Readers’ Letters: Scots taken for mugs by SNP administration

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Of course Westminster “does it too” and as long as they have their share of blustering liars down there, they’ll keep on doing it. But this isn’t about England and Scotland or about Independence. It’s about the right of the Scottish electorate to expect a constitutionally elected Administration to govern Scotland competently, honestly and transparently.

There will always be the odd mistaken decision in any Administration. Politicians are only human. However, serial incompetence exacerbated by lies, cover-ups and blame shifting takes us up to a whole new level. Three other letters the same day do a good job of spotlighting the SNP’s failings and their blatantly disingenuous efforts to try to cover up the incompetent decisions they have made over the past 15 years.

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These letters could also have mentioned the ill-conceived, unworkable and highly secretive Scottish/Chinese Consortium of 2016 which the Chinese still refer to as the “Scottish Shambles”, or the deliberate withholding by the Government of information requested by the Committee of Inquiry panel members to enable them to do their jobs during the Alex Salmond Inquiry. The Chairperson of the Inquiry, herself SNP, complained about this on more than one occasion! I bet she got her knuckles from her well and truly rapped.

Is Nicola Sturgeon’s government guilty of keeping people in the dark? (Picture: Jane Barlow-Pool/Getty Images)

And what happened to the missing £600,000 of SNP money? It’s nearly a year since the police were called in to investigate this matter. Who is covering something up there?

Things need to change and the sooner we stop allowing ourselves to be taken for mugs by the current Administration, the sooner we will have the competent, honest and transparent Government that we deserve.

If ever there was a case for a public act of contrition, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon needs to make one over the debacle on census returns. Murdo Fraser didn’t need to go so far as to invoke the name of King Herod, but he makes a valid point (Perspective, 4 May). Scotland is in danger of being treated with derision in the world over the unsatisfactory level of returns.

The matter goes to the heart of what government should be about: getting relevant information about what facilities exist for individuals, and planning to improve them over time. This is important whatever people feel about the constitutional future of the country. We need to know enough to plan for schools, roads, hospitals, further and higher education facilities and the population balance of the future.

The MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife highlights the problems caused by the delay of a year, the questions about sex and gender, and practical issues over completion and return of the forms. Although I had no problem filling mine in online, I did wonder about the role of the census enumerator of past decades. These Council officials, backed by a dedicated army of trained individuals, made sure your form was delivered, explained if necessary, and then collected.

While there were always complaints about intrusion into privacy and civil liberties, the system seemed to work in achieving a high return. I don’t know if the Holyrood government just got carried away with the wonders of new technology, but it seems to have backfired on it in spectacular fashion. It needs to be aware that the public will judge it in the longer term on its ability to get the basic functions of public administration right. Nothing is more central to this than the ability to carry out a thorough census. Ms Sturgeon needs to ensure that it is completed competently in the coming weeks.

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Colin Hamilton is right concerning the arrogance of the SNP as to whether they will comply and release legal advice on holding another referendum (Letters, 4 May). This is nothing at all to do with public interest and everything to do with Nicola Sturgeon’s tactics, which are clear to see. The SNP will huff and puff but will release the advice which, of course, will say a referendum called by Holyrood would be illegal. Ms Sturgeon will then use taxpayers’ money to challenge that in court and will inevitably lose.

Then we can fully expect the tsunami of outrage and grievance at the terrible English courts and by acquaintance, the UK Government depriving the Scottish people of their democratic will. This is Ms Sturgeon’s game, which must now include delaying tactics to placate her acolytes as she well knows there will be no referendum by the end of 2023.

This is an easy script to write and whilst she cannot win a referendum, the grievance and divisive politics that is nationalism will regretfully continue.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

The Ukrainian situation is dangerous because it gives our politicians something to talk about, and makes them feel they have to be seen to be doing something.

Already we are at war with Russia on economic grounds, and also militarily by proxy via Ukraine. Soon, as the media incessantly talks it up, and our Prime Minister details the help we are providing against Russia, we could come into direct conflict with that country, and then discover the hard way the effect of having depleted our armed forces over the years in the misguided belief that the world had become a safer place.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross

In your Perspective article of 4 May by Extinction Rebellion scientists wherein three “climate” activists explain the basis for their direct actions, including gluing themselves to the BEIS building, none of the authors have any real scientific qualification in climate science or associated disciplines. One is a lecturer in conservation and ecology, another a research associate in environment policy and the third a research fellow in psychology.

I’m sure not many real and qualified climate scientists would support either their superficial climate emergency arguments or their childish actions in their name.

I agree with Steve Hayes of Fife (Letters, 5 May). It seems the same applies to Edinburgh. Out of at least ten people (independent), only two members of an actual party contacted me by mail and leaflet. How can we vote for them if we have never heard of them or know their ideals.

Martha Dickson, Edinburgh

In this crazy world of cosmetic surgery, vandalism, climate change, famine, overpopulation, war, genocide etc. Martin Conroy is optimistically looking for a humane way to support women with unexpected pregnancies (Letters, 5 May). As this is not a new problem, surely wise men would have found a satisfactory, caring solution by now?

Life developing in the womb is nothing short of awesome, including the charming ability to constrict facial muscles into what resembles a smile. People with disabilities can lead happy and constructive lives if given the right support, but, to the shame of all of us, not many are fortunate enough to have that support.

I support life in all its many and wondrous forms – including the lives of women who need help to control situations which are not their fault. Women like Anne who found herself pregnant following a horrific assault. Marie, who suffered a placental abruption and would have bled to death if she had carried on with her pregnancy. Mary, who worked two jobs to support her children de ella, was deserted by her husband and could n’t afford another child. Fiona, who after years of trying to conceive learned that the fetus had no viable organs. Sheila, who was raped at the age of 11 and whose young body was not mature enough to cope. Christine, who does not want to give birth to the child of her monstrously abusive husband.

Years ago many women required life saving hysterectomies following back street abortions. Their lives were usually saved, but at a cost.

There is a solution to these problems – humans have been given a brain to use and now have scientific and medical knowledge and skills. By perceiving women as simply reproductive vessels, the anti-abortion lobby are denying their god’s gift of such knowledge.

I question your columnist Kenny MacAskill’s claim that his introductions of a lower drink drive limit Scotland wide and 50mph “pilot” for HGVs on the A9 have been definite improvements (Perspective, 5 May). Perhaps he will produce data to provide his points from him?

However, I would make the following observations: we do definitely know that the lower breathalyser limit has closed pubs across the country which relied on workers having a couple of pints on their way home, which is still legal elsewhere across the UK; in Europe, I understand, breaking the limit does not necessarily lead to a ban; as a regular A9 driver, the travel time from Edinburgh to Inverness remains about the same as when the “new” A9 opened, as lorries traveling at 50mph are harder to pass than at 40mph; I’d like to see prosecution figures for trucks breaking the limit, having personally experienced an HGV on my boot lid, flashing its lights and hooting through the “safety cameras” during the lengthy Perth to Dunkeld dual extension. Of course, slowing cars down is much cheaper than completing the A9 dualling!

Perhaps if more officers were on the roads and streets rather carrying out the back office duties for which they are very overqualified, we would see more prosecutions….and safer roads.

Kit Fraser, Dunbar, East Lothian

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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