IN a desperate attempt to distract from the stench of cronyism and corruption surrounding Westminster by attempting to undermine the position of the First Minister, Allan Sutherland (Letters, January 24) let the cat out of the bag.

“The UK Government couldn't have picked a better issue or fight to begin the reset of devolution” affirms what most suspected that de facto Governor Alister Jack’s invoking of Section 35 had nothing to do with the safeguarding of the rights of women and children but was political opportunism at its worst.

When Caroline Nokes MP, Conservative and Unionist Party Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee at Westminster, passed the Select Committee’s recommendations for gender recognition reform to the UK Government in December 2021, those recommendations requesting urgent action were “broadly in line” (as she confirmed on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg) with the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. Yet, the UK Government has so far chosen to ignore those recommendations.

Should at any time during the last six years the UK Government have been genuinely concerned either about the perceived impact on women and children or potential conflict with existing UK gender reform legislation then it could have taken legal advice and relayed that to the Scottish Government.

The fact that it chose neither to reform its own legislation nor advise any counter legal advice prior to the passing of the bill in Scotland confirms that Stephen Flynn was correct in assessing that we are now “on a slippery slope from devolution to direct rule” (as has already been brought about by unionists in Northern Ireland).

No doubt those who seek every opportunity to blame the First Minister and the SNP for all of Scotland’s woes will continue to illogically argue otherwise, but any objective analysis will confirm that it is the Prime Minister and the Tory UK Government that is attempting to politically exploit this relatively complex issue and detrimentally holding back more compassionate consideration of the wishes of probably the most marginalised minority in our society.

The Scottish public when appraised of all the facts will see through the smoke and mirrors and conclude that the majority of SNP, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs were right to support the GRR Bill consistent with progressively building the fair and compassionate society we wish for Scotland.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry

Indy does not hinge on SNP

ANSWERING what I take to be the assumption behind Eric Gardiner’s letter of January 24 (I hope he will pardon me if I have misinterpreted him): I am no uncritical admirer of the SNP or its record as the governing party of Scotland, and it is indeed a lamentable situation when politics and political debate have declined to the level of “my bunch is at least not quite as bad as your bunch”. But if “the SNP in Holyrood is managing a bittie better than the Tories in Westminster” is not much of an argument for independence, no more is “the SNP is not managing spectacularly well” any kind of argument against it.

The case for independence does not hinge on the merits of any political party; though on any showing it has been greatly strengthened by the crass incompetence, to call it nothing worse, of the present Tory Government. I argue that independence is necessary in order to address the many problems facing Scotland at this moment: one of these problems is, precisely, the uninspiring performance of our main party and the total uselessness of the others.

When we are no longer handicapped by the present system, the talent which Scotland undoubtedly possesses will have a chance to take centre stage. As one example, in an independent Scotland there will be not only scope but a real need for a radical socialist party to the left of the SNP; and if Scottish Labour had the sense, and the guts, to take the logical step and position itself as the future leftist opposition and potential government of Scotland, its electoral support would rise on the instant. But neither sense nor guts has a chance of emerging in a party which remains subservient to its Westminster unionist bosses.

That an independent Scotland governed by the present SNP would be better than what we now have is not saying much; but the main argument for it is that it is a necessary first step towards much better things.
Derrick McClure, Aberdeen

Unionists should take a step back

I WRITE to express my gratitude for the way in which Neil Mackay cogently and passionately articulated my own, and I very much suspect many other people’s, views on contemporary UK politics ("Do Yes voters care more about Britain than Tories do?", The Herald, January 24). Nail on the head and then some.

I would hope that the cohort of vehement unionists who regularly inhabit these pages could perhaps take a step back from their purblind obsession with both the Scottish Government and the SNP and pause to take a more considered view of the pitiful calumny that has become Westminster politics, and in particular the vainglorious, venal and immoral actions which increasingly characterise the governing Conservative Party, and the supine performance of the Labour opposition.

Truly there are none so blind as will not see.
David Carson, Dumbarton

Cynical plot by the FM

NICOLA Sturgeon has tied herself in so many knots that even Houdini would have failed to escape. She is a politician who believes that young people who commit crimes should not be punished as adults as their brains haven’t yet fully developed and therefore can’t be held responsible for their actions. She however also wants us to believe that children of 16 are mentally able to say they are not the gender they were born into.

She wants to limit the advertising of alcoholic brands, including considering removing the logos from pint glasses. However the First Minister stated in a BBC interview "why can't a 16-year-old drink alcohol in a pub?”. It may have been a rhetorical question but why choose this as an example?

The SNP is attempting to be attractive to younger voters and this no doubt would be a vote-winner among many of those 16 and 17-year-olds who can vote in Scottish parliamentary elections. Was this really “bad phrasing” on her part or a cynical ploy to sow a seed in the minds of young voters?
Jane Lax, Aberlour

Why leave one union for another?

CAN we expect the SNP to announce a U-turn on its intention to seek EU membership following separation from the UK?

It seems to be the only logical action given its outrage over the blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform legislation by the UK Government because of potential conflict with UK law.

Why leave one union for "independence" only to join another in which we would had even less representation and influence in lawmaking? Unless of course the outrage is a pretence and its a case of a union with "anyone but England".
Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen

Just the right type

I READ today that Sir Laurie Magnus, the PM’s ethic advisor is, and I quote, a 67-year-old Old Etonian investment banker ("Zahawi should go, says Sturgeon, after tax investigation is ordered", The Herald, January 24).

Knighted, private school-educated and worked in the City. Says it all, doesn’t it?
Willie Towers, Alford

Asylum seekers depend on charity

IT takes a charity to act to defend asylum seekers in Scotland.

The UK Government's Home Office and its contractor Mears Group fail miserably time and again. And the Scottish Government says it doesn't have any control.

Henry Okwo from Nigeria is studying for a Masters at Strathclyde University. He worked after hours to pay for rented accommodation in Coatbridge. But the Home Office told him last month as an asylum seeker he couldn't work so he, his wife and three children were evicted.

Mears moved them first to Newcastle, then York.

Positive Action in Housing in Scotland intervened and brought the family back to Glasgow, providing a place to stay thanks to charity funding.

This all happened in the last week.

The UK Government pays huge amounts of money to contractors to "help" asylum seekers but it's money not well spent, and some organisations will be making big profits out of others' misery.

Why doesn't the Scottish Government campaign for laws to allow it to do the job? And where's the Scottish Labour Party's voice in this mess?
Andy Stenton, Glasgow

Read more letters: Gender reform row will finally seal Sturgeon's fate


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