Readers' Letters: Scotland’s reputation ruined by nationalism

The spat between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is yet more evidence of the hatred, anger, bitterness, grievance and division generated by narrow, controlling Scottish nationalism and those whose only objective in life is the destruction of the United Kingdom at all costs and for no credible and justifiable reason.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 'does not speak for all Scots' (Picture: Getty)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 'does not speak for all Scots' (Picture: Getty)

I, and I am certain, Scottish pro-UK voters who made up the majority at the election, am sick and tired of the way in which Scotland is being daily portrayed by the rest of the UK – and indeed, the rest of the world – as a pathetic, xenophobic, grievance-ridden, discontented, downtrodden, angry nation by a separatist regime who have completely contaminated, corrupted and manipulated devolution and what it was meant to achieve, for its own isolationist, intimidating, apparatchik-like, nationalist ideology.

We have a First Minister who thinks she speaks for “the people of Scotland” – not so. I am a Scot who wants an administration to portray an engaging, positive, forward-thinking, successful, global outlook, not the weak, insular, inflexible, failing regime we have under the SNP.

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Bring on a referendum and we can end the cancer of nationalism once and for all.

Douglas Cowe, Kingseat, Aberdeenshire

Easy answer

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, wants to know why Nicola Sturgeon has imposed a travel ban on his locale yet has not imposed one on Dundee, where Covid-19 infection rates are even higher. Given you’re dealing with the SNP it's simple, Andy. It’s England.

David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire

Amber gamblers

Your report “Scottish airports back legal challenge to save summer” (18 June) gets to the heart of the ongoing argument between public health experts, politicians and the travel industry about whether foreign travel is safe.Covid cases are now at record levels in cities like Edinburgh and a rise in hospitalisations is hampering the backlog of treating serious illnesses. Vaccines, meanwhile, are still catching up, yet we are opening up foreign travel to amber countries with higher case rates and increasing the risk of the importation of new variants.

Last year we had to lockdown in the autumn and winter because we opened up foreign travel too early and imported new variants. This year we opened up much earlier and paid the price with the delta variant from India.Public health officials are voicing concern that we are once again opening up foreign travel too quickly to protect lives and avoid hospitalisations.

Far too many people have died unnecessarily over the last 15 months and it is about time we think seriously about appointing a panel of public health experts to keep us safe.

This would take the decision-making process away from untrustworthy politicians.The latest push to allow double vaccinated travellers the right to travel without testing and quarantining is ironic given that as a result of the current approach, allowing foreign travel for leisure even though it is not advised means airports like Edinburgh are booming, operating up to 60 departures a day.

All this makes a mockery of the Scottish Government claim in your report that travel to amber countries for leisure is “risky”. If they were worried at all they would be working to make travel to amber countries illegal. Instead they are running scared from a powerful travel industry.

Once again the Government has allowed foreign travel, a means to give any new variants a free pass to enter Scotland. It’s time we gave the experts more say.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Opening remarks

What gives me quite a fright is the speed with which Dorothy Bain QC, Scotland’s new Lord Advocate, gets off her mark. Rangers prosecutors failed to understand Scots Law, she claims, and furthermore, a search warrant was defective and thus unlawful (“New Lord Advocate should have ‘no role’ in Rangers prosecution cases”, 22 June). Not many escape her attack – advocate depute Jim Keegan QC, deputy head of serious and organised crime division Helen Nesbitt and senior procurator fiscal in the Crown Office Sally Clark all receive a public lambasting.

If this is the way she has started, goodness only knows what is to follow. You would have expected this lady would have played her cards softly and gently with her colleagues rather than putting the boot in quite so hard and so fast. This Rangers football club business goes on and on, boring practically everyone, and we still have all the civil cases to endure. We can only hope that the solicitors handling these other matters have both grace and fairness to spare.

Michael Campbell, Conon Bridge, Highland

What campaign?

Another day, another anti-Iran diatribe from Struan Stevenson (Perspective, 22 June). Mr Stevenson is described as the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change. I have searched online on several occasions for information on this body but can find none.

Perhaps Mr Stevenson can preface his next contribution with an explanation of how this organisation is constituted, what its membership is and how it is funded?

Robert Cairns, Perth, Perth & Kinross

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No shortage

In his letter on care homes deaths, Colin Hamilton says the “Office for Statistical Regulation (OSR) provided the truth that discharges were consistent with a causal relationship between discharges and outbreaks” (21 June). The word “truth” is suspect here, as this was not a health organisation, but one looking at statistical probability, and they were unable to make a definitive pronouncement. They said their analysis was based on the presence of “hazard ratios” which led to the statement selectively quoted above. The actual statement said, "consistent with a causal relationship between positivity and outbreak".

Also not mentioned in Mr Hamilton's letter is the fact that the OSR ruling clearly stated that it did not dispute the findings of the Public Health Scotland (PHS) analysis but said “there were lessons to be learned about the presentation of complex conclusions”. That is a long way from Colin Hamilton's imputations and PHS have since said that a link between discharge and outbreaks cannot be definitively ruled out.Having attempted to traduce PHS, Mr Hamilton turns his fire on Audit Scotland, who allegedly were asked to remove the word “shortage” from their report on PPE. A shortage of an item occurs when there is not enough of it; that didn't happen at any point with PPE in Scotland.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

What’s a Scot?

The fact that UK Cabinet ministers are looking to move the goalposts and push Boris Johnson to allow Scots living anywhere in the UK to vote in a second independence referendum should come as no surprise.

What this desperate gerrymandering illustrates, at least, is an acceptance that there will be another vote.

It is, of course, for those living in Scotland to dictate its direction of travel, not for there to be some form of eligibility test to define how supposedly “Scottish” individuals in the rest of the UK are.

There is no such thing as a “Scottish national”, which opens up a whole debate as to what defines an individual as “a Scot” – someone born here? Someone born elsewhere but whose parents/grandparents are “Scots”? The ethnic nationalism the Tories are clearly demonstrating here has no place in modern Scotland.

The move to base the franchise on the electoral register is consistent with the internationally accepted principle that constitutional referendums should have a right to vote determined by residency. We also have the precedents set by the 2014 independence referendum, and indeed, the 1997 devolution referendum for this.

Those individuals who were born in Scotland who live elsewhere but want to dictate the nation’s future have the simple solution of returning to Scotland and registering to vote here.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Sure thing

If the First Minister is opposed to Scots living elsewhere in the UK being involved in any future referendum she might consider it appropriate to set minimum requirements. A turnout of at least 80 per cent with a minimum 75 per cent of those voting for any change would go a long way to reassure those on both sides of the issue that “the wishes of the Scottish public” were clear.

Derek Stevenson, Edinburgh

Get together

It was heartening to see the First Minister wolfing down a couple of slices of humble pie in the Scottish Parliament last week whilst asking for cross party help/support from Labour, Lib Dems and Scottish Conservatives “to try to improve on the abysmal record of drug deaths in Scotland – 1,200 deaths attributed to drug misuse in 2020, the worst rate in Europe! Tragically the death rate has been climbing year on year since 2014.

Setting up some type of cross party coalition to tackle drug deaths could also be a model that could be used to try and reverse the alarming decline in standards in education in Scotland and also the embarrassingly poor business acumen displayed by the SNP/Scottish Government in relation to Prestwick airport, Ferguson Marine, Bifab etc, where millions of Scottish taxpayers money has been squandered.

In fact a National Recovery Coalition Government would be a far better way forward than an inept SNP/Scottish Government limping along with some incompetent Cabinet Secretaries and Junior Ministers blaming everything on the UK Government.

John Smith, Falkirk

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