Madam, – Over the last decade or so support for the SNP and its absolute belief in Scottish independence has revolved around one dominant personality.
When Alex Salmond stepped down after the 2014 referendum, Nicola Sturgeon seamlessly stepped into that same pivotal role.
As first minister, she continued her predecessor’s approach of minimising internal debate or differences, maintaining a disciplined approach to public messaging, and rarely if ever accepting any blame for things going wrong.
How healthy such determination to avoid criticism is for a political party is one thing, but it certainly is very questionable when applied to the work of a government.
Any party would be challenged by the demands of governing a modern complex economy and the public services we all depend upon.
But a lack of honest self-awareness is a serious failing.
Matters can become worse still when such attitudes spread into the civil servants who support government.
A “we are always right” approach is at odds with the usual caution and attention to detail that we expect of our public servants.
Sadly the failings of the investigation into the accusations against Alex Salmond are symptomatic of a wider malaise running through an SNP government that has come to believe its own hype.
Lock them up til a deal is done
Madam, – As the prime minister heads for inevitable defeat in the parliamentary vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, Parliament will need to step in and resolve the matter.
The solution seems relatively easy. In selecting a Pope the Cardinals meet in a conclave – literally meaning, with a key”,
Cardinals are locked together until a Pope is selected and white smoke is famously released.
In the 13th Century it took almost three years (1268-1271) to select a new Pope following the death of Pope Clement IV.
As a result of the length of the election three of the 20 cardinals died.
One way to hasten agreement on the way ahead post Tuesday’s vote is to lock the chamber doors until a solution is forthcoming.
With more than 600 MPs crammed together in the chamber I predict that a positive outcome will be quickly produced.
2/3 Marchmont Road,
Ambassador role for Corbyn?
Madam, – I think it is just my age and crabbit nature that makes me annoyed when I listen to politicians of every party criticise the prime minister for her handling of the Brexit problem.
Jeremy Corbyn thinks he can solve the problem in an instant if he gets the opportunity.
Why not appoint him now as our ambassador and representative to meet Mr Barnier and fix things before the shambles which he has helped to make at Westminster overwhelms us?
A A Bullions,
6 Glencairn Crescent,
Depressing to see tuition cuts
Madam, – How depressing to learn that Fife Council is considering stopping free music tuition in primary schools and at the lower end of high schools (Axe hangs over music tuition, Courier, January 11).
As a long-serving member of a Fife Rotary Club I am partly responsible for organising important extra-curricular activities for both primary and secondary pupils.
The schools and the staff always want to give the Rotary Club backing, just as we want to be of help to the students.
But of late we find that staffing is so depleted there are just not enough teachers available to give extra tuition to students.
I met a sad example of that in September when I attempted to organise the first leg of the young chef competition for yet another year.
Only one school in three had sufficient staff to carry out the lead-in tuition.
When I linked more tightly with that school in early October, I found no tutorial work could be carried out until early November because no home economics staff existed in the school in spite of the timetable requiring such teaching.
The youngsters were given other work in periods timetabled for home economics.
I am pleased to report that a new and very willing member of staff was finally recruited who speedily prepared her pupils for a well-run young chef competition on November 28.
I am now forced to wonder if the final of the district young musician competition on March 9 will ever take place if financial cuts deplete the number of music teachers in Fife schools.
How can the above conditions be condoned by a first minister who is considering leading our nation into a second referendum?
Archibald A. Lawrie,
5 Church Wynd,
Scotland has big screen talent
Madam, – Whilst Hollywood is undoubtedly home of the movie industry, it is good to see that Scotland is doing more to showcase what a wonderful location it is for filming given it has a pool of talent on its doorstep.
Outlander is a phenomenal success in the US, but we need to keep this momentum going to keep Scotland on the map for opportunities.
That is why the proposed film studio at Straiton should be welcomed, and I’m delighted to hear that there are also discussions with Napier University about establishing a Scottish Film Academy on site to help discover and encourage the next generation of Scottish film-makers.
Not only does Scotland have a wealth of beautiful locations, there are many brilliant creative minds too. In creating more opportunity locally I hope that home-grown talent can establish their careers without the need to move thousands of miles away.
3672 Hughes Avenue,
Huge Scottish diaspora
Madam, – The population of Scotland is around 5.3 million, but the number of people in the world with the surname MacDonald is six million!
I find this statistic staggering. It is almost unbelievable the diaspora has exploded to this extent.
Certainly in the late 1940s and 50s over 40,000 Scots per annum were leaving for Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.
But clearly this exodus must have been going on for centuries.
Not many of those who have left have returned.
How many Camerons, Campbells, MacFarlanes, MacGregors, MacLeods, Grahams, Grants, Bruces and Wallaces have added to the flood?.
Joseph G Miller,
44 Gardeners Street,
Support Scottish food producers
Madam, – In my local supermarket today, I saw asparagus from Peru and scallops from Patagonia. Ridiculous.
The former is grown superbly in Forfar, and the latter is a bountiful west coast fishing catch.
The Scottish Government should legislate to support Scottish food producers, before we become totally dependent on imports, particularly in view of Brexit uncertainties.
15 Gamekeepers Road,