Readers' letters: Have we fallen through a black hole to 2014?
The Lord Advocate has admitted that she “does not have the necessary degree of confidence” that an independence vote can be held. That the Supreme Court will even rule on theoretical legislation is highly unlikely, as Holyrood may not consider legislation which is “ultra vires”, in other words, beyond their powers.
That takes us back to square one: no referendum. This is Nicola Sturgeon’s swan song: a cry of "one last push” to those who ignore her (written and signed) agreement to honour the Edinburgh Agreement. The world has moved on and there are much more important matters to consider. Any attempt to hold a second referendum, or even a “consultative referendum” have been well and truly kicked into touch.
The priorities now are to get a new Prime Minister who will shed the burden of EU legislation and do what we voted for in 2016; greatly expand our armed forces against the threat we face from Russia; protect the small nations of free Europe like the Baltic states, Sweden and Finland, Denmark and Iceland – the sort of countries the SNP admire so much, that we have to protect because they are too small to do so(!) – and stop squandering money on pointless projects like HS2.
The SNP and Greens are yesterday's people, fighting yesterday's battles. History has passed them by.
Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh
Go now, Boris
Has Sir John Major struck the right note in calling for a caretaker prime minister whilst the Conservatives go through the process of electing a new leader (Scotsman, 8 July)?
When I heard that Boris Johnson had committed not to take any major decisions in the time before he steps down as premier, I groaned with scepticism. He cannot possibly know what events – either at home or abroad – could prompt the need for decisive action in the coming months. His party and the opposition no longer feel he should be trusted with that degree of power. The case for resignation with immediate effect and passing responsibility to the deputy prime minister Dominic Raab is a very strong one. Indeed, so is the case for a truncated leadership contest, settling the matter of the succession no later than late August.
The case for treating Mr Johnson differently to David Cameron and Theresa May might seem harsh. But the reasons for their resignations, in 2016 and 2019 respectively, were different to that of the present incumbent. Both had decided that the issue of membership of the European Union, or rather that of leaving it, had made their positions untenable. Mr Johnson had clearly lost the trust of both his parliamentary party and a large number of party members. It was lost because of concerns over his personal integrity, and the way he was contributing to disaffection among the public about the political process.
These are matters the Conservative 1922 Committee should take into account when it looks at the election process on Monday. The longer he stays in office the longer it will take for the reputation of public office to be repaired.
Bob Taylor, Glenrothes, Fife
The late Enoch Powell, predicting his own fate, declared that all political careers end in failure. Boris Johnson admirably illustrates this truth.
Both men were victims of the principle pointed out by Professor Laurence J Peter that the organisational incompetence in both private and public life from which we all suffer is considerasbly caused by our heidyins being promoted several notches above their natural level of ability. Our First Minister is another clear example.
Bojo's natural abilities lie in charm, speech and journalism, and I’m sure he will exploit all three and turn around his fortunes by making one. I wish him well, if only because he honoured the Brexit referendum. It remains a shame though that he was the one in charge of implementing it; but such is life.
Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian
I am amongst those glad to see the back of Boris, but I find it a bit much to hear Nicola Sturgeon, Ed Davey and others say he was never fit to be Prime Minister and that his government was a disaster.
His failings were personal – an inability to tell the truth, something that our First Minister should understand. His government did achieve things that we should acknowledge. He promised Brexit and saw it through. I struggle to think of what our First Minister’s government has achieved.
Boris oversaw his own downfall, which was aided by a very hostile media. They were arguably doing what we would want them to do, but I do hope now that their venom might be turned to others that deserve it. I hope they look no further than the SNP.
Ken Currie, Edinburgh
Comparing Boris Johnson's phlegmatic “Them's the breaks” resignation speech (Scotsman, 8 July) to those of his two predecessors – Theresa May's in particular full of blubbering self-pity – and you realise why in the cold light of history our departing Prime Minister is likely to be painted as one who fell victim more to McMillan's metaphorical “events, dear boy, events” than any malice on his part.
Farewell BoJo – I've a feeling people are going to miss our bumbling Sir Galahad of Brexit more than they realise, sooner rather than later.
Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire
Return to integrity
We have sadly lost all sense of integrity and trust in government as a result of Boris Johnson clinging on to power like a dictator and being allowed to do so for so long. The public has a right to know how this was allowed to happen and indeed who is still propping up Johnson as PM despite him being a law breaker and a serial liar. In business he would have been disgraced and dispatched long ago.
We got here partly because of an anti-democratic Conservative leadership contest when around 100,000 largely elderly well-heeled party members from Southern England decided “it has to be Boris”. An out-of-touch electorate voted in an out-of-touch leader because he had a colourful personality and was desperate to leave the EU.
Johnson talked in his resignation speech about the importance of levelling up but his policies and misdemeanours have divided Britain and seen a growing gap between rich and poor with increasing numbers of children in poverty and adults using food banks.
Whoever takes over from Johnson needs to weed out his toxic support in the party and put integrity and the truth before spin and deception. That includes Jacob Rees-Mogg, the most condescending and devious man in parliament. We have the opportunity to reset and seriously question failed policies like Brexit. Let’s not lose this opportunity to sort out the mess Johnson and his narrow-minded supporters have left us, focus on the cost-of-living crisis and make Britain a successful and respected nation again.
Neil Anderson, Edinburgh
Pots and kettles
In the wake of Mr Johnson's welcome resignation, Ms Sturgeon said that, whilst caretaker PM, he “will want to do things and in the process, will undoubtedly cause more chaos”, offered that he was “manifestly unfit” for office and suggested that he had been “lurching from crisis to crisis”. “Bricks and glass houses” and “pots and kettles” immediately spring to mind.
Jim Houston, Edinburgh
An interesting article from Joyce McMillan (Scotsman, 8 July), in which she seems to blame the system at Westminster for throwing up the likes of Boris, but is human nature not at fault, or more likely, a mixture of both?
For all the faults of Westminster (certainly the voting system ), the Tories did get rid of Boris, and, it must be mentioned, how the SNP have failed to deal with Patrick Grady MP. Whatever the system – for example Holyrood, which is supposed to be better, did throw up Derek McKay – no system is human nature proof.
William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian
Throw away key
It is to be welcomed that a series of international raids on gangs suspected of smuggling migrants across the English Channel had led to 38 arrests (Scotsman, 7 July).
Trafficking has resulted in the known deaths of 27 people and certainly many more unknown. The countries involved in these arrests - France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK – must agree to impose the longest jail time possible and change their laws to ensure these criminals serve the full sentence and their proceeds of crime are confiscated. Only Draconian jail terms will deter other would-be traffickers.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian
It seems to be the norm nowadays, especially at Wimbledon, that after they have been defeated, players end up doing a bit of commentary later in the competition. And untrained, they are not very good at it. Even some of the long-term commentators seem to show some bias to local players.
In the Heather Watson game, her opponenent hit a brilliant winner. Yet Tracy Austin, never mentioned the shot, but only to say, ''Watson's in trouble now.'' Henman is another with tunnel vision, and doesn;t when to remain quiet.
Come on guys, let's see unbiased commentaries – applaud both players when they have hit brilliant shots. Just as well Andrew Cotter is there to add some professionalism.
Jim Reilly, Hawick, Scottish Borders
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