Readers’ Letters: Would a female-run world really be better?

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Is Margaret Thatcher’s time as British Prime Minister evidence that women should run the world? (Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This, of course, was an exaggeration but I have to say it came to mind when I read the details of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s recent interview (your report, 26 January). She made the not entirely original comment that she often thought the world would be a much better place if it was ruled by women. This needs to be challenged on a number of grounds.

The most obvious question is, which women would be in charge, what would their attitudes be, and would they be likely to wield power in a different way to that of men? It is just too simplistic to argue that their insight, their intuition, their supposedly caring attitudes would be applied in a more effective way. It is a truism that power does change men and there is only limited evidence to suggest it does not change women too.

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The careers of both Margaret Thatcher and the First Minister are salutary. Both came from relatively modest backgrounds, and both obviously worked hard, made the necessary compromises and manoeuvres to attain high office. But their overall approaches to politics, and what it is there for, seem to be completely different. The former has been accused by her detractors of setting out to destroy communities, while credited by her supporters of her with building a society based on entrepreneurship and commitment. The latter is accused of a dogged determination to break up the UK by her detractors of her, of building a renewed optimism for Scotland by her supporters of her.

Both needed the support of both men and women to help achieve their objectives. Both have relied on strong internal party discipline to help them do that. These are not specifically female qualities; men and women need to show the same type of resilience if they are to succeed in public life.

Bob Taylor, Glenrothes, Fife

Probably like the majority of Scots, I was never that interested in politics until the 2014 referendum came along. Until then, Scotland seemed a proud and happy country that enjoyed “patriotic” banners with our English neighbours. That all changed with the referendum, when narrow-minded Nationalism turned our country into a bitter and divided one. Indeed, I would argue that since Nicola Sturgeon took over as leader of the SNP, this anti-English, chippy, rhetoric, bordering on racism, has become more pronounced.

Perhaps one cause of this is the fact that Sturgeon and many of her supporters have – unlike myself, or indeed, Alex Salmond – never lived or worked for a significant time in England. If they had they would recognize that people generally have the same values, wherever they live in the UK. Patriotic about their own place and identity, yes, but not to the extent of denouncing everyone else and adopting Sturgeon’s holier than thou attitude.

As someone who voted for Devolution with the expectation of more local decision making, I am dismayed by how this SNP government have corrupted the values ​​proposed by Donald Dewar initially, into one focused solely on separation. Nicola Sturgeon seems to have forgotten that the “I” word she lauded at one of her conference speeches, meant “Inclusion”. With her political pandemic of her, we have seen little of that. All SNP policies have been engineered to shower their support base with freebies and handouts. When challenged as to where all the money had gone last week on Question Time, the first thing a Scottish minister could think of was “baby boxes”. People are dying waiting on an ambulance but we have baby boxes! I ask you.

After 15 years in government, the economic, health, social, justice and transport policies of the SNP have led to nothing but more decline and division. The silent majority roared in 2014 and are stirring again. If there is another referendum, the roar will be deafening: “Change must come, the SNP must go!”

George M Primrose, Uddingston, Glasgow

It’s sad that supporters of Scottish Independence took Burns Night too literally on Tuesday and saw fit to burn the Union Jack. Fine, they have a right to stage such a stupid stunt, but I do object to them flying my flag – the Saltire – as they do so. It is the Scottish flag, not theirs. As Nicola Sturgeon (who will probably not condemn this action) wants to fly the EU flag every day, why do these supporters not adopt that flag for their cause and leave mine for the good people of this nation?

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When there are 160,000 Russian troops massing on the borders of the Ukraine, when politicians south of the Border are trying to decide if £12 billion should be raised through National Insurance, and when we, north of the Border cannot get straight answers from our Scottish Government on those new fire alarms that we are all meant to be fitting, how can anyone of sound mind believe that it is right for the Metropolitan Police to be brought in to find out what garden party did or did not take place at 10 Downing Street in June 2020!Surely more readers than just myself, must be wondering about the quality and mindset of the politicians we are paying via the taxation that they levy upon us!

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife

Schadenfreude! That word is one of the German language’s greatest gifts to the world. I experienced huge waves of it when I read the article by Simon Collins of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, saying the “betrayal of the industry after Brexit had been incredible and shameful” (Perspective, 24 January)

I’m sure we can all remember the fishing industry’s spokespersons being ardent advocates of Brexit, all the while being told by sensitive people that Brexit would be bad for the country. Well, they ken noo!

Along with almost everyone else in Britain the fishermen are already discovering that there are only downsides to Brexit – more red tape than ever before, non-tariff trade barriers with our closest and most important trading partners, more difficult travel to EU countries, a trashing of Britain’s reputation in the world, a loss of growth and so much more.

To the long term detriment of the vast majority of UK citizens, enough of the disadvantaged, the fed up, the fantasists and the ignorant were persuaded to form a slim majority in the Brexit referendum by ridiculous characters like the pompous Nigel Farage and the self- interested charlatan who is the current Prime Minister.

Bill Cooper, Kinross, Perth & Kinross

Dr John Cameron (Letters, 26 January) suggests that medical staff who choose not to be vaccinated against Covid may be in breach of their professional code of conduct and characterizes such people as being motivated by an outrageous conspiracy theory.

The NHS website describes informed consent as meaning a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment. It further states that “the principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and human rights law”. Insisting on vaccination is contrary to this principle and should only be contemplated where there is an imperative.

Those proposing measures to pressurize individuals to be vaccinated offer two justifications based on the greater good (as distinct from the wellbeing of the individual). Neither stands up to scrutiny.

The first is to protect the health service from being overwhelmed as a result of unvaccinated people needing treatment. If this approach is acceptable, then why stop at vaccination? The pressures on the health service will be reduced if cigarettes and alcohol are banned. Regulations could also be introduced around individuals’ diet and exercise and an app could be developed to monitor these with associated sanctions for breaches.

Then there is the issue of reducing transmission. The Scottish Government’s evidence paper on vaccine certification states “there are no real-life studies directly comparing the effect on transmission for certification schemes” with other approaches. At best the impact of vaccination on reducing transmission appears marginal.

There is a spectrum of persuasion from encouragement to compulsion. If we are to follow the science, then the honest way to promote vaccination is by encouraging individuals on the basis of the protection it offers them against ill health. Adopting measures that amount to compulsion should be of concern to us all.

If there were any serious doubts that devolution in Scotland has turned out to be a disaster, at least under an SNP administration, they should now be dispelled. The cross-party Holyrood committee report on economic development said: “Evidence shows that Scotland is lagging behind almost all of the rest of the UK in every economic indicator.”

Returned Scotland is failing in so many ways it is difficult to know where to start. Yet a splintered opposition and a gullible electorate, many of whom are now convinced after years of unrelenting propaganda that the only way to get improvement is to break up the UK, ensures that the nationalists will almost certainly remain in power.

The economy is in tatters. Who would build a battery plant or a hi-tech mobile nuclear plant here as things stand, with the SNP/Greens in charge? Add eye-watering ministerial incompetence and unrelenting grievance-mongering and we have a situation that is becoming desperate.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

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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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