Readers' Letters: Sturgeon’s dismissal of UN expert so arrogant

We have all known for a long time that Nicola Sturgeon has no time for anyone, including within her own party, who has an opinion that does not match hers.

Opposing views are instantly suspect, she is not interested in hearing them and certainly will never discuss or debate them. She is always right and everyone else is wrong. This dismissive attitude does not sit well with most Scots (again, including a growing number in the SNP).

She has now taken her arrogance to a new level. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, a woman with 22 years of experience in human rights, has written to Ms Sturgeon on the subject of the government's Gender Recognition Reform Bill, advising her that the Bill is rushed, vague, contradictory and that the consultation exercise was not fair or inclusive.

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How has Ms Sturgeon responded? By dismissing Ms Alsalem's letter as “the comments from the person at the UN". A petulant show of arrogance and rudeness, ever more indicative of someone who is running out of ideas and time.

United Nations violence against women expert Reem Alsalem responded to Nicola Sturgeon's dismissal by adding "A.K.A. 'the person from the UN' to her Twitter profile (Picture: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty)

Jim Houston, Edinburgh

Way out

The anti-Scottish self-government parties, which have been thoroughly rejected at every election since 2014, can fairly be described as “democracy deniers” if they cannot provide a route map to honouring the majority will of our Scottish parliament. Also, in any modern democracy, a majority of SNP Scottish MPs elected at the next general election would trigger a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future.

Following the notorious “Vow” in 2014 the promised near federalism never materialised and following Brexit, something Scotland didn’t vote for, Westminster grabbed many powers previously held by Holyrood.

However, Devo Max or any other political charade proposed by Gordon Brown will not change Scotland’s relationship with Europe as Sir Keir Starmer has given up on the EU, the single market and freedom of movement. German federal states have a bigger say in European affairs through the Bundesrat than Scotland ever had as part of the UK.

Flawed UK decisions on the economy, Brexit, Covid and energy policy have trashed Holyrood’s budget, our exports, our NHS, plus our agricultural and hospitality industries.

An independent Scotland would be one of the richest nations in Europe and the UK is banking on £20 billion a year from Scotland’s North Sea to try to get out of recession. The point of independence is to give us the power to decide on our priorities, to grow our economy, through our vast renewable energy potential, world-leading capabilities in life sciences plus our food and drink exports, and match the much higher standard of living enjoyed by Norway, Denmark and Ireland in a fairer, more progressive Scotland.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Whose will?

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Amid all the hours and column inches devoted to independence, one important aspect appears to be being studiously avoided. Nicola Sturgeon refers to the democratic deficit and “the will of the people”. Who are “the people”? The only logical definition of this is the Electoral Roll. This is supposed to record every adult in the country.

It therefore follows that in a decision of such importance as independence, more than 50 per cent of those on the Roll need to make a positive decision to vote in favour. This is not like a general election, in which a majority of voters chose a party which can be kicked out after four or five years. Independence is forever.

Nor is this one where a hurdle of – say – 60 per cent of voters is needed for approval. Any such hurdle is subjective – why not 66 per cent or 55 per cent? The independence vote has never come close to achieving 50 per cent of the Electoral Roll, nor have the SNP ever reached this level.

If the media and others can absorb this, then perhaps they will reduce the time spent on what is basically a fruitless discussion, at least for a long time.

Craig Anderson, Selkirk, Scottish Borders

Dream Scotland

While democracy slips off the plate, as once again London’s Establishment tells Scotland to shut up, this voluntary Union has failed, especially since Scotland’s many strengths and advantages are now widely known.

With abundant natural resources, renewable energy sectors, legendary engineering and scientific skills and an enterprising workforce, a fully independent Scotland would prosper and flourish.

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Scotland’s ship of proven ability, with its sense of fair play and justice, along with its world class brands, is set to sail away on fair winds, waters and tides around the world.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

Heading nowhere

Just when you think Scotland can't become a greater laughing stock, now it's banning headers before and after football matches because footballers supposedly are three times more likely to die from brain disease than others.The study from the New England Journal of Medicine responsible for this nonsense omits the fact Scottish footballers – especially when their careers and glory days are over – are notorious bevvy merchants, a primary cause of brain disease across the entire Scottish population.Indeed, why the study singled out the area with the notoriously worst First World health record to begin with is suspicious, and as cultural changes means even Scottish footballers forgo the booze, this “header ban” has all the hallmarks of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.Identical concerns were raised about Heavy Metal “headbangers” in the Eighties which in time proved utter nonsense (at least it inspired Men Without Hats' sarcastic global hit “The Safety Dance” in riposte). Increased population longevity means people aren’t dying of cancer and heart disease, leaving room for other fatalities to make their mark, especially Alzheimer's.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Bring it on

I think us unionists should regard the last general election as a de facto referendum.Based on votes cast that’s twice we’ve won. Roll on number three!

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

Energy inequality

The unprecedented rise in the price of domestic energy has led to a crisis for those with least. Untargeted short term financial support, while welcome, doesn't address the commodification of energy, an underlying inequity that’s made things worse. Modern life deprives the poorest of something our ancestors took for granted – the ability to cook and derive heat from foraged fuel burnt in a hearth. Cooking food and heating a dwelling are essential to the maintenance of human life, yet in the current circumstances they aren't a given.

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Short-term handouts won't solve the crisis or prevent a future one. The solution has to address the fundamental inequity of the current system, and there needs to be clarity and fairness in pricing rather than the tired plea that the "market" determines the retail price. The reason it's allowed to is simply to deliver utility companies' profits. Although community green energy schemes look set to play a greater role in rural areas, there remain considerable challenges for the provision of fairly priced energy in cities. Furthermore, energy poverty is inseparable from efforts to combat climate change and both are ethical issues that will affect voting intentions. Innovative, detailed and workable plans to deal with these issues are overdue – when will our politicians give them the attention they deserve?

RA Wallace, Kincardine, Fife

Insurance scam

For how long will we continue to fall victim to the “Great Insurance Scam” and pay vastly inflated premiums based on the hypothetical “reinstatement” values of our dwelling houses? In most cases these values would never actually cover the brick-by-brick reinstatement of our houses even if we were prepared to wait years for the reinstatement to be carried out. Instead, the truth of the matter is that even if our home was burned to the ground our loss would normally be restricted to its market value, which would enable us to purchase a comparable property.

There was a time when nearly all of us insured for market value. How and why has the change occurred?

M Bruce, Edinburgh

Re-do the maths

I am writing in response to the article headlined “One in five NHS workers are using food banks to survive, survey finds” (26 November). In the article itself you quote that nearly one in five (14 per cent) are using foodbanks. This is an overstatement as 14 per cent would mean one in seven, not one in five – quite a difference.

Jack Wilson, Galashiels, Scottish Borders

Too many kids

I have two suggestions to solve the never-ending housing problem in the UK. Firstly, encourage, through the tax system, couples (married or not) to stay together because every split partnership means another house is needed. Over 100,000 couples split every year so it's not difficult to understand why builders will never catch up with demand, plus kids breaking free from apron strings adds to the ever increasing need.

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Secondly, large families need large houses so child benefit should be limited in any one family to the first two children of either parent; if these super-procreaters want large families why should the rest of us pay them handsomely for their enthusiastic activity? And surely we should not be encouraging large families when each person contributes hundreds of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere in his/her lifetime.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

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