Readers' letters: Honours uneven in a discredited system

As Boris Johnson issues his well-earned honours list many favours have certainly been paid off. With the political and intellectual might of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Fabricant, Connor Burns and Priti Patel all being recognised for their unstinting support, many other shining lights within the Johnson fold have also received gongs, including his hairdresser, who has clearly done as good a job as Johnson did while PM, as well as some of his staff who resigned in disgrace over the Partygate scandal. Better luck next time, Nadine.

Not to be outdone, the Royals have also been awarding themselves new titles and Camilla has now been appointed to the Scottish Order of the Thistle. Lucky old Scotland again!

One waits with bated breath as the Liz Truss honours list will soon be published recognising her triumphant period as Prime Minister. “Lord” Kwasi Kwarteng anyone?

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That’s one of the great things about the British honours system. It is always scrupulously fair and benefits the most deserving of people.

Jacob Rees Mogg was knighted in Boris Johnson's resignation honours listJacob Rees Mogg was knighted in Boris Johnson's resignation honours list
Jacob Rees Mogg was knighted in Boris Johnson's resignation honours list

D Mitchell, Edinburgh

Peer pressure

I sympathise with David Hamill (Letters, 17 June) who is thinking of refusing to resign from his bowls team until he gets a knighthood a la Nadine Dorries who is “investigating” why she didn’t get a peerage.

Can I recommend he stays on the team but just starts calling himself Sir David? When Gavin Williamson, the hapless former Education and Defence Secretary was knighted awhile back my friends and I just gave ourselves titles: for a time I was Lady M but a year or so later, when I found out that that was the name of Michelle Mone’s yacht, I simply elevated myself to Countess – I lived in Camberwell at the time and I liked the alliteration.

With the recent news that Mrs Windsor has been appointed to the Order of the Thistle I am thinking of updating my own title. I think “Regina of Royal Terrace” sounds rather good but it may be a step too far.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh

Apology required?

In January 2022, the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions was in uproar. Ian Blackford, SNP MP, had dared to call Prime Minister Johnson “a liar”. Blackford had to leave. Johnson, of course, remained, smirking and blustering as ever.

Blackford accurately described Johnson, as is now known. Ought not the Speaker have the decency to apologise to Blackford?

Peter Cave, London

Black hole

The Scotsman editorial of 19 June on priorities for Scots made no mention of the fact that it only took the Tory Party 47 days to ditch a leader who proposed to govern with a massive budget shortfall. Humza Yousaf travels to Dundee for the SNP’s independence convention at the weekend with a £1 billion black hole in the SNP budget for 2024/25 and his Finance Secretary binning the solution set out by Kate Forbes to return the public sector headcount back to pre-Covid numbers through a 30,000 reduction.

That leaves tax rises as the only remaining policy with a choice of increasing the tax burden on Higher and Top Rate payers by 14p in the pound over that charged in England or including all Basic Rate payers in funding the gap during an election year. Surely that problem should be the first agenda item at Dundee.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway

Radicalised voters

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It was necessary to listen politely the other day while someone at a social event expressed their views on “freedom”. Surprisingly, this character (a separatist Brexiteer, no less) agreed without hesitation that Scotland going it alone would be poorer, but explained that this was irrelevant “because we dinnae like London rule”.

Commenting on recent opinion polls, John V Lloyd (Letters, 17 June) wonders: “How can one explain this? Support for independence is little changed despite all the SNP’s well documented calamities since early April.”

The answer is simple. Around 45 per cent of the electorate remain so radicalised after 2014 that they frankly don’t care about the badly run public services, infrastructure or economy, so long as they’re being mismanaged by fellow nationalists.

Likewise, the spectre of post-separation poverty doesn’t seem to worry them any more than the Taliban are perturbed by Afghanistan’s economic collapse.

Only half-jokingly, an acquaintance remarked years ago that the current Scottish Government would need to preside over Second World living standards for some of this hard core to shun polling booths on election day.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Pie in the sky

Humza Yousaf is becoming as adept as Nicoila Sturgeon at making pie-in-the-sky promises without explaining how he would provide the means with which to implement them. This is clearly directed by his perception of the current position in a variety of areas.

His new constitution (Scotsman, 19 June) would protect the right to strike. Perhaps he can show us how that has been curtailed in a year and more in which strikes have been a major feature of our public life? He would “safeguard” the NHS, guaranteeing that health provision would always be free at the point of need. That is the current position, and scarcely anyone argues against it. The problem for the NHS is not some perceived assault on its fee-free treatment policy but rather long waiting lists and a shortage of medical staff, with too many vacant consultant posts.

Mr Yousaf does not tell us where he would find the extra money needed to fulfil his policies, particularly at a time when the Scottish budget is already short of funds to meet its existing commitments. Finally, his shroud-waving anathematising of nuclear weapons would doubtless mystify Ukrainians who surrendered their large stock of nuclear weaponry in 1994 at the Treaty of Budapest, in return for a guarantee of their territorial sovereignty signed by a group of countries, including Russia.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Tired offering

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If anything demonstrates how tired, stale and pedestrian this SNP administration is, it is Humza Yousaf’s publication of the latest “Independence Prospectus” paper.

Whilst the people of Scotland suffer catastrophic failures across all aspects of domestic policy such as drugs deaths, a crumbling NHS service, infrastructure debacles (think ferries and the A9) we are surely to be excited as to the First Minister’s ideas and visionary offerings? How naive of him to think that weighty issues such as a Monarchy Referendum, a written constitution and protecting the right to strike will form the battleground at the next election.

This nonsense of an “Independence Prospectus” paper simply highlights how desperate this country is for change away from an utterly hapless SNP administration.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

No complacency

Alexander McKay (Letters, 19 June) is in danger of suggesting complacency in regards to the possible demise of the SNP. It has proved itself remarkably resilient despite its troubles and problems, and I would suggest that it is a little early to write it off.

David Gerrard, Edinburgh

Watching brief

Alexander McKay has at last made a positive contribution to Scotland’s constitutional debate in stating that he will now “only sit back and observe” (Letters, 19 June).

Hopefully he will remain true to his words and thus facilitate more objectivity in the constitutional debate which will still be more than adequately served with a comprehensive range of pro-Union opinions and slants across the media.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

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