Readers' letters: The walls were already closing in on Sturgeon

Douglas Ross claims it is “absurd” for Nicola Sturgeon to claim her resignation was not linked to the police investigation of SNP finances (Scotsman, 10 April), but true or not, it won’t be the only reason.

Anyone paying attention can see that a number of prominent SNP politicians have stood back from the front line in recent years, from the 2021 Scottish elections forwards. They would not be doing this if some major constitutional change was imminent.

So, my instinct is that the police investigation is but a detail in the wider picture. The problem is that the walls have been closing in from all sides. The investigation itself is huge, but independence is dead, the ferries are still a scandal, our services are coming apart, Scottish Government finances seem to be even more obscure than SNP finances, their own supporters are losing confidence in them, Labour are resurgent, and Rishi Sunak is going around quietly dealing with one problem after another, seemingly fairly effectively. Even the Liberal Democrats are recruiting strong candidates in Scotland that suggests they will mean business again in the near future.

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You can then add in a future Covid inquiry, the gender ID nonsense, the SNP/Green recycling scheme, and the fact that the press in general seem more willing now to scratch the surface of things a bit more, having been very sycophantic towards the First Minister in the past.

Nicola Sturgeon announcing her resignation as First Minister at a Bute House press conference on 15 FebruaryNicola Sturgeon announcing her resignation as First Minister at a Bute House press conference on 15 February
Nicola Sturgeon announcing her resignation as First Minister at a Bute House press conference on 15 February

The polis at the door are just a small part of the whole. Ms Sturgeon could only keep up the charade for so long. She is history now, but not in the way she might have liked.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perth & Kinross

Free at last

It's super that Nicola Sturgeon’s at last learning to drive – it’ll give her the independence she's always longed for.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Irony alert

Ian Blackford’s plea for unity in the midst of the ongoing turmoil in the SNP (Scotsman, 11 April), sets off the irony alert alarm.

At the core of the nationalists’ present troubles lies an arrogance and sense of entitlement that borders on disdain for other views. Normal sets of values and a belief, held by those at the top in particular, that normal rules and morality and basic truthfulness simply does not apply to them.

Mr Blackford is another top Scottish nationalist who has displayed this trait in the past. His supporters’ well documented actions against the then very ill Charles Kennedy in an effort to gain the seat for him were despicable. Now, as his party crumbles, he calls for unity when he should have been calling for decency, truth and openness many years ago.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Stop the scheme

This week Scotland’s five major supermarkets encouraged First Minister Humza Yousaf to abandon the Scottish Government’s contentious deposit return scheme. Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose have now spoken out against the scheme in an unprecedented attack by senior retail officials, following similar complaints from Tesco and Asda.

This is a highly significant move by these big hitters which puts more pressure on the Scottish Government to drop its proposed start date of 16 August. If the major supermarkets are not willing to proceed with the reverse vending machines that are the centrepiece of the programme it is hard to see how this scheme can be implemented at all.

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That the scheme runs successfully in other countries is a savage indictment on the competence of the SNP/Green government. The DRS must now be suspended or abandoned before further harm is done.

Jon Herd, East Ayrshire

Breaking glass

Why do we need a scheme like this when Edinburgh Council picks up our bottles with other refuse every two weeks? Also supermarkets have bottle recycling bins.

Jane Drysdale, Edinburgh

Murray all Hearts

Let’s get the facts straight about Edinburgh South (Letters, 11 April). Conservative-inclined voters there have voted for Ian Murray not to keep the SNP out – all statistics show that given a choice, Tory voters would sooner vote for any other party than Labour, especially if it keeps Labour out.

So other forces are at work in a seat which pre-1987 voted Tory but demographics changes have meant is unlikely to return one ever again – and the answer is football.

Ian Murray’s work in keeping Hearts alive as the first chairman of the Foundation of Hearts fan organisation now running the club is the most likely reason for his continued tenure, considering not merely the club’s support base but its economic importance to the local community.

That the SNP considered at one stage running former Hearts midfielder Michael Stewart against him confirms he is less a Scottish Labour MP and more the Heart Of Midlothian one.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Scotland’s curlers

It is often said that the man, or indeed woman, that has never made a mistake has never made anything and in that regard The Scotsman on Twitter seems to have made one such gaffe.

At Winter Olympic level both male and female curling teams that represent Team GB have been made up completely of Scots. However, at the World Championships it was Team Scotland against Team Canada and the anthem played at conclusion was Flower of Scotland. Flower of Scotland has not ever been the anthem of Team GB.

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Not surprisingly, many on the independence side of the argument got really upset with what may have been a genuine error in ascribing the win to Team GB. However, even a foul-up on Twitter can take nothing away from the fantastic achievement of Team Scotland in beating Team Canada.

Given the sportsmanship on show at the final is there any chance, on both sides of constitutional argument, that we let sporting achievement be sporting achievement?

Peter Ovenstone, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

Labour pains

Labour see the election as battle between who is most horrible to criminals. The world is scary, says Labour, let us protect you by locking more people up. The Tories have always been in favour of locking people up, so instead of telling lies about their leader, Labour should inspire us with how they’ll make our lives better.

How about a tax break for business start-ups, purchase buy-to-let houses and restore public housing. Scrap photo ID at polling stations, guarantee an open bank and free ATMs in every town, repeal the anti-demonstration and trade union laws, build nuclear power stations. Tax the internet giants properly, lower corporation tax, introduce tax breaks for carers, promote better public transport in the countryside, scrap HS2, protect cash and oppose the cashless society, introduce tax holidays for SMEs.

Just some top-of-the-head suggestions to give us something worth voting for, instead of depressing reasons why Labour are not quite as bad as the other lot.

Without an inspiring manifesto, I can't be bothered to wait hours at the polling station while they check everybody’s photo ID like I was trying to get to France, so I think I will sit this election out.

Barry Tighe, Woodford Green, Waltham Forest

Protect the NHS

Junior doctors in England are striking because the UK Government has deliberately underfunded and undervalued them. How bad is England’s NHS? Cancer treatment waiting times and ambulance response times are at an all-time high, and the hospital waiting list treatment target hasn’t been met since 2016. UK life expectancy lags behind all other G7 countries except the US because of widening inequality and higher rates of poverty.

In Scotland, where health is reserved, NHS performance figures are better than England’s. But because Holyrood is a devolved government, lacking the power to create and borrow money, when England slashes health funding, Scotland is negatively impacted and has to find the money to mitigate these cuts from elsewhere in our Westminster “allowance”.

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So, when Scottish Tory and Labour politicians gleefully attack NHS Scotland (Jackie Baillie, Scotsman, 11 April), remember that they are from the same London-based parties who have decimated the NHS in England.

The Westminster plan all along has been to starve this vital public service of money and then claim it’s not working so it can be turned over to private health insurance companies, who have helped fund the Tories and now Starmer’s New Labour. Both parties have mid-wived a monster – the disastrous US healthcare model – and are imposing it on England.

If Scots want to rescue their health service, they must take back control of the wealth of their nation.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Gift of laughter

H McDowall (Letters,11 April) enjoyed the gift of laughter at Elizabeth Scott’s letter.

His own letter, in turn, made me smile, as when he states that the age of the gods is gone, making them redundant, he is echoing a Bible story as ancient as the Tower of Babel, built with the aim of replacing God as already past his sell-by date.

God’s response, with surely a smile, is described in glorious satire as “going down” in search of this high rise tower, which was projected to reach the heights of heaven, but which mysteriously collapsed, its dodgy builders scattered to the ends of the earth.

Perhaps it is still time for us mere humans to know our feeble place and more readily laugh at our pretentious absurdity.

Ian Petrie, Edinburgh

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