Letters to the editor

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Take a look at some of the views shared through our ‘Letter to the Editor’ page this week.

Electoral system

Reality beckons for the Scots

Sir, – It is not out with the bounds of possibility that our illustrious First Minister could get a majority of votes in England, particularly if the good lady campaigned to give everyone in Britain a vote on Scotland’s independence.

It is well known that the first past the post electoral system is not democratically fair to the majority, but it does give a positive result. The alternative proportional system may be fairer but would not give an overall majority to any one party. Indeed the rest of Britain voted to reject proportional representation.

The Scottish system should be totally proportional, but instead comprises the worst of both and falls well short of fair democracy, but it was never anticipated that any one party would gain an overall majority.

The proportional section of the elections gave the Greens an opportunity to nominate a list of potential candidates to represent them at Holyrood, and were responsible for the vetting of those candidates, not the electorate at the hustings.

I now know that they oppose anything nuclear and fracking, however their coalition with nationalists who favour nuclear weapons so long as the bullets are not stored in Scotland and favour fracked gas so long as it is not done in Scotland seems contradictory, unless of course the Greens support hypocrisy.

Fortunately, the Scots system does not stretch across the Atlantic and who Americans vote as president is none of our business. Should the elected president decide not to visit a country whose First Minister insulted him then it is perfectly understandable, but for nationalists to take offence because they can’t parade with placards abusing him further is insane and an insult to democracy. Has it been so long since we gave up freedom of speech that we have forgotten the principles?

Who are these people who believe that a country of some five million with debts around 10 per cent of gross domestic product, and assets of mountains and whisky can insult the most powerful man in the world along with our largest customer and be taken seriously?

Following the submission of Article 50 it will come as a relief to many that independence will only be a “jam tomorrow” dream, as a mountain of debt and surviving on Barnet benefits will never support a country or an economic currency.

Reality beckons for Scots, the world is ours, as it always was until our education was abandoned in favour of a mantra, that we were all victims of conservatism, and the only solution was a blinkered search for the holy grail of independence. What independence? Claiming benefits from Brussels, eventually.

I appreciate there some who need a certificate to prove their sanity but when did Scots ever require confirmation of their independence, particularly now with a devolved parliament, whose only priority should be the welfare and future of a devolved Scotland within the United Kingdom, part of Europe and the World. – Yours, etc.,

Alan Bell, Roods, Kirriemuir


Joining forces with extremists

Sir, – The SNP’s 2011 election win gave them a mandate for a referendum. They lost by a margin of 10 per cent and almost 70 per cent of the population did not vote “yes”.

Many campaign claims, on oil revenues, keeping the pound, more benefits, creeping NHS privatisation and positive discussions with the EU on membership were flat out lies, fabrications or distortions, delivered in an atmosphere of civic and political nastiness unheard of since 1745.

Since then the spectre of Indyref2 has hung not just like a bad economic, media-dominating, inept, tim’rous governance smell but a post-truth, anti-democratic, nationalist stench.

And now it’s “very/highly/extremely/possible/likely” they want another one before we find out and digest the results of a Brexit settlement, or they lose their Holyrood majority.

This time people will be more informed, and a lot angrier. We know about GERS, our structural deficit and the collapse of oil. The SNP – and their predecessors – have squandered devolved powers, the currency Gordian knot remains unanswered and the recent revelations of journalist Stephen Daisley, sacked by the SNP as a result of to SNP pressure, show how they intimidate the media, academia and third sector (qangoes and government funded organisations).

Money is blown on populist gestures such as Baby Boxes and Gaelic signs. Our economy, NHS, education and housing are in crisis. Businesses are speaking out and their workers are hearing them in growing numbers. The SNP have bailed out local companies to the tune of £4.5m, but only die to a furious local campaign. The baby Boxes alone cost £27m across Scotland every year.

Worse, England is pulling ahead on many fronts and Brexit may well offer a positive, global future for the UK. Non-liberal populism is on the rise in Trump’s USA, France, Holland, Germany, Hungary and Russia. If the first four don’t sort themselves out the only beacons of long term, historic, democracy left will once again be Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK - just like in 1939. Not a time for Scotland to be on its own.

Last week at a “Yes2” rally in Ellon Alex Salmond raised this spectre of nationalist, racist parties coming to power in Europe, while simultaneously extolling the virtues of the EU.

Even the most obsessed Scottish Nationalist must see the irony of betting the farm on a vote to leave the UK to join a bigger entity that could be greatly weakened, dominated or, indeed, dismantled by the very extreme right wing elements they hate so much?

Another SNP independence manifesto will be the latest “longest suicide note in history”. I pray the suicide will be the SNP’s and not Scotland’s. – Yours, etc.,

Allan Sutherland, (Address supplied)


Elderly put head before heart

Sir, – As The Resolution Foundation finds pensioner households across the UK are now £20 per week better off than their working counterparts, what hope does Nicola Sturgeon have of converting the elderly in Scotland to her separatist cause?

Opinion polls on independence referendum voting intentions consistently show older age groups strongly oppose UK break-up. And with 18 per cent of us aged over 65 and an ever ageing population, Ms Sturgeon needs significantly more of this demographic segment onside if she’s ever going to separate us from our southern neighbours.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has talked openly in the past of how his party’s independence chances will improve once today’s generation of elderly dies. Isn’t it more likely that, as we become older, we increasingly put head before heart – and realise improving our standard of living is more important than waving a saltire? – Yours, etc.,

Martin Redfern, (Address supplied)