FULL marks to Tom Gordon for rightly describing the SNP’s latest power-grab claim as “lazy garbage,” which it certainly is ("The SNP’s latest ‘power grab’ claim is lazy garbage", The Herald, July 1). Moreover, this latest manifestation of bleating and moaning by the Scottish Government is symptomatic of a wider malaise.

As your correspondent John McCallum (Letters, June 30) helpfully points out, the SNP is not sustained in power at Holyrood by virtue of its efficiency, efficacy, economy or equity (the four "E's" of public policy evaluation) but by the promise of the Jam Tomorrow of independence. Likewise, the SNP’s dominance of Westminster seats was founded on promises to “Stop Brexit” and to "Lock Johnson Out of No 10”. Both of which were impossible in the first place and indeed have proven to be cynical vote-grabbing gimmicks.

The fact is that the SNP has achieved very little in either of Scotland’s parliaments: at Holyrood it has traded on the habitual conservatism of Scottish voters by doing not much over and over again; and at Westminster it has paraded Huff-In-A-Suit Ian Blackford saying not much over and over again.

The epithet “running on empty” might have been invented for the SNP at Holyrood, and “the emperor's new (Tweed) clothes” for its Westminster operation. In the face of the challenges of Brexit, Covid and the Tory Government, Scotland deserves so much better.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


IT is a sad reflection on the fickle, short memories and apathy within Scotland that the Scottish electorate are prepared to tolerate the SNP using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child under the guise of playing the victim (again). This is further proof, if it were ever needed, that the SNP is only interested in a confrontational "power grab" headline regardless of the need or benefits to Scotland's children who are to be used as their political pawns. This fabricating of grievances for the sake of grievances should be seen as exactly that.

After John Swinney's sideways promotion from the Curriculum for Excellence debacle he left behind as Secretary for Education to his newly-created position of Secretary for Covid Recovery which was akin to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, you would think and hope that Nicola Sturgeon and the Lord Advocate would then seek to work together and towards clarity and open transparency with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack. Instead their efforts have been described by Lord Reed as "completely meaningless", which is also an accurate description of those responsible for this further embarrassment that is the Scottish Government and a reminder to voters of us having another five more years of this to endure.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.


EVERY day Scottish nationalists monster the UK and its Government. Yet people from all over the world want to live here.

More than five million EU nationals have applied for settled status. Thirty-five per cent of London's population was born abroad. Illegal migrants risk life and limb to cross the busiest shipping lane in the world in small boats to get here. Are they all wrong? Do they think, as SNP acolytes never cease to tell us, that the UK is "failing", and a "disaster"? Or do they not believe that the UK, the fifth-largest economy in the world, is open, welcoming, a land of opportunity whose best years lie ahead?

Never do we hear Scottish nationalists say there is anything good about being part of the UK. Never. Even when the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine has saved thousands of Scots lives they omit the word "Oxford" if indeed they mention the world-beating vaccine programme at all.

The nationalists' grievance and victimhood mentality is increasingly a turn-off for Britons north and south of the Border.

William Loneskie, Lauder.


YET again this morning (July 1), listening to the Good Morning Scotland phone-in on Radio Scotland, I felt like throwing a brick at the radio, as no fewer than three contributors pointed out that we have been dependent on Westminster for the cash for furlough, but no attempt was made to balance that misconception with fact.

None seemed to realise that we pay our share of tax exactly as everyone elsewhere in the UK, and Westminster, as the recipient, hands us back a share, normally less than we have paid in, the difference supposedly retained to cover joint expenditure such as this. One contributor actually said that we are dependent on England because they are the largest part of the UK and so shelled out more. He obviously did not recognise his illogicality, since as the largest part, they also got the largest “handout”.

As to paying off the debt incurred, one needs to ask “to whom?” The Bank of England? Who owns it? The Government. When more money is required, they make it available at a keystroke. So it may never need to be paid back in the normal sense.

Are presenters really too ill-informed to counter these misconceptions in the cause of fairness and impartiality?

P Davidson, Falkirk.


DURING my more pessimistic moments I could have written a letter along the lines of that from Alasdair Galloway (June 30), in which he suggest the UK may be becoming dysfunctional. However, lurking below the surface level of my everyday thinking is the thought best expressed by my rephrasing of another’s words: “Without hope, without vision, the nations perish and the people with them."

I must tell your readers of Gordon Brown’s comment in a recent interview with Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times. “We’ve got to give people a message of hope. Tell them about the dream”.

Within that context I express my thanks to Neil Mackay for his article “We need a British summit to move Scotland forward” (The Herald, June 29) in which he encourages us to think beyond the limits of the currently repetitive and thus sterile “debate”. It is insufficient to say, as some of your correspondents do, “it will never happen”.

I further congratulate Mr Mackay for that article published on July 1, “Priti Patel: Sturgeon must offer a home to refugees”. I suggest we need his “blue sky thinking”, especially when it is used in the service of condemning “our silent passivity” which is “steadily corroding our decency”.

John Milne, Uddingston.


STRUAN Stevenson quotes the Boris Johnson line that we need a new royal yacht to promote British exports ("New Royal Yacht could be an inspirational uplift for Scotland in the post-pandemic Union", The Herald, July 1).

I would suggest that before we spend £200 million on a ship, probably best described as assembled in the UK from imported parts, we should start by manufacturing goods and providing services that the world wants to buy.

Sam Craig, Glasgow.


WHAT is the similarity between Everton FC and the McVitie’s Glasgow biscuit factory? Well, the main shareholder in Everton Football Club is an Iranian who is based in Monaco, with Russian links. In an act abhorrent to traditional Everton supporters, Farhad Moshiri has appointed as Everton manager Rafael Benitez, who previously managed arch rivals Liverpool FC ("Benitez to fight for ‘small club’ Everton", Herald Sport, July 1). Mr Moshiri must know this move is extremely unpopular but doesn’t care; he wants his investment to be fruitful and is employing the best available staff. The Glasgow McVitie’s factory is ultimately owned by Yildiz Holding, a private Turkish family concern; the closing of the Glasgow factory and the dire social consequences it will bring is being done simply to save or make them more money.

In both cases scant attention is being paid to the impact these moves will have on the local population, it’s simply a financial decision made by some faceless puppet-master in another country. It graphically illustrates the inequality in the distribution of wealth and power in our global society where for example an archetypical capitalist company, US-based Amazon, will deliver to your door next day a product made in the allegedly evil communist empire of China at a fraction of the cost it would if the item were made in the UK. Go figure.

Scottish shops should en masse stop stocking McVitie's biscuits but that won’t happen as we Scots don’t even own our major food retail outlets. I suggest you tell them where to put their Hobnobs.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

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