Readers' Letters: Political blame game does us no favours

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf reacts as he answers questions during First Minister's Questions. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesScottish First Minister Humza Yousaf reacts as he answers questions during First Minister's Questions. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf reacts as he answers questions during First Minister's Questions. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
How often have we had to listen to various SNP politicians shouting “power grab” at decisions made in Westminster on matters such as equality law (gender recognition) and the internal market (Deposit Return Scheme) where reserved areas are impacted?

How hypocritical now of the SNP to claim that the UK government should deal with the Post Office miscarriages of justice. (Yousaf told to fast track law to clear Post Office victims, Friday 23/2/24)

The SNP claim that the Sewel Convention means that Westminster will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish Parliament. What they don’t however acknowledge is that it also requires Westminster being prepared to get involved in the devolved matter. Why on earth should the UK government deal with this issue when it is the Scottish legal system that was involved in the convictions? Should we believe that the SNP are now happy for the UK government to get involved in matters relating to the Scottish jurisdiction? I am sure that is not the case.

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Mr Yousaf wants the easiest and quickest route to dealing with this. The job of governing is not meant to be easy. That’s why they get paid such high salaries. This clearly is a case of wanting someone else to do the hard work and then claim credit for the resolution. Get on with the day job, First Minister and help these victims get their convictions quashed and the compensation they so clearly deserve.

Jane Lax, Aberlour


The Westminster’s to blame “explanation'” for every SNP foul-up has long ago passed its expiry date and must weary even their most ardent fans.

The truth of the XL dog problem is that it was caused entirely by SNP intransigence and a compulsive and uncontrollable drive to be different from England at any cost, no matter how extreme, and no matter how much physical pain and financial agony it may cause.

As evidence we can offer the previous examples of the Census; the smelter; the ferries; a new “independence minister” and cash-guzzling department; sending huge sums to the Middle East despite this being entirely the remit of the UK; utterly hopeless and impossible-to-win and impossibly expensive court cases, pretend embassies; ad infinitum.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

For Pete’s sake

SNP MP Pete Wishart says that he would need convincing that the Speaker’s position was not now “intolerable” (Scotsman, 22 February).

Perhaps before suggesting someone resigns for a relatively minor point of parliamentary convention, he should calm down and reflect on why no-one in his own party has immediately resigned for the much more important failures within our health and education systems.

Alan Black, Edinburgh

Chasing windmills

Rather than windmills [Scotsman 22 February], perhaps it is time for the city of Edinburgh and its surrounding areas to utilise the underlying extensive geothermal energy resource accessible through the numerous abandoned coal mine workings nearby. There is even a good working example of this at Shettleston which could be applied across the Central Belt on a much enhanced basis, providing cheap reliable heat with no wind intermittency issues.

Given that district heating pipelines remain effective to use at considerable distance from source-for example in Denmark some run to 48 kilometres -and do not despoil the environment, perhaps an urgent rethink is needed. The geological surveys and information already exist-when can one hope these might be utilised for the benefit of all?

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh

Climate crisis

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Clark Cross writes both sense and nonsense (Letters, 23 February). With assorted tyrants and religious zealots stirring up trouble, he is rightly concerned that war is coming, with us hopelessly unprepared.

But he is wrong to dismiss climate change as being “in the distant future”. It is happening now and getting worse. Nor is it separate from the aforementioned troubles. Does Mr. Cross think it prudent for the west to rely on energy supplies from Russia, or theocratic regimes in the Middle East?

Investing in alternative energy is a triple win – it reduces carbon emissions, achieves energy independence, and deprives hostile foreign powers of revenue. And as renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels, and the technology advancing rapidly, it makes economic sense.

As for “illegal” migrants costing £3 billion, that is largely down to the incompetent English Tory government’s slow and inefficient system for processing them. And English Tory Brexit, which means we can no longer send them back to the first EU country they entered. Independence and joining the EU would help considerably.

(Dr) Stephen Moreton, Warrington, Cheshire

History lesson

To be able to stop the war in Ukraine it is important to have agood knowledge of history.

The GOP (Grand Old Party), the Republicans of America, have very little knowledge of history and so are repeating exactly the same mistake that Roosevelt did by signing the fifth partition of Poland at Yalta in 1945. They are stabbing the Ukrainians in the back in the same way Roosevelt did to the Poles.

It is important to understand that the original inhabitants of what is now Ukraine were the “Rusins” of Kievan Rus, the people we now call “Russians”, who were annihilated by the Mongols in 1240. The mongols were then defeated in open battle in 1362 by the Lithuanians who were the first European power to do so. Lithuania then pushed the Mongols out of western Ukraine almost to the Black sea.

Unfortunately the Lithuanians squabbled amongst themselves about the partitioning of their conquests and some of them fled to Moscow where the leader, Dimitry (Donskoi) was still a teenager. They told him how they had defeated the Mongols and this led to Dimitry's fine victory of 1380 over them, thanks also to Algirdas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania not coming to help the Mongols as he had promised.

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This was not the end of the story and Moscow still had to paythe Mongols by collecting taxes for them by extorting money fromthe other Russian cities - see Ivan (moneybags) Kalita.

So, were the Muscovites grateful to the Lithuanians for their invaluable help? Well, 300 years later they invaded and massacredthe population of Vilnius — the worst massacre of Lithuanian history.

The Russians managed to repeat this with the Polish resistance army(AK) after the second World War for the invaluable help they hadgiven the Soviets during the conflict the latter had helped to start,and they are continuing the same now in Ukraine. Next Question: Why was Nato started?

Henryk Belda, Edinburgh

Gray’s genius

I am pleased Gaby Soutar (Your report, February 22) enjoyed watching Poor Things, adapted from Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel.

Gray deserves more credit at the Oscars than at the Golden Globe Awards when he was not credited at all in acceptance speeches, bizarrely Bruce Springsteen was lauded by the director despite having nothing to do with the film.

Thirty years ago I found the book disturbing and a difficult read. It was darkly peculiar rather than funny but I finished it finding its originality deeply captivating.

Gray, while intense and serious, was a creative genius.

At Whitehill Secondary School in Glasgow he excelled at art and, according to my father who sat next to him, doodled brilliantly rather than grafted through his other classes.

Given his amazing imagination it’s a shame Gray’s novel has been bastardised into something more flippant, based in London not Glasgow and turned into what Emma Stone describes as a romcom.

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Gray deserves to be credited as the creative genius who masterminded the plot rather than Hollywood receiving all the plaudits.

Scotland is blessed with brilliant contemporary writers such as Rankin, McDermid, Greig and Lochhead but sadly internationally they don’t receive the recognition they deserve.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh


Yes, the TV docudrama “Breathtaking” was brilliant.

It joins Daniel Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year as a plague classic. But it had massive added verisimilitude because it was based directly on the personal experience of Dr Rachel Clarke; Defoe was only a little boy during the plague year he wrote about.

“Breathtaking” showed over and over again that a fundamental deficit during the pandemic was the complete absence of surge capacity in the NHS. It even used the word “rationing”, which we all know is a term synonymous with “waiting list”.

Fiona Garwood’s specific questions for the Public Inquiries (Letters, 22 February) are very pertinent, but we cant wait for the inquiries to report.

Waiting lists were a scandal before the pandemic. Your leader of 22 February about the Audit Scotland report on the NHS is headed “Time running out”. The Health Secretary says that proposals for reform will be brought to Cabinet in the “coming weeks or months”. I despair.

Hugh Pennington, Aberdeen



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