Readers' Letters: Yousaf should wholeheartedly back attacks on Houthi rebels

Humza Yousaf said the UK parliament should have been recalled to allow a debate on the full repercussions of the the UK and US attacks on Houthi rebels in Yemen (Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images)Humza Yousaf said the UK parliament should have been recalled to allow a debate on the full repercussions of the the UK and US attacks on Houthi rebels in Yemen (Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images)
Humza Yousaf said the UK parliament should have been recalled to allow a debate on the full repercussions of the the UK and US attacks on Houthi rebels in Yemen (Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images)
The UK is taking very necessary action in the Middle East to protect international supply lines from terrorist actions. Why is it that our First Minister cannot see the bigger picture here rather than his narrow viewpoint over Gaza?

The obvious enemy in all of this is Iran yet Mr Yousaf keeps suggesting policies that can only help Iranian goals. Recalling parliament prior to military action is neither sensible nor practical, it is naive.

Is this really what we should expect from our First Minister?

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

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The First Minister follows Westminster In banning a dangerous breed of dogs after the entirely predictable flow of XL bully dogs from England to Scotland. Legislation that could have been in place in parallel with England, as Michael Gove suggested last year. Then, the First Minister follows Westminster in addressing the appalling treatment of sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses having, like Westminster, done little for years.

As we rely on businesses to create jobs, can the First Minister now follow Westminster and reduce the tax burden on businesses, or will his “dogged” determination prevent him?

Brian Barbour, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland

Dying to vote?

Murdo Fraser refers in his Perspective article of 10 January to MSPs backing the general principle of Liam McArthur’s assisted dying bill without having scrutinised the detail. Mr Fraser claims this shows the Scottish Parliament is not properly equipped to legislate on a matter as important as choices in end-of-life care, and is acting instead like a “student debating society”.

Undoubtedly, Mr Fraser knows better than most what the process for bringing private members’ bills involves, having gone through it more than once himself. Just a quick scan of parliamentary records shows us that he has lent his support to seven private members’ proposals in Holyrood over the last two years alone without seeing a draft bill. He has also accepted the support of 31 MSPs for his own private member’s bill on fly-tipping without first presenting a draft bill.

Perhaps it is only on issues which challenge his religious faith that Mr Fraser sees the process for bringing private members’ bills as fundamentally flawed?

Fraser Sutherland, CEO, Humanist Society, Scotland, Edinburgh

Speak softly

After years of vitriolic speeches from Nicola Sturgeon against Scotland’s neighbour and biggest export market, England, I was hoping for a change of tune from the new First Minister, Humza Yousaf.

Unfortunately this has not happened and Mr Yousaf obviously believes if he denigrates England in every utterance it will garner him greater support in Scotland. If one believes in the polls, his support is in a downward spiral, so should he not change his language? He might be surprised if he was more realistic in his approach, and less aggressive.

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After all, even if Scotland cedes the Union, England is still its next door neighbour and the two countries have to find a way of living alongside each other? Spitting at one’s neighbour is not the way to build a harmonious relationship.

Jim Bell, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford

Call of duty

I agree entirely with John Fraser (Letters, 11 January) about the appalling legislation the SNP and Green administration are proposing regarding children and gender self-identification (yet again). Perhaps they have a problem with the entire concept of parenthood, or maybe they had unhappy childhoods? However, the idea that parents are doing harm when they fail to indulge their children's childish attitudes is because they have a duty of care. Clearly, the SNP and Greens do not trust the very people who elected them, as well as those who, quite rightly, did not.

When young people are looked after in any institution, that institution is acting “in loco parentis”. In other words, in place of the parents. The suggestion in this proposal is to take away the role of parents, just as the Named Persons bill would have.

Any suggestion that a child knows better than its parents is anathema to the overwhelming majority of adults, not just parents. The very idea that the current Holyrood administration should even think of such a measure shows how unsuited they are to any kind of role in authority.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Laffer tracks?

Martin O’Gorman (Letters, 12 January) references the Laffer Curve theory to support his criticism of the Scottish Government’s decision to make a small increase to the top rate of income tax.

The theory suggests that overall tax revenues could fall if higher taxes disincentivise work by high-earners. A little research shows, “on average, economists believe that the Laffer Curve begins to take effect when the tax rate reaches 70 per cent”.

In Scotland, the new rate on earnings above £75,000 will be 45 per cent. The theory therefore offers little support to the taxation scaremongers claiming, as does Mr O’Gorman, that high-earners “will relocate elsewhere, taking their wealth and skills with them.”

Robert Farquharson, Edinburgh

Look to yourself

I was bemused to read the quotes (your report, 12 January) from SNP councillor Kate Campbell criticising Edinburgh Leisure, which is having to make tough decisions due to a financial shortfall.

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Would Cllr Campbell not be better directing her ire towards her party leaders in the Scottish Government who have frozen funding for councils across Scotland, leading to situations like these? Holyrood-imposed austerity removing money from vital services while continuing to waste huge sums of taxpayers’ money should be what SNP politicians describe as “unacceptable” and “astonishing”. Send your message up the way rather than blaming those on the receiving end of these decisions.

J Lewis, Edinburgh

Sick of it

It has become an all too predictable sight on our breakfast table these days that the front page of The Scotsman has a headline damning, condemning, complaining about or trashing the National Health Service in Scotland, and with it, the Scottish Government. I am not here to defend the government or to deny that things like A&E and cancer care are struggling, but scoring political points each day using the NHS as a punchbag surely must cause our poor doctors, nurses and hospital staff to become even more disheartened and demoralised.

Let me give a shout-out to a success story which has come about on this government's watch, presumably by design but perhaps by accident. I was invited to Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal today by letter to receive a vaccination against shingles. My wife had a bout of this a couple of years ago, and I would not wish it on anyone, such was the pain involved. In an unused shop, the Scottish vaccination service had a well-organised and speedy system for processing many people throughout the day, with friendly and committed staff. This system is mirrored throughout the capital (and, I presume all over Scotland) to vaccinate against Covid, flu, pneumonia and shingles, thus freeing up GP surgeries for non-vaccination work.

Can we stop condemning both the government and NHS and recognise efforts are ongoing to keep us safe and reasonably healthy. To read some of the articles and letters recently, the implication is that the government is actively trying to destroy our health and education services. They may not always get it right, and clearly this is a problem, but to imply that there is some sort of plan to destroy public services is repugnant and nonsensical.

Brian Bannatyne-Scott, Edinburgh

It’s all Greek

It seems like the Scottish Government is finally, genuinely going to be a world leader in something. No other country appears to be plummeting so quickly down the educational attainment rankings. ‘Twasn’t always thus. In my youth, which wasn’t so long ago – OK, half a century – the Scottish education system was indeed respected throughout the world. Records apparently show nearly every child left primary school with a basic education far superior to now.

When I hear of how standards have slipped, I’m reminded of an exchange between two players of the opposing team during a football match I was playing in more than 50 years ago. My team, a rather middle class group I admit, was playing a somewhat more working class outfit from the east end of Glasgow whose main motivation was to put one over on the posh boys. So, when once again their left full back, wee Jerry, had launched our right winger, Melvin the art student, into low orbit, I overhead this conversation. “Wee Jerry huvin a rerr gemme eh?” “Aw aye,” says his mate, “he’s like that every week, he plays like a wee Trojan”. So, there you have it. On a cinder park in the east end of Glasgow in the early Seventies, as one group of footballers was assaulting another in a proxy class war, a discussion between two neds who’d probably left school at 14 took place concerning the hardworking talents of their left back during which they referenced ancient Greek history, the work of the epic poet Homer, and the discipline and defensive qualities of the soldiers of Troy. That would never happen today.

Ian McElroy, Thurso, Highland

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