Readers' Letters: Scottish Government's antics are beyond satire

A newspaper cartoon one Christmas before the 2014 referendum depicted a portly Alex Salmond attired as the Angel of the Lord in a Nativity play. Hoisted aloft on a shaky winch by Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney, the then First Minister announces to the audience: “Don’t worry about the facts – just believe, believe!”
Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and successor  Humza Yousaf are beyond a joke, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and successor  Humza Yousaf are beyond a joke, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and successor Humza Yousaf are beyond a joke, reckons reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Political satire plays an important role in debunking grandiose public figures of every shade, as Susan Dalgety argues (Perspective, 19 August). She quotes comedian Shauny Boy, who describes the “PR-soaked, fantasy tartan nightmare we have all been trapped in” during the years of separatist misrule.

Through their divisive GRR policy, the Continuity SNP/Greens have helped fuel the hysterical cancel culture which saw Irish comedy writer Graham Linehan banned from performance venues last week.

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The Scottish Government has positioned itself alongside both gender identity fanatics and environmental extremists like Greta Thunberg, whose withdrawal from the Edinburgh Book Festival prompted a mass authors’ walkout because they disliked the festival’s corporate sponsor.

Even nationalist critics objecting to this situation have found themselves vilified and even suspended or expelled by their intolerant party. Meanwhile, former MSP Robin Harper has understandably resigned from the Greens in disgust.

Next time some messianic leader prematurely launches windowless ferries or can’t say whether a man has a penis or not, let satirists freely ridicule them so the public can roar with laughter at such absurdity.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Step backwards

Patrick Harvie, Green Minister in the SNP Government, protests against the decision of the International Cycling Union to exclude from women's competitions any transgender cyclists who transitioned after male puberty. Harvie wants males who self-identify as female to have the right to compete in women's events, even though it is a biological fact that growing up male confers physical advantages over those who have grown up female. It was the recognition of those physical differences between males and females that led to the creation of separate sports for men and women. If Harvie and his trans activist supporters get their way, it will mean the destruction of women's sport.

How bizarre, that just as women's sport is beginning to be taken seriously in the media and the Women's World Cup was enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, the trans activist brigade, with Harvie as a mouthpiece, should be busy undermining the whole enterprise!

If sportsmen who have grown up male are allowed to participate in women's sports simply because they self-identify as female, you may as well say that the male/female distinction no longer applies. Which means in turn that the distinction between men's and women's sports no longer applies. What an appalling outcome that would be – a huge step backwards for the cause of women's rights!

Les Reid, Edinburgh

Green poison

The shoogly peg supporting the Green-SNP coalition in Scotland has all but fallen from the wall. Patrick Harvie’s vicious attack on his erstwhile coalition partners – more of whom almost daily call for an end to the ties with the toxic Greens – was astonishing. If this is the way he feels about his partners, how does he feel about those in other parties, and most of important of all the electorate who pay the movie star salaries the Greens enjoy?

Joanna Cherry has called Mr Harvie’s remarks “odd”. That must be the understatement of the millennium.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Battle lines

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Patrick Harvie has declared open warfare on not just the SNP but anyone who does not share his climate catastrophe views. Humza Yousaf must either sack him or resign himself as Mr Harvie appears to be running the show.

An entire generation of Scots are being told how to live their lives and what the punishment will be if they don't. All from a politician and a political party that commands little democratic support. The battle lines have been drawn.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Overly honoured

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth in relation to England's failure to win the Women’s World Cup, made more intense by all the pre-match hype.

However, on the day Spain were the better side and deserved to lift the trophy. That said, the English players can hold their heads high in reaching the final and inspiring so many young players to take up the sport. Whether that justifies the awarding of Damehoods and lesser honours, as suggested by Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey, is a different matter. These individuals, whose own knighthoods raised eyebrows about the justification for them, may well be jumping on the political bandwagon to capture more votes by seemingly being in tune with the mood of the people.

Surely Knighthoods and Damehoods should only be awarded to exceptional people whose contributions are outstanding and not to celebrities, bank executives, politicians and even public servants like police officers for merely doing their jobs.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Electric shocker

Councils across Scotland are set to make more than £300 million in cuts to services this year (your report, 21 August). Our roads are already a shambles.

So why did they all give free electricity to these rich EV drivers at council charging points? One council alone gave away £260,000 of council taxpayers' money. There are 32 councils in Scotland. A Freedom of Information request to councils from The Scotsman could name and shame those councils and management who waste our money yet plead poverty.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Old ideas

Christine Jardine’s article on the proposition that the present SNP government’s many failures are due to infiltration by MI5 agents refers to recent pronouncements by ex-MSP Campbell Martin (Perspective, 21 August). But these conspiracy theories have been around in the SNP for many years.In particular, the highly regarded novel And the Land Lay Still by James Robertson presents a view of Scottish history and Nationalist politics in which events and individuals are manipulated in just such a manner by elements of the security forces. I admire Mr Robertson's work, but I fear this novel serves to perpetuate the paranoia.

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I may be doing the author an injustice, of course, if his intention was to satirise those who believe them, but that was not the impression I got from reading it.

Robert Cairns, Harrietfield, Perth

Scotland prevails

I was astonished that Leah Gunn Barrett (Letters, 17 August) assert that Scotland’s culture and language are being eroded. I wish to reassure her.Here are just a very few examples which come to mind. The immediate traditional associations of kilts and pipes, haggis, Highland Gatherings and Burns are as strong as ever.

Gaelic music goes from strength to strength, with young Chloe Steele, a Gaelic singer and piper from South Uist, one of many young musicians coming to the fore.

The Hebridean Baker champions Scottish baking.

Small companies making soaps, whisky, candles and food specialities abound.

The Northern Pictish Project is bringing fascinating information to light about that enigmatic group.

The current Scots Scriever, Shane Strachan, has been championing Doric.

Munro bagging has never been so popular!

There are all sorts of projects connected with rewilding and replanting native trees or regenerating native heath and bogs.

New museums such as in Gairloch and Kilmartin celebrate local heritage.

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I haven’t even mentioned art and literature but I believe Scotland’s culture and languages – yes more than one! – are thriving!

Lorna Thorpe, Alyth, Perth and Kinross


Scotsman arts journalist Brian Ferguson has been providing excellent coverage of the serious challenges facing the city’s festivals in maintaining their world class profile. He has also written passionately about the wider financial crisis facing cultural organisations in Scotland. What is not being acknowledged is the interrelationship between Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Festival.

The International Festival is almost entirely dependent upon the all-year round cultural infrastructure of the city for venues in which to present and produce its world-class programme of live performance. The Traverse, the Royal Lyceum, The Churchill Theatre, the Usher Hall, The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh Playhouse, the Festival and Kings Theatres – each of these venues plays a distinctive year-round role in the cultural life of Edinburgh.

If these venues cease to exist in a healthy and buoyant all-year-round state, no amount of additional funding to the International Festival, as welcome as that would be, is going to help if there are not the venues in which to present their programme.

Some serious work has to urgently take place amongst decision-makers at local and national level to join the dots and ensure that the city’s year-round cultural ecology is sustained so that it can also support a properly resourced portfolio of festivals.

Adrian Harris, Edinburgh

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