Surely this sacrifice is worth it

“Businesses in blacklash against Greens’ bid to scrap road improvement project as condition for supporting SNP budget” (The Herald on Sunday, January 12). I just want to ask the Scottish Government and your readers whether we really want an economy that fuels further climate change and increased C02 emissions?

There could be very positive benefits for an economy that increased and improved trains for the ferrying of goods. Incentives to end petrol and diesel driven vehicles could spur the sort of economic development that inspired the younger generation.

Limiting road traffic is surely a worthy aim, making Scotland a cleaner and more peaceful place for all who live and visit here.

Pat Bryden


Fellow climate change scientists, we must up our game if we want to keep the taxpayer-funded lifestyle we enjoy. We thought we had the public’s attention when we talked of global warming but that was not scary enough so we changed to climate change, then climate chaos, then climate emergency but we now need something like climate apocalypse.

The Maldives did not sink into the sea and they are building new runways to fly in plane-loads of tourists. Politicians and royalty tried to assist our cause by saying that we had 100 days to “Save the Planet”, others said 10 years. But 15 years have now passed and we are still here.

Then the discredited hockey stick graph and the damaging hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were published. In 2008, Al Gore said that sea levels would rise by 20ft in the very near future. I wish he had said 2mm.

Please come up with some fresh ideas to justify our salaries, research grants and taxpayer-funded “research” trips abroad.

Clark Cross


Scrutiny essential and long overdue

If even Green MSPs have defied their SNP pals and backed two motions, from Labour and the Conservatives, for a probe into the state of Scottish education, things must be pretty bad.

Unfortunately, there’s no mention of the disruptive behaviours and assaults on staff that are driving teachers from the profession.

Hopefully we’ll get the same cross-party co-operation on the SNP’s failures in health, social care, housing and local government.

It should also be an opportunity to implement Murdo Fraser’s demands that witnesses to Holyrood committees and inquiries should state any conflicts of interest.

What we really need are proper royal commissions manned by experts and independent of party politics to identify issues and mandate solutions.

Allan Sutherland


Since the EU referendum in 2016 there have been two General Elections, one in 2017 and the recent one in 2019. In both these elections, due to the first-past-the-post electoral system, the SNP won the majority of seats in Scotland.

However, in both cases, a majority of the electorate voted for Unionist parties. In 2017, the SNP gained 37% of the vote and the Unionist parties 63% between them. In 2019, the SNP and Greens together gained 46% and the Unionists 54%; very similar to the result of the independence referendum in 2014. This despite Labour in Scotland having pressed the self-destruct button and there being a right-wing Tory prime minister in Downing Street. In effect, therefore, we have had two referendums on independence since the EU referendum and in both, a majority voted to remain in the United Kingdom.

With this in mind I would appeal to Nicola Sturgeon to cease harping on about indyref2, thereby piling more division and uncertainty on top of that already created by Brexit, and just get on with sorting out the issues that are needing sorted. For example, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow together with the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh have major issues. Some of our children are being taught in oversized classes in Portakabins, the roads are in a terrible state and CalMac is struggling to maintain a service while replacements lie rusting. None of these can be blamed on Westminster.

I never imagined that I would ever concur with anything that Boris Johnson had to say, but please, change the record.

Alexander Irving


Change this outdated law

Scots law requires that there be three ex-officio church representatives on council education committees. Last year, Perth and Kinross councillors removed voting rights from its religious members – a move rooted in the belief that no-one who is unaccountable to the electorate should be able to vote on public policy.

Dundee City Council is now considering a motion placing a similar restriction on its three unelected religious members. In a letter read at Sunday mass in churches across Dundee, the Bishop of Dunkeld, Stephen Robson, condemned the motion.

We now live in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith, largely secular society. It is therefore difficult to justify on fairness, rationality or democratic grounds the "as of right’’ privileged placement of three unelected clerics on educational committees. Is there even one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a non-believer?

Among the many myths associated with religion, none is more widespread – or more disastrous in its effects – than the myth that moral values cannot be divorced from the belief in a god. Christians in particular seem to think that without religion the world would suffer a moral vacuum.The time has come to remove the privileged position of Christianity from Scotland’s schools.

Doug Clark


Stolen Saltire? Ridiculous

An absurd suggestion from Alexander Irving that the SNP has “stolen” the Saltire (Letters, January 12). The Saltire is Scotland’s flag, it belongs to us all, but it speaks volumes that other political parties don’t feel comfortable about flying it or using it on their party literature.

Around the time of the London Olympics it became virtually impossible to buy even a packet of biscuits which wasn’t plastered in the Union flag. Certain supermarkets use the Union flag to sell their wares, and during last month’s General Election campaign, Tory leaflets depicted Union flags with the message that the only way to stop indyref2 was to vote Tory.

In the event it was the party which honours the Saltire which ran up the flagpole and was sent to Westminster to fly the flag for Scotland.

Ruth Marr


Reason behind the grievance

Many wonder why, in light of commonsense evidence and widely held opinion, Nicola Sturgeon continues to insist she’ll hold indyref2 this year.

Simple. She’s a politician well-known for latching on to a grievance – and, while most of us disagree, she believes she has a good one right now to try to exploit. She must also preach to the choir – she wants to appear relevant to dyed-in-the-wool Yes supporters.

And if she fails and there’s no 2020 referendum? She’ll consider she’s in effect won by spending the year stoking flames of division and attempting to create anti-UK sentiment – while distracting us from what many regard as her shockingly negligent management of Scotland’s public services.

Martin Redfern


The Markle machine

Before meeting Prince Harry, Meghan Markle was the ultimate Hollywood self-promoter using the media and social media to develop her reputation and image.

In the TV industry she was well known for doing her own PR, famously arriving at the offices of celebrity magazine US Weekly to look at the latest edition before it even hit the newsstands.

No wonder the royal PR machine has struggled to cope. The woman craves the celebrity lifestyle and feeds off the oxygen of publicity.

It is abundantly clear the couple desires a “have cake and eat it plan” ie having the taxpayer-funded lavish lifestyle while cherry-picking responsibilities.

Markle has maintained her full-time PR team in the USA, and North American media report she has been negotiating with US media for a no-holds-barred interview, listing her grievances, with a major chat show such as The Oprah Winfrey Show.

ITN Journalist Tom Bradby, who has long abandoned any pretence of impartiality, is warning that “the results would not be pretty”.

She has come across as calculating and manipulative from the outset and this news rather vindicates that assessment.

To drop their attendance at the Royal Marines Memorial Band Concert for the Deal, Kent, atrocity, in order to attend The Lion King premiere where she lobbied for voiceover work, beggared belief.

However, one dare not criticise her because as a thoroughly modern young woman she can accuse a critic of racism or misogyny or as a threat to her mental health.

To demand the return of £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money for Frogmore Cottage, however, is none of these. It is breach of contract.

John V Lloyd