WE don't know who Neil Mackay's "rebels" are within the Scottish Greens (“Greens see red: The full inside story of how party’s rebels want rid of the leadership and the MSPs deselected”, April 28), but we can certainly testify that authoritarian misogyny in the party long pre-dates the Bute House Agreement, and is institutional. It can be traced back at least to 2017 when several women resigned from the party over the way it enforced its policy on liberalising prostitution and shut down debate about the impacts on prostituted women.

More recently, Green institutional misogyny has prioritised "gender self-identification" over women's rights and environmental issues and punished those who raised concerns about conflicts with women's sex-based rights. This situation reached its apotheosis when co-leader Patrick Harvie dismissed on ideological grounds the Cass Report's assessment of evidence on care for children presenting with "gender dysphoria", which contributed to the collapse of the Bute House Agreement.

In November last year 45 of us signed a Scottish Green Women's Declaration to demand that the party engage with, rather than silence, those who advocate women's sex-based rights. Signatories were members as well as former members who had been expelled or forced out for supporting women's rights, and included many former convenors of the branches, groups and networks that form the infrastructure of the party. Current members who signed openly are now facing the party's disciplinary procedures.

In order to have a credible future in Scottish politics, the Greens need to return to the principles we all support, of democratic openness, support for women's rights and sex equality, and core environmental issues.

Eurig Scandrett, Helga Rhein, Robin Harper, Daya Feldwick, Máire McCormack, Ken Macdonald, Adrian Crofton, Mary MacCallum Sullivan, Sue Laughlin, Alan Ferry, Susan Moffat, Sue Fuller, Jeannie Mackenzie, Margaret Bennett, Mark Ryle, Karen Allan, Judith Jardine, David Jardine and Janet Pontin (all current or former members or supporters of the Scottish Greens), North Berwick.

• I HAVE no idea who the rebels who spoke to Neil Mackay are, but I can assure the "third senior member" of the Scottish Green Party that I have been running a complaint and an appeal against Ross Greer for suspending me from my role as a branch convenor. It has taken me over three years to get justice. The appeal was finally upheld last week, concluding that he had behaved unfairly and disproportionately against me. However, the offence was considered too minor and too long ago to merit action against him. Obviously I was not distressed enough by his actions or maybe he is beyond apologies and disciplinary action.

By the time any of your readers might see this letter, I will be an ex-member of the Scottish Greens.

Dennis Archer, Oban.

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Persisting with a losing formula

I AM blessed in Stewarton to have an award-winning bookshop on my doorstep to keep my reading habits well nourished. I wondered what literary allusions might best represent the current SNP leadership situation and whether any fellow letter-writers had any suggestions.

Lady Bracknell's disparaging reproach in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest came to mind. To slightly misquote, "to lose one First Minister may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness". That story comes to a happy conclusion once the question of parentage is settled. John Swinney's problem is that there's absolutely no doubt about his political parentage. He is the continuity Sturgeonite. For all its supposed radicalism, the SNP party establishment seems peculiarly reluctant to change its losing formula.

A more fitting literary allusion might be Kotara Isaka's Bullet Train. It is soon to be released as a blockbuster film but it's not giving too much away to reveal that the machine is hurtling at unimaginable speed towards its final destination with a cast of questionable characters all of whom have scores to settle with one another. I'm uncertain whether this really is a case of art imitating life because no matter how bloodthirsty the art, it's no match for the reality.

Graeme Arnott, Stewarton.

Devolution has failed us

YOU imply there’s a stampede towards private GP clinics in Scotland. Hardly. There are 11 private GP practices out of 905 NHS, or 1.21%.

Scotland’s Health Service consistently outperforms England’s. It has more GPs and nurses per capita, its A&E has been the best in the UK for over a decade, cancer waiting times, waiting lists and ambulance waiting times are shorter. The NHS in Labour-run Wales performs even worse than England on most measures, which you won’t hear from Anas Sarwar.

But slamming Scotland’s NHS is a diversionary tactic by English unionist parties. They know that the devolved Scottish administration can only mitigate Westminster’s relentless cuts to the NHS and other services. The Barnet Formula "allowance" has been falling in real terms and because the Scottish Government must balance its budget, the pie is smaller.

It comes down to control. Scotland doesn’t have it; Westminster does. ScotGov isn’t a government. It can’t create money, control the economy or own and fund public services like health and energy. It’s a colonial administration masquerading as a government.

Grangemouth, Scotland’s only oil refinery, is being shuttered while the Scottish Government does nothing. It auctioned offshore wind rights for a one-off payment of £700 million when it could have made £16 billion, with an additional £28bn in annual payments.

Our renewables wealth should be making us rich but the Scottish Government is allowing it to flow south to England, with no compensation for the Scottish people. It’s also allowing two "green freeports" at Cromarty Firth and Firth of Forth, giant land grabs that are regulation-free tax havens.

Devolution has failed. It's up to the sovereign Scottish people to take their nation back.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

The Herald: John SwinneyJohn Swinney (Image: PA)

Fight this act of self-harm

A VOTE of thanks is due to Martin Williams who casts light in a dark place when he describes the massive loss of Scottish wealth since the onset of devolution ("Scotland loses £250 billion in wealth as overseas interests plunder nation", April 28). He points out that "foreign investments require a return - meaning profit extraction from the country".

We may, however, be the authors of our own destruction. The Scottish Parliament is about to pass legislation authorising the sale of Scottish solicitors’ practices to foreign investment companies (Regulation of Solicitors Bill, section 80). This, among the more obvious sorry consequences of such a development, would inevitably transfer the profit of the acquired firms from Scotland to elsewhere.

Similar legislation was enacted in England and Wales about 12 years ago and now the legal industry in England and Wales has amassed a total debt of £5.4 billion (New Law Journal, April 17, 2024).

Given that solicitors’ firms hold huge sums of clients’ monies, in trust for their clients, it is clearly a massive threat to the public interest that the trustees holding these funds should themselves be massively in debt. What might happen to their clients’ funds if the trustees’ creditors called up the trustees’ own debts?

Why then would the Scottish Parliament seek to go in the same direction as England and Wales? Reading section 80 will not provide any answers because, in the way of legislation which politicians would prefer to escape public scrutiny, it says nothing about its intended objectives but needs to be cross-read with other legislation and sources before its meaning can be accessed. Perhaps that is why many of the solicitors with whom I have raised my misgivings have had no knowledge or understanding of the import or even of the existence of section 80.

My own considered opinion as to why the Scottish Parliament would contemplate such an act of national self-harm is wrapped up in the private wealth waiting to be created by the projected sale of a public asset (access to justice) for private gain and what Scottish ministers might receive in exchange for the creation of that wealth. That at least would be true to our national tradition of parcels of rogues.

Michael Sheridan, Glasgow.

Sad decline of BBC News

IN April 2023 BBC merged its domestic and world TV News.The move is proving deeply unpopular and the corporation has haemorrhaged more than three million viewers in that time (source: BAARB).

It means that, if one accesses the site at night, it is actually BBC America which is broadcasting.

The problem is the BBC News output increasingly reflects US opinion.One sees it in the biased reporting of the conflict in Palestine (Ofcom has had more complaints on that than any other topic this year); or the wildly optimistic coverage of Ukraine's prospects; that familiar BBC agenda, for example "the Bibi Stockholm is like a prison" (sic). The contrast with the objective reporting of Sky News, ITN and French TV News has been marked. Even GB News is making inroads.

I would suggest that what we are witnessing is sleight of hand by the BBC. It has hidden behind the decision of then Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to freeze the licence fee for two years. This necessitated the redundancy of 70 experienced journalists, many of whom were household names.

There was an example of this last Saturday. Scotland, a constituent nation of the UK, was in the midst of a constitutional crisis. As news broke at midday, on the radio, that Humza Yousaf was in talks with Ash Regan, the Alba MSP, regarding a pact, which was being covered by rivals, I turned to the BBC News Channel. It had guaranteed, 12 months ago, a major breaking British news story would always take precedence.

I sat through news of Ukraine then Gaza, a long feature on South Africa, followed by Kings Day in the Netherlands, the Olympic flame in France and, as they moved on to coverage of Taylor Swift, they had lost me.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.

Enabling suicide

YE Cannae Shove Yer Granny Aff a Bus was once suggested as an unofficial Scots national anthem. But the times they are a changing, and not just for Humza Yousaf when one looks at the fine print of the Scottish bill on so-called assisted dying. Suicide was rightly decriminalised decades ago. But will assisted suicide for the terminally ill in Scotland (in terms of real-life practice) now have minimal restrictions of any kind, or effectively none at all?

James Hardy, Belfast.