Readers' Letters: Don’t Indy supporters care about gravy train?

Inaugural accounts for Scotland’s state owned Scottish National Investment Bank show that the former boss Eilidh Mactaggart earned almost £500,000 during her 15 months in post. It has also been revealed that bank directors are paid up to £1,250 per day and non-executive directors up to £850 per day.

Recently it was revealed that the previous boss of the ill-fated Ferguson Marine ferries business was paid an astonishing £2,780 per day, yes per day for failure to come up with the goods. Since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister this SNP “government” has been cavalier with taxpayers’ hard-earned money with so many ill-fated and expensive projects. The astonishing thing is that support for independence appears to be maintained. I can only assume that supporters care nothing for the economics and finance of the fight for separation, are happy for money to be wasted and are totally taken in by the teenage emotion of some sort of “freedom”. The FM said in September 2016, “independence is more important than oil, balance sheets and national wealth” and clearly supporters have bought into this shocking and irresponsible thought process.

I saw a comment this week by an independence supporter who genuinely believes that Scotland will be independent in October 2023 and we will be in the EU the following week. The naivety of these people is astonishing and time they woke up to what Ms Sturgeon has inflicted on Scotland.

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Douglas Cowe, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire

Scottish National Investment Bank CEO Eilidh Mactaggart (right) with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and chair Willie Watt at the bank's official launch in 2020 (Picture: Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Settled will

Stan Grodynski criticises pro-Union correspondents for pointing out that there is a pro-Union majority in Scotland (Letters, 6 October). The other writers do that on the entirely justifiable basis of votes exercised in elections. These votes are not subject to any ginger groups asking loaded questions. He refers to “a wide range of polls” showing “a pro-Independence majority”, which is for the birds, as he knows full well. There is only one poll that matters in this regard – the 2014 referendum held to make a decision. The SNP were allowed to decide who could vote – and, rather importantly, who couldn't!; when they could vote (by pure coincidence, on the anniversary of Bannockburn); and what the question was. The result was crystal clear, when 24 per cent more Scots voted to stay in the Union than voted to leave. That is what is known as a landslide.

Mr Grodynski calls those who won the referendum, “democracy-deniers”, saying that they “do not wish another referendum to take place”. Yet, the only democracy deniers are those who wish to deny us the benefit of the referendum decision we have already made. The 2014 referendum was the “once in a generation opportunity to follow a different path”, to quote the SNP's own White Paper. Demanding a second referendum because they lost the one we have had is the only denial there is.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

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Truth hurts

Your regular nationalist correspondent, Stan Grodynski, appears to think that the leader of his party and First Minister of Scotland is above criticism. It seems that those of us who consider Nicola Sturgeon to be far from perfect, and are unafraid to state it, are somehow committing treason. This tendency of nationalists to deify their leaders is common. I am afraid that for Mr Grodynski the old adage that the truth hurts is only too accurate – in the SNP-labelled “once in a lifetime” official referendum of 2014, the pro-UK side had a clear majority.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Take time

Brian Bannatyne-Scott seems to suggest that the only way to escape the present government is independence (Letters, 5 October). Does he not realise governments are elected periodically and that independence is forever and cannot be reversed when it all goes wrong. He also states, correctly, that the present Prime Minister was appointed by a few thousand Tory members, but fails to mention that the First Minister was not elected to the post by anybody but merely parachuted in on the resignation of Alex Salmond.

Donald Carmichael East Linton, East Lothian

Clumsy Tories

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Tory chair Jake Berry has been apologising for his clumsy comment that workers should “get a new job” if they are not happy with their wages.

The present Tory government are a bit clumsy, right enough. It's clumsy to hold onto a claim that tax cuts will lead to growth when the plan has crashed the economy, making growth impossible.

It's clumsy to continue policies that will drive up mortgages so high that all helpful actions taken by government will simply be cancelled out – even high earners will find mortgage rises cancel nice tax cuts. So no sign of spare cash for dripping down with.

It's clumsy to hold rigidly to a view that tax cuts always kindle growth when the historical evidence claims there was little benefit Reagan or Thatcher ever got from their economic policies. It's clumsy to hold ideological views on how to grow an economy when few economists give them any credence and when your leading economic guru claims that to compensate for the effect of the policies on inflation, interest rates will probably rise as high as 7 per cent. It's clumsy to have uncosted policies that cause such alarm in markets that the Bank of England has had to throw massive amounts of quantitative easing to prevent the collapse of pension funds, with the result that we don't know how vulnerable these funds will continue to be. The clumsiest thing about today’s Tory leadership is that they no longer care what happens to the country. They just want to save face and stay in an enjoyable egotistical bubble.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh

Power problems

In the past we have had prolonged power cuts. The three-day week of 1973/4 comes to mind. But our dependence on electricity was much less then. Now it powers and organises everything, and our survival depends on a continuous supply. In today’s world a series of prolonged power outages would have significant effects.

No computers. The internet would cease. No communication. No online banking. No benefit payments. No lottery. No TV or radio. Airports would close and hospitals would have problems. Electric cars would be unable to charge and others unable to refuel. Buses and trains would stop. Landline and mobile phone coverage would eventually fail. Supermarkets would close and panic buying would start. Water and sewerage – now computerised – would fail.

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No light and no heat. The grid might require a restart that could take weeks. And in nine months the birth rate will sharply increase.

As we dispense with continuous fossil and nuclear power, let us hope that wind and sun and water live up to their green energy promise.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross, Perth & Kinross

Covid cover-up?

What is it about this SNP Government that whatever it touches ends in chaos, confusion and consternation? What causes a highly respected Judge and four hugely experienced and respected legal experts to resign from a Scottish Covid Public Inquiry before it has even begun? Set aside the fact the SNP Government yet again wanted to go it alone rather than be involved with a UK-wide inquiry that has already begun for England and Wales and we have an utter and embarrassing shambles causing huge emotional turmoil to those that lost loved ones during the pandemic.

One can only draw the conclusion that the legal experts, quoting “professional reasons” for their resignations, were very uncomfortable with interference from or the brief for the inquiry dictated by the Scottish Government. The whole episode has the odour of this dictatorial and self-interested Government trying to cover up certain issues and influence the inquiry. The SNP has history on inquiries and the public are again paying the price whilst being taken for fools.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Gove Gove Gove

Some may see him as Gollum, others as Mr Bean, but Michael Gove, always the opportunist, popped up on BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg threatening to vote down Kwasi Kwarteng’s botched budget and precipitating another Liz Truss U-turn.

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The former Levelling Up minister’s assertion that borrowing to fund tax cuts for the rich at a time when many are struggling in a cost of living crisis was inconsistent with Conservative values did more than cause ripples at the party conference.

Gove has form when it comes to controversy, having stood for the party leadership twice, claiming he had evidence that Boris Johnson was not fit to lead the Conservatives in 2016, paving the way for Theresa May. He has little to lose now that he has been cast into the backbenches.

Liz Truss’s subsequent U-turn was not unexpected despite her trying her best not to by claiming that the scrapping of the 45 per cent tax band was Mr Kwarteng’s idea and later dismissing it as a “distraction”. It’s just another example of a fractured party steeped in self interest and lacking a detailed coherent strategy. It seems that the tax cuts have not been balanced out by a costed savings plan, hence Truss’ reticence to publish the detail. There has been a frantic attempt this week to come up with departmental savings, not least, it seems, through cutting welfare payments in real terms. The consequences of this would be catastrophic for many struggling to cope and potentially for Ms Truss herself, especially if the “growth growth growth” policy that we are all meant to benefit from continues to fail to impress the mortgage markets.

As for Mr Gove, he can now leave Westminster with some credibility and may even reacquaint himself with the Aberdeen clubbing scene. Perhaps a stint on Strictly beckons?

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

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