Readers' Letters: Why is SNP taking sleeper train licence away?

We can all see that the Scottish NHS is no longer safe in the hands of the SNP-Green alliance. It appears that ScotRail is in a similar vein and to add to the train problems the Serco Company is to lose its franchise for the Caledonian Sleeper service.

SNP Transport Secretary Jenny Gilruth says she is cancelling this contract even though Serco “did well” in providing the service, so whatever can Ms Gilruth have in mind to replace them? Ms Gilruth, famous for telling Scotland fans “to walk” during the summer train strike, surely doesn't expect Scots to walk from London to Glasgow? Mind you it would certainly help Scotland's quest for net zero and reduce the obesity crisis too.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Green mould

The Scottish Government is taking the Caledonian Sleeper licence away from Serco
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Murdo Fraser bangs on ad nauseam about the rent freeze, and its possible effects on the rented housing sector, but the real problem lies elsewhere (Perspective, 5 October). The legislation that makes it almost impossible for landlords to evict troublesome tenants is the real threat to those seeking homes.

This policy, originating from the so-called Green Party with no thought to the possible consequences, is having already a very serious effect on housing availability. It is only the latest in several missteps by Patrick Harvie and his ilk. Roll on the next election when these incompetents can be shown the door.

EP Carruthers, Dormont, Dumfriesshire

Priceless words

Whenever the Tories start bleating about tax cuts, which usually only benefit the already wealthy, I am reminded of the words of American juror Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilisation.”

D Mitchell, Edinburgh

Button it

Whatever has happened to political party discipline these days and what are the Conservative Party whips thinking? They are certainly not doing their job. In the recent past, the method of debating and criticising government policy was at PMQs and scheduled debates in the House of Commons. Expressions of complaint from constituents were made directly to their constituency MPs

Now, we have our present generation of Conservative politicians, both senior and junior, replacing that democratic process by constantly briefing the media with their personal views and criticisms. It has to stop now, otherwise why do we need a House of Commons to debate and agree national policies?

The motives for individuals briefing and providing personal interviews to our print and broadcast media, is simply self-promotion that is valued by a media forever hungry for yet another sensational headline story.

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And so we have degraded our democratic principles.

It was precisely this mechanism that led to the enforced departure of Boris Johnson, a victim of trial by media ably assisted by his political enemies and wannabes both within the Conservative Party and without. The triumphalism, needless to say, never considered the consequences of replacing a sitting Prime Minister and the paralysis of government while the process was finalised

And here we go again, with all the diatribes against his successor lovingly reported by our media and creating similar divisions and uncertainties in our society.

It is high time that our very well-paid political representatives and media barons ceased this childish, irresponsible behaviour, and started to realise their own responsibilities for the instability that they create and begin to better consider how their actions should be supportive of Great Britain instead of destroying social cohesion.

All in all, a very poor example to the rest of the world of how a previously respected democracy should behave.

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Final proof?

Your report that a Polish shipyard is considering suing the Scottish Government for its handling of the ferry tendering process comes as no surprise (October 3). Indeed, it would be surprising if all of the unsuccessful yards involved do not do likewise since tendering is a costly process. How many more millions of pounds of Scottish taxpayers’ money will be added in legal costs to the total bill for this whole sorry debacle? Saving 300 jobs at a cost of a £300 million may be superficially good soundbite politics but it is certainly not good use of the taxpayers’ money.

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Moreover, we now learn that, before the yard was nationalised, Jim McColl offered to cap the total cost of the ferries at £200 million provided the extra £103 million was split 50/50 between his yard and the Scottish Government. Their refusal simply confirmed his conclusion that the SNP, for political reasons, were determined to take control of the yard regardless of the cost.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

It’s almost Greek

Ian S Wood (Letters, 5 October) rather scrapes the barrel in trying to rebut Alastair Stewart’s review of a new book on Churchill and particularly his views of Scotland and the Scots, but neither mentions the great man’s well-reported comment that “Of all the small nations of this Earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind”.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

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Caledonian Sleeper contract terminated after financial disagreement between oper...

Prove me wrong

Three letters (5 October) from the usual suspects attack Nicola Sturgeon without a single positive argument among them in support of the constitutional status quo that they seem so desperately keen to maintain.

Alexander McKay, as usual, not only supplements his particularly slanted views with personal slurs but appears compelled to make misleading claims such as “the pro-UK majority”. This claim lost substance when his fellow pro-Union supporters voted for Brexit and, as confirmed by a wide range of polls since, as well as the recent more authoritative British Social Attitudes survey, there is now a pro-Independence majority which is the real reason he and his fellow democracy-deniers do not wish another referendum to take place.

Martin Redfern seeks to exploit the irrational booing of a handful of pro-monarchy supporters of someone who has always supported the monarchy to illogically back his claim that the First Minister and her party, which have won every parliamentary election since the last referendum, are “letting down Scotland”.

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Ken Currie, blatantly seeking to divert from the most recent U-turn of the newly anointed Prime Minister and the growing list of major U-turns on Tory party manifesto commitments, claims “ineptitude” on the part of the SNP without a single reference to any significant broken manifesto commitment that he might have to objectively justify.

Of course, I would be happy to be proved wrong on the anti-democratic intent of these gentlemen and would welcome any conversions from disingenuous claims to sound well-argued debate in the lead-up to a genuine expression of democracy through a referendum on 19 October 2023.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

Save a stamp

The trams enquiry, the ferries, the education system, Prestwick Airport, the Scottish Census, the trams themselves, a second referendum, and now the Scottish Covid enquiry. Total and utter disasters. What do they all have in common? And no the answer isn't Derek Mackay.

If you have an answer, put it on a postcard and address it to Bute House. You will not get a reply so let me illuminate you on what would be said. Going forward, lessons have been learnt, better than elsewhere in the UK, Westminster's fault. Better still, save yourself a stamp. Going forward, learn the lesson, do not vote for them.

Howard Lewis, Edinburgh

Poor practice

This week I called my medical practice and asked to speak to someone regarding my medication. I didn’t ask for an appointment, just to speak to someone. I was told I will receive a phone call on 19 October, a wait of 15 days.

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This practice became part of a private medical group a few years ago. In the lead-up to the 2014 independence referendum we were constantly told by the SNP leadership that “the NHS is safe in our hands, the Tories want to privatise it”. Recent statistics have shown that an increasing number of people in Scotland are now paying for private medical care because of the abysmal state of NHS Scotland which is 100 per cent devolved.

My heart goes out to NHS staff in Scotland who must feel they are on a hiding to nothing every time they go to work.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk

Liddell points

The Scotsman carried an article outlining plans for the centenary celebration of Eric Liddell’s Olympic gold medal won over 400 metres at the 1924 Paris Games (4 October).

A couple of points worthy of mention – the article states that Liddell's winning Olympic record remained until 1936 but that is inaccurate as it was beaten in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics by American Bill Carr. Without in any way seeking to diminish his achievements, although his run was also recognised as a world record at the time, it was rescinded in 1926 as the pre-existing “equivalent” record for 440 yards was preferred.

Reference is made to Liddell being held in a Prisoner of War camp whereas it was an internment camp for civilians, while the comment that “… he dangled his arms as he accelerated” stretches the imagination towards breaking point. For Liddell's feats on the sporting field and his example off it, the celebration proposed deserves wide support and every success.

Jack Davidson, Edinburgh

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