Readers' Letters: SNP ferries failure may have sunk shipyard

I note from yesterday’s Scotsman (February 3) that The Scottish Parliament's Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee has concluded that there has been a “catastrophic failure” in the procurement process for the two ferries presently under construction at the Ferguson Shipyard in Port Glasgow.
Paul Wheelhouse is the Minister for the IslandsPaul Wheelhouse is the Minister for the Islands
Paul Wheelhouse is the Minister for the Islands

Not surprisingly Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Government's Islands Minister said the Government did not agree and appears to have put the blame firmly on the yard itself. When does this Government ever take responsibility for anything they do or say which goes wrong ?

Anybody with any common sense understands that you do not award a contract to anybody for anything when they do not have the relevant expertise to ensure delivery of the contract, whether it be widgets or a highly technical vessel. Nor do you award a contract not understanding what you actually want. There seems to have been a considerable number of changes made to the specifications of the vessel as the construction has progressed.

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It has previously been remarked that the highly technical aspects of the vessels were not actually needed for the service they were scheduled to serve. The awarding of this contract to Ferguson’s was portrayed as the SNP Government saving the yard and saving jobs.

It may in fact have sealed the fate of the yard – on the basis of this contract, prospective customers are unlikely to be attracted to Ferguson’s. The SNP Government may have sunk the yard.

This is yet an another example of the SNP Government's inability to manage the support, investment, and development of Industry, so necessary whether we continue as a devolved nation or as an independent one.John B Gorrie, Craigmount Gardens, Edinburgh

Help small firms

There was much to applaud in Finance Secretary Kate Forbes’ draft budget published last week. However, many in the independent business community would have liked to have heard more about helping firms survive the final phase of this crisis, as well as the vision for local economic recovery.

As the Budget bill progresses through the parliament – and we march toward the Holyrood elections – we must see aspiring and sitting MSPs pledge to do everything in their power to help smaller firms get back on their feet. That means filling the remaining gaps in financial support for firms, and looking at the additional help local business might require to open their doors.

Garry Clark, Development Manager – East of Scotland, Federation of Small Businesses, Berkeley Street, Glasgow

Do panic Pike?

On Tuesday the TV news showed British Army soldiers establishing a vaccination centre in Dundee. That a vaccination programme was required has been known for months and it started off before Christmas.

I cannot understand what Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has been doing since it is the Army who have been asked to identify and establish 80 centres.

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Should Freeman not go in the same reject bin as Ursula von der Leyen?

Vaughan Hammond, Braco, Perthshire

Missed messages

Could it be that vaccination levels in Scotland are lower than elsewhere in the UK because they are so hard to access?

I, along with thousands of others I presume, was sent a text inviting me to book my first vaccination. When I ring the number it is, of course, engaged or I get a recorded message assuring me they have sufficient call handlers (obviously not), thanking me for my patience and then cutting the line. I'm not sure I shall get through before the next mass text is sent out. The message also suggests contacting the flu vaccination email address – all very confusing.

There is no consistency in the messaging it seems, as others in the area have been sent letters with dates and times for vaccinations, and my husband, who is older than me, has heard nothing.

Mary Douglas, Glendearg, Galashiels,

Leap in the dark

By far the most sensible suggestion to surface in recent weeks regarding IndyRef2 is that Scotland be denied its excessive Westminster funding if Nicola Sturgeon proceeds with her wildcat referendum in the aftermath of the May election.

In the same way the vaccine roll-out has shown SNP incompetence in yet another sphere of government, so holding up the London subsidies for a year would give the Scots a glimpse of what life would be like if we take this grim leap-in-the-dark.

(Rev Dr) John Cameron, Howard Place, St Andrews

Unneeded misery

Boris Johnson's recent "essential business" trip to Scotland while Brexit Britain struggles with a Covid death toll of over 100,000, recorded as the highest in Europe and fourth in the world, is truly tragic. A year of scientific and WHO advice not being acted upon early enough by a hesitant UK government indicates a failure of political leadership.

Countries which imposed early lockdown and travel restrictions were able to contain this deadly virus, avoiding many more deaths. New Zealand, with around the same population as Scotland, has only recorded 25 Covid deaths compared to more than 6,000 in Scotland.

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The sadness is that, no matter how quickly the vaccine is now delivered, the mismanagement of this pandemic has resulted in so many more lives lost and the pain and misery this has caused.

Grant Frazer, Cruachan, Newtonmore

Fudged figures

If people are determined to characterise the vaccination programme as a competition with England, it might be an idea to get the facts right.AP Godfrey (Letters, February 2) writes that the rest of the UK has completed the vaccination of care homes residents. That is completely untrue. Care homes residents in England have been offered a vaccination, but the PM has indicated that the plan is to have the residents actually vaccinated by February 15, some three weeks after Scotland. It is also untrue to say that Scotland is lagging far behind England in the vaccination of the over-80s. In Scotland that part of the programme is 90 per cent complete.Jane Drysdale (Letters, same day) says England managed 600,000 on Saturday alone. That figure related to all the four nations of the UK, not England alone.Gill Turner, Derby Street, Edinburgh

Scotland is sunk

According to an LSE study, independence might be even worse for our economy than Brexit (Scotsman, February 3). Call it an ongoing combination of SAD syndrome, lockdown fatigue and Johnson-phobia, but we really didn’t need any more bad news at this dark and dismal time. Faced with a pandemic exacerbated by a shambolic, procrastinating, in no rush, Dad’s Army Tory government, an utterly disastrous Brexit which Scotland didn’t vote for, an economy grinding to a halt and still little prospect of better times, even with the vaccination programme, maybe we should just roll over and accept the fact that no matter which way we turn, we are well and truly, to put it politely, sunk.As Private Fraser might have said to Boris “Captain Mainwaring”Johnson and Michael “Corporal Jones” Gove, “We’re all doomed!”D Mitchell, Coates Place, Edinburgh


John Walker explains “how much better it is for Scotland…to stay with the European Union” (Letters, February 3). He believes that Scottish independence would lead to Scotland becoming a “boom country”, in much the same way as Alex Salmond told us that there would be a £57 billion “oil boom” if we voted to leave the UK in 2014. Does he remember that?

Mr Walker believes that people would be climbing over themselves to come here if Scotland became independent, presumably as a member of the EU, which would take at least ten years. He should remember that the EU is run by unelected bureaucrats who are therefore unaccountable and who instruct the EU Parliament on what it can and cannot legislate on. By voting for independence, we have reclaimed democratic rule of the UK by the UK. We are now ruled by people we have elected, who are accountable to us.

If English companies wanted to move their businesses to the EU, they would have done so already. They could then be run by Ursula von der Leyen, who was appointed without opposition and who decided to close the Irish border without consulting her own officials (eg Michel Barnier) or even the Irish Government.

These Eurocrats have a lot of form, such as replacing democratic governments in Greece and Italy without referral to the people of those countries.

Who would climb over anyone to live in a place that is run like that?

Andrew HN Gray, Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh

From the heart?

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Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of WaterAid UK is the latest of a long line of people to have articles published in The Scotsman, "Climate change hits world's poorest nations hardest, COP26 can help". (February 1).

It seems that to get an article published all one needs to do is utter the words "climate change, cyclones, floods, droughts, reducing emissions, carbon footprint" and of course, the favourite, "save the planet". Every week there are a minimum of at least two such articles. Since these article writers have a vested interest they should declare their salary and perks and allow readers to judge whether their articles are from their hearts or their pockets.

Me? I declare I have a DWP pension.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

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