Scotsman Letters: Robison talking nonsense over Forbes snub

The new Scottish administration is starting where the last one left off with idiotic statements from Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison, who has as much finance experience as I have at being the last king of Scotland.
Reader suggests Shona Robison is having a laugh with her comments on Kate Forbes's decision not to join the Cabinet of new Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Reader suggests Shona Robison is having a laugh with her comments on Kate Forbes's decision not to join the Cabinet of new Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Reader suggests Shona Robison is having a laugh with her comments on Kate Forbes's decision not to join the Cabinet of new Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Robison, an inhabitant of the Scottish political bubble, says the reason Kate Forbes refused a cabinet position is because she wanted to spend more time with her new family. Does Robison think we’re all stupid? Forbes was desperate to take the highest-profile job in the country and Robison is suggesting she really didn't want a high pressure job and the race to win was all a land of mirrors where everything is reversed and upside down.

I don't believe in God… but if I'm wrong he needs to get down here quick and save us from these idiots.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

Sexist suggestion

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Shona Robison’s statement is ridiculous considering Kate Forbes just three days previously came very close to being our new First Minister. Further, one can only imagine the howls of outrage from female politicians if such a statement had been made by a man!

Kate Forbes may indeed want a “breather” for a week or two, having been subjected to more personal scrutiny and vitriol than both Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf put together. It is also worth noting that the Yousaf Cabinet of “C” list politicians at best contains almost nobody with serious experience in commerce or industry, simply serial politicians. Kate Forbes will, in all likelihood, reflect that she made exactly the right decision to step back from Yousaf’s Cabinet when the SNP come calling for a new leader within the next 18 months.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh


Humza Yousaf’s first experience at First Minister Questions was certainly a baptism of fire. Over and above the expected onslaught from opposition party leaders, Mr Yousaf had to endure no fewer than five suspensions of business, due to disruption from the public gallery just to add to the drama.

The Conservative Leader Douglas Ross tried to trash the new First Minister’s ministerial appointments, however, I am sure the country would take this assault on the new Scottish Cabinet with a pinch of salt, considering it came from the Conservatives. The Conservative Party’s ministerial appointment in the recent past have left a lot to be desired, resulting in the current cost of living crisis, fuel poverty and increased use of foodbanks. They should hide their heads in shame.

Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk

Too narrow

Interesting comments from Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 31 March), on the winning margin for Humza Yousaf, ie, it was so narrow that it resolves nothing.

I do wish Joyce would remember this when supporting the SNP claim that 51 per cent would be enough for independence in a referendum. Such a result would resolve nothing, as the other side would never accept it (that applies even if No won).

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Misuse of funds

It must be a comfort for the, approximately, 55 per cent of Scots who do not want “Independence” that their taxes will go to paying a ministerial salary for a minister with, I assume, the remit to promote such a move. Such a misuse of public funds is outrageous.

Ivar Colquhoun, Newport on Tay, Fife

Talent puddle

The SNP's new Cabinet reminds me of the phrase used in the 1961 book Lions led by Donkeys by Alan Clark, about the leadership of the British Army at the start of World War One. Not one member of the new SNP leadership has more than a passing experience of business.

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Not content to put together a mediocre team of failed politicos, Humza Yousaf has appointed an Independence Minister at the taxpayers' expense. This at a time when the majority of the Scottish public reject the idea.

Voted in by a tiny proportion of the electorate, our First Minister talks about “Progressive Democracy”!

The only saving grace of this fiasco is that the SNP leadership will be joining Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Truss in the failed politicos Hall of Fame. It can't happen soon enough.

Jim Bell, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Playing victim

Leah Gunn Barrett has reached new heights of fantasy (Letters, 31 March). I can only assume it is desperation at the current state of separatist politics in Scotland.

First, calling Scotland a “colony” is absurd. Which British colonies sent MPs to Westminster? From which colonies were government ministers and PMs ever drawn? Many Scottish politicians have served in these roles at Westminster. Further, Scots benefited very greatly from the British colonies: they were active participants in the colonising project, as is now being recognised.

Second, Ms Barrett has become an adherent of MMT – Modern Monetary Theory, aka the Magic Money Tree – by referring to the “lie that ‘taxes fund spending’.” Perhaps she should tell the SNP regime at Holyrood to slash tax rates, given that new finance minister Shona Robison will be able to create plenty of new money. Why is Humza Yousaf contemplating a new 44 per cent tax rate when all he needs to do is turn on the tap?

Third, Ms Barrett sees Scotland’s way to sovereignty as being “through the UN and ICJ”. The UN’s prescriptions for intervening in the internal affairs of sovereign states such as the UK are drawn very narrowly and do not include countries with a representative democracy, the rule of law and substantial devolution. The UN recognises only one “right of intervention”: when a state’s conduct can be construed as a threat to international peace and security. The ICJ’s functions are clear: “The Court's role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised United Nations organs and specialised agencies”. None of that applies to Scotland.

Ms Barrett can lament the perceived slights she imagines Scotland suffers all she wants. But we have had enough of separatists playing the victim and inventing false grievances. That is not the way to build a better country for future generations.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Green gripes

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Having bought The Scotsman since 1964 when I ventured from Perth to Edinburgh I feel entitled to say that the Sustainable Scotland articles by Dr Richard Dixon are well past their sell-by dates.

Not once in his articles has he said that the UK only has 1.15 per cent of global emissions and that until China, India, the oil and gas-rich countries stop burning fossil fuels and coal then whatever the UK does is immaterial.

Not once has he said that Net Zero by 2050 will cost £3 trillion or £108,000 per household.

Not once has he said that none of the scaremongering predictions made by “climate scientists” over the last 50 years have come to pass. The Maldives have not vanished below the waves, the 20 feet rise in sea levels predicted by Al Gore has not happened, snow is still falling, no Ice Ages by 1990, 2000 and 2020, Britain will not be Siberia by 2024, no ice-free Arctic by 2015, the Himalayan glaciers are still there and rising sea levels have not obliterated nations and polar bear numbers are at an all-time high.

Not once has he said that the Russian war with Ukraine is creating millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.

Not once has he said that Mother Nature creates greenhouse gases with earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. Time for Dr Richard Dixon's P45.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Power peril?

Scottish Power (SP), owned by a large Spanish conglomerate, reported a 3.6 per cent increase in profits in 2022 despite hardships suffered by customers. I’m renovating a property on the outskirts of Edinburgh and was advised by the electrician engaged to rewire to contact SP as the 1950s wiring looked dodgy.

Apart from the shock I'd received from a switch, the elderly neighbour's supply feeds through the house and appeared to be unearthed. I had the usual problems getting through even on the emergency number – I first made contact on the 17th, again on 20th March and a young engineer attended. He agreed with the electrician and said a report would be sent – there was an upgrade programme in the area and we would be contacted.

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Ten days after this, having had no feedback, I rang again and there appeared to be no record of the conversation or my concerns. The operative, who genuinely seemed to be trying her best to help, suggested another callout! Presumably expecting a different result from the same action... I was told that an unearthed electrical supply was not regarded as urgent by SP “because a lot of houses in the area were like that”. In my head the word “Grenfell” lit up.

I think we've come to expect very little from privatised utility companies but I do hope the obsession with using customers as cash cows doesn’t equate to casual criminal negligence...

Amanda Baker, Edinburgh

Belarus baloney

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko claims Russia will win in Ukraine because “it is impossible to defeat a nuclear power”.

Pity no one told that to Afghanistan and Vietnam, which have the honour of defeating three nuclear powers in full scale wars – Afghanistan defeating Russia, Vietnam defeating France, and both beating the USA.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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