Three reasons we might rue this election result

The dirty tricks department of the Conservatives has conspired to deny thousands of UK students the opportunity to vote on December 12. They achieved this by choosing an election date just after most students have gone home for the term break.

This means they are not at the address from which they had registered to vote. Or will be away from that address on election day so cannot vote.

Fortunately, our savvy youth have twigged this and found a way to stop Boris’s scam in its tracks.

Boris did not reckon on the intelligence and integrity of our youth, who have persuaded university lecturers to allow five minutes at the start of every lecture, to remind students to register to vote, if they have not already. That way they can sign up for a postal vote and use it to vote as they wish on December 12.

The Conservatives and the Brexit Party are the only political parties that do not support votes at 16 in the UK. They clearly fear the wisdom and energy that young people could bring into the diabolical state of our national politics.

Greta Thunberg has shown the way: she has mobilised millions of children, young people and adults, into believing that positive change can happen, if enough people use their democratic rights to vote.

All of us should make sure that all our student friends and young people know about this and take action to remedy it immediately.

Max Cruickshank


We may rue this election result

There are three elements playing a part in this General Election which could turn out badly for the country.

First, many voters have been scunnered by the intractability of Parliament over Brexit and may well have been turned off by politics. That could lead to a poor turnout. On the other hand there is a cohort of voters desperate for a decisive victory in this election to clear the decks for getting on with normal life. That group may find Johnson’s positivity and optimistic approach the shtick to which they are drawn, regardless of their previous political affiliations

Then there is the time of the year and the weather factor, which are likely to deter sectors of the electorate from voting.

Those three factors could lead to a result which the country will come to rue.

Meanwhile, on the social media front, it appears that the Labour Party is cutting through to voters and this might, despite all the adverse publicity in print and on TV, give that party a boost which might surprise the psephologists.

If we end up with a hung Parliament, there will be many left feeling frustrated at the continuing deadlock which will ensue.

If Johnson pulls off a victory with a working majority, no deal is still the bookies’ favourite outcome.

It would be a major coup for Labour if Corbyn scraped home even without a sufficient majority to put his recalibration of British politics into operation.

It’s all to play for and it could be a gloomy Christmas with any one of those three outcomes.

Denis Bruce


The power of tactical voting

Labour’s suicidal announcement of a former SNP member as their candidate against Joanna Cherry surely leaves the field open to the Conservatives gaining the 1,000 votes they need to depose her.

With Labour and Conservative standing aside so the LibDems can win back Ian Blackford’s seat, and Pete Wishart (2) and Stephen Gethins (23) having tiny majorities, the way is open for voters, angered by Nicola Sturgeon’s “Brexit means Scexit” campaign, the SNP’s embarrassing performance in Westminster and the division they have created in Scotland, to club together and vote tactically to defeat them so they can join Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson on the list of deposed SNP “big beasts”.

A “four gone” conclusion, perhaps?

Allan Sutherland


Events, dear boy, events

I AM not entirely sure where Keith Howell comes from, but I think at one point he stated he was not originally from Scotland. However, he finds so much at fault in the Scottish political system I am surprised he still wants to stay here.

He is, of course, correct in that the SNP is going to have great difficulty in getting a Section 30 order from Westminster, but the vehement predictions of all politicians do not always see fulfilment – ie Boris Johnson is not “dead in a ditch” as he swore to be if Brexit had not been approved by Halloween.

There is a definite demand in Scotland for independence, and while this was, and is, the sole function of the SNP, recent independence marches are composed of the mass of Scots. Looking at the pictures we see fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and grandparents all waving Saltires. Some may be SNP members, but popular will is there on public display. I would wish to join them but I am too old and decrepit to do so. But, as a member of the SNP since 1966, I am seeing scenes I never thought I would.

Mr Howell castigates Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP for demanding independence, and points out the intransigence of the Unionists, who will deny Scotland’s right to choose its own future and show no sign of amelioration.

We are in a state of political confusion, worse than anything I have ever seen, and I am reminded of when then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was asked what he feared most in politics, he replied “Events, dear boy, events”.

Russian money for the Tories, Donald Trump persuading Nigel Farage to snuggle up to Boris Johnson, stars of both Tories and Labour falling from the firmament, and the LibDems having a crisis of identity, not sure of who they are – who knows what will happen next?

At least the electorate knows where the SNP stands – it hasn’t changed since I joined. What’s that saying again – “The power of an idea whose time has come”. I’m glad to be still alive at this time.

Yes: events, dear Mr Howell, events.

Jim Lynch


Valuable lessons from Grenfell

Jacob Rees-Mogg asserting that it would have been “common sense” for residents of Grenfell Tower to reject the advice from firefighters to remain in the building was indeed irresponsible and ignorant, but not for the reasons cited by Iain Macwhirter (The Herald on Sunday, November 10). More credibly, Rees-Mogg’s counsel will be seized upon by parents who seek to justify not vaccinating their children.

Further, notwithstanding their other difficulties, firefighters remained best placed to make a judgment upon a hazard not directly attributable to the fire: a breakdown in humanity. It seems not even to have occurred to Rees-Mogg that the residents who perished that night may have consciously prioritised the lives of their neighbours over their own.

One final point remains inexplicable to me. Did none of those responsible for designing out the risk of fire within the structure see The Towering Inferno? It anticipated all the failings which have emerged from relevant inquiries (including unsuitable building materials, inadequate safety specifications, communication difficulties, inaccessible lifts and stairs) and, had that screenplay been incorporated into fire prevention practice, the tragedy might not have happened at all.

Archie Beaton


For the avoidance of any doubt

An article was published in The Herald on Sunday on October 27, entitled “Surge in children on antidepressants and sedatives”.

Helen McArdle asked me to speak about my own clinical experience which gave rise to my quoted comment: “They don’t work for everybody but, in my experience, they work for a majority and they can really help young people engage with psychological therapies, get back to school, look after themselves, and definitely reduce suicide risk.”

In the group of patients I have seen in my specialist clinic, it is my experience that antidepressants can reduce suicide risk for individual young people by helping to effectively treat their underlying mental illness.

On reading the quote I can see that there is a potential for misinterpretation and I would like to clarify that my statement was based entirely on my clinical practice and not on general population studies.

Dr Aileen Blower

Vice-Chair, Faculty of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland

Global warming? Cool it, please

Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University is predicting that our climate will start getting colder from 2020, and this may continue for about 35 years. Other climate scientists predict we are about to enter a serious “solar minimum” – like the mini ice age of the 17th century.

This agrees with the findings of research in China which sheds light on 500-year Chinese climate cycle and suggests global cooling could be on the way.

The lead scientist Dr Wu Jing, from the Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, said the study had found no evidence of human influence on northern China’s warming winters and said she was now more worried about cooling than warming.

So much for global warming time to look out the winter woollies.

Clark Cross