Put education before independence bid

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Sir, – The disastrous results of the Scottish Literacy and Numeracy Survey for pupils show huge falls in S2 writing between 2012 and now.

As a former headteacher and former member of Angus Council’s children and learning committee, I believe that these results are absolutely appalling and is a condemnation of the SNP government’s policies in education.

In this area they cannot blame anyone else as they have been in government for the last 11 years.

In my view, if the Scottish Government spent more time on dealing with this and sorting out the mess they have created and less time ranting on about a second referendum, we might see some progress.

It is absolutely clear that they are letting our Scottish youngsters down by their obsession with independence.

I can well remember sitting on the Angus Council children and learning committee when SNP councillors said nothing about the lack of teachers and the cuts in resources going to our schools, when I raised this time and time again.

Instead of doing nothing, for the sake of our youngsters, we urgently need the Scottish Government to back the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ proposals to invest in education and trust and support our teachers to enable our children to achieve their potential and make Scottish education the best once again. Surely, as a country, we cannot allow Scottish education to continue to slip because of this SNP obsession with independence.

David May.


Scotland needs more power

Sir, – Anyone who brings up a fantasy film in their argument, like Robert Scott, has lost the debate.

The UK is made up of four countries. England makes up 84% of the UK’s population. I don’t feel we are a family of nations because when it comes to the general election and constitutional matters, the other three countries may as well not turn up to vote as England will determine our direction.

As for the Scottish Government’s failure on the economy, the Scottish Government has little or no power to improve our economy, therefore, unable to improve the lives of citizens living here.

From the 16 economic levers required to grow an economy, the Scottish Government controls just two of them and one of them was just devolved this month: income tax.

However, from this it has delivered the best NHS in the UK, free elderly health care, free further education, free concessionary bus travel, free bridge tolls, revoked the bedroom tax, frozen council tax, written off historic poll tax debts, provided free prescriptions, free children’s school meals until they are eight and free child care.

Rod Selbie.
45 Silver Birch Drive,


Brexit a mess of Tories’ making

Sir, – Your correspondent Martin Redfern, (May 8) is right about one thing: the 27 members of the EU will dictate tough Brexit terms to Theresa May, and why should they not? The Tories foisted an unnecessary referendum upon us. Mrs May was against leaving, and now is making a very poor job of the pre-negotiations by claiming the nasty foreigners are ganging up on her.

Scotland voted to Remain and will have to fight to stay in the EU.

The best way to do that is to vote SNP at every opportunity and Yes in the inevitable second referendum or face perpetual Tory rule.

Another of your correspondents, Robert Scott, asks if we nationalists yearn for a Braveheart fantasy of Scotland, which is just silly.

David Roche.
6 Conachar Court,
Isla Road,


A nation of inequalities

Sir,- I wonder if Robert IG Scott (May 8) can see the irony in his comments?

He fears a nationalist government. Is he referring to Brexit?

He complains about emotional nationalism. Is he describing British nationalists like himself?

He criticises the government for mishandling the economy. Is he referring to the massive UK national debt that the Conservatives have racked up?

He states: “It is good that regions of the UK have autonomy, especially in economic affairs.”

Agreed, but the Scottish Government has only been granted some control over three out of the 26 UK taxes.

The Westminster Conservatives have reneged on the devo-max we were promised.

Mr Scott asks that Scotland stays tethered to the rest of the UK when the only region that benefits from this arrangement is London and the south east. Does he care more about that region than he does about Scotland?

Andrew Collins.
Ladyburn House,
Skinners Steps,


Where have SNP voters gone?

Sir, – Analysis by the Electoral Management Board shows that the SNP got 32.3% of the 1.88 million first preference votes cast in the council elections.

If this had been the case in the independence referendum, when 3.6 million votes were cast, they would have finished up with around 1.2 million Yes votes instead of the 1.6m they actually got.

The No vote would have been 2.4 million, double the Yes vote.

In my simple No-voter brain, this suggests the nationalists have shed 400,000 Yes voters in the last two years.

How long before the will of the Scottish Parliament catches up with the will of the Scottish people and they cancel the demand for a second referendum?

Allan Sutherland.
1 Willow Row,


Tactical voting may be crucial

Sir, – For floating voters, election time can make for difficult choices. But Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are simplifying matters.

The 2014 referendum revealed Scotland is divided on independence, with a majority preferring to remain in the UK. But the SNP chooses not to accept that result.

The SNP, like other parties in the past who stopped listening to those who do not agree with them, might well find the coming election result is less about how many vote for them, but more about how many choose to vote tactically against them.

Keith Howell.
White Moss,
West Linton.