Readers' Letters: Scotland gets the politicians it deserves

I believe that we are seeing an equivalent of the fate of the Liberal Party after the First World War. Once, the Liberals were the only viable alternative to the Conservatives in the UK. In recent years, the SNP has seemed to be the only alternative to Labour in Scottish terms.
Can Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf and SNP Westminster Group Leader Stephen Flynn keep the party in power? (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Can Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf and SNP Westminster Group Leader Stephen Flynn keep the party in power? (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Can Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf and SNP Westminster Group Leader Stephen Flynn keep the party in power? (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

However, just as scandal and the emergence of a more socialist alternative in the shape of the Labour Party soon overshadowed the Liberals, consigning them to near extinction, the reinvented Labour Party in Scotland is presiding over the erasure of the SNP. Why vote for a purely Scottish leftist party that achieves nothing when you could elect the next UK Government and really achieve change?

When a party's message is seen to be unachievable and its aims pointless, that party soon disappears, like snow off a dyke. The SNP's mixed messages on the likes of oil have thoroughly confused and alienated Scottish voters. Their bold statements about policy soon hit the buffers of reality and even their most skilled operator, Nicola Sturgeon, was shown to have feet of clay.

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Under the clueless SNP, Scotland has ended up as a high-tax, low-achievement blackspot. Entrepreneurs avoid setting up companies in Scotland as it is seen as hating exceptionalism and talent. This thinking also applies in particular to their weird, communistic bedfellows, the Greens.

Scotland gets the politicians it deserves, and as long as we keep voting in the SNP we will get nowhere and achieve no prosperity.

Peter Hopkins, Edinburgh

Tragic joke

So Humza Yousaf now says that if the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats (ie 29) in the next general election, he has a clear mandate to begin negotiations with Westminster for another separation referendum. What? While the SNP these days loses seats on a regular basis, let's run with a current total of 43 SNP MPs. So Yousaf believes a loss of 14 seats (33 per cent of today's tally) places him in a position of strength to demand Indyref2. Really? And, if he secures fewer than 29 seats, does his party abandon its UK break-up objective? Or root around for some new trigger?

The SNP constitution states unequivocally that its party's number one raison d'être is independence – a dramatic loss of support indicates a significant reduction in Scexit enthusiasm. Yousaf is setting up himself and his party as a tragic joke.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Unhealthy interest

Bravo Tom Wood for highlighting the absurdity of NHS Lothian’s virtue-signalling stunt to make “reparations” for financial support received by local hospitals around 200 years ago from the bequests of those who had profited from slavery (Perspective, 17 October).

According to the health board’s chief executive, Calum Campbell, doing so “helps us contribute to a health and care system where everyone in Lothian lives longer, healthier lives”. I would simply ask “How?”. How does spending our money on “reparations” to people abroad “contribute to a health and care system where everyone in Lothian lives longer, healthier lives”? Would the citizens of Lothian who lie on trolleys for hours, wait for over two years for routine orthopaedic operations and end up paying for their own cancer treatment, because of a shortage of funds, agree with that proposition?

This is part of a growing industry which has its cheerleaders and pressure groups, and to whom sufficient obeisance has been paid. As Mr Wood says, it isn’t as if the NHS has not enough of a job to do. Indeed, it is surprising that anyone thinks it appropriate for a health board to spend money on matters other than those concerned with health and its treatment and promotion within its geographic area. It would be interesting to know whether health boards have a specific remit and whether it can be legally enforced. Could it be that their “mission” is to treat the sick and injured in their bailiwick? Health boards surely are not entitled to spend our money as they please on pet projects.

Perhaps Mr Wood, a former policeman no doubt with knowledge of the law, could ascertain for us whether it is lawful for our money from tax that is allocated to the NHS to be spent on fashionable matters that have nothing to do with our NHS.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Covid questions

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Hugh Pennington urges us to “hold fire” with any judgments about the impact of Covid and Covid measures on the UK until the two public enquiries have reported (Letters, 16 October). At the same time he takes the opportunity in print to give us his prejudgment that “life saving dexamethasone and vaccines” have delivered great benefits.

As an increasing number of previously dismissed and cancelled, internationally distinguished experts are now avowing with a palpable sense of urgency, Mr Pennington's assertion is a matter of the most serious contention.

For the few within the mainstream media who have a personal and sacred commitment to rendering the the truth and the whole truth to our people there will be an opportunity to observe and report upon these matters in the House of Commons on Friday 20th in the afternoon. As a result of a massive popular petition MP Andrew Bridgen will place before the House the government’s own figures from the ONS about many aspects of the Covid measures. He will then invite comment and response. The conclusions drawn from this vital debate will have far-reaching consequences for the future health of the nations of the UK.

Finally, Mr Pennington is correct in reminding us that public health is and was a devolved function, but sadly, in the light of the Sturgeon administration's handling of the matter, to paraphrase the old adage it seems that “Truth devolved was Truth retained”. It is Truth revealed that will set us free from the scourge of Covid.

Andrew Docherty, Jedburgh, Scottish Borders

Salon slaves?

Today, Anti-Slavery Day, is vitally important for it raises awareness of the many tens of thousands of people being held as slaves by criminal gangs in every part of the UK. Nowhere is this exploitation more blatant than in nail bars on the high streets of almost every town in Britain.

Ask yourself why, when the vast majority of ladies’ hairdressers and beauticians are women, there are so many nail bars with South East Asian (in actual fact, Vietnamese) men working in them.

Ladies, if you have your nails done in one of these establishments, does your nail technician make conversation with you like your hairdresser or a beautician would, or do they speak little, if any, English? Does the salon accept cards, or is it an all-cash business? If the technicians are silent and the shop only takes cash, it is almost certain that some, at least, of the the staff are modern slaves.

This leads to a troubling question. Why don’t these gangs use exclusively female illegal immigrants in these salons? I very much suspect that the answer is that the people smugglers can make much more money by forcing the women illegals into the sex trade.

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It is high time for the police and courts to take vigorous action to free the slaves and suppress the gangsters.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife


The Scotsman’s 17 October editorial says that you condemn the sickening barbarity of Hamas yet goes on to say that Israel warns civilians before bombing, and other mitigation for the impending mass slaughter ad infinitum. In that The Scotsman is no different than other UK papers.

More than 2,500 Palestinians have been killed as I write this, nearly a thousand of them children. Yes, people have been told to leave, but the crossing into Egypt was bombed shortly afterwards.

The US State department issues “talking points” to officials saying that words like “ceasefire” should be avoided. This is an outrage for any thinking person, of any religion.

The Scotsman’s editorial goes on to say, in case we were left in any doubt, that the paper condemns those who demonstrated this past weekend, and goes on to helpfully interpret, in the worst possible way, one of the slogans chanted by those demonstrating. It makes no mention of the tearful pleas of Israeli mothers and relatives of those killed for the violence to stop.

In short, it is devastatingly clear that The Scotsman positions itself as an Old Testament publication, not a New Testament one.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh

Making allowances

Andrew Vass (Letters, 13 October) claims that Labour will impose a capital gains tax (CGT). In fact CGT already exists. It was introduced by James Callaghan in 1965 and has been in force ever since. In 1977 there was a general exemption for individuals from paying any tax if gains were less than £1,000 in any given tax year. Now known as the Annual Exempt Allowance, it rose steadily until 2020-21 when the allowance was £12,300 for individuals and £6,150 for trusts (the allowance for trusts has always been half of the threshold for individuals).

However, in his March budget in 2021 Rishi Sunak froze the allowance at this level until 2025-26. Subsequently it was announced that the allowance would be reduced to £6,000 from 6 April 2023 and then to £3,000 from 6 April 2024. So in effect, the Tory government is increasing CGT.I can't see Labour changing that.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

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