Boris has rattled the cage of the SNP

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.

Devolution IS a disaster

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.

Swinney is Jolly awful

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.

Can anyone imagine Spain making it easy for Catalonia?

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

Gove: Once in a generation

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.

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Deficit

 

ACCORDING to Leah Gunn Barrett (Letters, November 9) “Scotland does not have a deficit”. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Scotland’s deficit will reach 28 per cent of GDP in 2020- 21. Ms Barrett, like all nationalists, makes the false claim that Scotland is badly treated by England. Far from being treated badly, thanks to the Barnett formula, every Scot, man, woman and child, has more than £1,800 spent on them compared with England’s average. It is only because of this cash that all the freebies which the SNP claim for its own can be afforded. Separation would end this cash. Scotland spent £15 billion more on public services than it generated in tax last year. If it became independent the SNP would not only have to terminate the freebies, but hike VAT, national insurance, and slash spending on the NHS, the police, education, and transport. We would really know the meaning of austerity then. The nationalists know this but they ignore it. It’s time for them to tell the truth to the people. William Loneskie, Lauder.

Biden admin is positive

I’ve read many letters and articles lately about the outlook for the UK and Scotland under a Trump or Biden presidency. Trump views ranged from it being a continued, disastrous, chloride chicken-fed, corrupt, totalitarian rollercoaster to acknowledgement that, for all his failings, he at least addressed the issues surrounding Nato payments, the emergence of China as the dominant superpower, unemployment, Korea, and the excesses of climate chan; licy, wokeism and BLM.

Joe Biden has been viewed as the death of a post-Brexit UK-US trade deal, his Irish roots somehow a benefit to the SNP, anti-Boris Johnson and an example of the paucity of talent, inspiration and leadership in the Western political class.

Chris Coons, the Delaware senator tipped to be Joe Biden’s Secretary of State, was interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show (BBC1, November 8). He described the PM as agile-minded, engaged, educated, and forward thinking on diversity and climate.

Challenged about Brexit and a US trade deal he invoked the many years of alliance and friendship between our countries as a good platform for a common sense negotiation and agreement.

I felt I was watching a rational, highly intelligent, plain-speaking politician, steeped in experience with a reputation for bi-partisanship, someone you can believe in. When asked, he described Joe Biden in similar terms. If he is an example of the Biden administration we can look forward to a more everrhanded approach to America’s leadership of world democracy and some solutions to their own turmoil.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

Breakup breakdown

ALISTER Jack’s refusal to allow Indyref 2 is a body blow to nationalists. The Scottish Secretary should publish the full facts on a referendum – the question, who can vote, the threshold (two-thirds, surely?) – and what life after independence would be like: the UK will not pay Scottish pensions; Scotiand cannot have the pound; an inevitable people and goods border; Remain-voting council areas’ right to stay in the UK.

He should announce this before the Holyrood election, widely trailed as a proxy refer- endum. Can anyone imagine Germany or the US making it so easy for Bavaria or Califor- nia to dismantle their successful countries?

ALLAN SUTHERLAND, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire.

Double Standards

How dare Nicola Sturgeon sermonise on Twitter about the importance of respecting democracy, in support of her demands for indyref2. Referencing the US election, the SNP leader rightly observes that “power doesn’t belong to politicians — it belongs to the people”, She is a lifetime career politician who, since it became clear on 19 September 2014 that she’d lost the“once ina generation” independence referendum, has campaigned virtually daily for its rerun. 84.6 per cent of us- that’s us “the people” whom Ms Sturgeon claims so much to respect—voted, with a clear majority rejecting her separatist dreams.

Ms Sturgeon is therefore, I suggest, a democracy denier. She has zero right to virtue signal on respecting democratic principles and process. Beyond double standards.

MARTIN REDFERN