Readers' Letters: Sturgeon flashing our cash on vanity projects

I read that Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of our devolved assembly (which has no remit for foreign affairs) is off to the sun of Egypt where the UN is holding a meeting on climate change for heads of state (something she isn’t).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and climate activist Vanessa Nakate at a COP26 event in Glasgow last year (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and climate activist Vanessa Nakate at a COP26 event in Glasgow last year (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The cost of her visit has not been disclosed. Apparently it is a matter of “security”. However much it is costing it is money which is badly needed here. As is the £7 million she is promising to give to foreign countries for “loss and damage” caused by climate change.

Meanwhile here at home our Councils are struggling. Our NHS – solely her administration’s responsibility – is crying out for additional funding. As are the police, the ambulance service, education, caring services etc. The list is almost endless.

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It is time for Sturgeon to stop flashing the cash on vanity projects and remember those whom she and her party are elected to look after.

John Dorward, Arbroath, Angus

Giving to rich?

Nicola Sturgeon has promised financial packages to various countries affected by climate change. One of those countries is Pakistan, which has just allocated £8.74 billion to its space programme. The SNP government has just announced cuts to services amounting to £1.2bn although they insist on squirrelling away £20m for a meaningless independence referendum. This raises the question of where Sturgeon in her headline-grabbing quest to personally save the planet is finding the money to fulfil her pledge made at COP 27. Scotland deserves and needs a better government with a First Minister who is not on a full-time ego trip at the expense of the taxpayer.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk

Going for broke

Nicola Sturgeon is claiming credit for starting the “reparation debate” and no-one should be surprised, it's the only thing she excels at… giving money away which doesn't belong to her, That's all she and her party have done since they laid their hands on the public purse, Baby boxes; prescriptions; university; bus travel; personal care. Plus, of course, there's our money she's wasted. Ferries; Lochaber; BiFab; Prestwick Airport; Scotrail; public energy company; and Scottish Investment Bank. Then there's our money thrown at headline-grabbing failures. Abolish council tax; abolish kids’ attainment gap; reduce drug deaths; eliminate student debt; reduce alcohol-related deaths; 130,000 new Green jobs; Superfast broadband to all business premises; reduce class sizes; transform mental health care; and Sturgeon's Super Sponsor scheme for Ukrainian refugees.

Sturgeon throws our money around like confetti and now she wants all other first world countries to follow her lead. Sturgeon's been using Scottish public money to buy votes for almost a decade and now she's trying to use the western world's money to burnish her image for her next public engagement which, hopefully, will be very soon and a long way away from here.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

Be careful...

It appears that the First Minister favours the payment of climate change reparations to developing countries.

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My advice is to be cautious; the work of James Watt and the steam engine, William Murdoch and coal gas, and James “Paraffin” Young and shale oil, could all mean that Scotland might well be charged a very big premium price because the efforts of these much-celebrated pioneering Scots mightily enhanced CO2 production from fossil fuels.

Hugh Pennington, Aberdeen

Good work!

Like most of Scotland, I really am suffering from “clim-Nat” fatigue but Nicola Sturgeon's CO2 mitigation measures such as the nationalisation of ScotRail, the dismantling of the ferry service to the Islands and the removal of ambulances from our roads will see to it that thousands of tonnes of CO2 are not released into the atmosphere.

If the the amount of hot air Ian Blackford MP exhales at PMQs could be used to heat Westminster it would further bolster the SNP’s already stellar green credentials.

David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire

Insult to needy

Perhaps it is me and my self-confessed antipathy towards the only thing that matters to Scottish nationalists, but I find the First Minister’s presence in Egypt for COP 27 deeply embarrassing. She was not invited and she and her large and no doubt horrendously expensive entourage will take no part other than on the fringes, trying to appear somehow, any way at all, relevant. A unit of her army of SPADs will also no doubt be on full alert, trying desperately to arrange a selfie alongside the FM with anyone of even minor importance.

Let’s be honest. Everyone involved in this junket is insulting our sickest, poorest and most vulnerable people and could instead have been doing much to alleviate the worst of the horrible conditions some are having to endure on the streets of our cities and in our overrun NHS here in Scotland. Swanning around the capital of Egypt, trying desperately to get some attention, is the worst possible way to demonstrate how much they care.

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Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Uncommitted

Sir Keir Starmer’s interview on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show did not address Scottish concerns or give details of Labour’s policies. He showed little commitment to either human rights or democracy

Starmer was concerned with more efficiency from the Home Office. For the asylum system this means more detentions and deportations without safeguards. This approach ignores both the European Convention on Human Rightsand the Geneva Convention, and the UK’s obligations eg those arriving fleeing persecution have the right to claim asylum here, with or without papers. The UK also needs to provide basic support including legal access. But Starmer says nothing about the cruel overcrowding, disease and detention of people and children, without legal support, at Manston migrant centre, or even the law.

On general immigration there are huge economic losses to Scotland from Brexit. Scotland welcomes workers in the NHS, academia, agriculture, transport, retail and hospitability. It has considerably benefited – by billions- from EU workers and free movement. Instead Starmer talks prejudicially of not valuing workers and the billions they bring in. Brexit is also hitting Scottish exports very hard and adding to inflation, the cost of living and making the pound fall. Starmer says he will not go back to the EU but will make Brexit work, curiously without saying how.

Scotland should be allowed to vote on independence as a democratic right because of electoral support. It is not for Mr Starmer or anyone else to say let’s ignore that and move on to something else, eg the war in Ukraine (actually not even our war at all).

Pol Yates, Edinburgh

We’re not fooled

We are now suffering under our third Tory Prime Minister in almost as many months. It will be interesting to see how long Rishi Sunak lasts in post before his chaotic political party decides that, after all, he's not right for the job either and gets rid of him. There are two consistencies in the revolving door of Tory PMs. The first is that they all come into post adamantly asserting that the policies of their predecessors were all wrong, but that they know what needs to be fixed in order to get the country on its feet again. This is said without any acknowledgement that they, as members of the previous cabinet, participated in the decision making and are collectively responsible for the policies they now say are wrong.

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The second consistency is that the policies they say are needed to fix broken Britain all involve austerity in some shape or form. Austerity, they argue, is the only means available to fix this broken country. But of course that means austerity for the little people. Not for the high and mighty one per cent who manage to avoid paying tax by having enough wealth that they can use fancy accountants and lawyers to help them squirrel their money away in offshore tax havens so that they, who have most, pay the least in tax.

And the crowning irony of all is the fact that this Tory party has been in power for 12 years. To hear Tory politicians speak you would think a completely different political party has presided over the mess we're in now. What hypocrisy!

David Howdle, Kirkton, Scottish Borders

Galling

Colin Kirkwood's assertion that no other country in the world denigrates dialects and accents like the UK brought to mind an episode from my school days in the early 1950s (Letters, 7 November).

We had an excellent principal languages teacher who originated from the Aberdeen area and had passed his year's overseas training many years earlier in northern France. One year, a young, sophisticated Parisian student teacher arrived on the scene, his father a French general no less. When he asked several members of the class to read aloud some passages in French, his expression grew quickly to one of extreme distaste. “Stop”, he cried, holding his hands to his head in typically Gallic horror. “You all speak French like peasants!”

Whether he conveyed this information to our teacher we were never told. However, I do wonder whether cultured Parisians of the present day are more tolerant of their provincial fellow citizens. Somehow, I doubt it.

William Greenock, Netherlee, East Renfrewshire

Inglis lesson

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Both my children were born in the Elsie Inglis Maternity hospital in Springfield Place Edinburgh, now closed. I see that a statue is to be carved in memory of Elsie Inglis, no doubt at great expense. Why not rename the horribly named reproductive unit at the ERI after her instead?

Sandy Philip, Edinburgh

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