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NEIL Mackay's brilliant piece ("Johnson's sinister attack on democracy threatens devolution", The Herald June 23) should be a wake-up call to all of us, including those Tories with any sense of honesty and decency.
It is impossible to list Boris Johnson's offences in one column, but a very good attempt was made. And yes, our Prime Minister is a "loathsome character". It's all lies from our glorious leader. Give to the rich, and take from the poor.
But his latest attack on the Human Rights Act, part of the Scotland Act to protect people against the government, surely has to be the last straw ("Scottish Government says MSPs must have final say on new Bill of Rights", The Herald, June 23).
We can't wait and hope the next General Election votes Mr Johnson and his incompetent, arrogant, ignorant Government out. We have to act now. Where are Scottish Tory voices in this maelstrom? Scared to speak out? It would also help if Scottish Labour had a more bullish attitude about Scotland's future, instead of kowtowing to what has turned out to be in my view a disappointing leadership at Westminster. We cannot afford to sleep now.
Andy Stenton, Glasgow.
• NEIL Mackay has my wholehearted support. Our Prime Minister appears to like breaking or changing rules and laws that don’t suit him. One rule I’m sure he will want to keep in place is the one that states that he will not face another vote of confidence from his own Parliamentary colleagues. Nice to be able to pick and choose ... the ultimate abuse of position and power.
Willie Towers, Alford.
2016 VOTE WAS NEVER AN OPTION
ALEXANDER McKay (Letters, June 23) claims that the proposed National Care Service has “ferries-shipyard-steel plant-census-airport written all over it”; so does remaining in the Union have austerity, Brexit, Covid contracts for your pals, openly discussing breaching international law and agreements, not to mention parties when the rest of us were banged up, written all over it? Perhaps more telling than anything is the significance of Mr McKay’s list in comparison.
Likewise, Victor Clements (Letters, June 23) is critical of the Scottish Government for not holding a referendum immediately after the Brexit vote. Can you imagine the reaction in Westminster to a Section 30 request at that time? The entire Westminster polity in utter chaos, not least because the Prime Minister has just resigned, so let’s ask for an S30 Order, hold a referendum and we’re off. Aye, right.
There would have been two responses. First, considering the attention paid to the meaning of “a generation”, two years have not passed. Secondly, the only positive outcome would have been to give Theresa May more opportunity to practise her painstaking delivery of “Now is not the time”.
Mr Clements then proceeds to suggest a consultative referendum with the target of two million Yes votes, but the outcome of the subsequent negotiation would have to be approved (just as Brexit wasn’t) by a second referendum. His suggestion prompts me to wonder how much awareness of negotiating strategy Mr Clements has? Westminster would have the incentive in these circumstances to negotiate a proposal so horrible that even the most died-in-the-wool supporter of independence wouldn’t vote for it. That is, if a proposal could be negotiated in such circumstances? How many of Scotland’s rights under international law would have to be foregone? Well, probably we could start with the rights to the oil round our shores and work down from that.
Lastly, he suggests the confirmatory vote could be made “legally binding” by being held with the authority of a S30 Order. However, what he suggests means that the vote would not breach the Scotland Act, but, following several decisions by the Supreme Court about the sovereignty of the House of Commons, it could not be made binding on them.
Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.
WHY WAS SEABED PRICE CAPPED?
DOES anyone actually know why the SNP administration placed a cap on the bidding price for the seabed rights involved in the ScotWind sale? These rights were sold at auction, and in England and Wales the average auction price was £361,000 per square kilometre, making a tidy sum for the taxpayer. In Scotland, however, where we axiomatically have to be different from England and Wales, the SNP administration set a cap on the auction price of £100,000 per square kilometre. That has cost us money we can ill afford. Think of the children who could have been lifted out of poverty with an extra £30 million or so.
Scottish ministers claim that the ScotWind projects will generate tens of billions of pounds in investment. This isn’t just wishful thinking. It is SNP wishful thinking.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.
IT IS NOT SCOTLAND'S OIL
CATRIONA C Clark (Letters, June 22) labours under a classic misapprehension. It is not Scotland’s oil. That belongs to those who bought the seabed from Westminster way back in 1969 and found and then extracted the stuff.
As a matter of interest, neither are they Scotland’s wind turbines. They belong to the foreign consortia who built and installed them on UK land. Sixty-seven per cent of these wind devices are in Scotland however, and that gives rise to another owlish myth that Scotland is a net exporter of electricity.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.
FOLLY TO RAISE INTEREST RATES
WHEN will we break free from the conventional economic wisdom that threatens to throw millions more into poverty?
Inflation is on the rise – so we raise interest rates.
My economic education, for what it is worth, taught me that interest rates were a tool used to dampen consumer demand which was excessive due to the availability of cheap money. However, this time round the main drivers of inflation are rising energy costs and rising food costs. How will raising interest rates help keep the lid on these costs? Of course, it won’t.
What would help is if the excessive profits earned by the energy companies were curtailed by forcing them to reduce energy costs (not the windfall tax which has taken with one hand and given tax breaks with another) and a tax on the profits earned by the oligarchic supermarket chains, who are still earning billions whilst many struggle to afford their weekly shop, thus transferring money from the overpaid chief executives and the shareholders to the consumers.
Raising interest rates will pour fuel on the fire. It will increase mortgage and rent costs, forcing struggling families to borrow more just to survive and plunge them into a spiral of debt. Increased interest rates will only force many more families to choose between eating and heating, compounding the misery many are already facing.
If ever there was a clear message that if Scotland was to become independent it needed its own currency, this is it.
Willam Thomson, Denny.
LET'S HAVE NHS DEBATE NOW
I READ with interest the article this week relating to bullying statistics in NHS Scotland ("‘Deeply alarming’: NHS bullying cases rise by 50% over five years", The Herald, June 20). With respect to NHS Highland there was no surprise.
On September 29, 2021 I received a Scottish Government response to a question I raised as a follow-up to the Sturrock inquiry into bullying at NHS Highland. This stated that "the Government has therefore confirmed that it is considering a debate when able to do so and within the limitations of Parliamentary time", relating this statement to a response from the First Minister made on September 14, 2021 confirming that "when we are able to, we will bring forward a debate on that issue in Government time".
My understanding is that time for the promised debate could not be found towards the end of the last parliament, and then Covid kicked in, so delays to date are understandable.
My interest is not political but personal based on the experiences of a family member.
Whilst no doubt NHS Highland has made some progress, I do not believe that, as yet, the senior and executive management practise what is preached via "A Culture Fit for the Future".
The statistics recently reported supply all the justification needed. If the Government's comments and commitments regarding this topic have substance, an open debate is now overdue.
Let’s be having the promised debate on the follow-up to the Sturrock report.
K Rodgers, Ross-shire.