Shockingly, these facts are now contributing to a lower life expectancy in Scotland where, on average, Scots can expect to live three years fewer than in England. What an appalling state of affairs for our country, and it is no coincidence that the hapless First Minister had his hands on the tiller as Cabinet Minister for Health. We are continually fed a diet of “progressive” policies from the SNP but in reality these policies across our health spectrum actually restrain the life chances for so many people. We should be ashamed.
Richard Allison, Edinburgh
Let us vote
Shocking figures for cancer care in Scotland, a drop in life expectancy for the third year running and an NHS in total turmoil. This is the record of the SNP/Green alliance over the recent past as its prime focus has been on trivialities while the actual needs of the population have been abandoned. There is no higher disgrace than a government which is not concerned enough over this and record drug and alcohol deaths.
Are independence or ill-thought-out gender reforms really a priority? Nicola Sturgeon insisted Scotland would have a referendum on 19 October. That won’t happen now but Humza Yousaf really ought to be offering Scots a chance to give a verdict upon the SNP/Green alliance much sooner than 2026. Lives depend on it.
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
Room to drink
The SNP government's policies for dealing with drugs and drinks problems make for interesting comparisons.
The launch of the drug consumption room in Glasgow could be challenged on the choice of location, when it has been reported in the past that Dundee is the capital of drug addiction. However, to counter drink addiction, the line of attack is unit pricing. This either suggests that the government should introduce minimum pricing for drugs or the government should be launching drink consumption rooms!
I do not believe in the efficacy of either of the government's proposals but hope for the sake of the drug addicts that the drug consumption room initiative offers some help to wean them off their addiction and rehabilitate them. Minimum pricing will do little to help those with alcohol addiction and their families will suffer even more.
Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh
I can’t be the only person increasingly concerned about the current fire-raising trend amongst youngsters. The Lundin Links Hotel, two separate fires in Leven High Street, the former night club/post office in Kirkcaldy and now the hotel fire in Ayr are just some examples of fires allegedly started by youngsters. Is this an emerging status trend among teenagers that needs to be more prominently confronted?
Richard Perry, Burntisland, Fife
Instead of questioning the lack of transparency around BBC political debate audiences presented as “ordinary members of the public”, Jill Stephenson and Andrew Docherty (Letters 25, 27 September) choose to criticise the messenger (in this case Stephen Flynn of the SNP) who, through his polite observation, effectively informed us that either the Debate Night audience had been politically predetermined or individuals had seemingly not been open about their past/current political activities.
Those who make such criticisms but are content to have the “general public” misrepresented because the views expressed are more likely to be in tune with their own personal views should ask questions of themselves. Those who want honest debate should encourage the BBC to improve transparency around audience selections (as well as to select more representatively balanced panels) and counter claims of bias by actually presenting upfront the breakdown of audience numbers (according to their selection questionnaire responses) or separate audience members by political/non-political categories for all to see.
Either way it should be made clear that there is a requirement that anyone invited to speak should state if they have run for political office or are a current political party activist.
Perhaps with such simple changes we could all have confidence that the programme in question has not been manipulated to reflect the political views of the BBC hierarchy or any political party or particular constitutional view.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian
Humza Yousaf says he won’t row back on the SNP boiler gas boiler ban. Of course he won’t, it’s certain he’s been warned by Patrick Harvie that if he does alter the plans and extends the date then the SNP majority in Holyrood is lost. We all know who’s pulling Humza’s strings and it’s a sad reflection on Scottish politics.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk
Mark Boyle is right to criticise the lack of coverage of the Scottish Cup (Letters, 26 September). Four pages of football coverage in The Scotsman of 26 September, and zero coverage of the only match on in Scotland on the Monday night, the Scottish Cup tie between University of Stirling v Albion Rovers.
Not everyone supports the big teams, or just the Edinburgh sides, but they might be interested in the wider Scottish game, if only they could be informed. Poor show.
Brian Nugent, Burra, Shetland
While I agree with many correspondents that police time is wasted pursuing people over politically incorrect word crimes their invocation of “the way it used to be”, even harking back to Robert Peel, is puzzling to say the least. Even post the Reform Act, most people didn't have the right to vote and certainly didn't own property or have many possessions that could be burgled. Life was tough for the general population, as I saw at the superb Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge earlier this month. Far from the Downton Abbey costume drama beloved of tourists , people like my two-times great grandfather, a tin furnaceman working in Coatbridge, in 1873 the majority of the population worked 12 days without a break. That is where my great grandmother was born; her mother could only register her birth with an X.
How fortunate that that baby girl and her future husband, a steelworker from Tipton near Dudley in the Black Country, had the guts to get on a boat to America so that all my grandparents were able to get university degrees and I can now be here, similarly educated, to return the favour of the 21 Scots who signed the Declaration of Independence. It is a privilege to campaign for an independent Scotland where all the people can flourish and benefit from the superb education system as well as the unparalleled natural resources harnessed to the benefit of everyone rather than handed over to the same old Oxbridge-educated amateurs to squander down south.
Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh
Cameron Rose (Letters, 25 September) comments on “the lack of open debate about whether there is robust scientific evidence for a climate emergency”. May I contribute? One of your weekly columnists has shown delight that “deniers have been silenced”.
No-one can deny there has been a change in climate, but its effect has been greatly exaggerated. Wildfires (many started deliberately), droughts and floods – not unknown previously – have been blamed mainly on carbon dioxide.
In 2015, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that there had been no increase in global surface temperatures from 1998 to 2012. However, in this period the world's population rose from about 6 billion to 7.5bn. Each person breathes out about 365 kg/annum of carbon dioxide. With an increase in 1.5bn in the 14-year period, the large amount of carbon dioxide added to the air would have increased the global temperature considerably if, in fact, carbon dioxide had been responsible.
The IPCC often make predictions, such as the one of about 20 years ago that “If British children wish to see snow in the near future, they will have to go abroad”.
Is the one about the Earth burning up as accurate as that one?
Edward Younger, Blackburn, West Lothian
With reference to the increasing concerns expressed about the XL Bully dog breed, surely people who purchase such dogs should firstly understand that they were bred to be working guard dogs, not cuddly family pets. So they have inbuilt aggressive tendencies that many current owners lack the experience to properly control.
The further question is, why do people want to buy such dogs as as family pets in the first place? Is it a status thing, or what ?
I conclude that the bad press about these dogs' behaviour says much more about the naivete of owners than about the dogs themselves.
Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife
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