Scotland on Sunday letters: Unfair electoral system

I’LL try my best to disguise my true feelings about the result of the general election. But I can’t help thinking aloud about the implications of some of the statistics.

One surprise lurking in the data is that – going by statistics published on the BBC website – each of its seats cost the Labour party 40,000 votes (9,400,000 divided by 232 seats). The Tories only needed 34,000 for each of their 330 seats. We’ve long been told the constituency boundaries favour Labour and should be reorganised – but now I’d take some convincing.

After such wanton electoral extravagance, one can only admire the positively austere frugality of the SNP in managing to acquire their seats at a bargain basement cost of below 26,000 votes. That’s a little facetious, of course, as Scotland is naturally more sparsely populated than the UK as a whole. None the less, it’s a statistic that the Lib Dems must find bruising having paid 300,000 votes a seat for their MPs.

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Anyone alarmed at the apparent lack of fairness in our electoral system will be reassured that Ukip was completely priced out of power, with a tag of 3,875,000 votes attached to its one seat. This dislikeable, one-issue party has been sidelined despite its 12.6 per cent of the vote. The SNP’s representation is 56 times as big with less than half Ukip’s support. But then again, with 8.6 per cent of the seats at Westminster, can we really expect it to have much of an influence?

Irene Soames, Glasgow

ONE good thing to come out of the general election is the end of Labour hegemony in Scotland. That is a good thing for Labour as well as everyone else, as the situation was most unhealthy politically and the party felt they had some divine right to rule the roost. Thankfully, those days have gone.

Unfortunately we have, it seems, replaced an unhealthy Labour hegemony with an equally unhealthy nationalist one. Let us hope it is not similar to other revolutions of the past and that we haven’t replaced the French aristocracy with Robespierre or the Russian Tsar with Lenin-Stalin.

I fear for the future of my country.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

SURELY, when a 20-year-old student can be elected to the UK Parliament, we need to ­ensure some sort of relevant experience at all levels by ­introducing minimum ages – 20 for voters, 30 for councillors, 40 for MPs, and 50 for Prime and First Ministers.

John Birkett, St Andrews

Conundrum of rising patriotism

WHAT baffles me most about the rise of nationalism throughout the British Isles is where ideas of separate nat­ionhood comes from because, propaganda aside, I’ve never been able to find them.

The people of Britain share a common ancestry, being mainly descended from the Ancient Britons known to the Romans. So-called Scottish, Welsh and Irish Gaelic are branches of the British language and misleadingly referenced to a Celtic people who never in fact existed. In the same way, the lowland Scots tongue, or Lallans as it is glibly referred to nowadays, is rooted in the same English language of the south. There are certainly differences in accents and dialects re­g­ionally but there’s absolutely nothing between them nationally.

While the various realms of the British Isles have been split asunder many times it is clear that this has never been a matter of patriotism, rather a lot more to do with the ambitions of the various kings and nobles. Indeed, the first occurrence of patriotism in Scottish history is when the presbyterian Scottish lowlanders and Hanoverian clansmen defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Catholic highlanders at Culloden in defence of the Union.

Scots who support the SNP out of sentiment or a sense of history really need to get a grasp of what their ancestors actually fought and died for, and it wasn’t independence.

Robert Veitch, Edinburgh

Stick to the facts about shale gas

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A GREENPEACE advertisement that claims fracking “won’t cut energy bills” has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. Greenpeace are determined to stop fracking for shale gas in Britain despite the economic benefits and the energy security it would bring.

America revolutionised their economy with shale gas with prices more than halved in the last five years, and their manufacturing base is booming. America is exporting the coal it no longer needs to China and Europe. Europe is now the biggest importer of coal from America, which has turned from coal-fired power stations to shale gas power stations ­giving much lower electricity prices. It will not please Greenpeace, but America is the only country in the world to have reduced its CO2 emissions and that is entirely due to shale gas. Britain and Scotland must ignore Greenpeace and harvest the wealth beneath our feet or risk the lights going out.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

Other victims in the Dardanelles

IT WAS right to commemorate the centenary of landings on Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915, and the fatalities that day (News, 26 April). However, we should not forget that the Allied soldiers, sailors (including submariners and merchant seamen) and airmen involved included not only contingents from the UK, Australia and New Zealand but also from France, India and Nepal. There were also Assyrian interpreters from Mesopotamia and the Jewish Zion Mule Corps.

Nor should we forget the naval actions in the area from 3 November, 1914, including an unsuccessful attempt to force the adjacent Dardanelles Strait on 18 March, 1915, with the loss of two Royal Navy battleships and one French battleship and some 700 lives.

My late father, then serving in the Royal Scots, watched the initial landings from offshore on 24 April and was later wounded onshore on 18 June.

Dr Alexander Waugh, Banchory