ALASDAIR Galloway and Stan Grodynski miss a very important point in their letters (October 13) regarding the UK Covid Inquiry in that the then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP Government had set up a very toxic attitude to, and relationship with,Westminster. It is hardly surprising that the Prime Minister found it difficult to deal with them.

They might also recall that SNP President Michael Russell called for Britain to join the EU's vaccine procurement scheme. He sent out tweets about the British Government's decision to go it alone: "This idiotic refusal is all about Brexit and nothing to do with the pandemic. It will cost lives."

The truth is that Boris Johnson set up production facilities to produce the unknown vaccine and were ready to go once created, saving time, money and lives. The EU haggled over the cost of the vaccines with the producers who went elsewhere, causing delays and indeed, costing lives.

As the Good Book says, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

Strategy is to divide and rule

THE unionist parties are back to enthusing about “decentralisation” in Scotland. Taking powers and funding away from the Scottish Government and awarding them to local authorities and possibly to what they call (after the English style) “elected mayors” ("Labour leader Sarwar suggests Burnham-style mayors for Scotland’s cities", The Herald, October 11).

Whenever the independence movement becomes a clear and present threat to the UK Government, they distract us by messing about with local government. In the 1970s it was “regionalisation”. In the 1990s it was “deregionalisation”.

The real name of the strategy is “divide and rule” as used by imperialists everywhere.

Back in the 1970s an argument often used against the idea of Home Rule was that if Yorkshire or Lancashire with similar populations weren’t demanding devolution why should Scotland need it? This would lead the discussion down cul de sacs of what defined a nation.

Today definitions relate to political centres of gravity. The political parties based in Scotland are more progressive than the political parties based in London which have to try to attract votes from the electorate in England. In the whole 20th century Scotland only voted Tory a couple of times, but we had them foisted on us time and again, alternating with an increasingly right-wing Labour Party.

Whereas the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales are big enough to challenge the power of Westminster, local authorities can only compete with each other for London handouts.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow.

Read more: So now we know for sure: Westminster has devolution in its sights

Budget claims are nonsense

ACCORDING to Iain Cope (Letters, October 11) Scotland’s contribution to the UK coffers has been “huge” since the 1970s. He suggested that much of the money has ended up in the pockets of the multinationals who were “given” control over our gas and oil resources and ended his piece by asking whether the proceeds from the green windfall potential would be any different as they should be used to develop Scotland and eliminate the deficit.

First, oil companies are not just “given” licences to develop oil and gas in the North Sea: they have to meet very strict criteria in their applications which cover the costly exploration, appraisal and the production. The oil companies then have to pay penal taxes to the UK Government which is ploughed back into our public services - notwithstanding the income taxes paid by their high-valued employees.

To simplify matters it is worth reminding people that we in Scotland generate approximately the same revenue per capita (including oil) than rUK but we spend around 25% more per person on public services than south of the Border - like baby boxes, tuition fees and so on. The extra spending is mainly funded by the Barnett formula which would end with independence.

Look no further than the Scottish Government’s own published figures which state that during 2022-23 the tax revenue generated in Scotland (including oil) amounted to £87.5 billion but we benefited during the same period from a total of £106bn in public spending. This makes a nonsense of the claim by SNP supporters that we only get back an unfair proportion of what we contribute to the collective UK pot.

The rear-view mirror is small for good reason. Surely it’s time now to look forward and work together for the greater good of our small island than the current divisiveness of Scottish politics.

Ian Lakin, Aberdeen.

We won't swallow the Labour bait

IT is a bit naive of Neil Mackay to suggest that "we give Starmer a chance", when by his own admission, Mr Mackay thinks "that Starmer will fail" ("Yessers should give Starmer a chance to rebuild and heal", The Herald, October 12). Mr Mackay appears to be advising Yes supporters not to stick their fingers in their ears at the prospect of a Labour government at Westminster; my fingers are not in my ears but all I can hear are Sir Keir's numerous screeching u-turns, and he isn't even in government.

Labour governments never fail to disappoint, and what Mr Mackay admits is a weak-as-water agenda from Sir Keir hardly inspires confidence, while Yes supporters can take no comfort from the cold water Sir Keir and his Scottish branch manager poured over the issue of an independence referendum; so, after taking everything into consideration, I very much doubt if Yes supporters will abandon their principles and be duped into swallowing the Labour bait. Our fingers are out of our ears and our eyes are wide open.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

Read more: We have to stop building more wind turbines

Please, no more referenda

IAN W Thomson (Letters, October 12) makes a plea for a referendum on an issue close to his heart (assisted dying). However, in recent times we have seen referenda polarising society in a way I haven’t seen in my lifetime spanning almost eight decades.

The zealots on both sides of the arguments leap in with the extremes of both sides. The truth is often the first victim, as we have seen from Brexit. But, more importantly, the debates become binary: right or wrong, yes or no and black and white. As a result, the humanity of cases which are not black and white and more about the lesser of evils gets lost in the heat of the debate and the political climate in the country becomes toxic, leading to bad outcomes.

There was a time when I thought referenda were a great idea to make clear the will of the public. However, the last decade has shown them to be divisive and polarising. Moreover, with today’s power of the internet, social media and now AI, the speed with which national conversations become toxic is terrifying. While the home zealots of both sides are in the front line of toxic debates, recent history has shown that overseas countries, such as Russia and Iran, are very happy to add to our domestic angst by inserting misinformation and fake news into social media to help us self-destruct.

I regret to say that the body politic in Scotland and the UK is pretty toxic at present. Few of us trust our politicians who promise much and deliver less. Future referenda, in my view, will lead to madness. Remember "those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad". The modern digital age is making this far easier to achieve. So please, no more referenda.

John Walls, Glasgow.

The folly of wind outlay

NORMAN McNab (Letters, October 13) states that Holyrood should "halt the building of wind turbines". However, what the debate should examine is why does Scotland need wind turbines at all? His claim that "it is incorrect to claim that wind power is cheap and will save the planet" is true since, even if the electricity is generated at 6p/unit, that is only 35% of the cost to the consumer with the other 65% covering transmission, distribution, staff wages, rates and VAT.

The total cost per unit is therefore around 18p/unit or an annual cost of £2,700 for 15,000 units of energy. Add on the standing charges and the bill exceeds £3,000 per year per consumer, making energy unaffordable for those in fuel poverty.

SNP plans to build 60GW of wind turbines to meet a maximum demand of only 20GW will bankrupt the economy. The Scottish Government at least acknowledged the existence of the problem when it decided to spend even more capital funds on providing a 25GW hydrogen-fuelled gas turbine system to avoid Scots sitting in the dark for six weeks every winter. The question Mr McNab shoud have raised is why cut billions of pounds from the NHS or education budgets to build wind turbines that do not deliver energy 24/7 when the 25GW of gas turbine plant would suffice?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.