Readers' letters: The Prime Minister's 'personality' should be irrelevant

It is dispiriting to see the continuing obsession by all of UK media, with the personality of the UK Prime Minister

Surely the governance of the UK is a team effort and not wholly dependent on the personality of the PM.

I am tired of reading, seeing and listening to so many political pundits inflicting their views and speculative opinions on the rest of us.

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The position of PM is similar in many ways to the role of a chairman of the board in commercial and public-owned business operations, but we never see or hear about any views on their personalities, private lives or competencies, so why has it become de riguer to continually question the motivations and actions of the individual who is head of the UK Government?

Liz Truss arrives at Balmoral Castle for her audience with the Queen (Picture:Andrew Milligan/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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We already have a democratic and public mechanism for examining government performance. It is called Prime Minister’s Questions.

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

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Why Liz Truss must go from campaigner to crisis leader - Scotsman comment

Defer judgement

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To govern is to choose, they say, and Liz Truss has made the ultimate choice – to be head of government. Yesterday she got the keys to No 10, so I find it surprising that every commentator seems to have already decided on what she will be like as PM, with most already damning her.

We all know about the SNP’s track record on education, public energy companies, ferries and the failure to deliver kids’ bikes, but what about the Greens? Have they delivered on energy efficiency and zero emissions heating, and what happened to the updated “3p back on the bottle” scheme? Leaders lead by example, so it would be interesting to know how many of the Greens have installed a heat pump and solar panels at their own homes.

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Let’s hope for some more balanced opinion in the future. Liz Truss should certainly be put in the spotlight, but so too should the SNP/Green government that we have to suffer.

Ken Currie, Edinburgh

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Vacant smile

From the resignation of the ebullient but grossly incompetent Boris Johnson, government has been suspended for eight long weeks as internal campaigning produced yet another Tory leader and PM. During this time the energy and cost-of-living crises increased as the UK descended into chaos.

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However the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss – who plans to ignore Scotland’s First Minister, undermine the devolution settlement, upgrade nuclear weapons, release scores of North Sea licences with no regard to climate change – will consolidate a new central British Brexit state.

Sadly the bemused, vacant smile of Ms Truss says it all. She will be mercilessly manipulated by the extreme right wing of the Tory party, to the detriment of all, as the UK finally disintegrates.

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Only a fully independent Scotland and indeed that of Wales along with Irish reunification, can halt such utter Tory lunacy.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

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Gladiators ready

As the era of the Liz Truss Premiership dawns upon the UK with no certainty about how long it may last, one can only speculate about the future relationship between Ms Truss and Nicola Sturgeon.

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The incoming Prime Minister has stated she will work for the whole of the UK and one can only hope that this will mean a better and more constructive relationship between Westminster and Holyrood.

Boris Johnson's reign was bedevilled by Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly sniping at his ankles, demanding more cash and criticising him for everything that went wrong within her fiefdom. Some of it was justified but many of her comments were to deflect public criticism of her own government's failures.

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The signs are that Ms Truss will not let Ms Sturgeon get away with such unwarranted attacks. With The Gladiators being rehashed on BBC, perhaps another version may well surface within UK politics.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen, Stirling

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Part-timer

In congratulating Liz Truss on becoming Prime Minister (Scotsman, 6 September), Nicola Sturgeon can't resist being snide: “I will seek to build a... relationship with her as I did with the last three PMs.” Sturgeon's aim, by emphasising her long tenure, is surely to self-aggrandise.

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Yet, after eight years as First Minister, Sturgeon who appears to consider herself a celebrity these days, seemingly can't be bothered to conceal how bored she is with her domestic remit.

Over recent weeks, her focus has been on personal appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, not the NHS, education or even bin worker strikes. She swans around Europe opening costly Scottish consulates that duplicate UK embassies, apparently preferring foreign affairs over a domestic role. Sturgeon admits that, for her, independence transcends everything yet only the terminally delusional would believe her term in office has brought Scexit nearer than in 2014.

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Sturgeon may use Truss’ appointment to emphasise that she has outlasted three PMs – but at what cost for all us pro-UK supporters or even separatists? We're stuck with a part-timer with seemingly slight interest in her day job and who appears only fractionally more engaged in talking about breaking up the UK, while actually tangibly achieving very little.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

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Fair’s fair

The First Minister of Scotland announces that the choice of separating Scotland from the rest of the UK is one Scottish voters should make, not the new UK Prime Minister. She is right about that.

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But any decision to break up the UK concerns every single UK citizen and equally they should have their say with regards to such a profound constitutional change and the Prime Minister is the elected political head of the UK. Their rights are every bit as valid as that of the Scottish electorate.

Alexander Mackay, Edinburgh

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No change

It is business as usual it seems. Nicola Sturgeon has called out Boris Johnson as the worst Prime Minister ever without any acknowledgement of his sterling performance in rolling out the Covid vaccine at least.

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Has Ms Sturgeon's own leadership been swathed in success? Unless you are a dyed-in-the-wool SNP supporter then the answer is a resounding "no”. Now we have Ms Sturgeon's new “programme for government” which might promise much but which experience tells us will deliver little.

Liz Truss might just break up this constant Punch and Judy show by calling out the First Minister’s extravagant claims and constant blame games. Nicola Sturgeon might not be pleased with the attention she is about to receive.

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Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Hot topic

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Would anyone really be prepared to switch off their electricity and gas and spend the day in a so-called "warm bank”? I note Age Concern chief executive Brian Sloan's enthusiasm for the idea as a means to help combat isolation and loneliness among the elderly in particular (Scotsman, 6 September). But a strong dose of reality as well as awareness of the dangers of creating a stigma is called for here.

Of course, many people who are retired or without work do already attend a variety of locations or clubs where they can get a ready meal, leisure facilities and a warm atmosphere. In the days of cheap holidays, some pensioners even found it worthwhile to go abroad to a hotel where eating and heating costs were lower than if they stayed at home. At the other end of the scale there are those who would sit for hours in libraries simply to get a heat. Some may even use bus passes to travel around for most of the day because it is warmer than home. In both cases only a very small minority are involved.

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Providing the existing outlets – clubs, family centres, community centres – with more cash and staff to help with increasing demand during cold snaps is one thing. But creating outlets for the specific purpose of getting people out of the cold is another. They may even attract a number of people with behavioural problems that could put increased pressure on voluntary organisations and the social services.

The way forward has to be more support for existing facilities, more campaigning to get energy bills down, and direct support to everyone across the social spectrum. Increased take-up of pension credit is to be encouraged; a campaign by Age Concern to get the non-means tested Christmas bonus for pensioners – unchanged at £10 since 1972 – upgraded would be welcome too!

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Bob Taylor, Glenrothes, Fife

Referendum rules

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It always surprises me what a large proportion of those entitled to vote in strike ballots, general elections, whatever, abstain from doing so.

Setting a threshold based on the total electorate rather than on the number of votes cast, as seems to be suggested in regard to future referenda, would create a very high barrier indeed and treats unused votes as effectively votes against whatever is being proposed. Is entrenched status quo compatible with democracy?

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S Beck, Edinburgh

Not democratic

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I do not agree with Peter Hopkins that “we in the United Kingdom created democracy in our nation” (Letters, 6 September). The UK is not a full parliamentary democracy because of the unelected House of Lords.

The approval of the undemocratic House of Lords is essential in the legislative process of the UK. So the UK Cabinet contains the post of Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal. On the morning of 6 September this post was held by Baroness Evans of Bowes Park. The UK’s Scotland Office has Lord Offord of Garvel as Parliamentary Under-Secretary. The reality is that the UK is only a part-democracy.

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E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire

Write to The Scotsman

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