Readers' Letters: So much for ‘election not about independence’

Last week Nicola Sturgeon was stridently assuring us that the upcoming election was not about independence. Now that she is firmly back in power, her rhetoric is solely about independence markedly absent of any clue about how she will finance her Utopia without the flow of cash from the UK, and nothing at all about the responsibilities of her day job which the SNP have abysmally failed to fulfil over the past 14 years.

Has Nicola Sturgeon turned her back on voters who believed her pre-poll assurances? (Picture:Getty)

My faith in the commonsense of our electorate which convinced me that a silent majority would see through Nicola Sturgeon’s political duplicity has been shattered.

David Hollingdale, Easter Park Drive, Edinburgh

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Start a revolution

Michael Gove has been quick to point out that a majority of the electorate voted last Thursday for parties opposed to a referendum. This is just a bit hypocritical and ironic. In the first past the post (FPTP) component of the additional member proportional system contrived for Scotland, Gove’s party received a pasting, and yet FPTP is much loved by Conservatives in the Westminster context, and they have unfailingly done very well out of that system.

Now – and after banging on for months about "a divisive referendum” and offering little in the way of policies – unionist politicians have urged us to “move on”, to “focus on economic recovery” after the worst hit in over 300 years, and not to seek another referendum. The Prime Minister has urged everyone to get behind “Team UK” – a fanciful notion in a UK split three ways between pro-independence Scotland, Labour Wales and Conservative England – while Gordon Brown has urged Boris Johnson to resist imposing “muscular unionism”. Wait for economic recovery? Hasn’t the Bank of England claimed in a recent quarterly report that the vaccine-led recovery was underway and at greater speed than initially expected? Growth of 7.25 per cent was expected in 2021, with the main driver being consumer spending of accumulated lockdown savings.

What needs to be done now in Scotland, by Scotland, and with all the additional and necessary tools that independence will give us, is to put in place our own local version of the 2020 EU Next Generation programme for post-Covid recovery. Just as the Czechs and Slovaks had their “Velvet Revolution”, and the Baltic States their “Singing Revolution”, Scotland needs to set in motion its own post-Covid ‘Working Revolution’. Sooner rather than later.

Graeme D Eddie, Dunbar

It’s not over…

Whilst the SNP have won the majority of seats, they have not won the majority of votes. Votes for the pro-independence parties and the pro-unionist parties are virtually identical, so Nicola Sturgeon does not speak for Scotland.

The SNP have conned the people of Scotland. The 2014 referendum was to be a once in a generation. That is what they signed up to. They have now admitted that they did not mean this as it was said to try and get votes. They have also tried to sell independence without saying what the cost will be. This will be unbelievably enormous and will bankrupt the country. It is like me trying to sell my car but I will not tell the cost until you agree to buy it. Unbelievable. If, and I sincerely hope not, Westminster was to agree to a referendum, the ground rules will have to change. A 50 per cent + 1 outcome is no way to decide an important issue. The majority for independence should be at least two-thirds, or 66 per cent.

Alex Salmond dictated the rules in 2014. It is now Westminster’s turn to decide them. The fight isn’t over yet, Nicola.

Gordon Bannatyne, Rowan Avenue, Milton of Campsie, Glasgow

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Scottish election 2021: How the SNP was denied a majority by tactical voting – P...

Tactics or what?

John Curtice points out how tactical voting cost the SNP an overall majority. This should come as no surprise. In the absence of a natural competitor to the SNP drive for independence, what alternative is there to tactical voting?

By nature the SNP is effectively a coalition of political views focused on a Scotland first agenda. The unionist opponents are parties split by political doctrine and will find it almost impossible to agree on a joint unionist approach in opposition to the SNP. Unfortunately Gordon Brown, in his attempt to campaign to save the Union, has an uphill battle. I would really be interested in John Curtice's opinion on how we successfully offer a counter to the SNP independence agenda; if not by voting tactically. Remember, the SNP only achieved 30 per cent of the eligible vote, that cannot be allowed to drive us towards independence.

Ron Mayer

Newmains Road, Edinburgh

Neverendum

Well, here we go again. Another five years of Neverendum thanks to the inability of the Unionist parties to work together. They should hang their heads in shame. Never has there been a better opportunity and the results show that the electorate was ready and waiting to lend votes. We could have had at least five years of peace.

G Miller, Grahamsdyke Road, Bo'ness

No confidence

Now that the drama is over, let us not forget that 37 per cent of the electorate – some 1.6 million people – do not care who governs Scotland, and do not wish to be represented by any of its Parliament’s members.

Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross

No mandate

Why does Nicola Sturgeon have to be so contentious in her baiting of the UK Government? The victory in the latest election was not a mandate for a vote for independence referendums. It was recognition of the good work during the pandemic. This, however, was due mainly to the British pulling together despite Sturgeon’s attempts to preempt Westminster at almost every turn.

I class myself as an Anglo-Scot, having lived in England for most of my life. Talk of independence, in my view, is economically unviable for Scotland, and to chase membership of the EU is incredibly stupid based on their performance in the recent crisis. Sturgeon, like most politicians of whatever nationality, is on an ego-trip. A vote for leaving the UK would be disastrous for Scotland. It is a sign of “chip on the shoulder syndrome”, which no Scot should feel. Unity is strength and has proved to be since 1603

Peter C M Meldrum, Foxcotte Road, Andover

Silly Willie

Further to Andrew Kemp’s astute letter (10 May) I have today tendered my resignation from my position as Convenor of East Lothian Liberal Democrats. I do so in the knowledge that it may threaten the future of the East Lothian Party but in the hope it will help to trigger substantial changes in the wider Scottish Liberal Democrats. We had a miserable Holyrood election and as I say in my letter to Members and Supporters, I believe that was almost entirely due to the party leadership’s failure. It was recently reported in your columns that Willie Rennie was questioned about “his tendency to be involved in bizarre photo opportunities”. He replied that he didn’t take himself too seriously. Clearly, neither do most people. I and several of my colleagues winced at every new bizarre pic, convinced that it further undermined his and the party’s authority and credibility.

The party desperately needs a change of image, leadership and, dare I say it, some professionalism.

Kit Fraser, Runciman Court, Dunbar

Time to move on

I see Andrew Gray is already revisiting and reinterpreting the figures from the election of 6 May (Letters, 10 May). He declares that the SNP got only 30.16 of the vote – to be accurate he should have said “electorate”. He is against a referendum. He should remember that Mr Cameron came to power in 2015 with 36.9 per cent of the UK votes cast and with a 66.4 per cent turnout, this meant 24.5 per cent of the electorate. Although three-quarters of the electorate did not vote for him; Mr Cameron called the Brexit referendum regardless. Once a referendum is in prospect it takes on a life of its own.

We should all, Mr Gray included, be turning our minds to serious and informed consideration of the issues about independence rather than poring fruitlessly over the details of elections which are done and dusted.

Bill McKinlay, Cockburn Crescent, Balerno

Taxing times

Susan Dalgety, in her excellent report “Scotland's councils are in dire need of decent funding” (Perspective, 8 May) is, unfortunately, reiterating Patrick Harvie's dictat that the the only answer to any public sector question is to throw money at it. She goes on to say: "when Nicola Sturgeon is returned to power will she finally give local authorities the money required to provide decent bread and butter services”, but does not give any clues as to where the money can be found.

Waste, excess, inefficiencies and poor quality management pervades the whole of the public sector: salaries on a like-for-like basis are higher than the private sector, sickness rates are twice the level of the private sector, we have 32 Councils which could easily be reduce by amalgamation to 20 etc. Edinburgh Council reported that they had 16 layers of management and were “releasing” 1,275 staff over three years – if this number is replicated over the other 31 councils it could mean a total staff reduction of 16,000. The other elephant in the room is pensions where the cost to the taxpayer is 32 per cent of salary per annum – in the police it is 40 per cent – and the maximum employee contribution is 14 per cent less tax. Many councils have a “black hole” in their pension fund.

The problem is, nobody in government or Civil Service is interested in eradicating these inefficiencies – they don't want to rock the boat, have strikes, or increase their pension contributions, so the taxpayer just has to pay up.

James Macintyre, Clarendon Road Linlithgow

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