Readers' Letters: Holyrood out of touch over gender reform

Good for JK Rowling, making a clear statement about the contempt for women expressed by the SNP and others who have voted for Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Act.

There is no requirement for a change in the law to allow men into female-only spaces. That is completely unacceptable, even if it is only one man doing so. The justification for this is because some people have gender dysphoria, which is a mental condition. Why should everyone of one gender which has had centuries of male prejudice to overcome be subjected to this sexist law?

Apparently, this is because people with gender dysphoria have a "preferred gender". How can you have a “preferred gender”? It’s like having a “preferred species”! This is utter and complete nonsense and deserving of no respect, just contempt. It shows how out of touch with the people the Scottish Parliament is.

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No doubt an appeal will be made to the Supreme Court to correct this legislation, if it passes. I hope that all voters – including the 59 per cent of the population who disagree with this perverse legislation – will demonstrate their disapproval at the next election. I do hope so.

JK Rowling (right) and Nicola Sturgeon are on opposite sides of the gender debate (Pictures: PA/JK Rowling/Twitter)

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

Why worry?

Nicola Sturgeon has frequently stated that Scotland is self sufficient in energy and praised the provision of renewables in Scotland. Why, then, is she even mentioning the possibility of blackouts this winter? If her claims are correct then this cannot happen. If, however, her claims are somewhat nuanced then anything is possible. Ms Sturgeon is displaying her lack of transparency whilst claiming the opposite.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Truss beware

In an inexplicable act of self-destruction, Liz Truss targets every opposition party, every opposing voter, every media outlet (apart from certain tabloid newspapers, obviously) and even a fair section of her own parliamentary party as the anti-growth coalition. Clearly she is unaware that all political parties want to grow the economy but all would do it in a more planned, compassionate and much less ham-fisted way.This, I feel, will be her Gerald Ratner moment and something she will be identified with for the rest of her soon-to-be imploding career.

D Mitchell, Edinburgh

Tax cut myth

I would like to echo Gordon Brown’s comments regarding the immoral and unfair and unequal application of tax cutting and benefits increases by the current Westminster government. There was an excellent economic discussion on Sky News yesterday pointing out that not increasing the tax free earnings allowance places a penalty on low earners and on those not yet required to pay tax who will now be swept into the tax system as wages slowly rise. The only beneficiaries are the better off if their tax bands are modified to reduce their taxes.

The dishonesty of the London government is to portray a tax penalty as a benefit. Further, there is a complete ignorance of the basis of economics by that government. If those with low incomes are given money they spend it, thus improving economic activity; those with high incomes just save it, maybe to the benefit of banks.

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One must wonder at the economic competence of a government which does not understand that there is no magic formula which says tax cutting leads to growth. Far from it. That is just a hope which is not likely to be realised in this unstable economic environment when all with surplus money will save, not invest.

I hope the Scottish Government can defray the worse effects of these policies on the poor. Then Gordon’s warning of “national uprising” will not apply here in Scotland even if England falls.

It is immoral not to claim back totally unearned excess profits from energy producers. We are all of us paying half of our power bills straight to power companies’ profits as well as loading the country with massive debts. Those London cabinet ministers won’t be paying off any of that debt, of course. Immorality indeed, mixed with stupidity.

Ken Carew, Dumfries

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Gordon Brown warns of ‘national uprising’ if benefits rise falls short

Growing pains

I always take exception to economics being described as the “dismal science”. The inaccuracy is not so much in the adjective “dismal” as in perceiving the subject as a science. The progress clearly discernible in science today is seldom evident in economics, which to me resembles nothing so much as a vicious circle with every “solution” seemingly creating greater, albeit different, problems.

Your columnist John McLaren cuts through the Gordian knot of his speciality to explain convincingly in layman's terms exactly why the Government's policy of "Growth, growth, growth" is unworkable (Perspective, 6 October).

To complete my economic enlightenment perhaps The Scotsman could follow Mr McLaren with a rebuttal by an advocate of Trussonomics!

John Wood, St Boswells, Scottish Borders

Game of Marbles

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The Elgin Marbles have become a cause celibré amongst the wilfully ignorant, and it's long overdue that the record was set straight.The 7th Earl of Elgin – as British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire – bought the marbles from Turkish officials at the Parthenon (then used as an armoury), appalled by Greeks destroying fallen parts of the frieze for sheep walls or grinding them down for lime, and helpless to stop them due to Sultan Selim III's indifference.Elgin's actions, however dubious, have preserved these wonders for the world to enjoy in the historical sanctuary of the British Museum for free. Like all who sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, Greece has no “right” to a heritage it treated with so much contempt: let it have the “copies” it demands others display in place of “their” treasures.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Educated guessing

Cameron Wyllie rightly condemns the Scottish Government for its handling of the reform of Scottish education (Perspective, 7 October). Of the 59 members of the Education Review Board not a single one is a currently practising classroom teacher! Surely anyone with a modicum of common sense would find this inexplicable and outrageous even without access to the last report of the Scottish Parliament Education Committee, which pleaded that “education should be given back to the teachers”.

Mr Wyllie's amusing suggestion that little will change except the titles on the doors at education headquarters reflects the SNP’s total lack of vision or perhaps, even more worryingly, their standard control freakery.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Dialogue needed

Without getting into a tit for tat exchange, may I point out to Donald Carmichael that my letter of 5 October specifically did not suggest independence as the only way to escape the present government. I was encouraging a dialogue between the SNP and Labour, including the Lib Dems too.

While it is true Nicola Sturgeon took over without an election, it seems to have slipped Mr Carmichael's memory that she won the democratic elections which followed, thus justifying her position as head of government.

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Brian Bannatyne Scott, Edinburgh

Listen to teachers

Apart from Nicola Sturgeon's car crash interview on yesterday’s Good Morning Scotland we hear that Mike Russell is to pontificate on something regarding education. Perhaps it's the story of how he destroyed the Scottish education system single handed.

It would have been more to the point if they had invited David Mitchell, Rector of Dunoon Grammar School, who has propelled the school forward to become one of the top ten in the world. People like him should be given the podium so that Nicola Sturgeon might then have been able to chorus her mantra of “education, education, education”. She added education, sadly, to her long list of failures over her stewardship at Holyrood.

Although the census has been a part of the UK since people were still using quill pens, Angus Robertson seems to have managed to foul up this whole exercise, costing the Scottish People wads of cash and getting an incomplete census result. I presume he will remain silent on this issue, or, like Sturgeon he will blame an intransigent Scottish public for his failure. It brings to mind “A'body's oot a' step bit oor Jock”

I rest my case.

Alexander Sutherland, Aberdeen

Bank of questions

Nicola Sturgeon announces that she will publish in the near future a paper on the economy and currency of her separate Scotland. I love that she says that her new central bank would be lender of last resort for Scotland’s financial services industry, and that this central bank would require reserves.

First, the SNP’s own Growth Commission Report recognised that financial services would have to leave Scotland because their industry depends on its links to the Bank of England. Second, from where is Ms Sturgeon’s new regime going to acquire reserves? We already know Scotland cannot maintain its current standard of living without a massive injection of cash from HM Treasury every year – cash we would cease to receive if we left the UK.

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This is just more pie in the sky from the SNP. And it is designed to act as camouflage for Ms Sturgeon’s acceptance that – whatever she says to appease her own party – a separate Scotland would be using the £ in a sterlingisation format, with all the well-known disadvantages that would entail, for the long term rather than as the stop gap she promises.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

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