Readers' Letters: Proportional representation has been bad for Scotland

Many years ago, when the then all-powerful Labour Party was considering what form of voting system was best for their new devolved system of government, they decided to play it fair. At the time, Labour votes in Scotland were weighed rather than counted. When the system now in use was advocated, Labour agreed. They knew they would win the vast majority of seats with First Past the Post, so a proportional representation system was adopted that would allow no one party total control.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie is a power behind SNP throne, reckons reader (Picture: John Devlin)Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie is a power behind SNP throne, reckons reader (Picture: John Devlin)
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie is a power behind SNP throne, reckons reader (Picture: John Devlin)

This system was not, as some on the paranoid nationalist fringes argue, to prevent the SNP ever taking over – at that time, when nationalist representatives could be counted on two hands, that was a preposterous proposition – but it was an attempt to be fair.

I distinctly remember powerful arguments against. Many argued that a series of Israeli governments using a similar system had been controlled by extreme and unrepresentative small parties for years. This is exactly the situation that exists in Scotland at the moment. The Greens are a small and numerically insignificant group with an extreme agenda. But for their 30 pieces of silver they are keeping the nationalists in a majority.

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Balance is best

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The letter from Sandra Busell (13 June) about being vegan or vegetarian has a sound basis in fact, both health and moral. Vast vegetable foodstocks that could be eaten by humans are indeed used for animal feed, and cruelty in the animal food chain is indisputable. Acres of terrified penned animals in America have to be seen to be believed as they are filtered off and killed in ghastly circumstances to provide meat for heavy and unhealthy human consumption.

With regard to the prevention of that cruelty, there can be no dispute with those who are vegan or vegetarian. But humans are omnivores, and those who avoid animal food products do often look the worse for it. Pale and thin people are to be seen in health food shops, eagerly buying food supplements, and one sometimes wonders if they would be better for the occasional fish supper or plate of mince and potatoes.

As with all things, balance and moderation would be best, but the trend away from meat consumption is definitely to be supported.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross

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Historic Iron Age site on Loch Tay, the Scottish Crannog Centre, is destroyed by...

Vegan hot air

Sandra Busell is obviously sincere in her belief that meat eaters “are complicit in causing global starvation”. However, there is a big world out there and if every person in Scotland stopped eating meat it would not make one iota of difference to global warming or global starvation. Facts: Scotland only has 0.15 per cent of global emissions, 1.76 million cattle, 6.9 million sheep and 330,000 pigs. There are 989 million cattle, 1 billion sheep and 900 million pigs in the world.

Does Ms Busell really believe that the world will listen to vegans who emit more greenhouse gases than meat eaters?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Crannog tragedy

The complete destruction by fire of the Iron Age Crannog at Loch Tay is a major loss to historical Scotland as the only example replica of a Crannog. It will be greatly missed as a superb tourist attraction and was staffed by some very enthusiastic people who made you feel so welcome.​​​​​​​

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen

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