Readers' Letters: UK government right to stand up to arrogant SNP

I was very interested to see the total contrast between the Comments section in the Letters page of Thursday’s Scotsman and the arguments by Laura Waddell two pages earlier. Clearly, Ms Waddell wants to make an argument about the Gender Recognition Bill which doesn’t stack up. This is not a matter of “Scotland good, Westminster bad”, though she clearly thinks it is.

When the subordinate administration at Holyrood attempts to make laws that go beyond its powers, someone has to look at its effects. That someone is our UK Government. I emphasise “our”. Sometimes, they have to go to court and obtain a judgement, as has happened with the Named Persons Bill (described as “totalitarian” by the court) and the SNP’s attempt to hold a second independence referendum, when we have already had one.

Ms Waddell writes of “Scotland's sovereignty”, but sovereignty rests with our United Kingdom Parliament and it has done since 1707. She knows that. We are all citizens of the United Kingdom and we all have exactly the same rights. Like her, I am also sick of the arrogance shown by certain people, especially the SNP, who like to pretend that they and only they speak for Scotland. They do not and they never will. They speak for the SNP.

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The people of Scotland speak for Scotland through several political parties and right now, the Scottish people are heartily glad that our UK Government is standing up for us against the arrogant, unlistening SNP and their appalling Gender Recognition Bill, as your Letters page shows.

Trans rights demonstrators in Glasgow last weekend (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Trans rights demonstrators in Glasgow last weekend (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Trans rights demonstrators in Glasgow last weekend (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Dave Anderson, Aberdeen

Careless whispers

During Boris Johnson’s brief but turbulent premiership it seemed there was a new Tory scandal every week. After the Truss debacle, our most recent Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, entered the job promising “professionalism, integrity and accountability”. Now we are seeing two Tory scandals each week.

The problem for Sunak is that not only is his three-pronged attack on Tory sleaze and mendacity utterly unworkable given how extensively the corruption in his party has spread over the past four years, but his own track record is hardly unblemished. Forgetting about his two careless fixed penalty notices, a record in more ways than one for a Prime Minister, and his execrable performance as Chancellor when he carelessly lost billions of taxpayers’ money through incompetence, Sunak then carelessly forgot to mention he was an American citizen when elected as a UK MP and then carelessly overlooked the fact his extremely rich wife had opted for non-dom status to ensure favourable UK tax demands.

None of this carelessness will surprise anyone, it’s been the modus operandi of this corrupt government for many years now, but what it does do is show Sunak to be completely toothless when attempting to discipline any of his ministers or MPs who happen to be caught.He may have been forced to refer these current scandals to the government’s newly appointed but already overworked ethics adviser, but eventually he will have to make some decisions and those will not go down well with his party given his own misdemeanours.

In a grotesque sort of way, it’s the extent of Tory government corruption which will protect some of the worst and most flagrantly careless offenders.

D Mitchell, Edinburgh


Robert I G Scott refers to Green Party MSPs as “unelected” (Letters, 26 January). But they were elected through votes on the Regional lists, as were 20 out of 22 Labour MSPs, and 26 out of 31 Conservative MSPs. The current arrangement of the SNP and Greens is not unusual, as only in the 2011 election did any party – the SNP – win more than the 65 seats needed for an overall majority.

It is the UK Parliament and government which is “a mockery of democracy”. The unelected House of Lords discusses, amends and passes UK legislation. Dozens of peers are members of the UK government front bench, including Lord Offord of Garvel in the Scotland Office. Like me, Mr Scott has never voted in an election for any member of the House of Lords.

E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire

Informed choice

I am writing in response to the recent letter from the Church of Scotland with regard to the proposed Assisted Dying Law that is being proposed by MSP Liam McArthur to the Scottish Parliament. I am myself a Christian, who was baptised in the Church of Scotland faith, not once but twice. Once as a child and furthermore as a 40-year-old adult. The reason I returned to the church in my forties was to find solace, comfort and understanding as to why I had to watch the desperately sad, painful and difficult death that my father had to endure whilst receiving palliative care. The memories that I have from his actual death will haunt me for the rest of my life.

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My father faced his terminal illness with great bravery, but his main and overwhelming concern was always how he would actually die. He contemplated suicide, asked for help from myself to help him die, but ultimately he died a horrible death. I have lived with the guilt of allowing him to die in that way, ever since.

I find it sad that the Church of Scotland can write with such clarity as to why they would wish to oppose such a Bill, but at no time do they acknowledge the many Scottish people who die in pain and distress every day in this country, or their families who have to live with those terrible enduring memories.

Why do they choose to believe that palliative care is effective in all cases and should be the only option?

Being told that you have a terminal illness is a life-changing moment for every member of the family. Many terminally diagnosed patients attempt to take their own lives for fear of what lies ahead, and find themselves in a worse condition. Others, who can afford it, opt to end their lives early by traveling abroad alone to find the help that they so desperately require but cannot access in their own country. Many terminal people are let down in Scotland every week. It is a dangerous blindness to not acknowledge that there is a problem with the current system. Palliative care does not always ensure a pain-free and dignified death.

The Assisted Dying Bill includes the necessity for further funding and accessibility to palliative care. Assisted dying is not a replacement, it is a choice. A choice that dying people should be allowed to make.

Lesley Cullan, Fochabers, Moray

Mind the bollards

A few years ago the City of Edinburgh Council installed cycle lanes on the main streets of the city. A very commendable action ensuring that cyclists could travel in safety through the streets without fear of being knocked down by passing motorists. These lanes are marked by plastic tubular bollards set in a substantial base of concrete.

During the recent wintry weather the streets have been awash with grit and salt which is now being kicked up as spray by passing motorists, coating the bollards with black dirt. This has made the black and white colours on the bollards very difficult to pick out in semi-darkness in the evenings or in fog.

Is it possible to install self cleansing bollards (likely an impossibility) or to have them cleaned on a regular basis? If this is not done, then I fear that there will be an accident on a dark night.

Sandy Macpherson, Edinburgh

Get litter bug

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Barry Fisher points out that we have a litter problem, though perhaps “emergency” is too strong a word (Friends of The Scotsman, 26 January).What we need is a public information campaign. For many years, when I see litter on the pavement I have made a habit of picking up one piece and putting it in a bin, perhaps taking it home and depositing in my own bin if more convenient. If everybody was encouraged to do this, it might help. I have always hoped that others might be inspired to do the same!

Jenny Martin, Edinburgh

Tufty clubbed?

If, as John V Lloyd claims, “Prof Sir Hugh Pennington has said in these columns, the reds were introduced from Scandinavia in 1793,” (Letters, 26 January), I suggest Mr Lloyd gets his facts from a naturalist and not a bacteriologist.Red squirrels have been native to the UK for thousands of years. Numbers were brought in from Scandinavia in 1793 due to the population crashing, and in 1844 at the insistence of Lady Lovat of Beaufort as they were regarded as a “game” species for hunting until 1946 when the obnoxious Highland Squirrel Club finally folded, having exterminated over 100,000 reds.As for his ludicrous claims about red squirrels carrying leprosy, you'd have to lick the fur of a hundred red squirrels to have the remotest chance of being the first indigenous British resident to catch the disease since 1798! There's more chance of Rangers not getting a penalty over 90 minutes than there is of catching leprosy from Tufty.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Puzzle book

Following Prince Harry's Spare account of his life within the Royal Family, I am sure that Nicola Sturgeon's eventual memoirs will be equally enthralling, entertaining and lucrative. Perhaps, she could entitle it It Wisnae Me, giving us an account of whom she thinks is actually to blame for Scotland's woes apart from herself!

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Stirlingshire

Dearth diary

I note the First Minister regrets not keeping a detailed diary over the years. This fact, coupled with her regular periods of forgetfulness, leads me to conclude that any potential memoir is likely to be a pretty thin volume.

Brian Petrie, Edinburgh

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