Readers' Letters: Post-Salmond SNP have failed Scotland on transport

I note, with sadness, the lack of ambition in Humza Yousaf’s statement on Tuesday outlining his (lack of?) vision for Scotland over the next year. It was a perfect example of a politician speaking a lot but saying very little.

In terms of improving Scotland's inadequate transport infrastructure there was nothing beyond a vague pledge to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness – a commitment that the SNP have had for many years and have come nowhere near delivering.

It is interesting to compare the records of Alex Salmond’s administration with those of Humza Yousaf and his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, when it comes to infrastructure improvements in Scotland. Mr Salmond’s administration gave the go-ahead to the following huge infrastructure projects: The M74 extension through Glasgow’s south side; the completion of the M80; the completion of the M8; the Queensferry Crossing; the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route; and the Borders Railway. All of the above in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

These projects greatly improved Scotland’s transport infrastructure and benefit hundreds of thousands of ordinary people every day. Whatever one may think of Mr Salmond and his belief in Independence, that is a very impressive legacy. The contrast with today's SNP, with its taxpayer-funded career politicians and their acolytes, the aptly described “Wine Bar Revolutionaries”, is illuminating.

Then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon poses in front of the Queensferry Crossing, a project greenlit by predecessor Alex Salmond (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)Then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon poses in front of the Queensferry Crossing, a project greenlit by predecessor Alex Salmond (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
Then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon poses in front of the Queensferry Crossing, a project greenlit by predecessor Alex Salmond (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Salmond's administration showed ambition, offered some hope that, at least in terms of transport infrastructure, better days lay ahead. Since he was replaced by Nicola Sturgeon we have had seven wasted years in terms of improving Scotland's transport infrastructure. Vision replaced by mediocrity.

The SNP has changed and, sadly for Scotland, not for the better.

George Shanks, Edinburgh

Nordic dreams

Correspondent Eric Melvin seeks to “silence the scaremongers” who oppose sharp increases in tax for Scotland, on the grounds that the Nordic nations are fine and dandy on taxation representing between 42 per cent and 46 per cent of GDP (Letters, 6 September).

What he fails to note is that over 50 per cent of GDP in Scotland is already state spending, and taxation at this level to match would place us worse off than Scandinavian taxpayers – but with no reason to be better for it economically.

Unfortunately for the proponents of the mantra, taxing Scotland into happiness, this latest familiar refrain about Nordic prosperity and third-way socialism coincides with new research released this August under the wing of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

To socialist dismay, Sweden is not, in fact, nowadays run like a Nordic Venezuela; the left-leaning image belongs to the past and was a disaster in the 1970s,1980s and early 1990s.

High-tax policies were tried then and failed. Even IKEA moved its head office to the Netherlands in 1973.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sweden is reverting to a market economy; the country was most successful in 1950, at the time the fourth-richest country in the world per capita, and when taxes were just 20 per cent of GDP. Low taxes were clearly not a mistake then; and lower taxes remain the surest route to prosperity for any society – even Scotland!

Peter Smaill, Borthwick, Midlothian

March of time

It’s terrifying that, like the Pied Piper leading children into a mountainside, Humza Yousaf can march nearly 4,000 (sorry, 25,000) separatists down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on a warm, sunny Saturday.Obviously time for all those stuffy, reactionary Unionists to step aside and allow Scotland to transition into the Second World one-party state of the First Minister’s fevered imagination.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Poor, not stupid

Ah well, that’s the end of all that independence nonsense, the SNP’s in the doldrums, Humza’s not up to the job, Labour’s on the march and Scotland is seeing sense at last.

Ah… but,,, haud on a minute! Emeritus Professor of Education Policy at Edinburgh University Lindsay Paterson says “naw”! Well, “yes” actually!According to the Prof, the idea that people would become less supportive of Yes as they grew older is “simply not the case” for anyone born after the 1950s, as I know personally from my ageing peer group.

From my own knowledge of the younger people I come into contact with, they are almost all in favour of independence, and, as they mature, and take on their own responsibilities, they show no sign of backsliding.

And here’s the bit of Prof Paterson’s analysis which I particularly like: “The argument I have made… is [that] the enormous changes that have come on the back of educational expansion mean that by and large the core of the independence supporting electorate now are well educated, liberal-minded graduates [and there] is a feeling that Britain or the UK can no longer achieve these liberal goals that this newly educated liberal electorate tends to favour”.

So, I would suggest that this finally sinks the old unionist put down: “Too wee, too poor, too stupid”!

In actual fact, Scotland is an average-sized European country, poorer than we should be, but demonstrably not “too stupid”.

Les Mackay, Dundee

Poverty spin

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Every so often politicians declare that they are going to tackle, or even end, poverty and every so often researchers rediscover poverty. In the event nothing very much changes. In his recent epic study of capitalism over the centuries and around the world the French economic historian Thomas Piketty provided clear evidence that everywhere and always, more than 25 per cent of the population exists in poverty and over 50 per cent live with disturbingly high levels of economic insecurity.

Piketty went on to develop a comprehensive, clear and detailed set of proposed changes to our economy, society and culture at the scale required to make a real difference to the poverty, inequality, alienation and global warming embedded in the varieties of capitalism currently dominant and arguably in all forms of capitalism.

It is, therefore, no surprise that do-little centrism, hopeful nationalism, corrupt authoritarianism, defensive conservatism or any of the other current crop of political choices fail to deal with poverty or much else besides.

We await new and better ideas, leadership and policies that are based on a realistic understanding of capitalism, its history and its limits. Competent governments are necessary but not sufficient and capitalism is not the best we can be.

Stewart Sweeney, Glasgow

Vapid thinking

I understand that our “go ahead” government have announced that there is to be a consultation on single-use vapes. Who are they going to consult with? What are they going to consult on?

Perhaps I’m being naive, but surely there can be few who do not think that single-use vapes are both a health and an environmental disaster. As I understand it, Scotland would not be the first country to ban their use, so what are we waiting for? For once let’s have some decisive action on a significant issue.

David Edgar, Symington, Biggar

Crime does pay

I would totally agree with the Scottish Police Federation’s view that a proposal to not investigate minor crimes sets a dangerous precedent (Scotsman, 6 September).

Let’s look a bit more in depth at this proposal – how does it sit with insurance companies when a crime is not going to be investigated by police, will they refuse to pay out for any stolen property or even refuse to insure it?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So far as future generations go, are we teaching them it’s OK to take what doesn’t belong to them, be it a bicycle or a lawnmower, because nobody will punish them for it and it’s “only a wee thing, nobody will bother”.

In fact, the only person who will be punished is the original owner – not only will they have to pay to renew said stolen item and the damage caused by the thief breaking into their property, the victim will probably see their insurance premium jump up (if they get insurance in the first place).

While we’re at it, why don’t we remove the Eighth Commandment from the Bible? Why does it always seemy that the good, honest, law-abiding people of this country get the proverbial mucky end of the stick .

J Moore, Glasgow

Blame yourself

Peter Glissov (Letters, 6 September) may well have a vision of “a future where Scots can work with the family of European nations within the EU for solutions to our common problems” but there was no mention of the fact that it was the 35 SNP Westminster MPs who refused to vote for the Bill put forward in 2019 by Prime Minister Theresa May to retain the UK in the EU on similar terms enjoyed by Norway that led to the defeat of the policy.

Surely one of the biggest political errors ever made by Nicola Sturgeon is her refusal to accept that half a loaf was better than no bread for Scottish households!

In addition, why the failure of Humza Yousaf to point out that the £840 billion cost of a Green Transition means an economic debt that is around 500 per cent of GDP? Currently the EU demand that all entrants have a debt below 3 per cent of GDP, hence it will take around 80 years for the Scottish economy to achieve such a target !

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts – NO letters submitted elsewhere, please. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line – be specific. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.