Readers' Letters: Scotland gets a government it never voted for

Nicola Sturgeon claimed a “landslide” victory after the results of May's Holyrood elections.

'Vote SNP, get the Greens' seems to be the message from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, flanked by Scottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater yesterday (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - Pool / Getty Images)
'Vote SNP, get the Greens' seems to be the message from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, flanked by Scottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater yesterday (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - Pool / Getty Images)

If this was actually the case then why the need to bring the Green Party into her government? In 2017, in response to the Tory/DUP deal, Ms Sturgeon said: “… any sense of fairness sacrificed on the altar of a grubby DUP deal to let the PM cling to power”. What is fair about bringing a party with exceedingly low public support in relation to the “first past the post" vote in May and which has never stood candidates across all Scottish constituencies in a general election into government? We really are getting a government we did not vote for, yet another of Ms Sturgeon's challenges to Westminster. What a mess.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

U-turn in the air

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So the Scottish Greens are formally to prop up the minority SNP administration at Holyrood, thereby and, of crucial importance to the image-conscious First Minister, circumventing Nicola Sturgeon’s annual humiliation of having to bow down publicly to and accommodate the demands of the pro-nationalist far-left Greens at every budget.

Not very long ago, Ms Sturgeon was passionate about slashing Air Passenger Duty in Scotland to attract significantly more aircraft into Scotland, in full knowledge of the consequential environmental impact. Now, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, we'll undoubtedly be treated to an equally passionate Ms Sturgeon claiming her new relationship with the Greens is a tangible demonstration of her environmental credentials.

Fortunately, most of us are able to see through such nonsense.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Only fanatics?

A certain journalist turned SNP groupie once famously described the party as “Scotland's Mujahideen”. There's a grain of truth in this comparison, especially since our Tartan Taliban now also wave the green banner of their eco-warrior co-jihadists.

Alliance with environmental fundamentalists will accelerate the incompetence and erosion of personal freedoms being experienced in daily life. As happened with the Named Person Scheme and attempts to keep the uneconomic McVitie's factory open, expect to see more of the fanatics' stunned incomprehension when their dogma collides with reality.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

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Austere outlook

The old adage that relying solely on last year’s accounts to plan ahead is like trying to drive the car from the back seat whilst looking out the back window comes to mind every August when GERS is published.It applies even more to an independent Scotland in which about 70 per cent of voters support the SNP, Greens or Labour, ensuring that decisions in Holyrood about tax and spend and just about every other matter will be, from Day One, significantly different from those of the Conservative Government at Westminster.We also know that the Conservatives are very likely to retain power and their fundamental desire to reduce government spending will ensure years of austerity for the UK. When the IFS predicts austerity for an independent Scotland it assumes two things: Scotland has the same sluggish economic growth that is endemic to the UK; and there is a rushed government drive to reach a 3 per cent current account deficit. Neither is certain to be the case – higher growth and a slower reduction can avoid austerity as we have known it – whereas another ten years or more of Conservative austerity looks odds-on.A pro-union argument of “Vote No to avoid austerity” has the same credibility as “Vote No to stay in the EU”.

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Robert Farquharson, Edinburgh

Moral failings

Apparently Tory ministers are working their backsides off to get interpreters and guards who loyally worked for us, out of Kabul and out of harm's way.

But some ministerial backsides look tanned rather than ruffled with hard work. We are assured that guards at our embassy are in the process of leaving. But apparently many guards have not been informed that they are already on their way out. And a phone call to aid interpreters' removal has apparently not been made even though the government was certain that it had been made, by a junior minister in Dominic Raab's unfortunate absence.

It could all have been so different. This debacle has “made in Washington” all over it. But once again it seems that the joker in the pack is Boris Johnston, who is happy with very low standards in his cabinet. But it is not just competence that is the issue. It is perhaps a moral failing of a high order. We have ditched our responsibility for so many decent Afghans.

This lack of moral fibre is a warning bell to those who assume honesty of purpose in Tory claims to level up, pursue green policies and ensure farmers are protected from loss of their huge EU subsidies over the next few years. The words “Oh sorry” can sometimes sound very hollow.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh

What can we do?

I don't think anything shows the desperation of women in Kabul more clearly than the footage of mothers handing their babies to American and British soldiers. The TV news showed a little girl, in the arms of a British soldier, her bunches on top of her head, looking at her mother who was pleading with him to rescue her daughter.

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What does the future hold for this wee girl? Will our care system find her loving adoptive parents? Who will help her recover from the trauma of the last week and being parted from her mother? And, horribly, this toddler may be one of the lucky girls after all. Maybe her heartbroken and desperate mother is right to trust us to give her baby girl a better chance of life than remaining in Kabul. What can families in the UK do?

Lovina Roe, Perth, Perthshire

Fallen Ferrier

Few will be surprised that Margaret Ferrier MP, once of the SNP but now in a state of suspension by that party, is apparently having great problems recruiting staff, even at mouth-watering salaries paid for by the rest of us. Her mistakes and misjudgements were on a legendary scale and rang the hypocrisy bell so hard that even the usually irony-proof nationalists had to suspend her. That she did not go of her own volition at that point puzzled many and perhaps the attractions of the movie star money and lifestyle to which she clearly had become accustomed were simply too hard to resist.

Yet now it seems she cannot attract anyone to work for her. How the once mighty have fallen.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Deafening silence

I read of a second lawsuit filed against Scotland's Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal. The first lawsuit was settled at well over £20 million. The second suit is for a similar amount. The personnel involved are appointed by the Queen on the recommendations of the First Minister. How embarrassing for the Queen is this dastardly business, and how expensive for the taxpayers to see so much money wasted in such a fashion.

Yet again, it calls into question the competences of people appointed into positions of authority by the SNP. Why therefore, are we not hearing any statements from the First Minister? This is not something she can blame on Westminster. It is a homegrown shambles and worthy of a full judicial enquiry.

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Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Gaelic tiger

GERS is a testament to the failure of successive Westminster governments’ management of Scotland’s economy. Despite extracting roughly the same amount from the North Sea, Norway has generated over £400 billion more than the UK Government in tax revenues since production of oil and gas began.

When last year’s estimated notional GERS deficit ratio to GDP was 8.8 per cent, Unionists claimed Scotland was a basket case and couldn’t possibly survive as a normal country, yet they are silent about the UK deficit, which is 14.2 per cent. Other nations like Norway, Ireland, Finland and Denmark managed to support businesses and individuals throughout the Covid pandemic to the same, if not greater, extent than the UK.

The UK economy is the most unequal in Western Europe as the vast majority of government investment is in London and the South East, which sucks the life out of all the other regions and nations, leaving Scotland with a high notional deficit as part of the UK. Scotland is a country with more natural wealth and economic resources per head than any European nation. At a time global attention is focused on the devastating effects of climate change Scotland is uniquely placed to benefit from our massive renewable potential. Unlike Norway and Denmark, the Scottish Government does not have the powers to make this happen, while our renewables industries are handicapped by paying the highest connection charges in Europe, imposed by the UK regulator Ofgem.

If Scotland was to become an independent country tomorrow, it would be one of the top 30 wealthiest countries on the planet and that’s a pretty good place from which to start rebuilding our economy.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Fraidy cat?

Today’s GERS figures showing that public spending has risen in Scotland, just as the tax take has reduced and the deficit risen to 22.4 per cent of GDP, might give cause for alarm. Fortunately we have an explicit Covid Recovery Minister and a laid back Finance Minister in a Scottish Government ready to assure us that they have the solution to this problem. Why is it, then, that I am still worried?

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Ken Currie, Edinburgh

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