Scotland on Sunday letters

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No sign of socialism in SNP’s policies over the past eight years

IN HIS article (News In Focus, 15 March), Tommy Sheppard tries to explain “why socialists must vote for the SNP”. The SNP have been in power for the past eight years. What have been their main policies?

As far as the council tax freeze is concerned, when a tax that increases annually by a percentage rate is frozen, then those who pay the most, the rich, will gain the most. In 2011/2012 band A payers gained £473 whereas band G payers gained £1,140. Over eight years this is a gain of over £6,000.

As far as free prescriptions for all is concerned, nothing is free in Government spending. Every penny has to be raised by taxes. When Alex Salmond announced this he forgot to mention that 87 per cent of people already received “taxpayer funded” prescriptions. The Scottish Government spends £57 million a year on the 13 per cent who on the whole can afford to pay for their prescriptions.

Salmond said he wished to be remembered for free (taxpayer funded) university education for all. However, if you attend a state school and then go to university you will have received taxpayer funded education throughout your whole educational life. If, on the other hand, you attend a private school then go to university (with parents paying upwards of £10,000 per year to give their children a better chance of going to university), you will now save £10,000 per year once at university. The rich gain again. If the SNP were serious about a fairer society they should charge parents who paid for their children’s education £5,000 a year for university education. This would accumulate enough money to carry out promised education policies i.e. maximum 18 in P1-3 classes.

As far as nuclear weapons are concerned, the SNP wish to get rid of them from the Gareloch but want to join Nato, whose countries accept the nuclear umbrella. This is not nuclear disarmament. This is shifting them elsewhere. They could return to the Gareloch under the auspices of Nato.

Well the cat is now out of the devo max bag. The SNP are not offering an alternative to austerity economics at the next general election. Under devo max Scotland would have to make between £4 billion and £6bn of either spending cuts or tax increases. Where did the SNP learn their socialism Mr Sheppard? Was it when they went “into bed” with Maggie Thatcher in 1979 or when they were in league with the Scottish Tories in 2007-2011?

Get real Mr Sheppard and quote the actual policies of the SNP Government and not the fantasy world you appear to have swallowed hook, line and sinker.

Gordon Taylor, Wishaw

Election essays worth reading

CONGRATULATIONS on your series “The Election Essays”. If the contributions to come are even half as intelligent and well argued as No 1 (15 March) they will be well worth reading. Edinburgh East’s SNP candidate, Tommy Sheppard, laid out his reasons for standing for the SNP in a clear, considered manner and nailed the myth that voting SNP will result in a Tory government. He points out that Scots voters have “pretty much zero impact on the size of the Tory group in the UK”. Scotland is unlikely to vote en masse for the Tories. Therefore, given that SNP MPs will never put a Tory government in power, he argues that “whether an SNP or Labour member is elected in a particular Scottish seat has no bearing on whether the Tories succeed in forming a government”. What voting SNP will do is have an influence on whether any Labour government continues to embrace “neo-con” ideology or returns to its true socialist roots.

Patricia Dishon, Edinburgh

Conspiracy talk wide of the mark

IN YOUR Leader comment (15 March) you suggest there is a latent anti-Scottish mood coming through in UK politics and that the Tories and Lib Dems should tone down their language when speaking about the SNP. Well, can I respectfully suggest you think again about the language you use when implying there is some kind of conspiracy on the part of UK politicians in regard to the role the SNP might play in creation of a government. You seem to commend the SNP for not using unconstitutional means to seek power and say that it would be appalling “if the British state were to turn around and say that nevertheless the party should be denied its full constitutional rights”.

During the referendum campaign the SNP became very adept at putting words into their opponents’ mouths in order to paint them in the worst possible light. I am surprised to see a Leader comment of a usually balanced newspaper playing the same game. To my knowledge no UK politician has ­either directly or indirectly suggested that any SNP candidates that win a seat in the general election should be prevented from fully engaging in the UK Parliament like any other MP.

The issue of working in ­formal or informal coalition is a very different thing. For UK politicians to commit to ­working together with an SNP group of, say, 40 to 50 MPs in Westminster, in the full ­knowledge that those SNP MPs primary purpose would be to undermine that Parliament and in turn break-up the UK, would surely itself be an undermining of democracy.

The people of the UK do not want to see their country broken up to satisfy the ambitions of Scottish Nationalism.

Equally, neither do the people of Scotland, who just a few short months ago after two years of intensive campaigning stated with a clear majority that they wanted to remain as part of the UK.

Keith Howell, West Linton

Green numbers don’t add up

I WAS interested to read that only four people turned up to the first Pegida Scotland ­meeting (News, 22 March); that is ten fewer ­individuals who attended the Scottish Green Party hustings at Ayr Town Hall on 20 March, ­including the prospective ­candidates.

Paul Wilson, Prestwick