Sir, – I watched the SNP march through Perth recently and some questions have been troubling me ever since.
Why was it led by men wearing 18th Century warrior garb and blue bonnets?
Who is the enemy?
Is a 300-year-old grievance the glue that holds it together?
Anglophobia and a belief that Westminster drains, rather than sustains, our economy are core strands of SNP ideology.
The conviction that all of Scotland’s problems are the result of dirty tricks south of the border leads to a completely unchallenging appraisal of Sturgeon’s government in action.
Education, health and the economy are all failing and none of the principal predictions made at the time of the 2014 referendum were realised.
Oil did not stay over $100 a barrel, there was no “second North Sea oil boom”. As a result, oil revenues between 2014 and 2018 were £30 billion less than predicted.
We would not have been “ a continuing member” of the EU after independence and we could not have used the pound sterling in a currency union with the rest of the UK.
No matter, we can always crank up the deficit, add another £500 million in income taxes and think of a new plan.
None of our supporters noticed how far from reality we landed.
Paradoxically, bigotry in the SNP co-exists with a smug belief that Scotland is free of racial prejudice and is more inclusive than the rest of the UK.
It is a form of self-praise that several studies have shown to be entirely false. Last year, in a book edited by Glasgow University titled No Problem Here, the claim that Scotland is free of racism and culturally different to England was dismissed as a ‘misleading fantasy’.
With an election approaching, the blue bonnets and warrior garb will be on the streets again and the ‘FREEDOM’ crowd will thrill at the sight.
For the rest of us, each Braveheart meets Brigadoon spectacle will be simply embarrassing.
St John’s Place,
Priorities for indy Scotland
Sir, – So Boris Johnson will not allow Scotland an independence referendum.
I guess he “would rather die in a ditch” rather than allow one.
I don’t understand the fuss regarding Scotland wanting to join virtually every other country in the world with having independence.
In reality we are nearly there already with devolution.
We already have our own country with separate legal system, education system, NHS, church, culture, political ideals, money, banks, sports teams, global identity, agriculture, fisheries, industries, history and everything else required for a thriving country.
I see the union as having three separate threads.
The first is people and the personal, business and cultural relationships that we share cross border with our British neighbours.
I don’t see any reason why that should change following Scotland becoming independent.
The second thread is our shared monarchy. That would not change at all following Scottish independence.
Thirdly we have the knotty issue of political union.
Or as history proves, Scotland being ruled by a Westminster elite that we Scots do not vote for.
Scottish independence would mean that we break that one-sided political dominance and stand on our own feet.
We would still have political dealings with England, Wales and Northern Ireland but our priorities would first and foremost be our own.
20 Mid Street,
Better guidance on restraint
Sir, – It was disturbing to note the report from ENABLE Scotland highlighting that hundreds of children are restrained or isolated on thousands of occasions each year in Scotland (Campaigner disputing true number of incidents, Courier, November 4).
In 2017/18 alone 2,674 incidents of restraint and seclusion relating to 386 children were recorded by Scotland’s councils, although these figures underestimate the issue as nearly a third of councils failed to provide the information.
On a number of occasions this activity has had a devastating impact on the mental wellbeing and development of these children, causing physical and psychological harm.
This demonstrates a clear need to invest in staff training, ensuring that children with additional support needs such as learning disabilities, autism and/or mental health, children receive the support that they need.
It should however be noted that the number of specialist ASN teachers has declined by over 400 between 2012 and 2018, despite an increase in the number of children and young people with the conditions as highlighted above.
This has been accompanied by a decline in staff such as behaviour support staff and educational psychologists.
If we are to urgently tackle the issue of restraint and seclusion what is required from the Scottish Government is better guidance, greater support and training for teachers, and transparency and improved reporting from schools.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition,
4 Queen Street,
Sir, – I’m not falling for Jo Swinson, but plenty of trees appear to be!
We have been bombarded with countless magazines, letters and now a “Hello” style presentation of Jo Swinson.
It has a headline “Tackling the climate emergency”and comes in a glossy pamphlet that nobody on this planet should have to recycle.
Every candidate needs to publish some leaflets, but this is excessive. It is wasteful and repetitive. It’s a contradiction of her climate credentials.
But it is worse, because these glossy leaflets and those from her out-of-town Fife candidate are being trucked in from distribution centres in Manchester and Derby.
How many tonnes of C02 is that on the M74?
48 Back Dykes Terrace,
An unhealthy interest in NHS
Sir, – The NHS are quite rightly asking why politicians so frequently visit hospitals.
Boris Johnson seems to be in a different hospital every day.
I have come to the conclusion that he keeps visiting hospitals and schools during the election campaign because he is investigating what life is like for people who don’t have private health insurance, and didn’t have their name put down for Eton at birth.
95 Craiglockhart Road,
Assembly will be self-selecting
Sir, – I was dismayed to hear that the government has caved in to Extinction Rebellion’s demands to form a citizens’ assembly.
No doubt so-called “climate change” will be the dominant issue covered by the assembly, and of the 30,000 people invited to participate, those who are cynical about the issue or otherwise don’t care will probably not want to lose several weekends per year to get involved.
Conversely, those who are climate activists will be at the front of the queue to be selected, so the assembly will essentially be self-selecting.