Readers' Letters: Yousaf must grasp the nettle and scrap the Bute House Agreement

SNP MP Stewart McDonald welcomes “healthy debate” as the lifeblood of democratic government – not a practice ever embraced by his former first minister.
First Minister Humza Yousaf on the march in Edinburgh Saturday with Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick HarvieFirst Minister Humza Yousaf on the march in Edinburgh Saturday with Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie
First Minister Humza Yousaf on the march in Edinburgh Saturday with Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie

But unlike so many of his SNP colleagues his points are made constructively. Even if I don’t – and am never likely to – agree with him.

He asks what’s the alternative to the Bute House Agreement, suggesting there is none. But there is an alternative: Scrap the agreement.

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The Green Party – in government only because the SNP, not Scotland, needs them – is more concerned with climate change, taking from the wealthy to give to the poor (shades of Corbyn here), getting rid of nuclear weapons; matters not uppermost in the minds of most Scots. Facing reality has not been evident under SNP/Green rule. Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater share Cloud Cuckoo Land with Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf.

Mr McDonald asks why Scotland could not thrive as does Dublin and Berlin? Simple. The SNP over the past eight years has failed year-on-year to balance its’ own pre-set budget; expenditure always exceeding income.

It has failed to give meaningful support to businesses, mismanaged the economy, allowed educational standards to fall; whilst failing to deal with child and adult poverty (60 per cent of adults earning less than the national average; 45 per cent not earning enough to pay income tax) and still having the highest drug deaths rate in Europe.

Humza Yousaf, learning nothing from precedent, is now pushing for a return to the EU; knowing he’s flogging the proverbial dead horse. The first minister, like many in the SNP, continues to pursue this mythical idea of independence; never, as I have continually observed, ever explaining in detail, how independence would work.

Now Alyn Smith beats the same old drum. Like Mr McDonald he talks a good game. Sincere, perhaps. But always, the heart rules the heid.

Doug Morrison, Cranbrook, Kent

GERS figures

Leah Gunn Barrett (Letters, August 31) may well be correct in stating that Scotland has on occasion been a net contributor to the UK Treasury – though having to go back to 1911 to support her case does seem a little desperate.

What is gratifying to see is Ms Barrett's implicit faith in the data produced in the UK government's Revenue and Expenditure for England, Scotland and Ireland publication.

Presumably, therefore, she will have even greater trust in the figures of the Scottish Government's own Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) – the authoritative publication on Scotland's finances according to Alex Salmond, the only SNP first minister to have been an economist.

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The GERS reports appear on the Scottish Government's website. They are independently produced by Scottish Government statisticians and are issued by the Scottish Government's cabinet secretary for finance and the economy.

If Ms Barrett would open her eyes to these she will see at a glance that Scotland has for many years been a net beneficiary to the tune of £19 billion in the last year alone.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Religious dogma

Eric J. Scott’s letter (September 2) shows a remarkable lack of awareness, whereas on the other there is a surfeit of irony. Religious organisations have imposed their views on the populace for hundreds of years by ostracising, imprisoning and even executing those who dared to disagree.

He links secularism to fundamentalism, which could not be further from the truth, it is about being open and not ruled by dogma they exact opposite of the erosion of freedom of thought he suggests.

The intolerance he mentioned has predominantly been driven by religions against brave people who do not subscribe to their particular set of beliefs, the evidence for this is overwhelming throughout history.

The removal of religious representatives from Ediburgh’s education committee is to be celebrated, as it gives an opportunity to a wider range of views.

John Bromhall, Balerno

Royal tribute

With the anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth II falling this week, the question arises as to how we can honour her memory and recognise her superlative public service as head of state of this and other countries.

In the current era of a soaring national debt, rapidly rising prices and strained public budgets, an expensive public monument is out of the question. However, the renaming of a suitable public structure represents an almost cost-free alternative.

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Why don’t we rename the magnificent Queensferry Crossing which she opened in 2017 as the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge?

At 1.7 miles long and over 200 metres high this is a bridge on a royal scale. With a design life of 120 years it could honour our late Queen’s memory well into the 22nd century.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife

Making waves

Colin McAllister (Letters, September 1) claims that the best explanation for reports of Nessie is sightings of the prow of a scuttled Viking galley.

This was the belief of Beverly Halstead et al, who wrote to Nature about it in January 1976 (they included the idea that it was the steering rudder). There is no independent archaeological evidence for this idea and there has been no expedition to lift such a valuable artefact.

The idea was rightly demolished by Sir Peter Scott in the same article.Most reports are due to the waves created by boat wakes on a calm surface.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Labouring . . .

The prospect of a future Labour government reminds me of a line from a Clive James novel . . . ”Just when you think things are as bad as they can be, suddenly they get worse.”

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross

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