Letters test

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    Cynical Approach, The Scotsman, David Bone, 02/12/20.

    The squandering SNP bread and circuses roadshow continues unabated this week with Scotland’s own political King Croesus throwing yet more funds at another segment of Scottish society: this time the NHS. But what about the count-less teaching staff who have been in unsanitary environments since August without PPE and no social distancing? The always ignored support workers who have been on minimum wage for most of their careers in the third sector. People in retail, distribution, logistics and farming. Social workers. Postmen. The list could go on. However, this is the stand-ard operational tactic of the SNP; give money to one section of society to make your opponents look curmudgeonly, misogynistic, hateful, or (worst of all) “unkind”, further stifling and infantilising the quality of debate in Scotland, and hobbling the opposition. In the meantime, actual difficult political and economic decisions will be pushed to local authorities or to the private sector. To invert the famous phrase by President John F Kennedy to better reflect the Scottish government: “We do these things because they are easy and popular, not because they are hard’. DAVID BONE, Hamilton Street Girvan, South Ayrshire


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    Santa Sturgeon, Daily Mail, Jill Stephenson, 02/12/20.

    SANTA has come early this year. She (for it is ‘she’) is showering various groups – NHS workers, families with children on free school meals – with money as if it were confetti. Where the money comes from is, of course, the question. Perhaps it is from the £1 billion that the Fraser of Allander Institute think-tank identified as being unaccounted for, or the f8.2billion Covid money sent to Scot-land, both from Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor. He, however, will not receive the credit for it. The Scottish Government will see to it that it goes to Miss Santa, in advance of the Holyrood election. JILL STEPHENSON, Edinburgh.


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    Votes rather than seats?, The Scotsman, Lewis Finnie, 02/12/20.

    So, if Nicola Sturgeon is using local elections as a referendum and the “people of Scot-land” will sweep her to victory next May, will she accept votes cast rather than seats won? Lewis Finnie Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh


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    Indyref 2 Next Year (Again?), Sturgeon Shamed for Covid Negligence. The Scotland Matters Update: 30/11/20 – All The Best Pro-UK/Anti-Nationalist News, Articles and Letters.

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    Faith in Holyrood decisions failing, The Press and Journal, K Fernie, 27/11/20.

    I see the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee is pondering what to do with the Hate Crime Bill. Hopefully, the committee will have more up top than the MSPs who put the anti-smacking bill on the statute books a couple of weeks ago. Holyrood invited public opinion on both these bills. Many people responded, myself included, but in the case of the anti-smacking bill not a blind bit of notice was taken of widespread opposition. It’s wholly on the cards that the same thing could happen with the Hate Crime Bill, the committee riding roughshod over every plea for sanity, commonsense, and most important of all the preservation of free speech. Why they have to meddle with satisfactory existing legislation is anyone’s guess. lb add to the nonsense, Holyrood has newly declared itself party to an arrangement which will allow droves of people from the highest Covid tiers in the country to stravaig willy-nilly across the UK over the Christmas period. I fear the Scottish Government has lost its marbles entirely. Keith Fernie, Drakies Avenue, Inverness


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    What are the SNP hiding from us?, Press and Journal, Simon Turner, 28/11/20.

    Sir, – Your columnist Alex Bell rightly highlighted the secretive culture in the SNP government and the need for the public to challenge that secretive culture (Press and Journal, November 26). The SNP have been defeated in the Scottish Parliament for a second time regarding the legal advice they received for the so-called Alex Salmond inquiry. The ability the SNP has to defy our parliament is neither healthy nor acceptable in a democracy. My own MSP Kevin Stewart has voted twice with his party rather than in his constituents’ interests to ensure the truth comes out about what the Scottish Government knew or did not know about Alex Salmond’s behaviour in government. Many will remember when the UK Government was beaten on a vote in the Commons over handing over the Brexit legal advice, the UK Government handed over the necessary documentation the next day. This peculiar stance adopted by the SNP and SNP MSPs makes me – and I am positive many other Press and Journal readers – wonder what it is that the SNP Scottish Government are trying to hide from the public in the run-up to the 2021 Scottish elections? Alex Bell is right; we the public need to challenge the SNP’s secretive culture, especially when they govern in our name. Simon Turner, Salisbury Court, Aberdeen


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    Give us the facts, The Scotsman, D Cowe, 28/11/20.

    Give us the facts To placate their following, SNP politicians are calling fora referendum next year. Can these politicians please have the courtesy to inform “the people of Scotland” in detail what the social, economic, financial and military implications of an independent Scotland will be? None of them appear to be willing to address these issues. It is clear that those who want independence tomorrow have no concern for the real implications of separation and are driven only by the emotion of some sort of “free-dom” from Westminster, and xenophobia. They might also want to explain what is free and independent of the dream of being shackled to Brussels and the cost of EU membership. Andrew Wilson seems to be the only separatist who comes close to realistically addressing the implications, but of course, he is ridiculed by fellow believers. DOUGLAS COWE, Alexander Avenue, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire


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    Nationalist disasters, Daily Mail, R Allison, 23/11/20.

    THE volcanic-style eruption of faux outrage from the SNP and their separatist acolytes concerning Boris Johnson’s reported comments about devolution being a ‘disaster’ was entirely predictable. However, one should hark back to the establishment of the Scottish parliament in 1999 following the referendum in 1997. The late Donald Dewar. often referred to as the ‘Father of the Nation’. firmly believed that devolution and the establishment of a Scottish parliament would neutralise the threat of the national-ists and their desire for independence. But that policy has clearly been disastrous, as rightly described by Boris Johnson. If the nationalists want to look even closer to home around policy ‘disasters’ then, unfortunately for the ordinary people of Scotland, the list is almost endless – from the destruction of our world-leading education system to the management of the Covid crisis and the Salmond inquiry. When the SNP faces real scrutiny on its domestic record right across the spectrum then those not blinkered by the desire for independence will very quickly see the disaster that is this SNP government. RICHARD ALLISON. Edinburgh.


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    SNP don’t believe in devolution, Press and Journal, K Shortreed, 24/11/20.

    I always find it amusing when Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP leap to the defence of devolution, this time in response to Boris Johnson’s claim that it has been a disaster (Press and Journal, November 17). The SNP don’t believe in devolution and never have. Back in the 1990s the Scottish Constitutional Convention, which laid the groundwork for the Scottish Assembly, was boycotted by the SNP. Only when devolution was obviously going to happen and the SNP didn’t want to be left behind did Alex Salmond persuade his party to back it in the referendum. They boycotted the 2008 Calman Commission, which was charged with beefing up Holyrood’s powers. The SNP did send John Swinney to participate in the 2014 Smith Commission on enhanced powers for the Scottish Parliament but were rubbishing its proposals as soon as the ink was dry.
    The worthwhile benefits that devolution has brought, such as free personal care for the elderly and the AWPR, were delivered by the Labour-Liberal Democrat administrations under Donald Dewar and Jack McConnell. Apart from running down our education standards to the point where we no longer participate in international surveys on education, the SNP’s time in office has been mainly characterised by using the Scottish Parliament to drive a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the UK. I decided to vote Yes/ Yes back in the devolution referendum thinking it would lead to the better governance of Scotland. Thanks to the SNP, it is a decision I now regret. Keith Shortreed, Cottown of Gight, Methlick.


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    Comedy hour at Holyrood, The Herald, J Stephenson, 23/11/20.

    COMEDY hour again at Holyrood. Mike Russell – who is retiring in 2021 – tells us that there WILL be a referendum next year because it will take so little time and effort to prepare for one. Presumably, this is on the basis that SNP information about the things that matter to people will be as sparing of substance as witness statements in the Salmond inquiry. Hilariously, Mr Russell claims Scexit offers the best hope of repairing the economic damage of the coronavirus. That will be because the UK Treasury has provided Scotland with the billions of pounds that have kept hundreds of thousands of Scots supported in the crisis through furloughing and other measures, something unacknowledged by the administration to which Mr Russell belongs. Still, I suppose as Constitution Secretary – a post that violates the devolved/reserved prescription – he has nothing else to do but pontificate about constitutional matters and collect a fat salary. Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


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    Poor Show, The Scotsman, T Jackson, 20/11/20.

    An opinion poll yesterday suggests that significantly more Scots think Nicola Sturgeon has handled the Covid pan-demic better than Boris Johnson. It is a pity that the poll did not ask about Nicola Sturgeon’s performance compared with those of similarly sized European countries of 5 million. Sadly, Scotland’s death rate from Covid is significantly higher than four Europe-an countries with such populations, ie Denmark, Fin-land, Slovakia and Norway. Indeed. Scotland’s death rate is 10 times worse than Norway. With Scotland’s geography and population density, Scot-land should at least be doing as well as these countries but it has contrived to do worse. eg by sending elderly people. sick with Covid. back to care homes. The myth about Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid performance needs to be exposed. Failure to do so will assuredly add to Scots’ mistaken belief that it would be better If Scotland were independent from the rest of the UK. TIM JACKSON Whim Road, East Lothian


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    Blame Blair and Brown, Daily Mail, J Stephenson, 20/11/20.

    Gordon Brown admits that he and Tony Blair were naive to believe that devolution would strengthen the Union. So he is waking up at last? Why not just say ‘Tam Dalyell was right’? The West Lothian question has never been answered. Having a party in power in Scot-land that does not want to make devolution work, because all it wants is independence, is a disaster for both Scotland and the UK. Blair and Brown imagined that Holyrood and Westminster would work together. Fat chance when the wreckers control Holyrood – and pretty much all of Scotland with their centralisation, cronyism and incompetence. Scotland and the UK have been damaged, I hope not fatally, by Blair and Brown, and also by David Cameron who insouciantly allowed Alex Salmond to choose the terms of the 2014 referendum. Boris Johnson could have chosen his words more judiciously when he called devolution ‘a disaster’, but it seems that he is by no means alone in his view. He is not, however, to blame for the mess that we are now in as a result of the SNP’s constant undermining of the UK. That responsibility lies squarely with some of his predecessors. JILL STEPHENSON, Edinburgh.


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    SNP’s record is terrible, Daily Record, G Robertson, 20/11/20.

    WHERE is W Ellis (Record Readers, Wednesday) staying? The SNP’s record is terrible. Education is far worse since it came into power, the health service is a joke. I am disabled and speak from experience. The police force is struggling again. Tuition fees and prescriptions are not free, they are paid for with the highest tax in the UK. I am not a fan of Boris Johnson but the SNP has made a terrible job of devolution. The facts speak for themselves. Take off the blinkers. G Robertson. Edinburgh


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    Scotland Matters Weekly Update, 23/11/20: All The Best Pro-UK/Anti Nationalist News, Articles and Letters.

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    Boris has rattled the cage of the SNP, The Herald, J Lax, 19/11/20.

    BORIS Johnson has rattled the cage of the SNP. What the SNP fail to acknowledge is that they don’t actually want devolution to work. If devolution were a success, their argument for independence would be weakened. The last 13 years under the nationalists have seen them doing all they can to show devolution as ineffective. They have had the powers to improve life in Scotland, in our education system, health system and local authorities, yet they have failed to do so. Without devolution, who would the SNP blame for their own failures? Jane Lax, Aberlour.


    Things can only get better, Daily Mail, D Grattan, 19/11/20.

    BORIS Johnson is quite right to call devolution a disaster for Scotland. After 13 years of SNP rule, our education system is in tatters, the economy is in a deep recession and £13billion of debt has been racked up – with taxation the highest in the UK. Things couldn’t get worse… or could they? Let’s see what the electorate says in May, or is the SNP running scared? DENNIS FORBES GRATTAN, Aberdeen


    The real row is approaching, Daily Record, G Edwards, 19/11/20.

    THE row over devolution is a contrived storm in a teacup. The real row is approaching as the SNP applies the final touches to its near-total destruction of the economy with its half-baked shutdown plans. This will affect us all. Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


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    Devolution IS a disaster, Daily Mail, D Bone, 18/11/20

    Devolution in its current form has been a disaster. Sadly, this nation is a hollow, welfare democracy that will soon be devoid of any meaningful institutions and traditions. Policing and teaching are mere branches of social work now, with the real jobs a secondary concern. We have an obnoxious, overbearing, paternalistic state that seeks to `help’ us while insidiously desiring the policing of our thoughts and habits in case we ‘offend’ someone or make the wrong dietary choice. The link between taxation and services is shattered to the point that a sizable minority of Scots see all services as ‘free’ rather than having economic, environmental and social limits that have to be paid for. And we are governed by an ideologically driven, nepotistic political class who have given us (so far) nothing but a decade of constant political uncertainty, even during the Great Recession and Covid-19 pandemic -two of the defining moments of my generation’s lifetime. I thought devolution was supposed to result in something better. Is this what Donald Dewar had in mind? DAVID BONE, Girvan, Ayrshire.


    Decade of decline shows that PM is bang on, Daily Express, A Sutherland, 18/11/20.

    HAS devolution been a disaster? it’s a godsend for the SNP but education and local government have declined, we now have a huge housing crisis, the NHS struggles to cope with an illness caused by obesity and our 3,280 Covid deaths compare terribly to other countries with similar populations. If it’s a disaster, it should either be fixed or scrapped. Neither will happen. Welcome to devolved Scotland. Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire


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    Swinney is Jolly Awful, Daily Record, H Leishman, 16/11/20

    SCOTLAND doesn’t have to look far for an “unlucky omen” – just look and listen to Deputy First Minister John Swinney when he appears on your TV screen. He reminds me of the late Rikki Fulton as Reverend I M Jolly in Scotch and Wry with his dryness when explaining anything to the Scottish public. He seems to be the Government messenger in breaking bad news, whether it’s anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic, educational issues or the handling of university students’ Christmas break. His latest escapade is dealing with the Scottish Government’s failure in handing over legal documentation on the botched complaints against Alex Salmond, which Swinney said he was not doing at this time. I am confident that Rev I M Jolly would have made a better job of it than this motley crew. Amen to that. Hamish Leishman, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire.


    Been there…The Scotsman, D Carmichael, 16/11/20

    Leah Gunn Barrett said in her letter (14 November): “…when Scots decide to restore their nationhood it should be decided in one clean vote”. Has it not already been decided in one clean vote? DONALD CARMICHAEL Orchard Court, East Linton


    Failing the test, Daily Mail, G Edwards, 16/11/20

    WE have been bombarded by SNP spin making out that the Scottish Government’s Test and Protect scheme is world beating. Really? It will be interesting to see how Nicola Sturgeon either allows Covid to progress by not moving areas up a tier – or shuts everything down at the most com-mercially sensitive time of the year. Either way is a failure. The way things are going, the only function of Test and Protect will be to try to keep Miss Stur-geon’s ‘near virus elimination’ poll leads intact. That looks to be heading for failure too. GERALD EDWARDS. Glasgow.


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    Scotland on Sunday, A Sutherland, 15/11/20

    Newspaper letters pages and social media are abuzz with nationalist outrage at Alister Jack’s latest refusal to allow Indyref2, and glowing red with fantasy strategies for subverting the process. The same happened when George Osborne flatly refused to allow an independent Scotland to use the Pound The 2014 Indy campaign never recovered and all their ‘they canny dae that’ Section 30 bluster can’t hide the confusion and division Mr Jack has caused this time. And then along comes Sir John Major offering a ‘get out of Jail’ confirmatory vote which will encourage Scots to vote yes’ with their hearts, then waste years, and fuddle heads on interminable negotiations more aimed at winning the next referendum than agreeing on a robust treaty. The Government should turn the hose full on and publish the facts of Indyref life and Indy afterlife well before the Holyrood election, which looks like being a proxy Indyref. These ‘red lines’ should include what the question will be, who can vote, the threshold (two thirds, surely), that the UK wIll not be paying Scottish pensions, there must be a border before and after Scotland Joins the EU (if it can), the right of pro-UK voting council areas to stay in the UK, and the loss of UK citizenship and how to re-apply. Can anyone imagine Spain, Germany, Italy or the USA making it so easy for Bavaria, Catalonia, Lombardy or California to leave and break up their hard-won successful countries? Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven


    Herald on Sunday, G Edwards, 15/11/20

    The coverage of Sir David Omand’s new book was excellent. This highlights the difficulties posed by just one small but very important aspect of the push for independence that could become a major problem along with so many other topics, the hard border and usage or otherwise of sterling being at the top of the list. It is apparent that “independence” comes at not only a huge and unaffordable cost but it is not actually deliverable. Scotland can never be genuinely independent from England nor can it ever be an important part of the European Union. It is time for the nationalists to take off their rose-tinted glasses and perceive this reality. Scotland and England are joined by so much more than just geography and no political movement can break the myriad bonds that cement us. It is not a case of “better together”, we are permanently welded together. Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow


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    The Herald, G Edwards, 14/11/20

    Michael Gove has repeated the mantra of a Scottish independence referendum being once in a generation. He is quite right to take this viewpoint. The SNP is quick to say independence is now the “settled will” of the Scottish people. How can anyone say that after a few months of poll leads after decades of trailing behind? In particular, at this moment in time with the effects of the pandemic overshadowing everything else, this is a particularly vacuous statement. If independence is really the way forward then it will still be the case in 20 years’ time. If it is just the younger Scots who want this why not wait until the older generation has passed on? Independence will by its wry nature bring huge problems. If the population is all for it, it might work. If a large percentage feels alienated it certainly won’t. Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.


    The Herald, J Lax, 14/11/20

    NICOLA Sturgeon has declared that Test and Protect is only missing its targets because people are not answering their phones. I await this excuse being used in future for all other missed targets: hospital targets will be missed because people keep getting ill, education targets will be missed because students don’t do their homework and pass exams, substance abuse targets missed because the addicts don’t try hard enough. Ms Sturgeon wants us to believe that the buck stops with her, but clearly, she keeps passing it on. Jane Lax, Aberlour.


    Deja-vu at Trump’s refusal of defeat, Edinburgh Evening News, Alexander McKay, 14/11/20

    Deja-vu at Trump’s refusal of defeat
    Donald Trump and his hardline supporters’ refusal to acknowledge, let alone accept defeat in the Presidential election has a disturbing element of deja-vu . Here in Scotland, a group of hardliners also refused to accept a demonstrably clear democratic defeat in 2014 and continue to raise one inconsequence and irrelevance after another to prevent the will of the people being carried out. Mr Trump, in fact, is America’s Nicola Sturgeon. Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.


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