Readers' Letters: Wily Greens gain influence without support

The Green Party managed to get more seats than the Liberals, without winning one single constituency.

Scottish Greens Party co-convener Patrick Harvie may gain a ministerial position for supporting the SNP government (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

I guess a lot of list votes went to the Greens on some kind of ecological conscience basis, however I would suggest David Attenborough has more influence over governments and the ecological and climate change views of the wider population than the Greens will ever have. As a political force the Greens are irrelevant, except... through the astute manifesto masterstroke of including independence as a key policy, and with the rest of the parties on one side and the SNP on the other, the Greens managed to get a seat at the top table and a hand on the golden chalice of political power.Irrelevant, maybe, opportunistic, certainly.

Ron Mayer, Newmains Road, Edinburgh

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Poodle power?

What a touching picture in yesterday’s Scotsman issue of the SNP and Green leaders looking lovingly into one another's eyes, as Patrick Harvie’s years of being Nicola Sturgeon’s poodle look like being rewarded with a basket under the Cabinet table, with the bone of some useless ministerial jolly being thrown in.

Labour can only look on with envy, but who knows, if they keep up the Indy flip-flopping, a menage a trois could be on the cards. As for the Tories, their wooing of rivals with sweet talk of cosy pacts was in vain, and they now sulk in solitude.

But what about Scottish Lib Dems leader Willie Rennie? I hear rumours of bungee jumps off the Forth Bridge, or tightrope crossing over the Tay, but he can’t be serous. Nobody takes him seriously, not even him.

Andrew Kemp, Mossbank, Rosyth, Fife

Dream state

Clearly, despite millions of pounds-worth of free TV advertising on a daily basis, Nicola Sturgeon still believes that she must and can buy the people of Scotland if she just throws enough goodies our way.The latest wheezes will add to the ones we are all familiar with: free tertiary education; free prescriptions; free bridge crossings; free bus passes for oldsters and now for youngsters too. Clearly, although some people were fooled by this into voting for the SNP, it wasn't enough for the rest of us. SNP thinking hats went on, therefore and a new range of tempting offers have been created.Do you fancy getting stoned on the SNP? Then, they're your boys (and girls). While you're floating over Edinburgh with a seraphic smile on your face, you can check the money being dumped every month into your bank account, courtesy of all the people paying 1 per cent of their entire net worth in tax, annually, no doubt. I don't think that they will pay that from England, however, which is where 99 per cent of them would soon be.The best way to get those votes is missing, however. Surely free haggis, woad for those essential Saltire-waving, flash mob events and (compulsory) Gaelic lessons are missing?

Andrew H N Gray, Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh

Pot and kettle

One can only marvel at the sheer gall and hypocrisy of Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, using Dominic Cummings’ allegations to rant about Boris Johnston’s alleged mishandling of the early stages of the Covid pandemic. Those of us who live in Scotland were aware that Nicola Sturgeon’s actions were virtually identical to those taken by Westminster. Pot and kettle?

Donald Lewis, East Lothian

Opposed to truth?

Opposition leaders have tended to be clueless in the recent past, and this explains much of the success of right wing parties. Some may think that cluelessness is not the problem. Quite simply, the government got the vaccine out so naturally have widespread admiration.

But this is to fail to appreciate the essential propaganda message that Boris Johnston can come back to whenever he is on the ropes at PMQs. He can claim that opposition parties would have been stuck with the EU Commission's slow pace so if we were in the EU we would still be trying to get a vaccination programme started and would still be having lockdowns.

But this is little different from the kind of blue on blue lies which marred the EU debate (such as the one about the imminent entry of Turkey, or the one about the the need for punishing tax rises).

A Labour or Coalition government would have had a year to decide how best to plan for vaccines, so there is no evidence they would have been any less effective. Besides, we got lucky with vaccines partly due to having been in the EU, which meant our universities are financially well-supported and world leading. Naturally, this meant we got first the first batches from the firms producing them.

Opposition parties need to share a common narrative to deflect such criticism of Labour because in this case they stand or fall together.

Andrew Vass, Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh

Covid crackers

They must think it is all over, as 50 per cent of people failed to keep their vaccination appointments at a recent Glasgow Hydro session, even though Glasgow and East Renfrewshire have a Covid resurgence.Then the COP26 climate conference will be held in November in Glasgow to talk about the weather, but now with the added bonus of a full and frank exchange of Covid varieties, prior to another prolonged lockdown perhaps. You simply could not make it up.

Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross

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By-election boost

The frustration Kenny MacAskill expresses about parliamentary progress towards independence is understandable (Perspective, 27 May). But he fails to articulate just what alternative paths towards making the case for autonomy might prove fruitful. Street campaigning and the occasional well-attended march through a large city can gain short term publicity. It is less clear how they can be quickly translated into the level of votes needed to show support is overwhelming. Even a march attended by 150,000 people is well below the number needed to bridge the margin of defeat shown in the 2014 referendum.

What Mr MacAskill needs to do is look at the impact by-elections have had on modern Scottish history. The 1967 Hamilton by-election, the 1988 Govan by-election and the 1995 Perth and Kinross by-election were all significant. Although Winifred Ewing and Jim Sillars lost their seats at subsequent general elections, their spectacular victories sent shock waves through the Westminster establishment. It spurred not the case for independence but the case for substantial devolution achieved in 1999 with the creation of the Scottish Parliament. What might give the independence case a fillip in this third decade of the 21st century is a surprise Alba Party victory at a by-election in the near future.

There is, of course, no prescience that can determine the circumstances in which a future by-election might arise. Public opinion may, however, tire of the SNP government's apparent sclerosis on the question of how independence can be taken forward. It is in those circumstances that the Alba Party might see the chance for a by-election boost that could have a similar impact to that of Hamilton and Govan. Living in hope in this way might be more productive that romantic notions of independence being won simply by the number of foot soldiers who can take to the streets.

Bob Taylor, Shiel Court, Glenrothes

Equal voices

I see that Gill Turner, your prolific attacker of letters expressing views which do not accord with hers, has turned her fire on my letter (26 May) on Scottish Anglophobia, and has the impertinence to conclude: “He may wish to consider whether an apology of his own may now be appropriate.”I have every right to express my opinions, and I stand by them. I have no intention of “considering” an apology, far less making one.

David Hollingdale, Easter Park Drive, Edinburgh

Bird-mincers

Since when did the industrial scale slaughter of wildlife become “Clean Green” energy? Why, oh why, are we celebrating what the RSPB describe as the final nail in the coffin for seabirds? The entire media, from newspapers to the BBC, act as a fawning mouthpiece for the wind industry, and celebrate the creation of jobs in offshore wind (“Leith renewable energy hub to create 1,000 jobs”, 25 May). Not a single report I have seen is actually questioning the environmental impact of our actions.

The RSPB were so incensed by the hugely damaging Firth of Forth offshore wind farms, they described them as “The most damaging windfarms for seabirds anywhere in the world” and the Firth of Forth as “of International importance to wildlife”. They were so appalled by the Scottish Government’s approval for these giant, industrial, bird-mincers they took them all the way to the Supreme Court!

The RSPB also objected to the Moray West offshore wind farm, describing the environmental assessment submitted by the project as “incomplete and inadequate”. They added that the initiative could “spell disaster for some of our most valued seabird populations”. The RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, John Muir Trust, Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Bird Club and Sustainable Shetland – along with a majority 2,736 residents – objected to the Viking Wind Farm in Shetland, yet it was approved by Scottish ministers.

The rotor blades of a wind turbine have a radius as long as a football field and rotate at 300 km/h. Against these huge propeller walls, birds, bats and insects don’t stand a chance. No wonder the wind industry wants them out at sea so we can’t see the carnage. What next? Net zero wildlife.

What an utterly abhorrent way to “save the planet”.

George Herraghty, Lhanbryde, Elgin, Moray

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