Missing Wilson

Have your say

I WAS saddened to read that Brian Wilson was giving his column a rest.

I eagerly looked forward to reading his column on a Saturday as his breadth of knowledge and wealth of political know-how make his column a very interesting read. Indeed a read which causes me to stop and ponder over what he has said.

We have been told time and again by the media and by (“I take nothing for granted”) Nicola Sturgeon that the SNP will win an overwhelming majority on 5 May. We are told by all the so called pundits who state categorically that this is so.

This being so I will miss Brian Wilson’s measured responses regarding what is actually happening in Scottish politics even more. We will have a one-party state under an SNP government which cares more about independence than making our country a better place for us all, not just for their own members.

Jean Livingstone

Scott Grove, Hamilton

Ban all hatred

If Jeremy Corbyn’s inquiry is to be into anti-Semitism, his decision is just wrong.

If it is to be into anything, it should be into religious hatred and discrimination of any and all types. If not, the implication is that one religion is to be more valued and has more political influence than another. We must hope that not only will there be balance on the panel but that there is seen to be a balance.

Perhaps the presence of Professor David Feldman of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism as the vice chair of the panel might be balanced by a representative from the Muslin Council of Great Britain otherwise no matter how the enquiry is sold, it is inevitable that it will be seen to focus on anti-Semitism to the exclusion of other faiths.

Alastair Gentleman


Low-brow vote

This Scottish election campaign is low-brow in content and absurd in visual imagery.

Presidential style self-promotion by people of such average capabilities is unconvincing. Compared to more serious examples of our human achievement, universities, ethical commerce and manufacturing, the National Health Service, good literature, music, drama and art, amateur sports and Christian worship, this media-driven election campaign is an embarrassment.

Nicola Sturgeon may be fashioning herself on Margaret Thatcher but she seems more like a mixture of Joan of Arc preparing for future political igneous humiliation and the worshipped Eva Peron (Don’t cry for me Bonnie Scotland).

She has already planned her future exit to coincide with failure to improve educational attainment. Scotland is diminishing by the day.

(Rev Dr) Robert Anderson

Blackburn and Seafield Church, Blackburn

Housing needed

After many, many years of SNP government, Scotland is still in the middle of a housing crisis. The number of people under 34 who own their home has fallen by a third in the last 15 years. Because of Tory austerity policies being passed on by the SNP Scottish government, and wages not keeping pace with house prices or rents, the idea of buying your own home or renting with security is becoming a distant dream.

In their manifesto, the SNP say 30,133 affordable houses have been built, and proudly state that “we’ve exceeded our target for new homes in the last five years”. That is true, but as the target was 6,000 homes a year over five years, the excess of 133 is certainly nothing to write home about; the target was probably too low in the first place. As there are currently 150,000 households on local waiting lists for social housing, the SNP have really failed to deliver on housing.

There are simply not enough houses for people at affordable prices. The SNP have pledged that 50,000 affordable houses will be built in the next parliament, but again this is not enough. Labour promises 60,000 new homes; that is the number Shelter, the housing charity, say are needed. Most would be for social rent and it would support 50,000 jobs.

Promises need to be turned into action, and soon.

M Mackenzie

Grange Loan, Edinburgh

NHS is unhealthy

News that nine out of ten GPs are worried that a lack of resources could be putting patient care at risk is yet another nail in the coffin of the SNP’s health policies. Many GP practices have had to be taken into direct control as they have not been able to get replacement GPs to run them. Similar issues within the NHS are coming to light on an almost daily basis.

It does not help that Nicola Sturgeon, as health minister, cut the number of training places for doctors and nurses because it was “a sensible way forward”.

Ms Sturgeon says judge her on her record, but by any measure, she has failed.

Labour has promised an appointment with a GP within 48 hours as part of its manifesto, and has said where the money will come from. The SNP is also promising money, but as its promises are far in excess of the extra amounts being raised in taxation, the only reasonable conclusion is that, under the SNP, the NHS will continue to be starved of resources and GPs will continue to leave the service and find jobs elsewhere

Rosa Tomany

Alnwickhill Park, Edinburgh

Frack ban query

The Green Party and the Scottish Labour Party have pledged to refuse planning applications for fracking operations. If the SNP review committee endorse this view-point will Holyrood ban the import of shale gas from the USA? Has there been a review of such a ban on the Scottish economy?

I Moir

Queen Street, Castle Douglas

Sturgeon praised

Dawns the day at the end of a predominately dull, dismal and unexciting Scottish government election campaign, languishing as it has in the shadow of the forthcoming EU referendum. Perhaps the euphoria and energy of 2014 and 2015 has taken their toll, along with the negative and lacklustre campaigning of the pro- Union parties.

The dithering Kezia Dugdale, with her contradictive pronouncements.

The whimsical Willie Rennie insisting that a tax increase solves everything.

The boisterous Ruth Davidson may say what she likes, but it’s her Tory party that has set working people against each other by cutting benefits and pursuing austerity.

Patrick Harvie can see a balance between environmental issues and business practice.

However there is no doubt that the safe pair of hands, common sense and practical experience of Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers brings vision and hope to our rich and favoured land and that she will lead Scotland to independence when the time is right.

Grant Frazer


Garden party

Named person a head gardener? A strange analogy or perhaps not.

A head gardener is in the employ of the lady of the manor and carries out duties to ensure her domain looks good to those looking in.

It doesn’t tell the outsider if the people in the manor are good people but at least it looks pretty.

Does this mean the leader of the SNP will dictate how children should be raised, how parents and children should conduct themselves when out in public? Why don’t they admit they got this policy wrong.

Elizabeth Hands

Etna Court, Armadale

Brexit call

Michael Gove, the UK Justice Secretary, warned that the proposed enlargement of the EU meant that 90 million migrants from Albania, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro would have the right to travel to Britain and take up jobs, school places and housing and of course would be eligible for NHS care.

Mr Gove is being realistic not alarmist since the minimum wage in the UK will attract migrants who earn less than 20 per cent of that.

Britain already has too many foreign criminals operating in our country and residing in our prisons.

European countries are already regretting the chaos caused by Angela Merkel and the influx of one million immigrants.

Escalating crime, including rapes, and violence towards staff in hospitals by immigrants has resulted in an armed police presence.

This should be a warning on how we vote on 23 June and also on 5 May since the SNP desperately want to be part of the European Union.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Loony off-tunes

A small piece of British political history passed unremarked last week as the Official Monster Raving Loony Party – after 33 years in existence – finally earned the right to a Party Political Broadcast, albeit in Wales only after stuffing the List constituencies with enough candidates to qualify.

All they could proffer was something more befitting a schoolchild’s failed media studies presentation. The party once responsible for maverick genius Devon councillor Stuart Hughes, poll tax court filibuster Danny Bamford and homeless campaigner the late Willi Beckett is now a pub crawl crew proffering infantile kitsch about mermaids and dragons.

Once the OMRLP used satire to make pertinent points and suggested outrageous solutions that history proved sound – passports for pets, all day licensing to stop binge drinking, reducing the voting age, etc. Now they serve little purpose save self-aggrandisement.

Is Lord David Sutch turning in his grave? The way the post-Sutch OMRLP has carried on, they could fit my old friend’s coffin to a dynamo and provide Britain with free electricity until doomsday.

Mark Boyle

Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Ducks and drakes

Thursday evening in St Andrews was absolutely appalling. It was windy and cold. There was also a deluge of freezing rain inundating my wife and me as we walked into the town centre to look for a decent restaurant for dinner.

“It’s nice weather for ducks,” my wife commented, as we tried (and failed) to dodge vehicles splashing us with water from the numerous puddles in the road.

As we entered Market Street, a Mallard drake and his mate strolled out of a shop doorway, quacking gently, clearly quite comfortable with the foul, wet conditions.

It just goes to show that there is many a true word spoken in jest!

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh

Life’s a lottery

I note that among the registered Voters in Scotland in 1788 the following entry: John Christie of Baberton “Made his fortune by a lottery ticket”.

So, yet again, nothing new under the sun.

Robert M. Dunn

Oxcars Court, Edinburgh