COULD a modicum of reality finally hit the SNP?

Already, Humza Yousaf has said that a two-tier health system would be "abhorrent" ("Health chiefs warn free-for-all NHS model 'no longer works'", heraldscotland, November 21). It’s not ideal, but why? The SNP wants to make everything "free" or deploy the more inane term of declaring something a "human right" as if this magically makes it immune to price shocks, scarcity, bottlenecks or abuse.

Do the individuals who work in extractive and chemical industries work for nothing? Do the people who labour on pharmaceutical production lines do it out of duty?

Most of us know services aren't free, but for some reason, some persist in this naive delusion, helped along by the SNP which has almost entirely ruptured the link between services and taxation.

If I had to pay a fixed sum to see a GP, similar to dentistry, then so be it. I’d rather the entire service works. And I say this from no place of great wealth, working minimum wage for a "free" advocacy service.

However, the NHS Scotland health board chief executives' minutes are more succinct than me: “divorced from the reality of life and purpose of service". This could sum up the last 15 years in Scotland.
David Bone, Girvan

SNP response to be applauded

LET’S face it, no one wants to be unwell, no one wants to be taking medication daily, no one wants to be going to hospital. However, unfortunately many find themselves, through no fault of their own, unwell and needing the services of the NHS. So the current headlines regarding the future of our NHS going down the road of charging for certain procedures is alarming.

Many with long-term conditions find themselves relieved that here in Scotland they no longer pay for prescriptions, eliminating the need to make choices of which medication is more important and should be prioritised. The myth that those with long-term conditions and those on benefits were excluded from paying for prescriptions was exactly that, a myth. So, any suggestion of charges for health care would only bring with it additional pressure on the NHS as patients' conditions worsen due to the added stress of finding the finances.

Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon have reiterated that the founding principles of the NHS are not up for discussion here in Scotland and this is to be welcomed and applauded considering the financial pressures we are all under, and the current stress on our NHS.
Catriona C Clark, Falkirk

Let us look overseas

THERE can be no doubt that the NHS in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are struggling badly in all areas (though the BBC appears to think only Scotland has a problem). The leak that health board chiefs in Scotland held an open discussion on reform should be welcomed, but necessary changes to the NHS will not be instigated at this level, and reform needs to be serious and wide-ranging.

Scotland certainly, but also the entire UK, suffers from general poor health due to climate, diet, lack of exercise and an inheritance of physically-damaged workers due to bad working environments. If the attack dogs in politics and the media could stand back for a moment to allow a serious evaluation of health systems in other countries which seem to function better than the NHS, it would do us all a favour.

The howls of outrage by opposition politicians over health at First Minister's Questions is a reprehensible disgrace, in that Labour and Tory health ministers where they hold responsibility do not offer better comparable outcomes than Scotland does.
GR Weir, Ochiltree

Don't let the 3% dictate

LET'S hope that when the Supreme Court publishes its ruling on the referendum on Wednesday (November 23), the legality supports the reality, and the decision remains reserved to Westminster. A common complaint about the Brexit vote is that people were misled and not told "the facts" before the vote. In the case of Indyref2, the facts do not support the idea that Westminster should grant Scotland a referendum.

Referendums are based on total votes for and against a proposition. At the 2021 Holyrood elections, only 64 per cent of the registered electorate voted. Of these, only 49% voted for parties advocating separation from the UK, indicating that only 32% of Scots engaged enough to vote were probable Yes voters. Furthermore, of the last 51 polls on independence, only six have shown a slight majority for Yes.

There are few facts to consider on the issue of what Scotland's status would be after separation. This can only be determined after a long, complex negotiation involving the politicians, civil servants and lawyers of both governments – a huge distraction and at considerable expense, with businesses reluctant to invest amidst the uncertainty. The Brexit experience demonstrates that years after the vote there are still negotiations ongoing, and we still do not know the true extent of the resultant damage or possible benefits.

The UK Government has a responsibility to the entire UK population and together with Holyrood has more urgent problems to deal with than at any time in recent history. To allow less than three per cent of the UK electorate to impose this needless distraction on the rest would indeed be a "democratic deficit", a term the SNP are very fond of.
Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen

They will find new grievances

ON Wednesday the Supreme Court is scheduled to deliver its verdict on the SNP’s demand for another referendum. The general legal consensus appears to be that the nationalists will be given a flea in their ear. The fact that nationalist protest rallies are being organised by the usual suspects on Wednesday speaks volumes. We have already heard the first rumblings of "biased judges". The script appears to have been written and it does not seem to matter that one at least of the Supreme Court judges is a Scot.

Be that as it may, the issue will not then be put aside and infinitely more important matters tackled at long last. The FM’s taxpayer-supplied and funded multi-million-pound SPAD army will not turn to using their brains to help solve Scotland’s myriad and deep-seated problems and suggest, for example, curtailing profligate spending on nationalist shibboleths and use the money instead to help pay fair wage claims and aid the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

They will instead be employed in attempting to find any new grievance whatsoever to help their obsession with breaking up the UK, to the exclusion of all else, and the weary people of this country will be faced with further years of division and festering hatred and misery.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Focus on fixing Brexit damage

RUTH Marr (Letters, November 19) has correctly identified a mood in the country in which a majority of people agree with Ian Blackford’s withering comments regarding Brexit. However, her complaint about the Labour Party’s policy to keep the UK out of the EU is misplaced.

We all, including Ms Marr, have to accept that the UK is out of the EU, and we cannot rejoin in the near future, even if well over three-quarters of the population want to do so. There is no point in Ian Blackford and the Labour Party having a policy to rejoin the EU. The Labour Party in particular must develop a policy which reverses the damage inflicted on the UK from a disastrous Brexit agreement. A commitment to realign the UK with the EU in order to eliminate trade barriers would be a helpful start, even if there is no guarantee that the EU would be willing to accept such a change in attitude.
Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh

No comparison with Croatia

WHY does Alan Sutherland (Letters, November 21) assume that the SNP and Greens would govern an independent Scottish nation and why does he liken Scotland, a nation ripped out of the EU by its neighbours in peacetime, to Croatia, a nation newly emerged from the carnage of the Balkan wars?

No political party or candidate will be mentioned on the voting paper in an independence ballot and all parties would be free to compete to participate in the government of a newly-independent Scottish nation under proportional representation. The "Disunited Kingdom", rather than Scotland, would become an outlier among the nations of western Europe.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie

• ABRAHAM Lincoln said: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

Desperation can make folk do surprising things, but weaponising the twin disasters that were Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng as a reason to remain in the Union?

I would suggest that Peter A Russell (Letters, November 21) seeks a better knot?
Alan Carmichael, Glasgow

Read more letters: National Care Service plans pose a threat to standards


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