Readers' Letters: Michael Matheson must quit over iPad lies
I was reminded of a quote from Ian Blackford when he backed a motion calling for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister last year: “Now we know the truth. And that truth contains no ifs, no buts and no maybes. The House was misled and so were the public – and we were all misled deliberately." The very same principle so many senior SNP leaders noted at that time now applies in the case we've seen this week in the Scottish Parliament. They are right – Michael Matheson must go.
J Lewis, Edinburgh
Long week Part 2
I cannot disagree with Catriona C Clark’s statement in yesterday’s Letters about what a week we are having. I may be pre-empting her follow-up letter covering the latter part of the week but there is no doubt that the SNP’s beleaguered Health Secretary’s emotional performance at Holyrood on Thursday is just as newsworthy as the UK Government reshuffle to which she refers.
I suspect next week’s news will be about a Scottish reshuffle after Michael Matheson rightly resigns or is sacked.
Ross Scott, Edinburgh
Having just watched First Minister’s Questions from 16 November I am left wondering if the SNP will ever change the recorded message when asked questions they can’t answer. When discussing Michael Matheson’s “honesty and integrity” regarding his £11,000 data roaming bill Humza Yousaf fired back at Douglas Ross by giving the generic response, to paraphrase: “What about the Tories and Boris Johnson?”
All that says about the SNP leadership is that they are totally bereft of answers to their own problems.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk
Integrity at stake
It's difficult to know whether Michael Matheson's “mea culpa” performance before the Scottish Parliament was a genuine act of contrition on learning of the true reason for the extortionate roaming charges bill for the government iPad or a performance worthy of an Oscar nomination.
In any event, many questions remain, including the security of a government iPad and whether Mr Matheson did any due diligence before writing to the Scottish Parliament asserting that the use had been down to government business.
The extent to which he kept Humza Yousaf in the picture also remains unclear. Taking all the factors into consideration, including the fact that Michael Matheson is hardly an effective minister, the best course of action would be for him to resign, failing which Humza Yousaf should sack him. The integrity and trustworthiness of our political process is at stake.
Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire
Stop the clock
With the doomsday clock set at 90 seconds to midnight, we must ask ourselves if the heady cynicism of modern politics is not dangerously self-destructive. All politicians seem to feel the need to be laser focused on the ethos of modern times, which is illiberal and macho.
Keir Starmer punishes politicians for making a heartfelt plea for ceasefires in Gaza. Yet the death rate there is so ghastly that it reminds one of Putin's war on Ukraine civilians. When we take strict moral stands on international issues we need strict consistency if we are not to be sneered at by paranoic world leaders.
The prime minister's attempt to appease the strong and stable in his party with a feeble attempt to continue with the Rwandan plan has a similar laser focus. But once again, politics is sacrificing a moral high ground which democracies were once famous for.
The Ukraine war has always been a dilemma for me. Should we have treated Putin as a reincarnation of Stalin and taken a realistic approach to involvement in Russian spheres of influence? Putin's lot believe that in the face of a Russian defeat they just need to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to subdue Ukraine and her western allies.
Were that to happen, how do we respond? Time to start thinking about that now. Only realism can stop the doomsday clock
Andrew Vass, Edinburgh
The Israel-Palestine conflict has led to the resignation [or sacking] of senior Labour MPs at Westminster because they voted for a ceasefire. Scottish Labour MSPs will, rightly, have to declare their position next week at Holyrood. I anticipate some fantastic reasoning to explain how they can support a ceasefire in Holyrood while also being loyal to the party line at Westminster which does not.
But it was another statement on Tuesday which revealed the fundamental difficulty, verging on the absurd, of Scottish Labour’s contortions to present itself as both in lockstep with Keir Starmer while also being radically different. Labour MSP Paul O’Kane claimed that Holyrood’s purpose was “to mitigate the policies of this Conservative government”. UK Labour does not intend to reverse some of these welfare policies, often described as cruel and inhumane, which Holyrood has to mitigate against, costing hundreds of millions which might otherwise be spent on health, social care or education.
The situation will arise, if Labour wins the Westminster election, that it is Labour policies at Westminster that require Holyrood spending. What will Scottish Labour MSPs do? Condemn the policies of UK Labour and carry on demanding that Holyrood spends to mitigate against their impact on the poor and vulnerable? Or miraculously conclude such policies are no longer cruel and inhumane?
Scottish Labour’s attempts to present itself as left-wing and radical may already be unravelling. It certainly cannot survive if Labour wins at Westminster with a programme of policies which increasingly resemble not even Blairism but the Conservative/LibDem coalition of recent memory.
Robert Farquharson, Edinburgh
I am not a royalist by any means but I was disgusted to learn, via Private Eye magazine, the extent to which King Charles is gagged and prevented from saying important things about green issues.
Instead he is forced to parrot the drivel Rishi Sunak and his advisers give him to read out at the state opening of parliament without so much as a murmur of discontent. He was even forced to describe pedicabs as a “scourge” because No. 10 told him to. What the Conservative Party seem to have failed to notice is that they have in essence become a living lie, doing their utmost to foil green issues to save the planet, and screaming their heads off at those who want to actually save it. They seem to think jobs in the oil industry are sacred and need to be protected so people should continue to be paid to foul up our environment and weather.
Yes, let no one forget that what it means to be a “conservative” voter is to rail at the woke and green community for wanting to deprive the poor hard-working car drivers of money, while forgetting that the really poor people who cannot afford a car have to ride a bicycle and clean up with their very own lungs the carcinogenic filth these “poor” car drivers pump into the air for us.
Henryk Belda, Edinburgh
You report (17 November) that Angus Robertson would publish “the seventh in a serious [sic] of independence prospectus papers”. Believe me, there is nothing “serious” about these papers. They do not address the fundamental problems created by leaving the UK – in particular the severe drop in our revenues – and are merely pretty propaganda leaflets to try to win support, or perhaps, rather, to stem the decline in SNP support.
At least Mr Robertson admits that the attempt to regain EU membership for Scotland would be “potentially lengthy”. He omits to mention the sticking points of the financial requirements, beginning with currency. This is because he knows that the majority of Scots want to continue to use the pound sterling, the devil they know. He needs to admit that Scotland could not use the pound – informally, and not in a currency union as now – and join the EU. The EU requires applicant countries to control their own monetary policy, and a Scotland using the pound would not do that. It is time Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn stopped pretending that this is not an issue.
It is ironic that Mr Robertson regards Brexit as “disastrous”. In 2014 he campaigned for a course of action, Scexit, that would have taken Scotland out of the EU, at the same time as it left the UK, 24 March 2016. The Vice-President of the EU, Viviane Reding, told the Scottish Parliament that in a letter of 20 March 2014. There would have been no deal, and therefore it would have been a hard exit from the EU.
As usual, when actual plans are promised by an SNP minister, s/he speaks with forked tongue.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh
With regard to the seventh paper in the (lacking in realism with zero mention of downside issues) Building a New Scotland series – the one dealing with EU membership – would it not, maybe, have been a good idea to have the EU legal department write that paper?
Michael Officer, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire
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