AT First Minister’s Questions today (September 22), Nicola Sturgeon claimed that pointing out A&E waiting times in England were worse than in Scotland is “part of giving confidence to people that we are taking action to address this” ("Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf told 'do your job' on NHS waits", heraldscotland, September 22).
My landlord telling me that my neighbour’s roof is leaking worse than mine doesn’t fix the problem and doesn’t make me feel better while I have water running down my walls. It is the Scottish NHS, run wholly by the Scottish Government on behalf of people in Scotland and it is up to the government of the day – that would be the SNP – to make it work better.
That a person in Ayrshire waited 86 hours in A&E is a scandal. Those who queued to view the Queen lying in state had a long wait but imagine feeling so unwell that you sought help at A&E and had to sit there for three days and three nights before you were seen. It is not even winter yet and the waiting times are atrocious. I dread to think how many additional deaths Scotland will suffer this winter due to the inaction and incompetence of the Health Secretary and his boss.
Jane Lax, Aberlour
Government should face facts
WHEN confronted by the accusation that our Scottish version of the NHS has sharply declined from the high standards it enjoyed before the 15 years of SNP government, the First Minister's knee-jerk riposte is to point out that our NHS is doing better than its English and Welsh equivalents.
While that is true, the differences are little more than marginal. Where she should be addressing the downturn in standards of treatment and health care, she chooses to defend her Government's performance in that area with that specious argument. It sounds as though she is saying that we are doing badly but not as badly as others, when she should be admitting that we should be doing better to return to, and to maintain, the high standards which we had enjoyed before her Government took office.
Why can she not face up to the fact that our NHS has been going downhill now for some years thanks to the staff shortages despite the valiant efforts of the overstretched and overworked employees who do their best to keep the service functional?
Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs
UK governance is failing
THE latest British Social Attitudes survey from data gathered in 2021 indicates that support for an independent Scotland has grown from 27 per cent in 1999 to 52% ("Record level of Yes support", The Herald, September 22). This is the highest figure reported in an authoritative survey that includes polling expert Professor John Curtice among the authors. Also of note is the drop in support for devolution over the same period from 59% to 38%.
While different polls posing different questions typically exhibit more pronounced highs and lows, there is no doubt that the underlying trend of public opinion in Scotland is an increasing desire for self-determination which is now favoured by at least half of the electorate (this reality will hopefully be borne in mind by those seeking to represent the view of the “majority” in their forthcoming constitutional arguments). That said, there perhaps is a strong inference from the survey results that this change may be due, at least in part, to the persistent denigration of the Scottish Government by opposition parties and by many commentators in the mainstream media. In other words, through spurning objectivity and balance in their criticisms, supporters of this dysfunctional Union seem to be unintentionally conspiring to deliver the independence that they rail against.
While the public can see for themselves that there are many areas in which the Scottish Government can do better, most can also see that south of the Border life in general is not better, and is in fact worse for many of the poorest and least privileged in a crumbling society. United Kingdom governance is failing and it is now clear that Brexit is not the solution and that only independence can deliver the future to which most in our country aspire, both for themselves and for their fellow citizens.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry
Hypocrisy of the Greens
IN complaining about the new Prime Minister’s choice of Chancellor, the Scottish Greens state that "Scotland didn’t vote for this".
That may well be true, but a better case in point surely about having those you rejected in an election having power, would be the two Green ministers in the SNP administration, earning superstar salaries and, in order to keep the minority SNP in power, influencing decisions concerning Scotland, where they finished a distant fourth in the last election. Little could illustrate better the point they try to make and the irony meter is once more off the scale.
People in Green houses should not throw stones.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Give us a general election
WHY does Liz Truss think she has the moral authority to borrow £150 billion to pay for the energy subsidy in our name, leaving us with this liability for years to come?
Rather than the general population subsidising the wealthy shareholders and CEOs of these companies, we should be applying a windfall tax on the £170bn excess profits the energy companies are predicted to make over the next two years.
This would still leave them £20bn excess profits to pay increased dividends and to invest more in green energy development.
Surely a decision which has such serious consequences should be decided by the voters in a General Election rather than the 81,326 Tory voters, or 0.12 per cent of the population, who elected Liz Truss.
Since the number of voters who are severely out of pocket would outnumber the small number of rich people who are pocketing large amounts of unearned and unjustified cash, I am sure we would be looking forward to a new government.
Shame on you, Liz Truss.
Iain McIntyre, Sauchie
Don't offend the numpties
WHILST sharing the despair of Professors Adam Tomkins and James Mitchell at the takeover, since the last few elections, of the Scots Parliament by numpties who used to be elected only as unionist MSPs but are now well represented on the SNP benches, I must object to the offensive language used by Professor Tomkins in his latest article (“Scottish Parliament has turned into a zombie Parliament”, The Herald, September 21).
Given his education and political experience he should appreciate that the avoidance of causing any offence to anyone is now the prime, and perhaps only, requirement for selection for election to political office in all political parties in Scotland. Instead of using the word “zombie” which might cause offence to such beings, Prof Tomkins should have referred to them as the “differently dead”.
Stuart Swanston, Edinburgh
We'll always have Brexit
EVERY day that Ian McConnell has his piece in The Herald we have a wee competition in our household to guess how long it will be before he mentions “Brexit” ("The good, the bad and the ideologically ugly as Conservatives ready mini-Budget", The Herald, September 21). It does not seem to matter the subject he discusses, whether to do with inflation, climate change, the price of energy, the price of food, or anything else, “Brexit” always makes an entrance.
Last week it was not until the second column (a record I think) but normally it is a few inches down the first column. So, keep going, Mr McConnell, it keeps us happy with our friendly rivalry.
Ian Gunn, Glasgow
We must pay our debt to Ukraine
IN 1994, in response to giving up its nuclear arsenal, Ukraine had its territorial integrity, sovereignty and borders guaranteed in the Budapest Memorandum by the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It is time for the UK and the USA to meet its obligations to Ukraine in the face of Russia’s threat of annexation of further parts of that country, and nuclear blackmail to the rest of the world ("Putin calls up reservists to raise stakes in botched Ukraine war", The Herald, September 22).
Russia is a mendacious rogue nation, led by a corrupt leadership whose conduct at this juncture is redolent of the Nazi regime in Germany, and the proposed plebiscite on transferring the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia to the German Reich in 1938. There are many Eastern European countries with ethnic Russians in their populations. Putin will use them as a pretext for further land grabs, if he isn’t stopped now.
GR Weir, Ochiltree
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