Madam, – I have never believed Boris Johnson is racist or rabidly right wing but a lot of the gossip, gaffes and japes stuck.
But his can-do performance and depth of subject knowledge in his first Commons appearance as prime minister, especially the way Ian Blackford just bounced off of him, left me wondering where this guy has been for the last 20 years?
His first, and, if it doesn’t work out, probably only, massive test is Brexit.
If he succeeds the “Scexit (Scottish exit) is inevitable” bubble that has seeped unfathomably into so many commentators’ and separatists’ brains can be easily burst with a brutal thorn of reality based on 12 dismal SNP years, a suspect economic case and an incredible run of failed, pulled and unpopular policies
It is rumoured Boris will be in Scotland next week.
I hope it’s a D-Day style landing on Portobello beach and a quick advance to Holyrood to declare that things will change – and how.
But an invasion force needs allies.
To win back Scotland for the Scottish people means winning a general election – Holyrood 2021.
His own troops need to start looking like they actually want to, and can, run Scotland, and the LibDems and Labour need to follow his lead and start believing the SNP can be beaten.
There’s a long way to go, but we could be seeing the long due bursting of this divisive, incompetent, sour SNP bubble.
1 Willow Row,
Why would SNP support Brexit?
Madam, – In reply to Kenneth Brannan and his letter (IndyRef2 in return for SNP Brexit support, Courier, July 26).
In his letter he states “the SNP or the DUP have no right to thwart what English voters voted”.
The fact the SNP are standing up for Scots who voted overwhelmingly to remain seems to have escaped his attention.
I ask Mr Brannan to perhaps rethink his opinion.
Why would the SNP support Brexit when the overwhelming majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU twice.
However, I am heartened to hear that Mr Brannan agrees only independence can ensure Scots can remain in the EU.
Perhaps he will remember this when we are all asked to vote on the matter in some form or other in the very near future.
Jenny: More of the same please
Madam, – As a measure of confidence in the new UK Government, columnist Jenny Hjul’s assessment of PM Johnson as ‘so ill-suited to the task that his minders had to hide him from public view for much of his campaign’, is less than whelming.
Ms Hjul says of Amber Rudd, our new secretary of state for work and pensions, that “her integrity is questionable” and describes Michael Gove, now in charge of ‘supercharging plans for no deal Brexit’, as a “backstabber”.
Ms Hjul is a unionist, but I couldn’t have put it better myself.
For her next column, maybe Ms Hjul could give us her opinion on the rest of Mr Johnson’s new government. Please.
5 Carmichael Gardens,
Positive step for care leavers
Madam, – We are delighted to see that people who have been in the care system are to be guaranteed an offer of a university place if they meet minimum entry requirements (25th July).
All 18 Scottish universities which use the main admissions system have agreed to make the change and it is hoped this might double the number of Scottish students with experience of the care system from about 300 to 600.
It should be noted that those who are care experienced represent some of the most disadvantaged members of society and experience some of the poorest outcomes.
They face a high risk of homelessness, destitution, loneliness and sometimes prison.
When it comes to university admissions they lag well behind their peers, with only 4% of care leavers going on to higher education compared with 39% of all school leavers.
While this move is extremely encouraging, we know there is much more to do to ensure that our looked after children are able to fulfil their potential and reach a stage of even being able to contemplate going to university.
It is widely recognised, for example, that people who have been in care face particular challenges at school and have lower educational outcomes than those who have not been in care. For example, their education may have been disrupted as they moved between carers.
So, while progress has been made, there is still much to be done to support these vulnerable children and young people to reach their full potential and overcome the challenges that so many who have grown up in care face.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition.
4 Queen Street,
Squeezing out the brightest
Madam, – ‘Looked after’ children are to be guaranteed a place at a Scottish university if they meet the minimum requirements for their chosen course.
This is to compensate them for the disruption in their lives through being taken into care.
It all sounds very laudable, until one learns of the consequences of this decree.
It means Scottish-domiciled applicants who return the highest grades in their qualifying exams will compete for an ever-diminishing number of places.
Already, Scots compete with EU students for the limited number of places for ‘home’ students.
Already, there are measures to favour Scots from disadvantaged backgrounds.
And already, about half of Scottish-domiciled applicants who meet the entrance requirements are denied a place at a university in their own country.
Is it really in the interests of Scotland to squeeze out some of the brightest and best, who will try to find a university place elsewhere in the UK, Europe or USA?
It seems to be a contradiction of the policy recently announced of favouring Scots in medical school admissions, because they are more likely to remain in Scotland after graduation.
Palestinian’s plight insight
Madam, – Your On This Day feature (Courier, July 25) reminded us that Arthur Balfour, author of the famous Balfour Declaration, was born in Scotland (at Tyninghame, East Lothian).
Let us imagine that instead of promising Zionists a home in someone else’s country, Lord Balfour had given them a home in his own country.
If the subsequent history of Scotland had followed the pattern of Palestine, there would have been huge legal and illegal immigration, a terrorist campaign and ethnic cleansing.
Scots would now be confined to an overcrowded blockaded Glasgow under frequent aerial bombardment, and an area of the Borders steadily being eaten up by settlements.
This scenario may give some insight into how the Palestinian people think and react.