Readers' Letters: New ‘embassy’ just more SNP money wasting

How appropriate that as we read of council workers providing vital services being on strike, due to lack of available cash from the administration running Scotland, the SNP open another pretend embassy in Copenhagen.

To rub salt in the wound of those having to bear the strike’s effects, our non-attention seeker First Minister is flying out to open this latest example of mismanagement of available resources.

What could have been done towards a decent settlement for those providing vital services if money, our taxes, untold millions, had not been spent on these totally unnecessary pretences? We could also have begun to tackle the worst drugs deaths record in Europe, homelessness and many other social cancers, had we a devolved administration not obsessive about only one thing – separating Scotland from the rest of the UK.

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Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Nicola Sturgeon is off to Copenhagen to open the Scottish Government's ninth international branch office, which will 'increase Scotland's economic and cultural visibility in the Nordic region' (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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SNP isn’t Scotland

After last week’s shameful face of Scottish Nationalism, surely it’s time for the Scottish broadcast media to stop pandering to the SNP, as they have been since the 2014 referendum, and start seriously challenging and scrutinising the claims and spin of this political party. For too long the broadcast media have enabled the SNP to spin their mantra that they speak for the majority of Scottish people. They do not. Scotland is not the SNP!

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As soon as they are called out on some of their Independence by stealth policies, such setting up foreign embassies, as Lord Frost did recently, Nicola Sturgeon immediately pops up to claim Devolution is being threatened. The biggest threat to successful devolution in Scotland has been the SNP themselves. They have had 15 years to make a success of it and improve the lives of the people and businesses in Scotland but instead they have chosen to focus all their energies on separatism, to the detriment of our country. The vast majority of Scottish people voted for Devolution in the belief that a devolved parliament would give us more focus on local issues and govern for all the people. We did not vote and never will vote, for Scottish Nationalism!

George M Primrose, Uddingston, Glasgow

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Just rubbish

Initially I was so proud of my city, Edinburgh, today. I travelled on the 44 bus service from Lanark Road to Princes Street and despite 90 per cent occupancy and the normal road repairs that are specially reserved for execution during the Festival, the bus was punctual and clean.

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As we entered the city centre one could only marvel at the way the wind had treated the overflowing waste bins. The patterns of detritus and half-eaten burgers were a wonder as they blew across the rails of the billion pound tram service which majestically swept by with almost 15 per cent of seats occupied at peak Festival. This vanity project is being extended, hopefully in time to avoid the findings of the enquiry into their inception, which is about to celebrate its seventh year, having cost £12.2 million and counting.

Who is to blame? The council, certainly. The Scottish Government, definitely. But above all, us, the voters, for consistently voting for incompetent, arrogant people who are not even answerable to a judge-led enquiry. If nothing else awakens the electorate, maybe when the rats start eating the rubbish the penny will finally drop.

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Howard Lewis, Edinburgh

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Hijacked

I could not agree more with Brian Wilson on the need to highlight the difference between nationalism and patriotism (Perspective, August 20). We are all Scots patriots to some extent, but this does not make you a nationalist. Yet the SNP have managed to hijack patriotism, so that many, who feel “Scottish”, think this means voting SNP. This is identity politics, and helps explain why the SNP does well, when its record is mediocre at best.

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William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Good nationalism

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Andrew HN Gray simplistically states that nationalism is bad and patriotism is good (Letters, 20 August). The Collins dictionary describes patriotism as a love of your country and desire to defend it and nationalism as a desire for independence of those who feel historically or culturally separate. Neither definition can be generalised as wholly positive or negative and needs to be put into context.

Self-declared African nationalist Nelson Mandela went on to lead the African National Congress and successfully banish apartheid in South Africa. Some regarded Mandela at the time as a terrorist, a term that is seen as negative, but “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. Mandela is universally admired. He was hardly “aggressive” or “menacing” and certainly not “racist”, terms Mr Gray uses to colour nationalists.

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David Cameron famously described Margaret Thatcher as Britain’s “patriot prime minister”. Few would disagree that Thatcher was a patriot, standing up for British interests abroad, particularly in Europe.

Many, however, considered that she went too far in her criticism of the EU, causing her downfall and divisions within the Conservative party that eventually led to Brexit and David Cameron’s demise. Mrs Thatcher is still a divisive figure.

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As a patriot rather than a nationalist, I still strongly consider that there is a place for nationalism in a democracy. It is disappointing that Mr Gray dismisses nationalists in these terms, many of whom, like Mandela, have made a valuable contribution.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

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Charity begins...

The media covering the disgraceful Independence demonstrations in Perth against the Conservatives revealed that other demonstrators tagged along. Several carried placards saying “Refugees Welcome, Open the Borders, No deportation”. Would it be unkind to ask these people how much money they give to refugee charities and how many refugees they have in their homes just now, or indeed, ever had?

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Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Creaming off

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I understand why prices are rocketing across the board but does anyone else think that some supermarkets are laying it on a bit thick? A tub of well-known single cream substitute with 45 per cent less fat was 90p two weeks ago in my local store, yesterday I paid £1.45 for it. That’s an increase of about 60 per cent. Can that be justified?

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk

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Path forward

As a pedestrian and cyclist, I am concerned for the safety of both groups of people. Alastair Dalton rightly highlights the poor state of road markings for cycle lanes and also celebrates the larger sums of money now being invested to help make cycling easier and safer (Inside Transport, 20 August).

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Might pavements and designated “shared paths” also receive due attention and finance please, particularly for proper signage?

On a recent visit to York I was struck by how well the shared paths were marked out with white lines and pictograms on each side at regular intervals. One side for cyclists and one side for walkers. The concept of sharing often doesn’t work very well as there might be members of both groups going in opposite directions. Four into two generally means that some of the four have to give way to let the others past. Both groups need regular reminders that they are on a “designated” shared path.

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I think the term “active travel” is not helping, either, as it most often seems to be interpreted only as “cycling” and the greater levels of funding are following that premise. Pedestrians are now extremely worried at the possible introduction of even faster e-scooters into this sometimes toxic mix. The number of people killed on and by e-scooters already gives great cause for concern.

R J Ardern, Inverness

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Saving energy

Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues took to the airwaves this weekend to suggest an independent Scotland would have a nationalised energy industry, seemingly forgetting that in October 2017 she said that “by the end of this Parliament in 2021 we will set up a publicly owned, not for profit energy company”. Needless to say, it never happened and never would have. It's also a bit ironic that while Germany is opening up 19 mothballed coal-fired power stations, Ms Sturgeon was one of the VIPs at the demolition of Longannet last year.

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Scotland’s energy policy is well behind the curve – but at least the SNP can supply plenty of hot air.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

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Bring on Indy

Brian Wilson is playing political games over the council workers’ pay offer (Perspective, 20 August), as at the previous Cosla meeting Labour sided with the Tories to back a 3.5 per cent wage increase and defeated the SNP councillors’ motion for a 5 per cent increase. Workers will now be offered a 5 per cent pay rise, plus the Scottish Government local government living wage is increased to £10.50 an hour. Cosla is hardly “SNP controlled”, as the improved offer required the casting vote of the SNP leader after Cosla members tied at 16-16, with the SNP and independents supporting the motion and Labour and the Conservatives siding against.

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As a net exporter of electricity, oil and gas, plus massive, much cheaper renewable energy potential, there is no reason an independent Scotland would be caught up in the UK’s energy disaster, which is made worse by a Brexit supported by Labour.

As UK tax expert Richard Murphy wrote last week, it is impossible for independence to be worse that the UK’s cost of living crisis.

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Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

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