MOST party manifestos cover a variety of issues and one would vote for the party which best covers your own range of wishes. It does not mean you approve of them all; you may be actively opposed to some.

However, the final item in the SNP Local Government Manifesto 2022, "A vote for the SNP at this election is a vote in favour of these basic democratic principles”, shows clear intent to claim a local election vote as support for one particular issue – a referendum on independence. It is the latest in a series of attempts to conjoin a vote for its national or local policies with a mandate for a vote for independence.

That means, if you don't want to be counted as supporting a referendum on independence, you shouldn’t vote for the SNP and its local policies, however much you might favour these. However, how many voters will read its full manifesto and be aware that their local council vote is being used in this way? It is not exactly upfront; it is in small print on the inside of the back cover,

The foreword to the manifesto is by Nicola Sturgeon, one of two SNP signatories to the 2013 Edinburgh Agreement, committing to hold a fair independence referendum, and to accept the result. Ms Sturgeon was also prominent in the launch of, and publicity for, the 2014 independence White Paper Scotland’s Future. This had a clear commitment that a No vote to independence would be accepted by the SNP for "a generation".

We now see, in the new manifesto, the continuing devious opportunism, in perfect tune with its continuing lack of democratic principles and integrity, its disrespect for, and manipulation of, democracy, and its contempt for the electorate in failing to recognise and accept our 2014 referendum decision.

People should be encouraged, enabled, and allowed to vote for council and local policies without their vote, or the election process, being compromised in this way.

Norman Dryden, Edinburgh.


CLARK Cross (Letters, April 25) is incorrect in suggesting that those opposed to the SNP and Greens should only use one vote since otherwise the SNP and Greens could sneak in the back door on the proportional representation system.

The first error is to describe the voting system for local elections as a being a proportional representation system. Councillors are elected under the Single Transferable Vote method. Consequently a proportion of a person’s vote which is not required to elect a councillor can be allocated to another candidate. If an individual does not cast a second vote the additional votes of the other voters are still transferred.

By only casting one vote Mr Clark will enhance the transferable element of the votes cast by those who support his candidate but do not hold the SNP and Greens in such contempt. As a result Mr Clark could well be helping the SNP and Greens to sneaking in the back door.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.


PETER A Russell (Letters, April 25) claims that the “failure of the SNP in its 15 years of power” to implement a system of local income tax is “testament indeed to its loathing of local control and its utter intolerance of alternative policies and centres of power”. History, however, tells us otherwise.

The intention of the SNP minority government elected in 2007 was to implement local income tax, but a significant setback was when the UK Government, led by Gordon Brown, said it would withhold almost £400 million in council tax benefit if the Scottish Government implemented the proposals. Does Mr Russell seriously consider that the response from Rishi Sunak would be any different today? Rather than bemoan the SNP’s “utter intolerance of alternative policies and centres of power”, he might do better to understand the “utter intolerance of alternative policies and centres of power” of his own party – confirmed by the fact that in 2008 the Brown Government would have released the funds for a Labour local income tax – as well as Westminster’s.

I share Mr Russell’s respect and admiration for the achievements of Geoff Shaw (who was taken from us far too soon) and Charles Gray, as well as his regret about the destruction of the regional councils, which were at the time a bulwark against the worst excesses of the Thatcher and Major governments. However, has Mr Russell forgotten that it was the Conservatives who scrapped the Regional/ District structure because the Regions were deemed too powerful? John Major described Strathclyde as a “monstrosity”.

I also shared Mr Russell’s admiration for “Strathclyde Integrated Partnership which brought large amounts of European funds to communities across the region”. However, such funds are beyond our reach, if for no other reason than that we are no longer members of the EU because of opinion elsewhere in the UK.

Thus, while to some extent I share Mr Russell’s regrets, a more finely grained understanding of why there is no local income tax (or better still, a land tax), and the infrastructure that led to such developments as Strathclyde Integrated Partnership, would have been helpful and informative as well as accurate.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


IT seems the census is another fine mess into which Scotland has been dropped by decision-making by nationality-obsessed politicians (“700,000 homes still to submit census”, The Herald, April 23). What could have possessed the decision makers in the Scottish Government to postpone the census for a year after the rest of the UK? Could it have been anything other than the wish, no, compulsion, to do things differently because we are Scottish? In much the same way perhaps as nationalising Ferguson’s shipbuilding yard?

As well, the surely-politicised questions I am certain put others off. The probing into what people consider themselves, gender and sex-wise as well as nationality, including the lack of a clear Scottish-British option, I am sure put others off. I did complete mine, but reluctantly, for the first time ever.

If only the nationalists would put nationality aside, just now and then.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


WE have a serious cost of living crisis, with wages/pensions increasing at less than inflation, at the same time as a huge boom in house prices. All pointing to a “negative equity” housing bust, and a surge in homelessness. The prediction that Brexit would lead to a low-wage, sweatshop economy, is proving correct.

We are told by pundits that Boris Johnson is a popular leader who won a “landslide” for the Tories – Marine Le Pen got nearly the same share of the votes in France ... coming a poor second (“Macron will be ‘president for all' as he wins French election”, The Herald, April 25).

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

* YOU report that Emmanuel Macron "vowed to be president for all as he was projected to win France's election". This vow is predicted to decay and die, an exemplar being Nicola Sturgeon's corresponding vow on becoming First Minister.

William Durward, Bearsden.


I NOTE the advertisement for the post of Attainment Advisor with Education Scotland in your Appointments section (The Herald, April 25). May I offer some succinct advice?

1: Pronouncements from the Cabinet Secretary for Education? Ignore.

2: Directives from upper management re disciplinary procedures? Throw them in the bin.

3: Re experience and the collegiate approach? Rely on your colleagues to keep you informed and vice versa.

And that didn't cost the nation £68,700-£7815.

Maureen McGarry-O'Hanlon, Balloch.


AS I left the paper shop this morning, my eye caught an item on the front-page sidebar of my Herald in which Kevin McKenna asked: "Why do some Scots still have a problem with the Irish flag?" (The Herald, April 25). My thought, on the Stirling pavement, was to wonder why any Scots would have such a problem or, indeed, any thoughts at all about the Irish flag. I have a problem with the Union Flag; but that is a different story.

On subsequently reading his column, and assuming he actually bases his opinions on facts, I concluded he was referencing a culture which might exist in Glasgow and its environs but which is unknown and alien to the vast majority of Scots.

But, having carefully – and I hope objectively – considered your columnist's musings, I have to wonder if, within the limited scope of the Glasgow milieu, he does not answer his own question. Could it be about the manner and occasion within which the flag is waved? It certainly seems to be used as a symbol of division rather than togetherness.

Eric Begbie, Stirling.

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