Jill Stephenson (Letters, 9 February), states that “suddenly there is a rush of commentators predicting the downfall of Nicola Sturgeon” yet she shares that sentiment, concluding that “the sooner she stands down the better”.
There are a few facts Ms Stephenson chooses to omit. Firstly, according to polling Nicola Sturgeon has until recently been the most popular First Minister Scotland has had and more popular than opposition leaders.
Secondly, SNP support has consistently held up at over 40 per cent of the electorate since it came to power 13 years ago despite its perceived record.
Thirdly, the SNP and their Green partners have a working majority in the Scottish Parliament so are in a strong position to push legislation through without the support of other parties.
In reality several Scotsman columnists have been predicting Sturgeon’s downfall for years but while she continues to command support from the majority of her electorate it is difficult to see her standing down.
Ms Stephenson and her fellow detractors would be better to concentrate on having more checks and balances in parliament so that legislation that the public do not support can’t easily get through Holyrood without proper scrutiny. The list MSPs could have more of a role here.
The fact is that around half of Scots still support independence. The debate could be resolved through a referendum with strict agreement in law that it is not to be revisited until at least 2050 but neither side seems to want that right now. Until then we will remain in limbo land and Sturgeon will continue on.
Neil Anderson, Edinburgh
What’s the hurry?
One has to question why, if the First Minister has supposedly done such a bad job of progressing independence, her pro-Union critics, such as Jill Stephenson (Letters, 9 February), are so keen for her to “stand down”?
Could it be that the opposite is true and they now realise that actually significantly more than 50 per cent of Scotland’s population support self-determination so, in spite of exaggerated claims around any controversial issues such as gender reform and their letters disingenuously protesting otherwise, they fear that Nicola Sturgeon will sooner or later lead Scotland to independence?
Perhaps this is why the UK Government, contrary to the judgement of the Information Tribunal and a failed appeal in 2021, still refuses to publish its own 2018-19 public-funded polling.
Stan GrodynskiLongniddry, East Lothian
There isn’t space to respond to all the issues Mr O’Gorman seems not to understand (Letters, February 6 and 9) so I will confine my comments to the widely held myth, shared by Mr O’Gorman, that hyperinflation is caused by the printing of money. The myth has cause and effect the wrong way round; excessive money printing is a symptom of hyperinflation, not the cause.
Inflation is attributable to excess demand – but excess demand can also be expressed as a deficiency of supply. In all the examples of hyperinflation quoted by Mr O’Gorman the underlying cause was deficiency of the supply of essential goods needed by the populations of the countries affected. In Zimbabwe a failed land reform programme destroyed the country’s domestic food security. Weimar Germany’s economy had to be managed to pay off the war reparations imposed by the First World War allies, meaning a reallocation of resources to pay off debts rather than provide for their own people’s needs. Argentina also struggled under the burden of debt owed in a foreign currency – dollars.
The UK’s current inflation problems are attributable to supply deficiencies in goods deemed essential to a 21st century standard of living. The UK has suffered from long-term decline in its productive capacity and relies heavily on imports. Recent shocks such as Brexit, Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine have exacerbated this lack of resiience.
It is because prices of essentials have increased sharply that workers are demanding wage increases to keep pace with the increases in the cost of living. It is wrong to classify this as “excess demand” – the implications of Mr O’Gorman’s thinking is that we should tolerate people going without the means to feed, clothe, heat, and house themselves.
Rothesay, Argyll & Bute
Praise for NHS
The public and the media are quick to draw attention to shortcomings in the NHS but slow to praise the successes.
I have just completed ten months of treatment for cancer at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and it has been outstanding from start to finish. I cannot praise the staff enough.
The pressure on the NHS is relentless but, without exception, all the staff have been efficient, kind and patient. The entire process from appointments to scans, tests and treatment was managed with impressive efficiency.
I would also like to thank the Green Practice at Stockbridge Health Centre who supported me throughout. I never had a problem getting appointments (even on the same day and face to face) when required.
It must be very demoralising for staff who are giving 100 per cent to constantly be bombarded with reports in the media on the failures of the NHS. Hopefully this letter will go some way to redress that.
Don’t send jets
It’s bad enough that Britain is sending tanks to Ukraine. Training the crews to operate a tank is difficult enough, especially with the language barrier. What takes longer is to train them in manoeuvre warfare combined with infantry and artillery.
Then there’s maintenance. A basic British Army technician has 18 months training. An artificer has a further two years’ training. Western armies have one tank type – Ukraine will have the complexity of at least three western tanks plus vast numbers of ex-Soviet models.
But now it gets worse. Rishi Sunak has asked the defence secretary to look into sending British jets too. It’s easy to send other people’s children to die in war. I suggest that Sunak and Boris Johnson go and lead the charge themselves.
Discussions between various SNP and former SNP figures on whether or not the next election (which one?) will be used by Nicola Sturgeon as some sort of referendum on independence are quite odd. It is rather like a ship’s officer on the Titanic knocking on passengers’ cabin doors after they hit the iceberg and asking them what colour they would like the walls to be painted. It’s all rather after the event!
Clearly, in the frantic attempts to hide the transparent failure of her administration, Nicola Sturgeon thinks that this will, somehow or other, distract Scottish voters from the SNP’s inability to do anything successfully. Who on earth would ever consider such a gang of incompetents being allowed to break up the UK? They have no power to do so.
They were allowed their referendum and lost it. They preside over eye-watering deficits and cannot point to anything as an achievement, unless it is to scupper the police, fire service and health service; fail to build ferries and sell Prestwick; ignore desperately-needed support for BiFab, which was eventually bought out through a London company; they try to knock the oil industry on the head and then do the same for the whisky industry.
They preside over Europe’s highest drug death numbers and now don’t know what a woman is, but think that men dressed as women should be allowed into women’s prisons. Or not. If they knew what a woman actually is, it might help, but even Nicola Sturgeon – who is one – doesn’t seem to know!
Andrew HN Gray
I think Richard Allison (Letters, 10 February) will find that once Scottish voters are reminded of the numerous policy successes, the SNP will once again be returned as the largest party. This week’s Daily Telegraph opinion poll of 28,000 UK voters gives the SNP more seats at Westminster than the Tories, thus installed as the Official Opposition rather than just the main opposition to Brexit.
Mr Allison fails to mention that the Gender Recognition Reform Bill was overwhelmingly supported by four of the five parties in our Scottish Parliament and the hysterical moral panic by the Tories and the right-wing press over something that only impacts on less than one per cent of voters will be outweighed by the SNP’s efforts tackling poverty and inequality, which is now less than in England or Wales.
As for dualling the A9, this should have been done decades ago when construction costs were much lower and the UK government was earning tens of billions a year from Scotland’s North Sea to fund lower taxes and London infrastructure. Many more miles would have been dualled had all the opposition parties not combined in 2007 to outvote the SNP funding planned for the A9 and spend £500 million on the original Edinburgh tramline
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh
Road to ruin
I guess the SNP took a calculated decision that there were not enough SNP voters along the A9 so decied to cancel the work (Scotsman, 9 February). Hope those living in the Highlands remmber that at the next election.
Elizabeth Hands, Armadale, West Lothian
Is there any truth in the rumour that Jenny Gilruth, Transport Minister, is about to announce that the A9 between Perth and Inverness has self-identified as a dual carriageway?
John Wann, Edinburgh
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