DOUG Maughan (Letters, October 7) favours proportional representation (PR), producing a parliament of more and smaller parties “with real debate about policy and compromises made by all involved” rather than “the current system where the Chancellor can sign the UK up to hundreds of billions of debt, without even running his plan past the Cabinet first”.

In 1932 Germany had 62 competing parties, splitting the civilised votes and leading to Hitler gaining power some months later. Germany’s current PR system led to two months of haggling in 2021 before a new government could be formed; its Finance Minister is now trying to bypass debt rules by keeping its €200 billion energy bailout package outside the regular budget, “obscuring truth and clarity” according to the Federal Court of Auditors.

After the 2011 Fukushima disaster (caused by a tsunami, not a nuclear fault) Angela Merkel unilaterally, overnight and with no debate stopped Germany’s nuclear power developments, leading directly to its over-dependence on Putin’s gas and its financing of his increasingly-totalitarian regime and war machine.

Likewise in 2015, she unilaterally and overnight threw open Germany’s borders, and therefore the EU’s, to a million Middle Eastern migrants. No “real debate” or “compromises” in these critical policy changes, even within her own country let alone the EU.

The Dutch were faced with 37 parties in their 2021 election; it took 10 months of haggling behind closed doors, by politicians unwilling to compromise, before a new government could be formed.

There is a lot to be said for “broad church” parties comprising a reasonable range of opinions, which generally produce a clear new government with broad support within 48 hours of elections. PR is not necessarily more “democratic” than first past the post, and can give disproportionate power to politicians, especially from minor parties, rather than to voters.
John Birkett, St Andrews

We must find migrant answer

CATRIONA Stewart ("I have a dream... to be free of the likes of cruel Braverman", The Herald, October 7) is right to condemn Suella Braverman for her unfortunate choice of language and her rabble-rousing presentation in her conference speech on sending migrants to Rwanda, but she is wrong to extend that condemnation to argue against the need for any assessment of the migrants entering the UK illegally such as the thousands being trafficked now across the Channel.

The majority (60 per cent) of those have been found to be young males from Albania, a Nato country. As such they could apply relatively cheaply to come here legally but chose the costly illegal route, which begs the question: why? The answer is that they are not genuine asylum seekers fleeing persecution but are economic migrants. It is our clear right, for security considerations and to avoid our public services being overwhelmed, to assess all those arriving here illegally to determine whether or not they are genuine asylum seekers, and if not to decide whether they can stay or must be repatriated.

In any event the Rwanda proposal is an irrelevant distraction if it is correct that it covers only some 200 migrants. A workable solution must involve effective co-operation with the French to stop the boats launching from France, and in that regard there are at last encouraging reports of possible progress following what appears to be a modest rapprochement between the new friends Macron and Truss at their meeting in Prague ("Irish Government suggest there could be some ‘flexibility’ on Northern Irish Protocol as post-Brexit talks resume", The Herald, October 7). Here’s hoping.
Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop

• I WAS much encouraged to read the letters (October 6) from L McGregor and Celia Judge under the heading “Why can't the Tories see their cruelty makes no sense?", referring to the new Home Secretary’s “obsessive” longing to witness a plane full of people who had come to the U.K. seeking asylum heading off for Rwanda.

Obscene revelling in the suffering of others is surely a cruelty revealed by the rapturous applause which greeted Suella Braverman’s speech to a fringe meeting at the recent Birmingham conference.

Your report that Scottish Tories are facing a resounding defeat ("Scottish Tories ‘are facing an election wipeout’", The Herald, October 6) does the Scottish people great credit. As does Catriona Stewart’s article.
John Milne, Uddingston

Promises, promises...

IT is customary when telling a story to young children to begin thus: "The story begins at the beginning...".

This story begins more than seven years ago when, on August 30, 2015, George Osborne announced a £500 million investment in Faslane. Immediately Nicola Sturgeon announced a £97 million contract with Ferguson Marine to build two ferries which are still not in service. Ms Sturgeon's immediate response, without due consideration, is an example of a conditioned reflex.

Unfortunately this is not a fairy story, and adults may not enjoy it, but further instalments will follow. A happy ending is not promised.
William Durward, Bearsden

Are we a third world country?

IN 1976 we sold our house. We had arranged for an evening viewing, but much to our chagrin the prospective buyers did not appear. Next day we received a most apologetic phone call, there being no such things as mobile phones in those ancient times:

"Sorry about last night, we got held up by the flooding at Bingham's Pond, how about tomorrow night"? I agreed, and that couple did indeed buy our house.

On Friday I left home in Hardgate at 9:15 heading for Gartnavel Hospital, I got there at 10:35. Reason, flooding at Bingham's Pond; in 46 years the problem has not been solved.

What does it take to get things repaired? It doesn't seem to matter who is in power nationally or local, Labour, SNP, or Tory, nothing gets done. An excuse will always be found. If it isn't Brexit it is Putin, global warming, financial crisis, leaves off the trees, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Opec, the other lot before we took power. The list of excuses is endless.

I'll skip The Rest and be Thankful, getting that fixed is indeed a pipe dream. Are we indeed slowly going down the pan, and becoming a third world country, or are we already?
George Smith, Clydebank

Shipbuilding idea is a winner

AS one who grew up regulating my primary schooldays to the sound of shipyard hooters, I would ask you to take this as a vote for a shipbuilding museum on Clydeside ("all for museum to celebrate the glory days of Clyde’s shipyards", The Herald, October 7).-

On reading the article, it struck me as surprising that the idea hadn't occurred to all of us before now.

The Transport Museum doesn't give the subject enough scale or depth and Irvine, excellent though it is, is too far from where the yards used to be.

If anyone wants a graphic illustration of the huge importance of Scottish shipbuilding, they can combine education with a nice wee holiday by visiting the superb Drassanes maritime museum in Barcelona. On the walk down into the museum proper there are many models of merchant ships: the great preponderance of vessels built on the Clyde will bring out its faded importance.
Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh

Accept status quo in Ukraine

RUSSIA currently occupies 18 per cent of Ukraine. At best, the current offensive has allowed Ukraine to retake two per cent of previously-seized territory. Any further advance will be extremely difficult and costly as Russia has extensive defensive positions in place.

Hovering above the war is the threat of nuclear weapon usage and escalation to a European war.

Rather than prolonging a conflict which began in 2014 by continuing to supply weapons to Ukraine and dangling Nato/EU membership to Ukrainians which Russia sees as a real threat to its survival, a more realistic option is to accept the current status quo and arrange a face-saving UN-agreed settlement.

Ukraine could follow the model of Austria after the Second World War and exist as an acceptable buffer state between Western Europe and Russia.

Better that than dying in a nuclear holocaust.
Chris Greenhalgh, Bearsden


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