Sir, – Once again we have witnessed a Conservative Prime Minister ably assisted by his sidekick-in Scotland harp on about a one-party state.
Do these two not understand that these kind of statements are offensive to the majority of the Scottish electorate?
As someone who believes in the democratic process and the right to vote for the person of your choice, I find this kind of talk insulting.
At the last election there were many names on the ballot paper and the fact that the majority of people, some 50%, put their mark for the SNP confirms the process worked at least in Scotland.
The Scottish election is due very shortly under a different and more representative system.
Should people again put their trust in the SNP as the polls suggest, can the other political parties and commentators please stop insulting Scottish people.
These negative comments put forward by Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie say more about their inability to challenge the SNP.
They should take a good look at themselves before engaging in insulting the electorate and make their arguments without insulting the people of this country.
It will do their cause no good and will, in all probability, make them look absolutely out of touch with the reality of modern Scotland.
Bryan Auchterlonie. Bluebell Cottage Ardargie.
The ‘really low’ cost of the EU
Sir, – Is a quarter of a penny a week a lot to pay? It is what everyone pays, via Government, for our net payments to the EU.
All right, a quarter of a penny works out at 13p a year each.
But that is a tiny fraction of a what we pay for a television licence that comes in at £145.50 for a colour set.
For all our 64 million people, audited figures show that our national subs to the EU came to £8,473 million in total. We’re paying 13p to be a member of the most powerful union in the world. That’s all.
Andrew Dundas. 34 Ross Avenue, Perth.
Reassessing the council tax
Sir, – Ms Sturgeon assures us new council tax payments from 2017 will be “fair, reasonable and measured”.
How can it be fair for some of us to pay, say, £545 more each year while others in the same city, using identical services will still pay the same as before?
How can it be reasonable for the older generation, who occupy many larger houses, to be pushed towards a choice between heating, eating or paying the council tax?
How can any new system be considered measured when you can have, say, four wage-earners in a Band D house paying nothing extra while their pensioner grandparents living in, say, a Band F home are £200 worse off?
Archibald A. Lawrie. 5 Church Wynd, Kingskettle.
Looking for real statesmanship
Sir, – It is disappointing that Nicola Sturgeon has sought to conflate the Scottish independence referendum issue with the EU.
She has effectively put a gun to the Scottish electorate’s head and said if you don’t vote with me, then I will call another referendum for dissolution of the United Kingdom. Being part of the EU is an issue that we have to consider deeply without the added pressure of the SNP raising the stakes.
Surely, this would have been a time for the SNP leader to show real statesmanship.
Gerry Marshall. Thistle Cottage, Main Street, Kinnesswood.
Time for a more radical overhaul
Sir, – Most nations have some form of property tax because it is a more reliable revenue source than sales or income taxes.
Its operation is more open than other taxes and, as it is difficult to evade, it ensures a broad segment of the population shares in the costs of government.
When Alex Salmond became First Minister he inherited the council tax which he called regressive and promised to replace it.
The present fudge dodges serious rebanding or revaluation and I suspect a radical alternative will require a more competent administration.
Rev Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Davidson makes two good points
Sir, – In a BBC interview this weekend Ruth Davidson made two important points to maintain or lower taxes we need to earn this and that something has to change in Scotland.
Regarding taxes, she meant economic growth providing more revenue from a bigger, more skilled, workforce and business community.
One fundamental obstacle in achieving this is our outrageous sense of entitlement and our hordes of unemployables.
Too many children are not made to appreciate a good education and behave, their parents are part of the shameful statistics that put Scotland second only to the USA for obesity, and these factors contribute to added costs of healthcare, education, welfare and social services.
The SNP know this, for 10 years ago a future SNP minister told me the biggest problem Scotland has is the NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
They were the symptom, not the cause of or the full extent of the problem.
The SNP’s named-person initiative could have been a laudable attempt at the social engineering that could turn round this juggernaut of decline but instead of targeting the known families they include us all, because that way you don’t alienate a lot of your core vote.
At least until the May elections.
Allan Sutherland. 1 Willow Row, Stonehaven.
Scottish Six will be waste of time
Sir, – The proposed Scottish Six news is just another expensive vanity project.
Anyone who watches Reporting Scotland must be well aware that BBC Scotland struggles to fill the half-hour slot as it is.
By about 6.45pm, having exhausted trivia from around the country, they treat us to 10 or so minutes of football.
The programme is already lacking in any depth and goodness knows what drivel will be dragged up to fill an hour.
We already have Radio Scotland and BBC Alba which could be expanded upon but I suspect that apart from a few faithful SNP followers there would be pitifully few viewers.
Donald Lewis. Pine Cottage, Beech Hill, Gifford.
Sillars is simply wrong on EU
Sir, – I am struck by the argument put forward by Jim Sillars (March 4) that leaving the EUdelivers what member status cannot “real independence” and the “unfettered ability to make our own laws”.
He goes on to define this as sovereignty.
Sovereignty is not like pregnancy, and it is not the case that a state is sovereign or not sovereign.
Mr Sillar’s desire to refuse to pool sovereignty would in fact leave the UK with less sovereignty, as in an interconnected world it would have limited control over trading arrangements, pollution, the cleanliness of its seas, migration or terrorism.
The UK is already subject to some 700 international treaties and a member of international organisations.
As a member of the UN, WTO, Nato and the IMF, for example, we share our sovereignty, infringing on our national self-determination. But through this approach we have influence and maximise our effectiveness.
Using Mr Sillar’s rationale, real independence would see us withdraw from all these organisations, reflecting a sense of sovereignty that last existed in the 19th Century, based on the principles of Westphalian sovereignty.
Many Brexiters see the Norwegian model as one they would like to adopt, but Oslo has to adhere to all the EU’s product standards, financial regulations and employment regulations, enacting 75% of EU legislative acts.
For those wanting true full sovereignty there is only one nation that I can think of that is truly sovereign, and that is North Korea.
Alex Orr. 77 Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh.