Readers' Letters: Wishing it can't make Scotland a Nordic success

In the wake of political economist Mark Blyth’s accurate view of the financial impact of Scotland becoming independent, SNP deputy leader Keith Brown takes issue: “The evidence is overwhelming that other independent countries in Europe like Ireland, Norway and Sweden are all fairer, wealthier and more productive than the UK.” This is all that SNP politics is based on, no facts and figures, no evidence, only emotion.
SNP MSP Keith Brown says a solo Scotland could match the success of Nordic countries (Picture: John Devlin)SNP MSP Keith Brown says a solo Scotland could match the success of Nordic countries (Picture: John Devlin)
SNP MSP Keith Brown says a solo Scotland could match the success of Nordic countries (Picture: John Devlin)

But, the countries Mr Brown mentions are not like Scotland. They are proud nations with enviable cultures, self-reliance and patriotism. The SNP, with its strategy of division, blame, anger, hatred and its priority to destroy the United Kingdom, has ensured its politics has had the opposite effect in dividing its people and communities and destroying pride.

It could all have been so different had SNP politicians acted on behalf of all Scots to create harmony and pride in its leaders. They have blown it.

Douglas Cowe, Kingseat, Aberdeenshire

Pots and kettles

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It was impossible not to laugh helplessly after reading Stan Grodynski’s contribution (Letters, 26 March). He complains angrily of “the historically oft-repeated Labour con trick of indicating how things will be improved under Labour without providing explanations as to where the necessary money is going to come from”. But wait a minute, aren’t there two or three other political parties in Scotland who could be accused of similar “con tricks” on a much larger scale? It’s evident that self-awareness doesn’t feature much in separatist rhetoric.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Tydeman’s out

Re: “Ferguson Marine shipyard chief executive David Tydeman sacked amid further delays” (26 March). Yes indeed, why sack the messenger David Tydeman, a naval architect who unlike many of his predecessors has been upfront with the truth about the escalating costs and previous mismanagement. So the lackeys of the owners the SNP Scottish Government never like the truth; I believe the order will have come from on high to get rid of the troublemaker Tydeman. It reinforces my earlier suggestions in this paper that the yard should never receive another Scottish Government order and should be disposed of or simply liquidated Mairi McAllan, the Economy Secretary, must be deluded to believe there is any future for the Ferguson yard. Mr Tydeman’s temporary replacement, apparently a Canadian resident, might as well be The Man in the Moon.

Robin Jack, Edinburgh

Hate speech

That the Deputy First Minister of the devolved administration running Scotland's domestic affairs, Shona Robison, could see fit to threaten – it can only be described as such – an opposition MSP, Stephen Kerr, with remarks like he was “going to fall from a very high place” simply staggers belief (“Tory MSP claims he was ‘threatened’ by SNP minister during row in Holyrood”, 26 March).

Ironically, our freedom is speech is in peril from the same party that would produce ministers who could make such vile remarks. The context is immaterial.

And this is the party putting an ill-conceived Hate Crime Bill into law. You could not make it up.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Test of Hate bill

The biggest test of the so-called Hate Crime Bill will come at the next Old Firm match. Oh, and when thousands of lefties and students march, parroting what they last read from some mouth-foaming psychopath on social media about Jews.

All long before the annual Hate Pride marches of the Orange Order get to put one foot forward making mockery of the whole legislation.But then, this law has nothing to do with the common peace and everything to do with the political classes silencing dissent.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Nothing is free

There seems little wonder that we are greatly disturbed at the mushrooming sewage problem in our country; but where has the planning over the years been? Instead we have seen salaries and bonuses rocket. It is not sufficient to point to increasing rainfall without questioning the link between vast housing increases and the accompanying demand on sewage treatment.

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There are questions to be asked: Is a planning application only approved where satisfactory sewage arrangements are clearly stated? Who pays for upgrading sewage to meet increasing demand – surely the purchase price of new housing should include an element for providing satisfactory “new” sewage arrangements, unless absorbed by the builders. I would suggest that the importance of water companies to our living standards demands that their costs should not include excessive profits and inflated salaries and bonuses.

As a society we must throw out the concept of things “free”; they are subsidised by someone – usually the taxpayer or ratepayer. Having brought up my own family at my expense until school age, I am now being asked to subsidise others to do the same, through “free” nursery places – so that they can earn an additional family income denied my generation.

Perhaps it is also time to review our ever-increasing living standards, often paid for by dubious mortgage standards, with two salaries being allowed instead of the one from my day. During Covid we lauded the move away from foreign holidays, thus reducing the impact on climate change; but no more – as we demand holidays in the sun which also have an impact on our smaller holiday “resorts”.

James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Country credit

In response to Alastair Redman’s letter regarding the SNP-Green government’s passing of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill, I would just like to state that it should in fact make my life and work in rural Scotland less “difficult” and more pleasant (25 March).

Over the last five years I have planted more than 150,000 native hardwood trees and much of my work involves helping them survive. Birds of prey can be extremely beneficial in helping very young trees establish as they predate voles and mice which, in turn, eat saplings. (Scottish Forestry insist “vole guards” are used on grant-assisted, native hardwood schemes, and 1.2 million deer tubes also protect against voles.) Foxes, weasels, cats, badgers and few others are also very beneficial to trees for the same reason (and a little weeding).

Through decades of persecution the population of these creatures in rural Scotland is extremely low, thus any land on which livestock, deer and hare are excluded, where trees may grow, will generally see an explosion of voles and mice. Without protection young trees stand little chance.

It’s a great shame to live in such a broken ecosystem with so little wildlife and vegetation because much of Scotland is managed so two types of bird can be shot in large numbers and generally chucked away. While deer, which selectively eat most native trees, have been managed to be over-populated in order that shooters can be guaranteed a kill, the poorer tasting, large uncastrated and unbled males are, inexplicably, more valued. Vegetation also has the advantage, to the electorate and taxpayer, of slowing the rate at which rainfall reaches rivers and the sea.

Ben Douglas, Galashiels, Scottish Borders

Off-key criticism

In criticising Network Rail’s public messaging about Ramadan (Letters, 26 March), Neil Barber reveals the fundamentalism of secularism. No public messaging contrary to its belief system is allowed. I would defend, to the hilt, Neil Barber’s right to express his views both privately and publicly. He has every right to disagree and to express that disagreement freely and without fear. But, if he denies that right to others then not only will he be cutting out the tongue of those with whom he disagrees but he risks losing his own.

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As it seems the right to free speech in Scotland is being eroded, we all, Christians, secularists or Scots of whatever stripe, need to unite in protecting our freedoms which most historians accept are rooted in Scotland's Christian heritage. Mr Barber makes a fair, but irrelevant, point about how Christians celebrate Easter. When I was 12 I passed my grade five piano exam. My musicianship has not made any progress since then. I couldn’t play Chopin then and my attempts now are just as bad. That doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with Chopin! There is overwhelming evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. How that resurrection is celebrated now makes no difference to its truth or substance.

Eric J Scott, Currie, Edinburgh

Population point

An interesting editorial on 27 March, discussing population trends – births, deaths, immigration etc. What always puzzles me is how you can do this without mentioning abortion. There are more than 10,000 abortions a year in Scotland, which means that since the turn of the century, way over 200,000 births were aborted. Is it any wonder our population does not naturally increase!

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Maths coach?

Your article ”Electric coach pioneer Ember looks to expand Scottish network and tech with £11 million funds boost” (26 March) states, “More than 750,000 journeys have already been made”.

Pretty impressive for a four-year-old company. I make that 513 journeys per day. Using a handful of buses.

Peter Butler, Falkirk

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