No party can look to the next Gen­eral Elec­tion with con­fi­dence

The Herald - - OPINION -

I WAS in­ter­ested to read that Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP at West­min­ster, pre­dicted that the Con­ser­va­tives could have no rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the House of Com­mons fol­low­ing the next Gen­eral Elec­tion be­cause of what he re­gards as their dis­re­spect for de­vo­lu­tion. He re­ferred to such a Tory ex­pe­ri­ence in 1997 (“Wipe­out warn­ing for Scots Tory MPS post Brexit “, The Her­ald”, May 17).

I be­lieve that there were a num­ber of fac­tors lead­ing to the 1997 de­ba­cle for the Con­ser­va­tives. I will men­tion two. The first was not en­tirely dis­sim­i­lar to the po­si­tion to­day. The eco­nomic poli­cies of Mrs Thatcher were widely un­pop­u­lar in Scot­land and many saw through her mis­guided efforts to en­hance her pop­u­lar­ity by her “Ser­mon on the Mound” at the Gen­eral Assem­bly and her at­ten­dance at the Scottish Cup Fi­nal at Ham­p­den only to have red cards waved at her by thou­sands in the crowd. She failed con­sis­tently to “get Scot­land”. John Ma­jor, af­ter sur­pris­ingly win­ning the 1992 Gen­eral Elec­tion , did no bet­ter with his pub­lic re­la­tions ex­er­cise of re­turn­ing the Stone of Destiny to Scot­land.

The sec­ond, which is ex­tremely dis­sim­i­lar to to­day, is that Scottish Labour was en­dowed in the 1980s and 1990s with many mem­bers of qual­ity and abil­ity, in­clud­ing John Smith (died 1994), Don­ald De­war, Robin Cook, Gor­don Brown, and Ge­orge Robert­son. All of whom went on to serve in the UK Cab­i­net. Where are their likes to­day?

Ian Blackford won­ders where the Con­ser­va­tives in Scot­land might be af­ter the next Gen­eral Elec­tion. He might equally pon­der where his own party might be at that time given its con­sis­tent lack of per­for­mance in the de­volved ar­eas for which they have re­spon­si­bil­ity. So far as Labour are con­cerned, its fu­ture, un­der the lead­er­ship of Jeremy Cor­byn, can only be re­garded as pro­foundly un­cer­tain.

Ian W Thom­son,

38 Kirk­in­til­loch Road, Len­zie.

DE­SPITE the pres­sures of their in­ter­nal fight­ing, their reg­u­lar in­ter­na­tional hu­mil­i­a­tion by Boris John­son, the Brexit sham­bles, the Win­drush scan­dal, Car­il­lion, the rape clause, railway chaos and so on, the cur­rent Tory Gov­ern­ment should not dare to ig­nore or at­tempt to over­rule the Scottish Par­lia­ment’s re­jec­tion of the EU With­drawal Bill on Tues­day.

The united stand of Labour, SNP, Green and Lib­eral Demo­crat par­ties merely rep­re­sented ur­gent pub­lic con­cern about our nat­u­ral re­sources, our in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity, par­tic­u­larly agri­cul­tural and food pro­duce, and our en­vi­ron­ment as we are taken out of the EU. The re­cent Scottish Con­ti­nu­ity Bill was passed by 95 votes to 32 for the same rea­son.

Ex­am­ples are pil­ing up right now. The most ur­gent one is prob­a­bly frack­ing: the Brexit power grab is ac­com­pa­nied by brand new West­min­ster pow­ers in Eng­land to en­force frack­ing by over­rid­ing lo­cal plan­ning au­thor­i­ties; Ineos’s le­gal chal­lenge to our Holy­rood ban on frack­ing through­out the cen­tral belt is backed by the li­cences awarded to it by West­min­ster. This is just a taste of what lies ahead for our econ­omy, our en­vi­ron­ment, our health and so­cial ser­vices un­der new rules, driven through most ex­pen­sively and most un­demo­crat­i­cally in­deed by a mi­nor­ity ad­min­is­tra­tion at West­min­ster.

Frances Mckie,

20 Ash Hill, Evan­ton. DR Ger­ald Ed­wards (Let­ters, May

17) states that its prin­ci­pled op­po­si­tion to Brexit is “only a po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated show­down” in its quest for in­de­pen­dence. He also claims that the SNP has “brought the Greens, Labour and Lib­eral Democrats on board” as if they had some­how been high­jacked against their will. Has it never oc­curred to him that these par­ties and their elected MSPS may be just as much op­posed to Brexit as the SNP?

Dr Ed­wards also asks if the SNP has brought “the peo­ple who re­ally mat­ter, the elec­torate, on board too”? Is he not aware that in the EU ref­er­en­dum some 62 per cent of those Scots who voted were against Brexit? Of course the wishes of the Scottish peo­ple are vi­tally im­por­tant, and they made their wish to re­main per­fectly clear, ex­cept it seems to Dr Ed­wards.

Fi­nally he makes the lu­di­crous claim that this is “an at­tack on UK democ­racy”. It is noth­ing of the sort. The real at­tack on democ­racy is this un­pop­u­lar Prime Min­is­ter and her Con­ser­va­tive Gov­ern­ment push­ing through such con­tentious poli­cies with such long-last­ing dis­as­trous ef­fects on the UK econ­omy, while re­ly­ing on the small band of Ir­ish MPS to give them a wafer-thin ma­jor­ity at West­min­ster and in ex­tremis hop­ing that a small group of Supreme Court Judges will help them out.

Iain A D Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glas­gow.

WHILE oth­ers across the world and in Europe fight to pro­tect des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin, or ge­o­graphic in­di­ca­tion of their re­gional spe­cial­ist food and drink prod­ucts, the Scottish Tories don’t seem to care (“Tories claim Gov­ern­ment ‘leant on’ M&S over la­belling Scots goods”, The Her­ald, May 17).

For Murdo Fraser to claim la­belling Scotch whisky as of Bri­tish or UK ori­gin is fine, be­cause “there’s not a per­son in the world doesn’t know whisky is Scottish” is fatu­ous in the ex­treme.

I first tasted Ja­panese whisky in 1968 in Ja­pan. It was an odd colour, a bit oily and tasted poorly. It is now con­sid­ered very good. There is Ir­ish whiskey, much im­proved re­cently. Whiskey/bour­bon from the US. Whisky from Eng­land and Wales. All jeal­ous of Scotch whisky’s share of the mar­ket.

If Scotch whisky loses its Scottish ge­o­graphic in­di­ca­tion or des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin on la­belling or shelv­ing, then its mys­tic will di­min­ish, tourist pur­chasers will walk on by, and its sales will plum­met. Bri­tish whisky? No thanks.

And all of this to in­dulge the

Bri­tish na­tion­al­ism of the “Scottish” Tory party. Isn’t it time we had a pro-busi­ness/farm­ing/fish­ing party which fights for the Scottish in­ter­est, rather than agin it?

GR Weir,

17 Mill Street, Ochiltree.

SO as part of its re­lent­less anti-bri­tish modus operandi, the SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion has had its spin doc­tors lean on Marks & Spencer to des­ig­nate goods pro­duced in

Scot­land as Scottish, not Bri­tish. And there’s was me think­ing Scot­land was ge­o­graph­i­cally lo­cated in Great Bri­tain.

For­tu­nately, since the SNP came into power, not a sin­gle NHS wait­ing time tar­get has been missed, our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem hasn’t dropped be­low that of Slove­nia in OECD rank­ings, we don’t have man­age­ment chaos at Po­lice Scot­land and our roads are pot­hole-free.

Re­lent­lessly caus­ing divi­sion – or fo­cused on the ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion of Scot­land’s pub­lic ser­vices? Are you mak­ing the right choice, Ms Stur­geon?

Martin Red­fern,

Wood­croft Road, Ed­in­burgh.

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