THE Conservatives, Labour and the LibDems all have one thing in common. Yes, they favour the Union, but they also display huge levels of hypocrisy in their comments on government projects.

As a traveller to the isles myself I agree that it is very unfortunate that the Calmac ferries are delayed and have a cost overrun of a few hundred million. But note that we will at least get ferries, shipbuilding skills are being retained and even grown by the recruitment of apprentices. This seems really important for Scotland, a country with some 900 islands, of which 94 are permanently habituated.

Where has all the anger and outrage been when it comes to Crossrail? A project that was four years late and £4 billion over budget? Scotland’s share, at 8.3 per cent, of that £4bn is £332 million, which would be a lot more usefully spent financing some more ferries. On top of this passengers numbers on Crossrail are 50% of what was expected and as such a further burden will fall on taxpayers across the UK.

There are many other UK Government projects to highlight but perhaps the most recent standout disaster is the news that the Ajax tank project is in deep trouble and highly likely to be scrapped. With some £5 bn already spent the Scottish share would also build a fair few ferries. And what about the six multi-billion-pound destroyers stuck in harbour, billions over price and years late? Might the failures be caused by Margaret Thatcher allowing industries to go to the wall and hence the skills to build stuff being lost?

Where is the outrage on these? And indeed on the awful Track and Trace system, which cost £37bn, the Scottish "share" being £3.1 billion. And that for something that we didn’t really need, as unlike England each of the devolved administrations had already got such a capability in place – only NHS England had axed its due to Government austerity. With Hinkley Point another project going over budget, some £3bn on this one, you do really have to ask why there is so little fuss from unionist quarters. It’s partly their money too, is it not?

Now its fair to say there is not a government on the planet that doesn’t from time to time have issues with projects but you would think from the comments by unionist politicians and their supporters that the Scottish Government is alone in having a problem project. And that is just completely hypocritical.

More crucially though, if these unionist politicians and their supporters are prepared to mislead on some issues and deny the existence of other real issues then how can we in any way trust what they say? And the answer there is you cannot.

Independence will be a breath of fresh air.
Rab Mungall, Dunfermline

Who is Nicola Sturgeon kidding?

QUESTIONED by Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee about the ferry fiasco, Nicola Sturgeon says she ultimately takes full responsibility for all that happens on her watch (“Sturgeon denies ‘jobs for the boys’ behind ferry scandal”, The Herald, November 5). Yet, just as with overcoming the attainment gap in education, for which she once urged us to judge her, she effectively means the exact opposite. Her whole demeanour and attitude speaks of someone who judges they are untouchable and so “taking responsibility” is merely an empty platitude.

The First Minister claimed with utter conviction and certainty that there was nothing improper about the placing of the original ferry contracts. Yet within moments in reference to the BBC Disclosure documentary, she went on to recognise the serious issues it raised.

So which is it, First Minister, are you already completely sure there has been no wrongdoing or not? Are you taking full responsibility or not? Or was your performance at the Holyrood committee hearing just another instance of you treating the process of accountability with contempt, and in so doing, playing the people of Scotland for fools?
Keith Howell, West Linton, Scottish Borders

Peg currency to the euro

JILL Stephenson (Letters, November 5) joins the trend for "shock/horror" politicking. If Scotland joined the EU, it would be “obliged” to adopt the euro, but within the EU there simply is no mechanism to force any country to actually do so: there, simple is it not?

I would advise pegging any new Scottish currency to the euro, however, until we meet the criteria to join. The Eurozone is now the Optimal Currency Area which utilises the euro for maximum economic efficiency, and being in the region but not being part of the Eurozone makes no economic, trade or commercial sense. The UK never joined the euro simply to serve the interests of the City of London.

I would suggest to Peter A Russell (Letters, November 5) that people voted No in 2014 because they believed Labour and Tory assertions over remaining within the EU, and they presently vote for the SNP not to form a government at Westminster but to form an independent government in Scotland. Sir Keir Starmer (shockingly at a Keir Hardie dinner) states bluntly that if his party wins the next General Election, they will not “work” with the expected majority of Scottish MPs. The “why independence?” is thereby explained; why send Scottish MPs down to Westminster at all just to have any interests Scots might have ignored by a Labour government, just as happens at present with the Tories? Simple, is it not?
GR Weir, Ochiltree

• RATHER than prevaricate over whether or not the SNP will commit to joining the euro, Jill Stephenson should perhaps ponder why as part of the UK, we currently fail to meet the conditions required?
Alan Carmichael, Glasgow

There is no indy mandate

ALASDAIR Galloway’s letter (November 5) clearly demonstrates that it is he and his fellow independence supporters who confuse apples and pears by stating that the number of votes cast, which is the manner by which any referendum result would be judged, is, effectively, irrelevant in the independence mandate debate and that the number of seats won is the criterion by which such a mandate should be judged. Given the extremely divisive and polarised nature of Scottish politics, I would be very surprised if the vast majority of those who voted for the SNP, the Greens and Alba did so because of the “fantastic" job the Government is making of running our country, as opposed to those parties being the only ones, currently, who are certain to grant the independence supporters their wishes.

The percentages he quotes say it all – that there is no clear independence mandate, using the method by which any referendum result would be judged.
Bob Hamilton, Motherwell

Voters need to wise up

STUPIDITY is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. The UK electorate has been doing the same thing for decades and expecting a different outcome while any objective analysis of history clearly demonstrates that irrespective of which of the two major parties hold sway, the outcome for the majority of us never really changes. We have reached the point where the country is falling into a financial abyss created in part by internecine strife within the ruling political party yet we expect the same individuals who dug the hole to get us out of it. If that’s not stupid then what is it?

The electorate needs to wise up. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world, there is and never has been a shortage of money. Any country that, as you report, can consider rescuing ships that nobody has heard of or repainting the ceilings of a castle that precious few will ever visit at a time when an increasing number of its citizens are forced to beg for food has a serious problem with its priorities. Despite wage rises not contributing to the current rampant inflation, an unelected banker has just told us he and his mates are going to help himself to more of our wages and Westminster is either complicit or helpless to prevent it happening. There is no shortage of wealth or money, it’s just that it is poorly distributed and decades of the Westminster pantomime hasn’t altered the distribution one iota.

Democracy can be defined as government of the people for the people by the people. Take a good hard look at Westminster, its performance over the last century and its current incumbents; if that’s democracy I’m a Dutchman.
David J Crawford, Glasgow


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