Readers' Letters: SNP pulling wool over Scottish voters’ eyes

Hats off to the Scotsman for a fine piece of investigative journalism (“SNP minister intervenes in care home data release”, 7 July). You doggedly persisted in pursuing Freedom of Information requests to ascertain that Fiona Hyslop was involved in discussions leading to the delay of the report on care home release from the National Records of Scotland until after May’s election.

The SNP's Fiona Hyslop was involved in discussions on the release of care home mortality data (Picture: Fraser Bremner - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

This revelation that SNP ministers or officials put pressure on supposedly independent bodies to intervene in the release of data should come as no surprise to the Scottish public. As reporter Conor Matchett notes, “this failure of openness on policy failures is endemic to the SNP”. Examples abound of pressure being exerted upon public bodies such as Public Health Scotland to remove or modify data which could be critical of SNP policy or performance.

The deliberate delay in the release of the OECD report on education which was highly critical of the SNP until after the election was bad enough. Disregard for the truth concerning issues of life and death for Scottish families is rightly labelled “scandalous” in yesterday’s editorial. It is, as the editorial says, “a worrying sign of a “culture of secrecy” at the top”.

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The Scottish people have a right to know just how efficient the SNP are at pulling the wool over their eyes. It is not surprising that Nicola Sturgeon is going cold on an independent Scottish judge-led public inquiry. Hopefully, however, thanks to revelations such as those in yesterday’s Scotsman, the Scottish public may be enabled to get at the whole truth albeit retrospectively and a little too late to decide whether they should have voted for a politician whose claim she had provided effective leadership during the pandemic was the basis of her election campaign.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Consequences

All political parties try to present their best case prior to an election. We all understand that. The SNP, however, has made an industry out of "mis-information" emanating from other parties and has called out every example. This makes the Scotsman's story of 7 July more significant.

On top of the delayed OECD report there is the delayed cervical cancer mistakes and even the shrouded secrecy over the missing £600,000 of ringfenced Indyref2 money prior to May's election. Trust in politicians is always essential but by a huge factor more if the party in question is trying to split up the United Kingdom. Serious issues are arising here which need more than just a dismissal as of "no consequence" or some other soundbite by Nicola Sturgeon and her party.

(Dr) Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Desperate David

After Scotland was proclaimed the Covid capital of Europe by the World Health Organisation, I waited patiently for the SNP response. The normally first to the nearest camera First Minister and her army of advisers it seems have disappeared.

Instead, in a BBC Politics programme interview, SNP Glasgow MP David Linden suggested the problem was that Scots “do not have the natural immunity’’ of others living in the UK. Cue a sharp intake of breath. Mr Linden was repeating the SNP’s so-called experts’ explanation, which could perhaps be renamed “desperation syndrome’’.

What most decidedly did not emerge was a mea culpa for the mammoth in the room – the decision allowing tens of thousands of fans to travel unchecked to see Scotland play football. The SNP do not tend to stand up to large groups waving Saltires and do not do apologies.

In the end, what transpired must be the most ridiculous response given by anyone in Scotland since the pandemic began.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

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Scottish Government intervention delayed publication of Covid deaths by care hom...

Brain drain

I heard Councillor Lesley MacInnes on local radio blaming Edinburgh’s flash flooding on Sunday on the city’s residents. Apparently it was because many people are converting their gardens to mono-block driveways thereby allowing rain to gather in the street.

Nothing whatsoever to do then, with the council’s poor maintenance of drains and gullies?

Or the fact that people are perhaps creating driveways because they can no longer park outside their own homes, because Spaces for People initiatives of double yellow lines or cycle lanes prevent them from doing so?

Lindsay Mackenna, Edinburgh

Danger womb

It seems that innocent unborn babies have, in the eyes of politicians, no right to live or be protected. But these infants are human beings, just like all lawmakers, with a right to life.

Two politicians disagreed about this right when, in recent days, they shamefully pressed for two amendments under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. One from Rupa Huq MP sought to outlaw pro-life witness at abortion clinics, with the other by Diana Johnson MP attempted to legalise abortion up to birth. These amendments are shocking and immoral. Following a deluge of complaints from the public, and sane members of the medical profession, both were thankfully withdrawn.

It is both scandalous and mind-boggling that a mother’s womb, which should be one of the safest places for any person, is one of the most dangerous places in Britain to live. Have politicians at Westminster completely lost their senses, when they somehow fail to see that unborn babies have the same rights as every other citizen in the country?

At conception, a human individual is created with a unique genetic identity that remains unchanged throughout his or her life. This individual, who must never be discriminated against, has a fundamental right to life, which must be protected, respected and upheld. This is a fact which should never be up for debate. The DNA of a baby is not the DNA of their mother, she’s only the temporary host of somebody else’s body – and science tells us that! We proudly boast in Britain of a society that is civilised and compassionate, and which cares for vulnerable people, yet we have an inhumane law which allows a baby to be torn apart, for the sake of convenience!

It is high time that lawmakers and politicians everywhere began showing pity, kindness and compassion by offering unborn children what they deserve – a right to live.

Donald J Morrison, Inverness, Highland

Unfit Union

Thankfully, as a Fifer who delivers groceries around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, the online department of which I am part of has radically reformed since I joined in October 2012. The radical reform meant it was fit for the challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic and everyone has worked together in the background of a major health crisis. It has evolved to meet the challenges.

Compare that to our politics with a Union, of which I consider myself part as an independence supporter, that is not fit for purpose

A Victorian Westminster Parliament with an out-of-date voting system, an unelected House of Lords where members get £323 a day just to turn up, and a majority Conservative government with a 80-seat majority on fewer than 50 per cent of voters.

When there is no prospect of radical reform, can you really blame folk like myself for voting for independence in 2014 and seriously considering it in future?

As far as I am concerned, independence supporters like myself are viewed as second class Scots in our country of birth by unionists, with no part to play in the future of union.

Peter Ovenstone, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

Beyond belief

Neil Barber wants Christians to confine their views to a Sunday (Letters, 7 July) and on Monday to live by his views and practise secularism. I cannot see the logic in his argument that his belief system can be forced on everyone but Christian values should be banned (unless, of course, they correspond with his). Is Neil not practising what he condemns in others?

Iain Gill, Paisley Gardens, Edinburgh

UC is unfit

Not at all surprised, was my reaction to hearing the UK Government’s announcement that the temporary uplift of £20 per week to Universal Credit (UC) will be phased out.

Phased out in spite of the cry for justice from six former Conservative Work and Pension Secretaries and 100 Conservative MPs that the uplift be made permanent. It is very welcome to hear the former secretaries cry, but it is a bit rich, when we consider that one of those cries comes from the architect of UC, Iain Duncan Smith. UC is not fit for purpose and we need a review immediately, considering the massive increase in claimants due to the pandemic.

Why is it always those on lower incomes that are targeted by the Conservatives ? Are they seen as an easy target ? The £20 per week uplift has been a lifeline for many households, many of which are working households who have been forced to isolate, have children home from school and are enduring massive increases in households bills.

So, this announcement on UC by the Conservative party, often referred to as "the nasty party”, sits well beside their recent and shameful cut to the foreign aid budget. We really have to demand change and cry loud and clear, “not in my name”.

Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk

Hogwash

People should leave Health Secretary Humza Yousaf alone. Who cares if he went to a place where people are treated like children by the Ministry of Magic, under the leadership of a stern female leader who complains about non-magic Muggles.

Anyway, how was his trip to to the Warner Brothers studios where Harry Potter was filmed?

David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire

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