Scotsman Letters: Government should tighten belt like King Charles

King Charles has deemed that drastic reductions be made in the budget for his coronation next year (your report, yesterday).

Would that the SNP/Green administration at present presiding over our affairs in Scotland had the same respect for taxpayer money in times of national belt-tightening. I do not see the nationalist budget for new pretend embassies or the jaunts overseas by the various entourages sent by the SNP, or the £20 million referendum fund, touched.

Our taxes being spent uselessly on SNP pomp and ceremony does not seem to bother them in the slightest.

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Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Is King Charles III more in touch with the concerns of the public than SNP leaders? (Picture: Andrew Milligan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Matter of context

Let me congratulate The Scotsman on the first part of your 11 October editorial when you praise Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the SNP conference. She is indeed an incredible, gifted lady. However, your criticisms of the performance of our Scottish Government would only be justified if Scotland was independent.

Remember that the Scottish budget is fixed by the Barnett formula. The Scottish Government cannot borrow. Also, the UK Government decided on Austerity which resulted in a decrease, not just a freezing, of our allocation under the Barnett formula not just for one year but now 12 years and worse to come. To mitigate some of the damaging policies being imposed, the Scottish Government has stepped in to try to protect the most vulnerable – costing millions out of the budget. And while it has been very difficult to continually prioritise, our NHS is still better funded than south of the Border. Education is continually being attacked but most of it is pure negative propaganda

Why are so many people moving to Scotland? Because it is trying to be a more caring society with many benefits – a vision for the future.

Peter D Cheyne, Barbaraville, Highland

Labour needed

Nicola Sturgeon “detests the Tories and everything they stand for”. Currently some of the things the Tories stand for are lower taxes and growth funded partially by borrowing. Grandstanding at her party conference Ms Sturgeon trumpeted that an independent Scotland would lower taxes and invest in growth funded partially by oil – which is back in favour it seems – and borrowing! Presumably she stands for these policies?

Stan Grodynski mildly criticises Ms Sturgeon's choice of words but goes on to cite examples of Tory mismanagement as if this provides some sort of justification (Letters, October 12). He turns a blind eye, it seems, to the record of the SNP. Education, the NHS, drugs to name but a few, or the management of government initiatives such as Prestwick, BiFab, dealings with Sanjeev Gupta, the ferry procurement. Would he acknowledge the “genuine exasperation” of the Scottish taxpayer at these and other abject SNP failures? Would we be justified if we were to say that we detest the SNP and all they stand for?

I share Mr Grodynski's antipathy towards the Tories. There is a solution and it is not independence. What we need is a Labour government not only at Westminster – a looming prospect of considerable concern to separatists – but also at Holyrood.

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Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Unsteady hands

I was astonished, but not surprised, to read so many letters revealing the extent of resentment of our mediocre SNP administration, whose policies seem often to be lifted and re-badged from other parties (11 October). But the First Minister has gone too far in making her “I detest Tories” comment. That was the political version of racism, in my opinion.

But what astonished me even more was the idea an independent Scotland would thrive on “… oil reserves and borrowing” (“SNP leader pledges £20 billion ‘energy fund’ to finance Scottish independence”, same day). The whole idea smacks of the implausible white paper from the discredited Alex Salmond era.

Not only that, but the SNP are working towards independence with the Greens who, as far as I am aware, are against extending the oil industry, with neither party quite appreciating what that industry actually brings us other than fuels.

It’s time they handed over the reigns to more steady, moderate hands.

David Johnstone, Dundee

EU rules

Given Scotland’s geographic location, it is farcical for A McCormick to suggest Scotland would not be welcomed in Nato as a non-nuclear member, which is the same as the vast majority of its members (Letters, 12 October). GERS currently allocates £4 billion a year for Scotland’s share of UK defence spending, which includes nuclear costs, but that amount is not spent in Scotland by the MoD and is twice the amount spent by Ireland for its defence and peacekeeping activities.

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The Copenhagen criteria are the rules that define whether a country is eligible to join the European Union. The criteria require that a state has the institutions to preserve democratic governance and human rights, has a functioning market economy, and accepts the obligations and intent of the European Union. Scotland meets these criteria and has 25 per cent of Europe's entire offshore wind power resources, 25 per cent of Europe's tidal energy resources and 10 per cent of its wave energy potential.

Several countries have been admitted to the EU with a higher deficit to GDP than 3 per cent and no one has been forced to adopt the Euro.

After independence is decided, there will be a transition period during which Scotland will move towards using its own currency with a central bank. The choice of currency and EFTA/EU or Nato membership will be up to the government of the day and that could well be Labour or even the Tories – although that seems highly unlikely given their economic incompetence.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Not necessarily...

Elizabeth Buchan-Hepburn makes the classic mistake of thinking that by leaving one unsatisfactory situation, your own position automatically improves (Letters 12 October). This only happens if you have a clear plan for the way forward after such a move, and the management to implement it, and can demonstrate both.

Considering the record of the current Scottish Government, neither of those essentials seems to be present.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross

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King Charles III Coronation date announced by Buckingham Palace

Shaky SNP spin

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The Supreme Court hearing regarding another independence referendum shows just how shaky is Nicola Sturgeon's position on this. If any referendum is to be purely advisory then it is pointless and very expensive – but is the basic premise pointless too? The SNP reasoning behind all of this is that Scotland was “taken out of the EU” by the Brexit vote in 2016 and hence there was a material change of circumstances.

This ignores the fact that two years earlier, in 2014, the SNP itself would have taken Scotland out of the EU had it won the Independence referendum.

Brexit also gave rise to the SNP spin that 62 per cent of Scots had voted to stay in the EU when it was a mere 37 per cent of the Scottish electorate who actually cast a vote for “stay”. Nicola Sturgeon has “promised” another referendum on October 19 n ext year. If she does not deliver this how can she stay in office?

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow


Douglas Chapman is right to champion the SMEs which will fuel our economic recovery (Perspective, 12 October). But as an SNP MP, has he supported the abolition of the 45 per cent tax rate for incomes above £150,000; or of the personal allowance reductions for those earning £100-125,000; or of the income threshold anomalies in the child allowance rules?

All these hit many SME leaders hard, resulting in marginal tax rates of 60 per cent. Consistency please, Mr Chapman!

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife


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Why on earth is Julian Assange being extradited to the US when the US has persistently refused to extradite US citizen Anne Sacoolas to the UK to face trial for causing the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn?

Now we hear she will face a video trial in the US. So why is Assange not facing a video trial in the UK?Reciprocity!

Joe Moir, Aberdeen

Get tough

Eco-demonstrators are causing disruption and wasting police resources when the police should be solving crime. Action is needed against the activists in Affordable Energy, Extinction Rebellion, Tyre Extinguishers, Insulate Britain, Just Stop Oil, Animal Rebellion, The Fridays for Future Movement and other radical groups.

The police must stop dancing and skateboarding with eco-demonstrators and asking those superglued to the road if they are comfortable. Demonstrators should be arrested, made to spend the night in jail and then be fast tracked early the next morning, into court and sentenced. Those on taxpayer-funded welfare benefits should have these suspended for a period of time dependent on the severity of the offence.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Laughter therapy

Isn't it time to reclaim our love of comedy without referring to comedians or actors as on the left or the right. UK comedy has always enabled us to break free from our worries and just sit back and have a good laugh, taking it all at face value instead of trying to analyse it. We all need laughter in our lives.

People who are miserable and aggressive would benefit so much from giving it a try.

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Trish Lamb, Aberdeen

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