No party can look to the next General Election with confidence
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.
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?
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?
Woodcroft Road, Edinburgh.