Readers' Letters: Is common sense foreign to First Minister candidate?

Humza Yousaf at Nicola Sturgeon's final First Minister's Questions yesterday (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)Humza Yousaf at Nicola Sturgeon's final First Minister's Questions yesterday (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Humza Yousaf at Nicola Sturgeon's final First Minister's Questions yesterday (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
It seems that Humza Yousaf is pulling every last element of Nicola Sturgeon’s policies out to try to convince SNP voters he’s the man for the job.

Mr Yousaf is clearly attempting to persuade reluctant SNP voters by backing the gender policies which sank Ms Sturgeon, which seems to be very brave of him, seeing as it also seems to have scuppered her long-term political ambitions.

One thing struck me as being very ambitious on his part, however. When he refers to the UK Government as being "foreign", I took a deep breath and sat down. It may have bypassed the ambitious Health Secretary, but the majority of Scots voted to remain British and for Scotland to remain part of the UK, so the British Government is our Government. If he really intends to call our Government foreign, it may have escaped his notice that he is calling the majority of Scots "foreign", in their own country. That is very, very brave. Foolhardly, one might say.

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Oh, well. If the SNP vote him in, on their own heads be it, but don't expect to be the Scottish Government after the next Scottish election, in that case.

Dave Anderson, Aberdeen

Drink to that

I note the very welcome research by various bodies into the positive, indeed, remarkable impact of the minimum unit alcohol pricing (MUAP) on an element of our culture which has plagued so many families and ruined so many careers and lives (your report, 21 March).

This problem has continued despite the attempts of so many previous governments, basically Labour and Tory, to deal with it. Preaching has clearly been of little use and yet when the MUAP policy was implemented, the reactions of correspondents were predictably negative and defeatist, though crucially, not in the case of those in the forefront of having to deal with the results of alcohol abuse.

A similar thing happened in the case of the smoking ban in public places, with the predictable howls of rage from those who blew smoke at attempts to deal with this killer problem, both metaphorically and literally.

The point in both cases is that when faced with what appears to be an intractable problem, a government can either sit on its hands and make pious noises or it can actually be proactive, even when other parts of the UK deride its efforts. Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership during the Covid crisis was widely appreciated outside of Scotland, as were her attempts to alleviate the worst ravages of poverty. Compare her efforts with the ghastly succession of English prime ministers, from Cameron to May, Johnson and Truss who have devastated the lives of so many.

It is no wonder Ms Sturgeon is quoted as having been bemused by the venom emanating from those who want to see an independent Scotland which can build a grown-up relationship with England. Of course, this was the area in which Sturgeon failed, continuing to go cap in hand to Westminster for permission to re-negotiate a bogus “treaty”, only to be met by some variant of “Now is not the time”. Her strategy in this crucial area was clearly ill thought out. One can only hope her successor remembers the primary and entirely laudable purpose of the SNP, to which I have never belonged.

Bill Simpson, Carnoustie, Angus

Empty tree

The talk of Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy reminds me of a trick we used to play at school. You go to a park where there are lots of people walking by. You look up in to a tree, and pretend something is there. After a bit, someone will stop and try to work out what is so interesting up the tree. If they ask, and you cannot show them convincingly, they will move on, but eventually you will get some-one who is curious enough to know what you are looking at, but they don’t want to challenge you too much for fear of looking stupid, or not being able to see what you can obviously see.

Once you get a few such people hanging around and looking up in to the tree, more people are likely to stop. The first few are the most difficult, but when you get them, a crowd can quickly gather, and this crowd can include a lot of otherwise sensible people. At that point, you can quietly walk away, and leave a crowd of people looking up in to the tree. Of course, there was never anything there, it was just a trick, but they will be convinced that there is something in it.

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And here we are with Nicola Sturgeon. She managed to maintain people’s interest in the Indy tree for so long, but it was always doomed to failure because there was never anything actually there. There is nothing tangible. The next person coming in will have to demonstrate that there is actually something there, otherwise the crowd will drift away, quietly cursing themselves for being taken in. Of course, this is not possible. There is nothing there. This is what Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have been doing in Scotland for the last 15 years.

I predict an election and a new government within the very near future.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Sinking ships

It’s a damning indictment of the Scottish Government that Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee should have labelled ministers as showing poor judgment and letting the public down in relation to the Ferguson Marine ferry scandal.

From day one when Nicola Sturgeon announced that the ferry contract would go to Ferguson Marine, the shambolic and costly process has lurched from crisis to crisis, with ministers evading responsibility and no one actually coming to grips with the situation. Ms Sturgeon leaves office not on a high but with a reputation of talking a good game but failing to deliver. Let’s hope her successor is more transparent and accountable.

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Stirlingshire

A little honesty

The report of the Scottish Parliament's Public Audit Committee on the handling of the ferries contract confirms what everybody knows (Scotsman, 23 March). It has been a catastrophe from beginning to end. What is news is that the “document also demonstrates how SNP members sought to remove criticism of government ministers at every possible opportunity”. This is not, of course, new in the sense that it deviates from the SNP’s culture of secrecy which is their standard method of operation across all aspects of government.

A spokesman has already contradicted the evidence staring them in the face and declared that the “Scottish Government is committed to transparency”. Then there is the usual mantra they they will not make excuses for saving jobs. That attempt at mitigation is flawed, and not only because each job is coming in at a cost of around a million pounds! The fact that foreign workers were recruited even when Scottish ones were being laid off raises even more questions as to the dubious excuse. It is too much to hope that the next First Minister will be competent. Can we at least hope that he or she will be honest?

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Bored by Boris

Am I the only one who is fed up hearing parliamentarians discussing whether or not Boris Johnson had friends legally partying in his garden three years ago? And BBC TV, for which we pay a lot of money, is giving us literally hours of minute-by-minute details of this Partygate business.We taxpayers are obliged to pay our MP's salaries – but it is for them to decide on matters that are meaningful to our status as a nation, not trivia like who did or did not attend some private garden party in Downing Street!The Westminster Parliament and the BBC should be able to separate out what really matters in this world from petty nonsense that most citizens don't care a tuppenny-toss about.Get a grip, BBC and Parliamentarians... you've better things to do and to broadcast!

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife

Who to trust?

Rishi Sunak’s tax returns show that a wealthy man paid a barrowload of tax over the years. No surprise, great revelations or shocks there. What was shocking, however, was the details of the tax exempt pension deal that Keir Starmer has managed to wangle for himself – a deal that no one else enjoys.

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This at a time when he wants to deny the same to others. Recent actions have revealed much about the leaders of our main political parties. At a time when all trust seems to be lost in the SNP, which of these two would you choose to trust? It’s noticeable that Starmer did not volunteer these details. He should realise that it’s always worse when you are found out.

Ken Currie, Edinburgh

Green light

An excellent letter from George Herraghty, (“Pump storage idea not worth cost to Scotland”, 23 March). For decades we have had electricity supplied by reliable gas and nuclear which could be switched on and off when required. Over the last 12 months gas and nuclear supplied 58.7 per cent of UK electricity and wind 28.7 per cent.

Then along came the climate brigade and now we have a shambolic system whereby wind companies are paid to switch off when their electricity is not required. Now it is being proposed that £1.5 billion is spent on Coire Glas, a pumped hydro storage scheme whereby unwanted electricity will be used to pump water uphill to be released when the wind does not blow. So let me get this right. The National Grid pays wind companies to stop sending them electricity and then the operators of the hydroelectric dam would pay these same wind companies for the same electricity. In effect the turbine owners are paid twice for the same electricity. Truly the climate lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Natural gas and nuclear have been classed as green by the EU so that is the green light to build more reliable gas and nuclear power plants and ditch unreliable wind and solar.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

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