Surely, then, they can find a few millions to save hundreds of jobs at Mortons Bakery (your story, 14 March). I suspect the average Glaswegian would rather have his morning rolls that look at the two rusting ferries at Fergusons…With so many children going to bed cold and hungry, as the SNP claim, surely supplying then with fresh rolls is one way to help eradicate poverty?
Alastair Paisley, Juniper Green, Edinburgh
The ongoing ferry scandal shows no signs of abating (your report, 15 March) It is just business as usual for the SNP. as it is in the leadership race. All three candidates say they will achieve “independence” within five years. No lessons have been learned, it will simply be more of the same no matter who wins. The SNP just does not listen to the public but continues with the nonsense approach that despite a shocking record in government after 16 years it is still full on for independence. It is like the ferries: overbudget, delayed nearly indefinitely and very possibly not fit for purpose at the end of the day. Ignorance is bliss.
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
Scotland can’t maximise the benefits of our vast offshore wind and tidal resources until such time as we are independent with full fiscal powers and back into the EU. In his criticism of the Scottish government, Gregor Poynton (Perspective, 15 March) fails to mention that as Westminster controls employment law, a Scottish Government can’t insist on X number of Scottish jobs for any project and UK Ofgem rules penalise Scotland's renewable industry by charging them the highest grid connection charges in Europe, thus mitigating against the price achieved in any auction.
In January, the Scottish Government published its draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan which maps out the future of our energy sector, and is investing £500 million in the Just Transition Fund to support projects in the North East and Moray which contribute towards the region's transition to net zero. The latest Ernst & Young survey showed that Scotland remains the second top UK destination, behind London, for inward investment projects, with a 14 per cent rise in 2021.
Successive Westminster governments, including the Blair and Brown regimes, failed to use the hundreds of billions they received from Scotland’s oil and gas revenues to restructure Scotland’s industrial base and thus allowed Norway and Denmark to become world leaders in renewable manufacturing and shipping.
Brexit has resulted in massive skills and labour shortages, yet Labour continues to set its face against re-joining the EU which insists that at least 40 per cent of technology must be sourced from within the EU for renewables projects.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh
Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) data is produced by the SNP administration and published annually by none other than the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, currently Kate Forbes. She reports in detail revenue raised in Scotland and the cost of public services provided, routinely showing the extent of Scotland’s deficit, which is, in percentage terms, significantly higher than that of the UK as a whole.
It is therefore mindboggling that Forbes, in her leadership campaign, has now stated categorically that her figures are inaccurate. Will she say absolutely anything at all to win the votes of the SNP’s dyed-in-the-wool separatist members? A new low for Forbes?
Martin Redfern, Melrose Roxburghshire
One cannot but endorse Arrow's Theorem as referenced by Doug Clark (Letters, 15 March). However, the fallacy in his example is that it assumes an equal number of votes for each candidate. In an actual election the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated.
Even then, in the event of all the votes of the eliminated candidate going to the original runner-up, the original leader could be eliminated. This would give an unfair result, not least because it would rank a transferred vote equally with an original vote.
The much-maligned first-past-the-post system has the advantage that the winner is the most popular with the electorate, notwithstanding the size of their majority.
Robert Bowers, Longniddry, East Lothian
It is interesting that some who regularly claim the people of Scotland do not want independence, even when the polls have strongly suggested otherwise, now consider it worthwhile to spend their time writing letters to newspapers contriving exaggerated criticisms of the candidates for the leadership of the primary independence party.
Most objective commentators would agree that in terms of basic leadership qualities, such as competence and integrity, neither Liz Truss nor Boris Johnson came close to emulating Nicola Sturgeon. While Humza Yousaf has been focused on guiding the NHS in Scotland through the global pandemic and the most demanding period in NHS history, Matt Hancock not only appeared to be distracted at times but did not “follow the medical advice”. Successive austerity-driving UK Chancellors have presided over spiralling debt, low growth and high inflation, with Kwasi Kwarteng and Nadhim Zahawi falling far short of the performance of Kate Forbes in terms of economic competence and integrity.
Most objective commentators would also agree that Scotland has the natural resources and capable people to emulate the performances of independent European countries with similar populations and thus to make a success of determining its own future. UK democracy has become a sad joke, being tied to a feudal autocratic form of government open to cronyism and corruption which in most developed countries has been consigned to history. If those who seem obsessed with criticising everything to do with the SNP and the Scottish Government are so convinced of the popularity of primary government from Westminster (essentially through representatives of constituencies in England) why are they so keen to have the Holyrood parliamentary mandate provided by the people of Scotland to hold a referendum blocked?
Either they’re duplicitous in their claims or they don’t have confidence in their fellow Scots to emulate the progress their ancestors have achieved in many other countries around the world. Perhaps it is not the SNP’s young leadership candidates who are lacking but those who are illogically, possibly selfishly, wedded to the past and cannot see beyond a grossly dysfunctional union.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian
For years I used to think that Gordon Brown had the biggest political brass neck following his concerns about pensioners facing hardship, given the former Chancellor single-handedly did more to wreck the UK pensions industry than anyone else in history.
But, alas, he has now been usurped by Humza Yousaf in his unedifying quest to become First Minister. It is clear that all his wonderful assurances and promises during the hustings do indeed belie the financial disclaimer that “past performance does not guarantee future results”.
Brian Petrie, Edinburgh
One thing omitted from comments on the Covid lockdown, and in the Covid vaccination investigations, is the tragedy of those who lost their businesses – often a lifetime’s work – and their livelihoods. In spite of government rules to the contrary, the banks also called up personal guarantees and homes were lost. People were divorced and people committed suicide in despair. All that is overlooked. The real cost of Covid is far greater than thought. Our entire economic base was damaged.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross
The Scottish Government/Green Party seem hellbent on this Deposit Return Scheme to clean up our world. If so good... hang on, don’t we already have a DRS? Millions of us have them outside our houses, they’re called RWBs – Recycle Wheelie Bins to you and me – which we pay for through our local council taxes which, combined with water rates, have increased by 21 per cent. So I take it all local authorities will be removing our RWBs, with a reduction in council tax?
J Moore, Glasgow
Boot out idea
Craig Levein's belief that Glasgow’s wretched Old Firm want to switch to the English Football League is akin to belief in the tooth fairy (your story, 14 March). Sacrifice their guaranteed annual free passes to European megabucks competitions just to play in England weekly?Happily surrender their traditional “more equal than others” status with Scottish match officials – encapsulated by Rangers' ludicrous topping of UEFA charts for penalties awards season after season?Their spoiled brat fanbase – reflex screaming for mass sackings and “war chests” every silverware-free season or “only” finishing second in the league – remaining loyal once realising trips to Wembley rather than Hampden will be once-in-a-lifetime events, not annual?The OId Firm are unsustainable business models outside of the urban bumpkin cultures of Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the idea any duopoly will forfeit a century’s market dominance and risk bankruptcy for the sake of “sporting fairness” is beyond naive.
Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire
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