Nicola Sturgeon’s done more damage to Scotland than Margaret Thatcher - Readers' Letters

The late Margaret Thatcher is the bête noire of Scottish nationalists. She is blamed for dividing the people of Scotland and running down the old and environmentally unfriendly and unhealthy industries of Scotland in the 1980s.

Margaret Thatcher at the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Perth in May 1986
Margaret Thatcher at the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Perth in May 1986

On reflection, however, and as an old man I can recall the Thatcher era very well, I believe sincerely that the present First Minister of Scotland has done very much more damage to our country.

Can anyone put their hand on their heart and say Scotland is a better place to live in under the SNP? In my opinion it is most certainly not and I cannot recall such rancour and downright hatred and divisiveness as exists at the moment in this country.

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One thing the First Minister and the late Margaret Thatcher do hold in common is their ‘’is he/she one of us?’’ attitude to promotion.

On further reflection I would say that far from being the saint-like creature the SNP PR machines likes to portray, Nicola Sturgeon is no Mother Teresa and, overall, Margaret Thatcher – for whom I never voted. I may add. and at the time disliked intensely – was at least honest and fearless and chose to take on head first the strongest, not the weakest, in society.

Alexander McKay


Work ethic

Catriona C Clark’s letter (1 July) is a good example of the split in attitudes in Scotland between those who work and those who don’t. In other words, between those who hold to the traditional, Scottish work ethic and those whose outlook is one of expecting a “money tree” to support their lifestyle.

Ms Clark lambasts the Government at Westminster for wanting to ship “asylum seekers” to “offshore detention centres”. The trouble is that the people she calls “asylum seekers” are overwhelmingly economic migrants from places that are poor, but not at war. These people travel through rich, free, western European countries because they want to get to the “streets paved with gold” in Britain, only to find that it is just the same as Italy, France, Germany etc, but without the good weather. The Government is quite right.

She also espouses a “Universal Basic Income” which she says “the Scottish Parliament is keen to introduce”. In other words, money for sitting on our backsides doing nothing. Well, if someone else is paying...

The time was when Scotland was a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs who took risks and who invented and created things. People who worked hard. We led the Industrial Revolution and, thanks to the benefits of the Union, we dragged ourselves out of the acute poverty which was our condition hitherto.

However, since our aged industries in the west went down in the face of eastern competition, the Scottish genius and work ethic went with it. Rather than creating businesses, we are holding out our hands for benefits. How terribly sad.

Andrew HN Gray


Asylum seekers

We don’t want an open-door policy for “asylum seekers”. The great majority of illegals in UK are not people fleeing war and persecution. They are people looking for a UK way of life, and most of them are young men.

Does Catriona C Clark not realise that these immigrants have to be housed, treated on the NHS and receive financial benefits since they are unemployed, etc?

We have enough fiscal problems in Scotland without adding to them through naivety.

The Home Secretary is quite right. The UK supplies financial and other forms of aid to countries in conflict. That is sufficient during the current straitened times.

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Core royals

Apart from the now traditional photo of an attractive female student at the end of her studies (1 July), the Scotsman has further dumbed down by referring to St Andrews University, the oldest in Scotland and one of the most prestigious in the world, as the alma mater of William and Kate!

I think an educated Scottish readership deserves better than to offer these two as core alumni!

Brian Bannatyne Scott, Edinburgh

Climate despair

I read with increasing despair, the report from the Scottish Climate Assembly with its predictably aspirational and completely unaffordable 81 recommendations and characterised by the level of naivety which you would expect from an Assembly which consists of “a wide representation” of the population who are clearly impressionable and poorly informed (Scotsman, 24 June). Despite the obvious lack of expertise, we are assured that they “speak for Scotland”, which is delusional.

What is completely missing from the proposals is any awareness that climate change is a global issue, to which Scotland's contribution is almost insignificant and that unless we persuade China, India and the USA to match these aspirations and time-lines then they are absolutely futile.

Also missing, as is always the case with these focus groups, is any reference to the impact that the proposals would have on our already fragmented economy.

This is an unwise distraction from the genuine crisis in our health and education systems as well as in our economy.

So, two recommendations for all future reports. Please could we stay with these top three priorities until the obvious failings are rectified and could we also ensure that they are all fully and demonstrably costed.

Dr Malcolm Brown, Glasgow

Danger signs

Dr John Cameron suggests that scientists who share the same opinions about important issues like climate warming and viral pandemics are susceptible to venality, amongst other faults (Letters, 28 June). He’s suggesting that they’re open to bribery to encourage them to report the dangers of warming, but doesn’t offer any evidence for his assertion.

We don’t have to be scientists to find the evidence for a warming planet. We can see the changes taking place in our local environment without reading scientific reports or attending conferences on the subject of climate change.

The changes are not impacting everyone equally: some are much more adversely affected than others. Those of us who are getting off relatively lightly compared to others, so far, should beware of being complacent.

I would say to Dr Cameron, if you can’t see the problem, then you’re not paying attention. Either that, or you’re wilfully ignoring the evidence.

Carolyn Taylor, Dundee

Rumsfeld legacy

On the death of Donald Rumsfeld in the USA my mind turns to the dramatic events of the anti-Iraq War demo in London on 15 February, 2003.

I was there and I was nearly crushed to death outside the Savoy. How I escaped I cannot really say.

If I had died there that day, would that have been Rumsfeld's fault? Clearly not. But there are some who would blame him even now.

As people rush to print to characterise Rumsfeld as just another Milo Minderbinder form Catch-22 determined to profiteer from war, I have only one question left unanswered. Who was exactly responsible for 9/11?

Nigel Boddy, Darlington

Easy to mock

In his letter mentioning care homes (30 June), Colin Hamilton describes mistakes analysed with the benefits of hindsight and admitted, as "a dereliction of duty". This is both inaccurate and grossly unfair. He mocks the First Minister, after a year dealing with and managing the strategy to deal with the worst health crisis this country has ever had to face, for having the temerity to feel "tired". Which is easy to say from where he's sitting.

He then seeks to again perpetuate the myth that the country ran out of PPE. Something which never happened. In his original letter he complained that Audit Scotland had removed the word "shortages", and then unilaterally reinstates it in his description of the AS assessment.

He finishes by saying that the incumbents of this "moral vacuum" need to be voted out at the next election. Forgive me, but weren't these incumbents voted back in by the electorate with an increased number of seats a little more than a month ago?

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

Short-term lets

Our city centre areas have in the last few years seen an increase in the Airbnb/short-term rentals.

This is having an increasingly detrimental effect on local communities. In some stairs there are several flats now providing short-term lets. People no longer have neighbours, this causes difficulties when common stair repairs are required. There is an impact on local shops and council services.

We need a moratorium on all future short-term lets until a licensing scheme overseen by local councils is in place.

Jim Mackenzie, Edinburgh

Yes Tyneside

Allan Sutherland’s increasingly desperate attempts to wind up Nationalists do make me giggle (Letters 1 July).

Only last week I was having a conversation with some English friends in Tyneside who were urging me to vote ‘Yes’ should we have another referendum. All want to move to an independent Scotland that is outward-looking and wants to be a part of something bigger in the world, rather than the narrow-minded Brexit England they now live in.

Maybe they could do a swap deal with Mr Sutherland and everyone would be happy?

D Mitchell, Edinburgh

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