risen Jesus himself, who could hardly believe it on the remarkable road and miles to Emmaus, asking the incredible question, “What things?”.

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The resurrection bears evidence of the truth that what is impossible for man and woman is possible for God. It’s salutary to remember that without the resurrection, the New Testament would not have been written.

Ian Petrie, Edinburgh

Suitable cures

Regrettably there is a considerable drop-out rate in both Nursing and Medicine leading to manpower problems for the Scottish National Health Service (Scotsman. 6 April).

On the medical side it should be mandatory for Scottish Government paid students that they work in the SNHS after graduation for a minimum of five years or have to repay the fees. Another possible way forward would be to make medicine a second degree. The advantage of this is that those entering medicine are more likely to be more motivated and to stay on.

On the nursing side the return to hospital-based nursing colleges with more hands-on experience (and being paid for it!) would improve staffing levels. Those aspiring to higher echelons in the nursing hierarchy could continue to be educated at university.

I am convinced these changes would be beneficial to the Scottish NHS.

Dr RG Smith, Edinburgh

Scars on landscape

Dick Webster (Letters, 6 April) is correct that greening our economy will ruin our landscape, and make the rich even richer.

Cheap overhead power cabling is inevitable because the national grid was not designed to accept small power generation from distant locations, and the proposed overhead line from Spittal to Beauly will be one of many more, as Highland wind farm output is channelled to the grid.

Another example of how the great climate change scam is ruining the UK landscape, and Scotland’s in particular, as we have the bulk of the ugly windmills in our beautiful country.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross

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