Readers' Letters: Sturgeon needs to meet Rishi Sunak halfway

It was surreal to see Nicola Sturgeon smiling and shaking hands with a man whom she avowedly detests, as a Tory, namely the Prime Minister.

Ms Sturgeon spoiled the impression with her intemperate demands of the PM, Rishi Sunak.

It was embarrassing to see her speak of the UK government’s “lack of respect bordering on contempt” for the devolved nations, when the devolved nations are the ones that receive better funding than the English regions, and when politicians of all parties tiptoe around the sensitivities of the devolved administrations.

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It is evident that Ms Sturgeon regards herself as the equal of the PM, when in fact she is not the leader of a sovereign state: she is a regional leader within the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon opposite Michael Gove and Rishi Sunak in Blackpool on Thursday (Picture: Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

Her attitudes reached the proportions of farce when she said that only a “significant change in attitude from the UK government” could improve relations between her regime and the UK government.

She means, of course, that relations would improve only if the UK government gave in to her unreasonable demands, most obviously for a referendum but also for "additional resources from Westminster”.

The SNP’s case for leaving the UK has always been based on the false premise that Scotland would be financially better off if it did. We have now seen a succession of SNP ministers – John Swinney, Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon – demanding more money from the UK Treasury, beyond what Scots can raise themselves and beyond all the extra money that the Treasury has provided Holyrood with over the last couple of years, in the Covid crisis.

So much for Scots being better off on their own! It was always a myth, but now it is one that SNP ministers openly admit. Their members and supporters should take note.

As for the “deep political disagreements” Sturgeon identifies between herself and Sunak, it seems never to have occurred to her that perhaps she should bring something to the table. She could, for example, give His Majesty’s government the choice of framing a referendum question, deciding if there should be a supermajority, choosing the composition of the electorate.

After all, Scottish secession is a matter not only for Scotland but for the whole of the UK.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Young hearts

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As I understand, neurologists in their entirety agree that the human brain is not fully developed until well into adulthood. This does not concern academic ability so much as the capacity to make sound and lasting judgments. That concept certainly appears to be an acceptable part of Scottish law – I am aware of two recent cases where two perpetrators of very serious crimes were given almost ridiculously light sentences because they were under 25 years old.

Nicola Sturgeon trained as a solicitor so we can assume that she is aware of this aspect of the law, yet she reduced the age of franchise from 18 to 16 and has also set the lower limit for self-determination of gender at this level. The cynicism of the former – that children of 16 can be influenced by such things as a defaced Scottish flag – is, of course, obvious.

But what of the latter? Is this going to end up as yet another piece of ill-conceived legislation, as seems very likely – so bad, indeed, that there have even been objections to it within the SNP, a previously unheard of situation.

A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries

Fair’s fair

I was interested to read that the SNP defence spokesman believes UK defence spending should be in line with population proportions in the four nations (your report, 10 November). Presumably he also believes that the Barnett formula should be revised likewise?

Michael Wood, North Berwick

Who cares?

Nicola Sturgeon's flagship policy for a “National Care Service” seems to be opposed by almost everyone who is actively involved in the sector. Jackie Irvine, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, says that existing social care in Scotland is good and disagrees with Ms Sturgeon's view that it is a “postcode lottery”.

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Tony Buchanan, children and young people spokesman at Cosla, also dismisses the First Minister's “theory of a postcode lottery”. Claire Burns, director of the Centre of Excellence for Children's Care and Protection, says that centralisation alone will not improve care. Fraser McKinlay, chief executive of The Promise Scotland (the agency founded by Ms Sturgeon to hold her to her pledge to improve children's care) says the SNP's National Care Service will not necessarily lead to improved care. Even Kevin Stewart, the SNP's social care minister, admitted this week that the National Care Service Bill was being rushed through parliament without prior consultation.

So, who are we to believe? The respected bodies above or Nicola Sturgeon?

Jim Houston, Edinburgh

Not yet equal

Much has been written and said recently regarding Rishi Sunak's elevation to the highest office in the land. This is being seen as a landmark moment, an indication that in today's Britain what counts is not your race or colour, not your background, but rather your skill and your ability to contribute.

But we should not get ahead of ourselves. It is still the case that neither he, nor you or I, can yet aspire to become Head of State. For that, you must be born into a particular, privileged, hereditary family.

Rob Pearson, Dalgety Bay, Fife

Matt of the jungle

What a disjointed and unjust world we live in.

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We have a sitting MP, Matt Hancock, jetting off to the jungle in a feeble attempt to stroke his own ego while we have young protesters gluing themselves to motorways, climbing gantries and putting hardworking commuters and the police force’s safety at risk.

Is it not disgraceful that we have a public servant being paid an additional £400,000 to play games in a jungle while pensioners in his constituency can't heat their homes and struggle to receive acceptable treatment on the NHS? Simply put, this is morally wrong on every level. Will Mr Hancock donate his I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here salary to support families who have been devastated by Covid and the current cost of living? I won’t hold my breath on that one.

Matt Hancock may be trying to highlight dyslexia while in the jungle but how dare he do so in such a self-serving manner, he is a national disgrace!

The population of the UK will not forget his words on national TV, breaking Covid rules, tickling the tonsils of a work colleague on CCTV while mask wearing was still mandatory. He laughed on national TV during a global pandemic in which thousands of people needlessly died due to the incompetency and ignorance of him and his government.

Never mind, Nicola Sturgeon’s trip to Egypt has borne fruit according to her, it's a shame her travel added unnecessary CO2 to the atmosphere driven by her attempt to take more selfies on the global stage. We all know she would love the attention of I’m a Celebrity... but even she understands how morally wrong Hancock has been. Perhaps she would have scored more popularity points if she had carried out her Middle East conquest trip via Zoom.

Let us hope that Hancock has a rapid exit from the jungle and a swift return to the UK, where the PM should sack him.

Conrad Ritchie, St Combs, Aberdeenshire

Blowback

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Many politicians and fellow letter writers claim that the cost of wind-generated electricity is cheaper than that generated by gas.

Although this claim is highly questionable it diverts attention from the real and significant problem with wind generation, namely its reliability. Whether one or ten thousand wind turbines are constructed, little or no electricity is generated when there is little or no wind. A vivid illustration of this occurred earlier this month. At noon on Wednesday 2 November metered wind was generating 16.702MW but dropped to 1,250MW by 4.30pm on Thursday 3 November. This drop of over 15,000MW equates to around 15 massive offshore wind installations such as Seagreen with its claimed 1000MW capacity and represents around one third of total UK average demand.

Fortunately there was sufficient alternative reliable generation, mostly gas, available as back-up to prevent blackout! When the cost of having this level of alternative, duplicate and reliable generation is taken into account, the cost of wind generated electricity is certainly not less expensive.

GM Lindsay, Kinross, Perth & Kinross

Nothing to see?

Pol Yates castigates Sir Keir Starmer for showing “little commitment to human rights or democracy” (Letters, 9 November). This is based on the assertion that he wishes to “ignore” her claim that Scotland “should be allowed to vote on independence”. Ms Yates apparently knows nothing of the regular polls which show that, when asked specifically if they wish a a referendum in the current parliament, 70 per cent of Scots say they do not want one.

Ms Yates ends her letter with a throwaway line objecting to a desire to “move on to something else, eg the war in Ukraine” – which, she claims, is “actually not our war at all”! So our aggrieved champion of democracy and human rights wishes us to turn a blind eye to Vladimir Putin's violations of human rights and assault on the democratic rights of the Ukrainian people and instead focus our attention on the dastardly plight of us poor Scots!

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Penalty area

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Who will be able to watch the World Cup on TV with the ghosts of 3,500 exploited building workers haunting the various stadiums? Not many of us I hope.

Alastair McLeish, Edinburgh

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