Readers' Letters: Forget continuity, Scotland needs real change

By the time of the Holyrood Parliament elections in 2026 it will be 23 years since the pro-UK parties won a Holyrood electionnote-0. Surely, with the election of Humza Yousaf, they can't fail again
Expect continued failure if SNP 'continuity candidate' Humza Yousaf is named First Minister, says reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Expect continued failure if SNP 'continuity candidate' Humza Yousaf is named First Minister, says reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Expect continued failure if SNP 'continuity candidate' Humza Yousaf is named First Minister, says reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and bogeyman Boris Johnson are gone. Brexit and Covid are in abeyance, people are fed up with SNP failures, hype and scandal. Meanwhile the UK Labour and Conservative parties are both evolving sensible policies to recharge and reform the UK.

Humza Yousaf was indeed the continuity candidate: continuity of independence transcending everything, continuity of the Green tail wagging the dog, continuity of spin, hidden truth and scandal, and the disastrous continuity of his failures in Transport, Justice and Health extending across the whole devolved portfolio. Poor old Scotland.

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I hope the Opposition mark the occasion by taking a lead from their Westminster colleagues and producing election-winning policies that will enthuse people to go out, vote them into power and win Scotland back for its people.

They can't rely on Humza's failures to do the job for them.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

We’re doomed

I expect Humza Yousaf to be as much use to his country as First Minister as he has proven to be as Scottish Transport Minister, Scottish Justice Minister and Scottish Health Minister.If Kate Forbes and Ash Regan have a single shred of integrity left in them, they will resign from the SNP immediately and serve out their remaining time in office as independents. Scotland is finished.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Mission possible

Scotland is a social democratic sovereign nation, trapped in a Tory far right Anglo/British state – a so called Union of Equals. Although the SNP is a political party, it is in essence a movement for independence.

It’s therefore vital that if, as is likely, Humza Yousaf becomes First Minister, he keeps to a centre left political agenda, providing economic stability, fighting poverty and inequality, climate change and working for human rights, but above all working together, with renewed unity of purpose, to secure a vibrant and successful independent Scotland.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

Oblivion awaits

News that Humza Yousaf is the new leader of the SNP and, no doubt, First Minister of Scotland will be greeted with great pleasure by the Unionist parties at Holyrood.

Mr Yousaf is, apparently, known as “Humza Useless” in SNP circles and his reputation goes before him. Not only will Nicola Sturgeon be, as he put it, on “speed-dial”; she will be pushing for her own failed agenda to be carried out in full from behind the scenes . An éminence grise of the 21st century.

Not only is Mr Yousaf alleged to have ducked an important vote on same-sex marriage, according to Alex Neil and former boss Alex Salmond, at the behest of his mosque, he is also a man who “liked” Michael Russell's description of the SNP's opponents at Holyrood as their “enemies”.

It is hard not to anticipate internal mayhem in the SNP if he attempts to take the UK Government to court over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which is cordially loathed by a great majority of Scots and was struck down by Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack.

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The people of Scotland should be extremely grateful to the membership of the SNP for ensuring that their party will disappear into oblivion at the next elections, both UK and Scottish!

Andrew H N Gray, Edinburgh

Take advice

One of the most concerning things about the tenure of Nicola Sturgeon has been the concentration of power in a few hands and the gradual erosion of democracy. As bills have been debated in the chamber and passed through committee stage , there has been a refusal to accept quite reasonable amendments if they differed from the views of those trying to lead the country. Take the ill-fated Named Persons Act, which was forced through parliament and required a lengthy court challenge to eventually reject it. Or the more recent Gender Bill where reasonable amendments were not listened to. The amalgamation of the police forces in Scotland into one unit, Police Scotland, concentrates power in fewer hands making it easier for politicians to try to influence the running of democracy.

It is very important that the new leader is prepared to listen to reasonable advice from a broader group of advisers and never allow the country to be run again in such a dictatorial fashion.

A M Steven, Newton Mearns, Glasgow

Shoogly peg

The result of the contest for leader of the SNP tells us what many had already concluded. That only 70 per cent of the active members of the party bothered to vote speaks to the quality of the three candidates. Humza Yousaf may have won but what must cause him and his supporters nightmares is that undoubtedly the 30,000 members who resigned over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill would have voted for Kate Forbes. The old Scots saying “his coat is on a shoogly peg” puts it nicely.

There is no doubt that Mr Yousaf will bring the same standards to the job of First Minister as he did at Justice and Health and that Scotland will suffer accordingly. However, the nation's pain will be the Unions gain.

Howard Lewis, Edinburgh

Privacy plea

I read on Sunday that Nicola Sturgeon is in the early stages of taking driving lessons and that it will give her freedom (if not independence). It’s a pity she didn't learn a while ago as the country might have benefit ted from a sense of direction and knowing it was going somewhere.

May I finish with a plea to the media everywhere? Would you please leave Ms Sturgeon alone and let her have her privacy for her retirement? Like Harry and Meghan, I'm sure she just wants to be left alone out of the limelight.

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Mortgage hell

Current interest rates of 4.25 per cent threaten those who bought houses on low interest rate mortgages. The house buying market, particularly in the cities where work is available, has been competitive for many years so many house buyers have been buying houses with the maximum loan they can afford. Interest rates were below 1.4 per cent in 2017 and have only been briefly above 2 per cent until one year ago. Those with rates fixed for five years and those with variable rate mortgages will be facing more than double, even treble, current repayments when the fixed rates expire or as rates rise.

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Mortgages expenses of double or treble combined with recent tax increase and fuel costs will sink many household finances, mortgage defaults will threaten building societies’ stability and house prices will drop by roughly 50 per cent to a level currently affordable. ​

Governments seem to be ignoring this problem. One suspects that many elected representatives do not understand economics or the effect of their reckless decisions on ordinary people. The current suggestions are that rates will hopefully go down. Inflation is above 10 per cent and is not going down, rates may be at unaffordable levels for many for years, they are most unlikely to even approach 2 per cent again, maybe ever.

Increasing taxes and mortgages payments to unaffordable levels may tempt many of the 37.5 per cent owner occupiers with mortgages with recent high mortgage repayments – who include the young, qualified middle class – to move abroad and leave their debts behind.

A partial solution would be to fix mortgage rates at a maximum affordable level (2.5 per cent) and reduce middle class taxes.

Ken Carew, Dumfries

Pension plan

The governor of the Bank of England has warned businesses against raising prices as that may stoke inflation. The Bank’s pension scheme is heavily invested in inflation-linked bonds and matches pay-outs to the inflation rate. It is generous and non-contributory, so completely taxpayer funded.

This should be changed. Arrange for a special issuance each year of a 2 per cent bond by the Debt Management Office of an amount no greater than the current contribution. It may be below inflation now but it would sharpen minds. More importantly, they would lead by their example.

Tom Walker, Loanhead, Midlothian

Ode to snowflakes

I am aghast at the news that the publishers’ “sensitivity editors” are now bowdlerising the works of Agatha Christie “to cut offensive terms and racist references”.Where will this rush to snowflake society end? Which great author’s works will be next for the correcting fluid? Robbie Burns maybe? Take “Ode to a haggis” for starters: “his knife see rustic labour dight, an’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight, trenching your gushing entrails bright, like onie ditch, an’ then, o what a glorious sight, warm reeking rich!” Then there are Burns’s references to chains, whipping, slavery, rape and pillage in various of his other works!

The Tories seem reluctant to prevent this cultural vandalism, Labour is actively promoting it, the liberals… who knows what goes on in those heads? As for the Welsh, they are already lost to the real world.Scotland should therefore take the lead, by outlawing the bowdlerisation of classic works, and insisting any that have already been vandalised in this way are banned from sale in God’s Country!

Ian McNicholas, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale

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