Readers' Letters: The Greens, not the SNP, run Scotland now

“Once independence is achieved, it is unlikely that either [Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP] would be in exclusive control of the government of Scotland beyond the subsequent Holyrood election” writes Stan Grodynski (Letters, 2 January).

Leaving aside the question of when and whether independence will be achieved, I can assure Mr Grodynski that neither Ms Sturgeon nor the SNP is in charge of the country under the existing arrangements. It’s the Greens that are calling the shots these days, whether it’s the moves to restrict cars from cities, the delays improving death-trap roads through the North of Scotland, setting up impractical bottle deposit schemes or the postponement of the abolition of Air Passenger Duty.

And does anyone think that Ms Sturgeon would have pressed ahead with the ill-considered Gender Recognition Reform Bill if it had not been that the Greens had held a gun to her head.

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Without their votes at Holyrood, she has no majority and they could bring her down at any time. So we don’t have to wait until after independence to see power shift from the SNP to other less widely supported parties.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces the appointment of Green Party Ministers Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater last yearFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces the appointment of Green Party Ministers Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater last year
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces the appointment of Green Party Ministers Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater last year

Peter Fish, Balfour, Orkney Islands

Curing the NHS

Surely the central value of the NHS is that its formidable and comprehensive services should be free at the point of use?

When my cancer was sorted I couldn’t have cared less who provided that successful care, public or private. My point is that as long as a high standard of provision is available to us all then who actually owns and runs a given service is irrelevant. Western Australia, for example, has an excellent mix of public and private medical care.

Also, we’d have far more nurses and doctors if we didn’t insist that the former must now have a degree and the latter weren’t handicapped by far fewer training places than keen and qualified applicants. It really is time a competent leadership took over our NHS before it collapses.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Detail required

As someone who had to resort to self medication over the extended Christmas break, I read about the dire situation of NHS Scotland in The Scotsman (2 January).

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf says the Government’s remedy is a £600 million winter resilience plan to recruit 1000 extra staff, alongside pumping £45m into the ambulance service and expanding home care capacity.

Perhaps he can explain to us how he will find all these extra staff. From what I’ve heard, NHS staff are already leaving their professions, it’s extremely hard to recruit home care staff, and what will the £45m do to ease the ambulance waiting times outside our overstretched A&E departments? We need a bit more detail.

Fiona Garwood, Edinburgh

Hotel care

Perhaps the NHS needs to requisition some hotels to provide convalescent care for bed blockers who no longer need hospital treatment?

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This could buy the care system time to organise home care support packages and prove cheaper than using expensive hospital beds for those not needing them.

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh

Colonial confusion

Foysol Choudhury is not alone in conflating colonisation with capitalism and slavery (Scotsman, 3 January). It is a confusion that dominates commentary, theory, activism and campaigning. In truth, it is an obfuscation that is convenient for those who prefer to avoid putting capitalism at the heart of thinking, debate or policy.

The ships that sailed from Portugal, Spain, Holland, Great Britain and elsewhere certainly carried the idea of colonisation and occupation and the tool of slavery. However, it was the economics, values and exploitation of capitalism emerging to replace feudalism in Europe that landed on foreign shores, never to leave.

The horrors and crimes that were inflicted on so many peoples around the world are better understood as the injustices and exploitation of capitalism. Campaigns and initiatives to address and redress these centuries of injustice by museums, governments, corporations and others as mere results of colonialism will never succeed unless and until the past, present and future of the animal spirits of capitalism are faced up to and dealt with.

Stewart Sweeney, Adelaide, Australia

Brian and Boris

Brian Monteith makes a good case for the return of Boris and/or true conservatism as the saviour of the nation (Scotsman, 2 January).

I thought he was doing OK in 2020 and 2021, had a “good war” in Ukraine, and while his 80 majority would have been dented by the suffering of households due to the rolling mortgage renewal crisis that will unfold through 2023 he might still have won in 2024.

But it wasn’t Rishi Sunak who stabbed him in the back, it was his own refusal to immediately come clean about Partygate. Had he done so he might still be PM.

His fate was sealed when the Conservatives lost almost 500 council seats in May, badly lost two by-elections, the Tory chairman resigned and a poll on 7 July said that 59 per cent of party members wanted him to resign “because he doesn’t have what it takes to win the next general election”.

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I sincerely hope, for the Tories’ and our sakes, they remember that period of brutal reality – and their suicidal support of Liz Truss – when they consider supporting the factions that now want Rishi Sunak out and Boris back, even if it’s clear the electorate don’t.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

The hole story

Ken Currie writes amusingly about the effect of potholes on his teeth as he negotiates the capital (Letters, 3 January). However, it is worth remembering that road users can help if they take the time to report potholes to the appropriate department of the council in order that a repair can be carried out.

Edinburgh Council, for years, advertised the efficient ‘Clarence’ phone number – ring up and report faulty street lights, potholes, overhanging branches etc. I did so on several occasions whilst working, when dark streets – caused by non-working lamp posts – were a source of concern.

No council can spend the day patrolling each and every road looking for faults. A central point to report them, with a free phone/email address could work wonders.

SM Duthie, Edinburgh

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