Readers' letters: John Swinney is the safe pair of hands Scotland needs

It is interesting to look at Paul Wilson’s recent article (Scotsman, 9 May) alongside Richard Allison’s letter of May 11.

Paul is right to say that the “founding parents” of the Scottish Parliament would look askance at their creation today. But they were the giants of Scottish politics, who in Winnie Ewing’s case had built a redoubtable party. Tragically, Nicola Sturgeon became its leader and changed it from being a political party into a cult. She led of one of the most mendacious, incompetent governments in recent history. Playing the part of the puppet dangling from the end of the Green string, she trashed Scotland, particularly in the rural areas.

John Swinney inherits this mess and is setting about reforming his party from the divisive rabble, it currently is, into the recognisable party it was under the great Winnie Ewing. Bringing Kate Forbes back is part of that plan and he will hopefully not stop there. Kate may hold views of conscience, with which many, including me, may disagree, but allowing members to have a conscience rather than voting like robots is something I suspect John will bring back to his party.

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I worked with him when I was Chairman of Scottish Financial Enterprise and always found him an intellectually capable and collegiate politician. If he brings those qualities back into the SNP he will have done politics a great service. Scotland is in a terrible mess and we do not have an election until 2026 so we need a safe pair of hands, who has the courage to make the changes to his party that are so necessary. For me John is that man, even if I disagree fundamentally with his core belief.

Is John Swinney as 'safe pair of hands', as a reader suggests (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)Is John Swinney as 'safe pair of hands', as a reader suggests (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
Is John Swinney as 'safe pair of hands', as a reader suggests (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Mark Tennant, Elgin, Moray

Bigger priorities

Susan Dalgety (Scotsman, 11 May) is right to argue that Kate Forbes’ “personal faith” should not concern Patrick Harvie. It is not the Scottish Government but Mr Harvie that is taking us back to the 1950s, when there was little respect for the personal views of others. Such behaviour has no place in a tolerant-minded Scotland in the 21st century. Mr Harvie, no doubt still smarting from the coalition divorce, showed all the makings of someone bitter from losing the trappings of power, confined to spout his “progressive” ideals and personal attacks from the back benches.

Humza Yousaf was rightly celebrated for becoming our first Muslim MSP and First Minister. Like Mr Yousaf, Ms Forbes has committed to collective decision-making and not to let religious views get in the way of party policy. The SNP has spent far too long distracted in coalition by a party that has created a huge stushie on gender matters, indeed the Gender Party would be a more apt title given their complete lack of progress on climate issues. The coalition had indeed “run its course” – it’s time to prioritise bigger issues like health, housing and education.

Perhaps Mr Harvie and his Green colleagues would do well to ditch gender identity politics and go back to environmental activism. At least then they might show more respect for other people’s beliefs and help save the planet. As Ms Dalgety argues, Harvie needs to get out into the real world. We live in hope!

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Doctors’ orders

The threat to GP surgeries after the Scottish Government paused a loan scheme enabling surgery owners to continue to provide essential services (Scotsman, 11 May) is a matter of great concern.

Local GP surgeries, the cornerstone of our health service, have been under severe pressure for years with the declining number of GPs and the reduction in the numbers of surgeries. Many patients have difficulty in getting doctors’ appointments and this in turn puts stress on hospital A&E departments as patients with medical problems who would normally be seen by a GP, are forced to flock there for treatment.

The Scottish Government promises that the loan scheme enabling doctors to provide essential services will be resumed, but why was it paused in the first place when relieving the pressures on our health services is so vital? The government seems to be able to find plenty of money for other causes which don’t have the same impact on the wellbeing of the Scottish people.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirling

Stormy weather

Naming storms began in 2015, with the task shared by the Met Office, Met Eireann and the Dutch KNMI. Male and female names are chosen alternately. How long till we get Stormy Daniels?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife

Subsidy junkies

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Almost every day there's evidence that those who do not contribute to the country’s wealth but happily take handouts from hard-working taxpayers while marching in protest should have their subsidies cut – and I include students who spend their time loafing and protesting in support of a terrorist government.

Students take out “loans” which stats tell us are rarely ever repaid and are underwritten by the same hard-working taxpayers.

It really is time that Tony Blair's nutty idea that most people should have a university education is dropped and youths who want to study should do so but without a taxpayers’ safety net so that those attending will be seriously career-led, unlike the simple-minded protesters engaged in half-baked degree courses. Perhaps then we’ll get a plumber when we need one.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

Out of puff

To rely on wind for our electricity is like setting off on a long car journey with a pint of petrol in the tank and hoping to find an open filling station just round the first corner.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross



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