Readers' Letters: It's a bit rich for Yousaf to call Braverman unfit for office
I hope very much Ms Braverman’s courtship of the rednecks in the Conservative Party membership dos not pay off. I know those people and they do have power. That’s how clowns like Boris Johnson and Liz Truss got the job.
Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland
In his anti-SNP diatribe, Brian Wilson (Perspective, 11 November) doesn’t mention Labour’s vision for Scotland – because apart from keeping us trapped in this faux union, it doesn’t have one. Leader Keir Starmer has moved the party so far to the right that if it assumes power it will be indistinguishable from the Tories.
We know this because Starmer has walked back every single one of his manifesto pledges and ruthlessly purged the party of views that differ from his own narrow neoliberal ones.
And Scottish Labour is a joke – it is routinely ignored by London. Labour MPs are being whipped to vote against an SNP motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, despite Scottish leader Anas Sarwar supporting one, again laying bare Scottish Labour’s lowly branch office status.
Like the Tories, Labour will continue to coddle a City of London that has failed to generate the productive investment the economy so desperately needs. Instead, trillions have been squandered on financial speculation that has enriched the 1 per cent. It's from these wealthy elites that political donors, who are busy switching their loyalties from the Tories to Starmer’s Labour, come.
And Labour is counting on Scotland’s resources to keep the UK above the water line and will use every trick in the book, including lying about our wealth, to sap our will and our confidence.
Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh
Magic oil field
James Duncan (Letters, 13 November) treats us to the usual Scottish nationalist victimhood narrative concerning oil. He omits the inconvenient truths about oil and the revenues that it may or may not generate. First, that oil is a volatile commodity whose price may rise, as it did to $115 a barrel in June 2014, or fall, as it rapidly did thereafter to $30 per barrel in January 2016. It is not a commodity on which we should rely for the revenues of a country with substantial spending commitments.
Second, the result of the post-referendum slump in oil prices was that HM Treasury received no revenues at all from oil in the years 2015-17. Not least because of the allowances for the decommissioning of spent fields, there were not the profits to tax. This was at the very time when, had Mr Duncan’s side won the 2014 referendum, a new Scottish state would have been launched – on 24 March 2016. It would have faced disaster, given that the SNP’s own Growth Commission guru, Andrew Wilson, has admitted that substantial oil revenues were “baked into” assumptions about the funding of an “independent Scotland”.
So please, Scotsman nationalist correspondents, put your confected grievances about oil to bed and try to think up ways of generating revenue that don’t rely on a magic money tree.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh
Lord Mulholland’s article (11 November) on the members of the Scottish legal profession and judiciary who fell in the First World War is a timely reminder for us all. There can hardly be a family in the country who did not lose a family member.
A more fortunate First World War legal survivor was my grandfather, John (Jack) MacRobert, then a young lawyer in the Glasgow firm MacRobert, Son and Hutchison, now Morton Fraser MacRoberts, who enlisted as a lieutenant with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
On 1 March 1915, on his way to serve with them in France, he appeared before the House of Lords, in a longstanding appeal case, Boyd and Forrest v The Glasgow and South Western Railway Co, dressed in his army uniform. I understand that this was a first in the House of Lords. He won his case and survived the war. The case remains famous in contract law and is still taught to law students.
Fiona Garwood, Edinburgh
I had to read the comments of Stewart McDonald MP (Perspective, 11 November) twice to make sure my eyes did not deceive. He accused the UK Government of not tackling key issues like the cost-of-living crisis, the housing crisis and climate change in the King's Speech.
This, from a party obsessed with constitutional change, and another independence referendum. Reminds me of the old saying about people in glass houses!
William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian
Since he became First Minister Humza Yousaf has been a vocal supporter of transparency and integrity in Scottish politics. So what is stopping him from referring Shona Robison and himself to the independent adviser over allegations that they misled the Scottish Parliament about when the UK Covid Inquiry asked for Scottish Government records, including WhatsApp messages?
It seems that issue could be quite easily clarified and an assessment made over whether the initial request had been “too narrowly drawn”. Over to you, First Minister, as breaking the Ministerial Code is a serious matter!
Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire
While WhatsApp messages may make sensational headlines, they are a sideshow compared to the central purpose of the Covid inquiries, which are to understand why and when decisions were made, and perhaps explain why the Welsh Labour government has refused to undergo such microscopic scrutiny over its handling of the pandemic.
Politicians and commentators should read last’s week’s The Lancet journal, which states “the level of criminal incompetence exposed by recent witnesses to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry… has proven that many, if not most of over 230,000 deaths were preventable”. Despite the World Health Organisation declaring a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020, the UK Government ignored medical advice, then Boris Johnson went on a two-week holiday, and even as late as 28 February UK Government advisers failed to engage and take the global pandemic seriously.
Meanwhile the Scottish Government listened to the medical experts, such as Professor Devi Sridhar, and wanted to follow WHO advice earlier, but could not take a different stance until the Coronavirus (Scotland Act) 2020 got Royal Assent on 6 April 2020 – over two months after the WHO alert and by which time the virus was rampant throughout the UK.
All governments made mistakes but it’s clear that while Nicola Sturgeon wanted action, Boris Johnson wanted business as usual and “let the bodies pile high”. With no control over our borders or the economic powers to support an earlier lockdown, Scotland was restricted in how it could deal with Covid, but thanks to better political communications with greater public compliance and a better-staffed NHS the number of cases and deaths were fewer per head of population.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh
Martyn McLaughlin’s timely article on the Church of Scotland’s plan to close buildings (“Worshippers stay away as 700 churches face closure”, 11 November) deals honestly with the continued decline in membership and attendance, but omits to address the fate of the heritage assets which the buildings contain.
These fixtures and fittings include memorials to eminent and saintly people, carvings in wood and stone, decorative metalwork, stained glass and the pipe organs (a few designated as war memorials), many of which might be relocated if a suitable destination, appropriate finance and timescale could be negotiated.
These assets not only connect us with our past, they continue to make our lives better, their original acquisition made possible many years ago through selfless giving from congregations or local philanthropists. Their current value may be measured in financial, pastoral, artistic, cultural and educational terms, as well as being unique records of local social history.
The Church of Scotland may be reluctant to acknowledge the value of that which lurks in its buildings, but our rich heritage stands as a proud testament to those who have gone before and cannot be wished away.
Through its recognition by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator , the Church of Scotland is obligated to safeguard the future of the assets in its possession. One wonders how they intend to fulfil this responsibility.
Robin Bell, Cupar, Fife
There is only one way to stop the Israel-Gaza war. The USA must make it clear to Israel that unless it agrees to a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, it will withdraw its billions of dollars of economic and military aid, and also withdraw diplomatic support.
But will the Jewish lobby permit this?
Colin McAllister, St Andrews, Fife
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