A NUMBER of political parties are clamouring for the dismissal of Humza Yousaf ("Sturgeon faces fresh calls from Tories and Labour to sack Health Secretary Yousaf over growing chaos in A& E", The Herald, December 27).There are two main reasons, I believe, for that wish not having been fulfilled so far.

First, it would remove an important level of protection from the First Minister, a Health Secretary herself at one time, if he were to go. Secondly, as every schoolboy knows, as it were, over its lengthy period in power the SNP Government has failed consistently in many respects to provide a well-run health service.

However, that is one thing. For the Scottish Government to admit any responsibility for that state of affairs is an entirely different matter. The removal of Mr Yousaf would be a clear admission. It chooses rather to blame the pandemic, Brexit, or the misdeeds of Westminster for any deficiencies.

Mr Yousaf's jacket is likely to remain on its shaky peg for a while yet.
Ian Thomson, Lenzie

• WHY is Humza Yousaf still in post as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care?

Elementary; the First Minister has canvassed widely within the cult of the mediocrities (beta minus grades) aka the SNP and can discover no credible candidate both able and willing to take on this thankless task.

I offer my proposal about the progressive failure of NHS Scotland, which was my employer for 41 years. Two key words not discovered in employment contracts with NHS Scotland – goodwill and motivation – have been sacrificed on the altar of drive to independence, "than which nothing is more important" according to the First Minister.
Dr William Durward, Bearsden

UK should avoid gender trap

MARGARET Forbes (Letters, December 27) fulminates at the possibility of the Westminster Government using its power to prevent the passing of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. Can I add another reason why the Westminster Government would be unwise to interfere?

The recent decision of the Supreme Court to deny the Scottish Government permission to hold a second independence election resulted in several subsequent opinion polls revealing an increase in support for independence. The interference by the Westminster Government with the passage of this bill would only add to the First Minister's and the SNP's overweening sense of grievance and again add grist to the independence mill.

While the Scottish Parliament passed this bill, it remains deeply unpopular with the Scottish people, as evidenced in recent opinion polls. The Westminster Government should see the option of interference as an elephant trap into which it should not be tempted.
Alan Ramage, Edinburgh

Encouraging prejudice

THE MSPs most strongly opposed to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill made clear in the Parliament that they did not consider trans people to pose any threat. Instead they were concerned that sex offenders would misuse the bill to facilitate their crimes.

They didn't explain how this would happen, or why it has not happened in the 34 other countries and states that have already introduced similar laws. Nevertheless the Parliament recognised that some people were concerned, and unanimously agreed an amendment to the bill to allow the courts to ban sex offenders, and those considered to pose a risk of sex offences, from obtaining gender recognition.

Alasdair Fyfe (Letters, December 27) claims that trans people in Scotland are assaulting women in women-only spaces. This is a repeat of the slur used through the ages to attack religious, racialised, or other minorities: "they are attacking our women" or "they are attacking our children".

The suggestion that an entire group poses a risk should be seen for what it is: a way of encouraging prejudice.
Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network, Edinburgh

Tories are the big winners

“UNQUESTIONABLY the most shameful and contemptible moment in the history of the Scottish Parliament since 1707.... ceding the moral high ground to the Scottish Conservatives". The “moment” was the passing of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill last week, ignoring widespread public disapproval. The quote was from Wings Over Scotland, whose Wee Blue Book was a huge vote winner, for the Yes side in 2014.

And it's right. The big winners are the Tories, who can add "we're the party that protects women" to "we're the party to protect the Union", leaving Scottish Labour trailing, hanging on to the severely-damaged SNP/Greens' coat-tails.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven

• I WAS interested to read Dr Gerald Edwards advocating that the Gender Recognition Act be put to a referendum of the Scottish people (Letters, December 27). I presume he would apply similar logic to another contentious issue, also passed by a majority in the Scottish Parliament, and campaign for the matter of Scottish independence to be decided by a referendum.
Iain Gunn, Elgin

Tax poll is fatally flawed

YOU report support in a public poll for the higher taxes introduced by John Swinney in his latest tax-hiking budget ("Scottish Budget: Scots back axing of £20m fund for independence vote", heraldscotland, December 27). However I am surprised this warrants real “news’”as the story comes as no surprise if one considers that around 43% of Scots pay no tax at all and of the circa 2.5 million existing taxpayers, most are on the starting and basic rate. Research from the Fraser of Allander Institute shows only 15,000 Scots pay the top “additional” rate for those earning above £125,000.

It is so very easy to “support” higher taxes when those polled are unlikely to pay them.
Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Indy could not be justified

AS one nation, the UK has existed for 315 years with many inevitable changes occurring over that period to its structure, economy and international influence. Any borders between England, Wales and Scotland are entirely historical – they simply have no political meaning, or pose any restrictions on the movement of people or goods.

With the emergence of the SNP in recent times, there has been an ever-growing threat of change to this successful Union. In response to such a situation surely one must inquire if it, the SNP, has been able to define any advantages in economic, international trade or other valid political aspects to Scotland exiting the UK?

From an international point of view Scotland would become almost insignificant with limited income from exports for, in truth, its biggest customer is the rest of the UK. And in case the question of the whisky industry is raised as a panacea, it should be remembered that much of the investment in that sector is in what the SNP might describe as "foreign hands". The excise duty on whisky might reach the coffers of a Scottish exchequer, but the corporation tax relating to the balance sheets of the corporations owning most of the distilleries would not.

And let us not shrug aside the adverse effects independence would have on companies, particularly in Central Scotland, engaged in the UK defence industry.

So just how can the nationalists justify the radical changes to Scotland's economy, and its drastic effect on the lives of future generations of Scots which would be inevitable with current SNP policies?
Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife

Asylum seekers raise big question

THANKS to The Herald and the Ferret for again highlighting the plight of asylum seekers in Scotland ("Suicidal asylum seekers feel 'abandoned' by Home Office", The Herald, December 27). Some have spent their second Christmas in budget or rundown hotels.

But the Home Office insists it's just a "temporary solution... and we are working hard to reduce the amount of time people need to stay in costly hotels in Scotland". Costly? Temporary? Who are they trying to kid?

Why doesn't the Home Office actually deal with the claims, because when they do, they might discover the majority are accepted?

As one of your interviewees, living in a hotel in Greenock, said: "I want to be able to work, to pay my way and my taxes." And for Scotland's economy to grow it needs more workers.

Why can't the Scottish Government say to the Home Office: "Your contractor Mears Group is putting up asylum seekers in hotels in Scotland. We'll take over now, provide them with better conditions and jobs, and assess their claims more quickly?"

Is this yet another example of Scotland not having control over its own affairs, or not willing to fight for them?
Andy Stenton, Glasgow


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