Readers' Letters: Is this a Cabinet to energise the nation?

How excited and energised we must all feel after the announcement of the First Minister’s new Cabinet!

Waving, not drowning... the refreshed Scottish Cabinet greets a new era (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

Humza Yousaf to Health having demonstrably failed at Justice. John Swinney to Covid recovery following his calamitous tenure at Education. Welcome back Shona Robison to Social Justice following her failures at Health. The Islands must be really encouraged that their interests will be represented by an MSP for Angus and Mearns Mairi Gougeon. At Education, we are blessed with Shirley-Anne Somerville, a previous parliamentary researcher, Policy & Public Affairs Officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing and Media and Campaigns Officer at the Royal College of Nursing. Parents of our children will be full of confidence that our education system will rise to the standards that were enjoyed in the past.

The really serious point here is that there is little, or indeed, zero evidence of any past experience in the private sector, industry or commerce that will drive the post-pandemic recovery and the required improvements in our public services. Instead we have “career “ politicians who will focus more on the drive for a destructive and divisive independence referendum to the detriment of their Ministerial “briefs”. We have been warned.

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Richard Allison, Braehead Loan, Edinburgh

Pass the Buck

I was devastated to learn Nicola Sturgeon was only elected First Minister yesterday. Such has been her inexplicable infallibility over the years that I had placed a bet at the bookies for Sturgeon to be elected First Minister and Pope. On the other hand, John Swinney in his former role as Education Secretary has proved fallible and Nicola's sleight of hand shuffle of the Cabinet has, in theory, ensured that he will not face a vote of competence.

...but wait a minute, wasn't it Nicola who said "Let me be judged on Education”? The poor education record under the SNP regime is plain to see, even without the report on education which was delayed until after the election. Will the new Scottish currency be the Buck ?

Fraser MacGregor, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

Backdoor fears

If, as Gill Turner avers (Letters, 18 May), the immigration policies of France and other EU countries are so much more liberal than the UK’s, why are so many people stumping up a small fortune and risking their lives to get here? (“Here” is highly illiberal England, by the way, not far more liberal but far less diverse Scotland.)

As for the future, the SNP is quite entitled to campaign on a “back in the EU/all incomers welcome no questions asked” ticket but that would be the death knell for any hopes of a common travel arrangement.The EU would demand a hard trade border, and the English public a hard fence to stop backdoor immigration. Perhaps the costs can split three ways?

Andrew Kemp, Mossbank, Rosyth, Fife

Respect law

I was disappointed to read in Gill Turner's letter that she at no point acknowledges the protest in Kenmore Street ignored the advice of the First Minister, abandoned social distancing and, in the main, the wearing of face masks. The protesters – including activists from other parts of Scotland who were previously invited to take part – were trying to prevent immigration officers from carrying out their legal duties. She might not approve of the current immigration laws,and I also have my reservations about some parts of them, but they are at present the law of the land and we ignore that law at our peril.

To carry out such acts, added to the unacceptable behaviour of some Rangers fans out of a crowd of thousands mainly without masks or social distancing, is, to use one of the FM's favourite words, "appalling" when Glasgow has a seriously high rate of infection. Here in Kirkcaldy we already have six confirmed cases of the Indian variant. If it were to spread through Glasgow we might have a spike of unprecedented catastrophe. The General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation warns we might face a high risk of a "tinderbox moment" this summer. I understand that there is to be a pro-independence march in Edinburgh on Saturday. Will the FM tell the marchers to stay at home? Will she criticise them if they don't? Will they listen to her? Can pigs fly?

Kenn McLeod, Ralston Drive, Kirkcaldy

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Death by ducks

Nicola Sturgeon has said that she has promised not to “bludgeon” Scotland into supporting independence. However, every election since 2014 has been about independence, until a week before voting day where the First Minister will say it isn't... until she does her acceptance speech, where she will say it is again.

Her MPs in Westminster behave as if they are in the citadel of a despised “foreign” capital, while ceaselessly tweeting, posting and blogging about Scottish secession and how bad the Union is for Scotland, yet not providing tangible ideas to replace it. Her MSPs are much the same except they are on “home” territory.All this while repeatedly getting less than half the popular vote in Scotland.I might not be bludgeoned, but I'm tired and the constant campaign that the SNP has been running for eight years feels like being pecked to death by ducks.

David Bone, Hamilton Street, Girvan, South Ayrshire

Figure skating

I am at a complete loss to understand why it is undemocratic for Westminster to refuse to sanction Indy Ref 2.

Nicola Sturgeon made it crystal clear before last month’s Holyrood election that each vote for the SNP and its allied parties would be a vote for Indyref 2. Consequently, every vote for the other parties would be a vote against Indyref2. Let’s analyse the actual votes as published.

The total votes for SNP, Greens and Others came to 1.328 million. The total votes for Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems totalled 1.355 million. In simple terms, there was a clear majority against Indyref 2.

I rest my case but, as ever, these figures will doubtless be manipulated or, more likely, ignored by our our single minded and single issue Scottish Government.

Derek A Brady, Kilmany, Cupar

Greens will save us

The posters are down, leaflets binned, votes counted, and after 14 years of being in power we have an SNP government for an unprecedented fourth term.

Setting aside, with respect, the Green Party, which has yet to make the hoped-for breakthrough, there are now essentially two parties in Scotland, the SNP and the Unionist Party, comprising amorphous MSPs, members and supporters. There were principled people who voted for the UK party which reflected their priorities, but many joined together to vote for the single policy of all three parties – no to another “divisive” independence referendum. Note : it’s always indyrefs which are “divisive”, never elections or the Brexit referendum, which was demonstrably divisive.

All this illustrates that the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are all right-wing parties now and no longer have any ethics, morality or principles. They will spend the next five years engaged in destructive criticism of the SNP government, contributing little to the wellbeing of Scotland’s people. Thank goodness for the focused Green Party; their time will come.

Richard Walthew, Whitsome Crofts, Duns

Rain on parade

So First Minister Nicola Sturgeon informs us that climate change and the “crucial” COP26 conference in Glasgow are top priorities for her this year. Really? Climate change is, of course, vitally important for us all, including the nationalist leader, who will be dependent on Green votes to pass her budgets in Holyrood.

But why is the COP26 conference a priority for her? It's a UK conference, organised by Westminster and led by the Prime Minister that happens to be taking place in Glasgow. Considering how Sturgeon daily disparaged Boris Johnson during her election campaign, she should count herself lucky to get an invitation.

Martin Redfern, Melrose

Close Calmac

"All the world's the Lord’s except the Western Isles, for they are McBrayne's" Nothing has changed since that saying was minted except that an unaccountable private monopoly has become a public one; a vested interest for the benefit of its staff and management, as incompetent and inefficient as these bodies always are. All attempts at reform have failed. It is time for the Government to bite the bullet and accept the pension and redundancy liabilities and liquidate the beast, allowing accountable private operators to take over. It will be a sum of money but a huge saving in the long term.

David Hogg, Glanville Place, Edinburgh

Take test

As a fellow abdominal aorta aneurysm (Triple A ) survivor, I was pleased to read that former football manager Craig Brown has, at 80, made a full recovery after emergency surgery to repair a rupture in this artery. It is the main artery in the body, conveying blood to the major organs, and the loss of blood can be fatal.Unlike Craig, I was fortunate that this potential time bomb was picked up early by the NHS screening programme that offers a scan to all men in the year following their 65th birthday, and thanks to the fantastic vascular surgery team at Ninewells this was fixed a week later before it got any worse.

I would urge all men on reaching 65 to attend this potentially life- saving screening when invited to do so. It takes just minutes. For some reason some men over 65, like Craig, missed out when the programme was implemented, but they can self refer; I advise they do so.

Andrew Kemp, Mossbank, Rosyth

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