Readers Letters: Sturgeon has not earned right to Indyref2
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has simply not earned the right to revisit the constitutional question.
When she has improved Scottish Education, Healthcare, Economy, reduced drug deaths and closed the attainment gap (as was to be her defining policy), then she might have earned the right to look at the constitution again.
By all objective measures, these policy areas have all declined during Ms Sturgeon’s time in office. Given there are so many problems to be dealt with in these areas, the very last thing we need is Scottish Government attention off these and instead mired in a new, additional set (setting up a new state, new currency etc).
If they can’t fix problems in the policy areas currently in their gift, how can we expect improvement in those whilst they grapple with a plethora of issues they will have no experience of or knowledge in? The answer is we cannot, and to reiterate, Nicola Sturgeon has nowhere near earned the right to plunge Scots into another divisive referendum.
Grant Simpson, Kinross, Perth & Kinross
A nationalist-leaning Scottish newspaper asserts that first we get the job of breaking up the UK done with a successful referendum and only then can we settle the “fine detail” of the currency.
This kind of thinking – it could not be called reasoning – defies belief. Surely, the fine detail of a currency plan, to the last decimal point, is exactly what must be known before anyone with even the minimum of intelligence takes a gigantic leap of faith that could lead to disaster for them and their families on a possibly unimaginable scale?
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
For years the Scottish National Party has relied hugely upon Scottish history to promote its brand.
It speaks volumes, therefore, to find that the current Scottish Government is prepared to let many historic Scottish castles and buildings terminally crumble through lack of funding yet wants to spend £20 million on a referendum for which we have yet to glean any concrete facts.
This SNP largesse has extended to saving jobs on the Clyde too, at a huge cost to the public purse, and was insisted upon by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as essential to save our history of Scottish shipbuilding for the nation. Why not our ancient heritage also, or is this huge and ongoing spending on shipbuilding actually to cover up SNP blushes?
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
Free, not easy
Edinburgh-dweller Alastair Paisley does himself no favours with his peat-envy (Letters, 11 June).
He has access to mains gas, fuel oil, electricity, coal, wood, petrol and diesel that he can buy from a variety of competing local suppliers. Islanders have no mains gas. All fuels have to be transported from the mainland by ferry, adding to the price. There is a single supplier of fuel oil on Lewis.
Even Mr Paisley must surely know that living costs in the islands have always been much more expensive than those he enjoys? And now, of course, things are even worse.
Peat is not free. Cutting requires proper tools, and takes many days of heavy physical effort. Peat cuttings must then be spread out and stacked to dry for several months before collection and transport home, where a “cruach” must be built. Islanders – those who are able – have to work hard for their “free” fuel.
Mr Paisley would earn more respect if he put his efforts into demanding fuel-poverty support for our islanders. There is no price cap to protect those who have no choice but to use fuel oil for heating.
Hamish Johnston, Balloch, Inverness
At a time when motorists are struggling with enormous fuel prices what do Nicola Sturgeon and co dream up but a possible further attack on them with a proposal for charges to use the roads in an attempt to reduce the number of cars in Scotland by a fifth by the year 2030.
This open attack on car owners to price them off Scotland's roads may be a utopian cyclist's dream but what are the car users to do without their vehicles considering the SNP have truly messed up both rail and bus services everywhere, pared back to the detriment of country dwellers in particular?
The money thus raised will simply go straight into Holyrood's coffers, not towards making roads safer, and will no doubt be wasted on one of their wild schemes to do all things differently from England, like the Census.
A more sensitive time to suggest such a move is impossible to imagine. It will do wonders for tourism, won't it? Motorists already pay vehicle tax to use the (pot-holed) roads. Cyclists are road users too and they pay nothing.
I can only assume there are many people who have hitherto voted for Ms Sturgeon's party and even a few Greens who own a vehicle! I wonder if they will continue to follow her blindly should this very stupid idea ever become law.
Christian Orr Ewing, Kelso, Borders
That was then
Amidst all the anger and despair at rising petrol prices I am reminded that when I first had a motorcycle in 1956 the petrol price was five shillings per gallon or one hour's work at average salary. Today's price of about £9 per gallon equates to about 42 minutes at average salary. Of course, far fewer people owned or had need of a personal vehicle in those far harder times.
A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries
It is depressing that so many correspondents, most recently William Loneskie (11 June), so consistently misrepresent the nature and effect of the Barnett formula.
First, it is not a measure of Government expenditure in Scotland, it is a measure of identifiable Government expenditure.
Second, it was not some passing fancy but was deliberately designed to reduce any disparity in Scotland’s favour over time.
The Barnett formula has not worked for a variety of reasons, one being that the formula operates as intended only when public expenditure is rising, and has the opposite effect if it falls.
It is correct, on the most recent figures that I have from the House of Commons Library, that identifiable expenditure per person in Scotland is £1,676 greater than the England average (the differential is considerably higher in the case of Northern Ireland, but they vote the right way in the Commons). The England average is, of course, the average Government spending by region in England and if that is broken down, we find that public spending per person in London is higher than in Northern Ireland and £648 higher than in Scotland. Surprise, surprise.
Mr Loneskie suggests the Liverpudlian might like to have the same expenditure per person as the Glaswegian. He might prefer to have the same expenditure per person as his fellow countryman in London.
James Scott, Edinburgh
Blind to heritage
As the owner of a B-listed building dating from the 16th century, with pre-Reformation stone carvings, I was disconcerted to discover that South Lanarkshire elected councillors and officers appear to consider their own policies, outlined in their Local Development Plan, are irrelevant when it comes to protecting listed buildings.
In objecting to the proposal of a bungalow directly opposite, 20 metres from our gate, and centred in the view from all our front windows, I was told by several councillors and planning officers that “you can't object because it affects your view”.
According to their own policies, the Council has a duty not to allow development that affects the setting of a listed building. Guidance from Historic Environment Scotland defining “setting” (Managing Change in the Historic Environment, 2016) includes views to, from and across a listed building and the way it has been designed to fit into the landscape.
Maintenance of listed buildings is becoming increasingly difficult and preserving their setting is crucial to pass them safely on to future owners. How many 16th-century houses are there in South Lanarkshire – or indeed, in Scotland – that the council can endanger their future for the sake of allowing a single undistinguished bungalow because they have either not understood or have decided to disregard their own policies and the guidance of Historic Environment Scotland?
Unless the building is Category A-listed, Historic Environment Scotland has no role to intervene in planning decisions, but if councils will not protect their heritage assets, or adhere to their own policies, it is clear that they should be given such a role.
L indy Barbour, Carnwath, Lanarkshire
We may sneer at the Americans for being stupid about guns, and electing a man like Donald Trump, who tried to overturn a valid election result, and encouraged a violent attack on the Capitol – but at least there is a full-scale bi-partisan, well-resourced Congressional committee that has investigated the insurrection of January 6 2021.
They are projecting their findings on major television networks, showing film, witness testimony, and the process will go on for weeks. It is is slickly done, and should influence voters, even if Trump does not land in jail.
There has not been much of the committee proceedings broadcast on UK national media, despite it being totally riveting.
In the UK however, the Prime Minister can, in my opinion, lie in plain sight, and mislead parliament, yet all the investigations, by civil servants, police or judiciary, can apparently be delayed and ultimately influenced by the Prime Minister or his henchpersons.
Crawford Mackie, Edinburgh
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