Readers' Letters: Make SNP bigwigs pay for Supreme Court failure

Wednesday’s Supreme Court judgment will not have come as a surprise to many, even those with a very basic understanding of the constitutional mechanics of the creation of a devolved Scottish Executive (some say government).

When the application was made to the Supreme Court, therefore, there was disbelief among some that the application was even necessary. I believe that it was reported in the Press that the Lord Advocate herself was dubious but her Lord and mistress insisted that the application was made. Was this simply a “get out of jail” card played to appease the First Minister's followers ?

Given Nicola Sturgeon’s perceived apparent penchant for acting outside her devolved powers (eg attendance at COP27), might the application be regarded as an abuse of process, making her Scottish Government office bearers vexatious litigants? Should they therefore be personally liable for the expenses of the case rather than the Scottish taxpayer ?

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Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh

Nicola Sturgeon at Wednesday's pro-Scottish independence rally outside parliament in Edinburgh (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty)
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Lifetime wish

All my life I have wished for Scotland to secede from the Union. Scotland has differences in education and legal systems as well as a religious tradition which I happen not to share, but respect.

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My wish to secede did not blind me to the total inadequacy of devolution, now confirmed by the Supreme Court. I could not understand Donald Dewar's triumphalism as he welcomed our parliament. It was set up by an act of the UK Parliament which retained primacy in the “commanding heights” of the economy and elsewhere, such as defence, foreign policy and constitutional matters. Even the Barnett formula proceeds on the UK government’s say so!

As for the notion that the Scottish results in a future General Election can be used to overturn or bypass acts passed by the UK government, I wonder how our First Minister passed her Glasgow University law exams.

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LV McEwan, Edinburgh

Free Scotland

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Barry Hughes indicates that Brexit was a mistake and that it is considered so by the majority in the UK (Letters, 24 November). It damages the UK. He does not want an independence referendum or vote in Scotland, therefore. But while Brexit was a leap in the dark and was predicted as catastrophic, an independent Scotland would be moving into known territory. There are many successful small democratic states in or close to the EU. In addition there are very positive economic figures for resource-rich Scotland, stronger in renewable energy potential, compared with most European states.

In fact independence is now an imperative for Scotland as the pound falls and the incompetence and venality of the Westminster is now displayed openly by politicians who remain committed to the same politics, including austerity and squeezing public services as much as possible, until they drop. The Conservative party celebrate Brexit and say and do little about the decline of the British economy, including its exports, as a result of it. Nor do they express concern for all the suffering caused to the majority. Likewise the Labour Party.

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Then there is the democratic deficit. Neither Scotland nor Northern Ireland voted for Brexit. It was foisted on them. Scotland cannot be expected to suck up year-on-year damage from Brexit. It also didn’t vote for Westminster’s resulting policies and rogue governance. We see Westminster riding over the devolution settlement and other laws and attacking our rights. Keir Starmer says people here have the right to decide whether to leave the Union. We do. The 1689 Claim of Right, to which King Charles III swore allegiance, was acknowledged by the Westminster parliament in 1989, 2012 and 2018. The Scottish people can get rid of a government that fails to uphold their rights and interests, such as the Westminster government, which currently treats Scotland like a colony.

Pol Yates, Edinburgh

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We’re not Kosovo

Your correspondent Alan Hinnrichs needs straightening out. His claim that “millions of Scots” have met the Supreme Court decision with “anger and contempt” is unproveable and his comment that to pretend Scotland is not a colony is a “filthy lie” is absolutely outrageous.

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The Supreme Court's summing-up destroyed three nationalist lies: under international law the right to self-determination rests on the claimant being either a former colony, oppressed or occupied by a foreign power, or not having enough power to pursue its economic, cultural or social development. These opinions are based on the Quebec and Kosovo independence cases and judgments. Kosovo met all three conditions, having been through hell within Serbia, but to this day it is recognised as a sovereign state by just 101 out of 193 UN countries. To equate Kosovo with Scotland in this way is an insult to me and millions of British people,

These situations absolutely don't exist in Scotland, In fact we haven't been occupied or oppressed since 1745 and the SNP don't fully or properly use the devolved powers they have. Looking around the world in these past 277 years, especially today, Mr Hinnrichs should be relieved and proud to be living in, and part of, such a great, safe country as the UK.

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To paraphrase John Swinney, the only “too wee, too poor and too stupid” areas in Scotland are in the brains of the civil servants and politicians that thought up this costly, diverting wheeze. And the people who gorge down the bait.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

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Life of strife

The Scotsman is correct in saying that in Caledonia “there is no merit in Catalonian-style strife” (Editorial, 24 November).

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But those “hot-headed independence supporters” like Alan Hinnrichs (Letters, 24 November), who somehow knew within minutes of the Supreme Court’s unanimous judgement what “millions of Scots” think of it, and who views the verdict as an “abomination” and believes that the constitutional approach should end now in favour of disrupting the “illegitimate Westminster cesspit proceedings”, show that such a wish will be difficult to achieve.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

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Money and mouths

Rather than suggest taking away our say on day-to-day matters that are important by hijacking a General Election, would it not be more meaningful for every SNP MSP to resign their seat and re-stand on a single issue of Independence?

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James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Resign and fight

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Every front page has Nicola Sturgeon going “cap in hand” to an English Parliament, asking for permission to hold a referendum. Every Prime Minister's Questions it is Ian Blackford moaning away about winning eight elections on the bounce.

I agree with him! He should get his SNP group on a train, preferably second class, and head for Holyrood. The 40 or 50 SNP MPs waste time in London and cannot influence one single vote due to the Tory 80-seat majority. Gordon Wilson, SNP MP for Dundee East all those years ago, told me “The SNP group get Westminsterised and enjoy the benefits and forget the reason they are here”. He has been proven correct – can one SNP MP seriously tell me how they have influenced one single policy decision at Westminster in the last three years?

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On arrival at Holyrood it is very easy. Get together with the SNP/Green majority and all resign and call a Scottish election and make it a plebiscite election on one issue of Independence. One candidate per Scottish seat for the Independence side and the same for the Unionist opponents. The Unionists need to speak to each other on the best single candidate per constituency ie Alex Cole-Hamilton in Edinburgh West, Anas Sarwar in Govan and Douglas Ross in Moray etc.

Then do we not only get a result, we can put all the moaning to bed and accept the result! May the best team win!

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David Coutts, Edinburgh

Stem cascade

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There is a term in Economic Theory called Cascading Failure. People in small country towns rely disproportionately on income from jobs such as shop assistants and retirement incomes. If one shop or small business closes those put out of work have less to spend in the other local shops which in turn will close, and so on.

Larger towns like Kilmarnock and Ayr have suffered from this type of failure set off by business closures, resulting in a residue of unemployed who cannot move due the absence of affordable accommodation in towns which still have work. Stopping cutting the incomes of the lower paid by ever increasing taxation can offset the effects of Cascading Failure by keeping up expenditure in the many rural areas in Scotland. If the income of the lower income groups is boosted they will spend the money and will not have to resort to loan sharks for children’s Christmas presents.

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A similar affect is the post-Christmas Crash. Those Christmas loans have to be repaid. We will also suffer after Christmas from yet another shameful increase in energy costs hitting the old and infirm particularly badly. That windfall money is going to investors all over the world at the cost of local businesses. If present trends of taxing the low paid and vast increases in power costs are maintained the overall effect will be to increase unemployment, hospital pressures and death rates. The Government will have even less to spend.

The Scottish Government has failed to do anything about energy costs, or prepare for the coming storm of mortgage induced bankruptcies and homelessness. It must not ignore the welfare of its people, it must stop wasting money on dreams and attend to people’s welfare. The tax burden on the lower paid must be reduced and other ways found to prevent these Cascading Failures.

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Ken Carew, Dumfries

Write to The Scotsman

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