Scotsman Letters: Last thing Sturgeon wants is general election

No matter how much many of us would love to see a general election it’s clear it is not going to happen any time soon. The call from Keir Starmer is genuine even if he knows he won’t get his wish. The call from Nicola Sturgeon, however, is disingenuous. The last thing she wants is for the Tory party to be displaced.

Sturgeon’s own economic blueprint has been trashed even by supporters of independence. The only difference is that hers is hypothetical and we can only presuppose the economic meltdown it would entail. The SNP's continuing failure to make an economic case for independence leaves them with no other strategy than to go on pursuing the grinding grievance approach of railing against the “Tory led” system. For the sake of the country I actually hope that the Tory party will elect a leader who can establish some stability since it seems inevitable they will cling on to power for as long as our electoral structure allows. Thereafter, as Ms Sturgeon well knows, focusing her invective on a “Labour-led Westminster” won't have quite the same resonance.

Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh

Talk it out

An unpopular Tory government is what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will prefer, says reader (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Damage limitation compels Conservatives to charge the recent government debacle on one person. That will not do. Liz Truss is not a unique misfit. She was the product of Conservative voters who share her tendencies. Truss was impatient, vindictive and full of a rationality that was based not on emotional intelligence but on emotional reasoning with a tendency to use anger as the dominant emotion.

Politicians must learn to work against emotional reasoning. Truss exemplified, but not uniquely so, the decline of intelligence which comes from a heady faith in one's capacity to use power. She refused to install in her cabinet any MPs who had been for leadership rival Rishi Sunak. She railroaded policy through despite outcries from the advisory channels. She did not seem to realise that a general public smarting from a cost of living crisis would not take kindly to bankers getting the kind of bonuses that were considered to be causal of the 2008 banking crisis.

And even when facing humiliation, U-turns and threats to her premiership she tried to railroad MPs into supporting her unpopular fracking policy. This resulted in the final Commons row that made her resignation absolutely necessary.

Conservatives can't learn from the disasters of recent years until they undergo a time in opposition. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is my recommended study for many of them. Some Tory MPs are considering bringing back Boris Johnson. The idea is ridiculous because it shows that the valuing of democracy is still weak in Tory circles. It seems likely that Johnston will be found to have lied to parliament – scrutiny of this is ongoing. In terms of democratic precedent that is a sackable offence.

Lessons from CBT show that the strong and stable are inclined to become unstable with grandiose and narcissistic tendencies upfront. It's time politicians learned how not to be lost in inner space.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh

Crossing a line

The SNP plan for independence displays woeful ignorance – or at best dangerously delusional thinking – about the border between England and Scotland. The First Minister talked of checkpoints on the two main eastern and western arterial roads. She ignores, or doesn’t know about, the many hundreds of other border crossing points, by road and by foot. With only two checkpoints the Cheviots would become a smugglers’ paradise for people and goods.

She assumes that England – and the EU – would be happy with her two checkpoints. It is inconceivable that rUK, obsessed as it is with immigration, would accept a free flow of people and products from Scotland. The Cheviots could make the Channel redundant for people smugglers.

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And let us not forget that England would be the main transit point for Scotland’s envisaged boom in trade with the EU, new ferries being a dodgy bet. Does anyone doubt London would not play nice?

Finally, the independence enthusiasts rightly and repeatedly proclaim Scotland’s magnificent history. But they are selective. Do they not know of the medieval kingdom of Northumbria which stretched from Edinburgh south past York, with no border controls.

People in our history enjoyed the same freedom of movement for work and play across the Tweed which I dare say most Borderers relish today.

If the SNP thinks these issues can be easily dealt with, they must have overlooked the current UK-EU dispute over the Northern Ireland border, a minor niggle compared to a Scotland-England frontier.

I often wonder if Scottish politicians in the Central Belt know or care much about the freedoms of the Borderers.

Rodney Pinder, Kelso, Scottish Borders

Go it alone-ish

Liz Truss’s demise has clearly illustrated the weakness of the UK outside the EU and confirmed Brexit as mission impossible. “Global Britain” was unable to set its own fiscal policy simply because the international money markets have zero confidence in its economy. At a stroke, the Liz Truss/Kwasi Kwarteng right-wing ideological experiment spooked the international community, destroyed the UK’s longstanding reputation for reliability and invited the ridicule and pity of other developed nations. After six years of Brexit self-obsession, British “soft power” is gone. When was the last time we saw international statesmen/women visiting Downing Street? These days key world leaders meet elsewhere.

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The UK is fast becoming a failed state, unable to even look after its own vulnerable citizens properly. With the highest inflation and interest rates and lowest economic performance of our neighbours, its citizens are struggling and distressed. UK pensions are the lowest in Western Europe and GDP a lowly $46,483 per capita. Truss’s successor will not change any of this.

Given our size, skilled population and abundant natural resources, Scotland’s per capita GDP should be at least equivalent to that of our quietly prosperous medium-sized neighbouring countries, like Denmark ($60,230) or Ireland ($93,350). Instead we are trapped inside an isolated and declining GB economy, charged a payment towards England’s capital infrastructure programmes and unable to use Scotland’s considerable renewable energy resources for the benefit of our own citizens (eg to limit energy costs for Scottish households and businesses). No country would choose to link its economy or currency to the UK’s. The only route to a successful and prosperous Scotland, able to realise the benefits of its own considerable, wealth is independence and membership of the EU single market.

D Jamieson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Two became one

When was it decided that the UK is a “multinational state” (Alex Orr, Letters,18 October)? The Act of Union of 1707 declared that “the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland shall be… for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain...” Clearly this is intended to be one country, not two countries in some sort of federation.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Stony ground

In yesterday’s Scotsman the Now and Then article mentions the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland in 1996.Has anyone noticed the photograph of King Charles sitting on the throne in London with the attractive fretwork screen where once the Stone resided.Presumably the screen is removable as I believe the Stone will return to the throne for the King’s coronation to symbolise the united crowns.

C Lowson, Fareham, Hants

Logic bomb?

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Our new Chancellor's announcement that the energy price guarantee will end in April, 18 months early, because it will cost the taxpayer too much has got me thinking. Presumably the billions in UK military aid to prolong the terrible situation in Ukraine will be stopped too.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

For peat’s sake

I have to congratulate Dr Richard Dixon on his latest contribution regarding our valued peatlands (20 October). Most readers of The Scotsman will be familiar with Richard's one-sided articles on fossil fuels, nuclear power and his holy grail, renewables!In his latest piece he avoided any mention of the widespread destruction of peatland caused by windfarm construction, millions of tons of peat dug up to make way for concrete to anchor steel towers, while targeting grouse-shooting moors for their management of the land.

The Scottish Government is allegedly committed to protection and restoration of our peatlands and as such perhaps they, and Dr Dixon, could push for a moratorium on any construction on this valuable carbon retaining resource.

William Jackson, Uplawmoor, Glasgow

No argument

It is healthy to see dissent in a political party. This results in the re-assessment of priorities and policies, and challenges what could be a mistake.

It is therefore worrying that SNP members are always prepared to accept the opinions of one person who is never questioned.

Malcolm Parkin

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Kinnesswood, Kinross

Say what?

Papers quoted Liz Truss as saying: “I’m a fighter not a quitter”I’m hard of hearing, but are you sure she didn’t say: “I’m a fighter? No! A quitter!”As you know, punctuation is so important.

Joe Moir, Aberdeen

All stand

I’ve just updated my membership of the Conservative Party. Will I be obliged to stand for leader?

Ken Currie, Edinburgh

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