Readers' letters: Sturgeon wasted chance to succeed after 2014

Suddenly there is a rush of commentators predicting the downfall of Nicola Sturgeon. Certainly, the debacle of the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) bill has damaged her brand in the eyes of many.
Yes, they were friends - then First Minister Alex Salmond and Deputy Nicola Sturgeon in 2012 (Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Yes, they were friends - then First Minister Alex Salmond and Deputy Nicola Sturgeon in 2012 (Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Yes, they were friends - then First Minister Alex Salmond and Deputy Nicola Sturgeon in 2012 (Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Yet her real failure has been not capitalising on the rise in support for her party after 2014. She was able to attract those with an anti-English mind set and misty-eyed believers in a secessionist Scotland awash with milk and honey.

What she has not done – and hasn’t even tried to do – is what she needed to do: win over those opposed to her project. She has hunkered down among her natural supporters instead of appealing in any meaningful way to those who were in 2014 sceptical of the separatist project. One way of doing that would have been to govern effectively and productively in the devolved areas of government, but she has been too distracted by pursuing secession and introducing pet schemes that may well have provided sweeties for her supporters but have advanced the improvement of Scotland not one jot.

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Her aim has been to get Scots over the 50 per cent line for secession. She appears not to realise that countries that vote for independence do so because there is a substantial groundswell of opinion in favour of it – 70, 80, 90 per cent in favour. Dragging half of the country unwillingly into the morass that a separate Scotland would be would provide a terrible start for a new country.

Alex Salmond is right to point to the GRR as the proximate cause of Sturgeon’s failure. Yet, for all the flag waving and “marches”, it is her inability to connect with at least half of Scots that has paved the way for dismal decline. The sooner she stands down, the better for us all.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Party fears 2

In true SNP style, Nicola Sturgeon just keeps trying to move forwards. Unfortunately for her events are taking the SNP, with the Greens in tow, sharply backwards. The gender reform disaster has new twists and turns, none positive for Ms Sturgeon, and now even her “de facto” independence referendum has been described by one senior member of her party as a “noose around our necks”. Similarly, an SNP MP, Stewart McDonald, has cast doubt upon the "de facto” strategy too. It is not independence the SNP ought to be concentrating on, it is the very survival of the party. Right now this is very much in doubt.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Green bottles

I know little about the workings of the proposed bottle deposit return scheme – probably the only thing I have in common with the SNP Government. However, I did read today about how it might affect me – and everyone else.

I can well understand how different labelling across the UK will result in higher cost products, but the real eye-opener was the 17,000 return points that will be required to be set up across Scotland. Now, in my ignorance of this scheme, I can only imagine that each point will cost a few thousand pounds each for setup and equipment. It’s not hard to imagine this costing very many tens of millions.

On top of that is the maintenance and running costs. Has the SNP Government actually costed this scheme?

They seem to have a habit of ignoring the costs underlying their grand plans, particularly those proposed by their Green (behind the ears?) partner.

Ken Currie, Edinburgh

Sincere bid?

Shock horror – a British Prime Minister has reshuffled his government and there were no leaks! One minister, no doubt reflecting on polls saying Labour is 26 points ahead, said: “What's the point… we're not going to win an election by changing the machinery of government. How does it deliver on our priorities?”

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Well, perhaps Rishi Sunak thinks he has nothing to lose and has decided to do the unthinkable and do what he thinks is the right thing in the hope he'll show progress on his five commitments of reducing debt, halving inflation, “stopping the boats”, growing the economy and cutting NHS waiting times, the voters see that and he wins an historic victory.

I think he deserves a chance: in his first 100 days he has torpedoed the SNP like no other UK or Scottish politician in the past 26 years, forecasts are that inflation will fall, according to Martin Lewis mortgage rates may not rise as high as expected, he has created a process that enables quick resolution of the Nadhim Zahawi and Dominic Raab issues and hopefully he’ll batter through legislation to “stop the boats”.

Of course he's been lucky: a tremendous anti-GRR campaign fortified by a left-field trans prisoner issue made his Section 35 bombproof and Scottish Labour’s capitulation has killed their female vote, an agreement with the EU is imminent on the Irish Protocol and Keir Starmer has offered Labour support, headline NHS statistics may well show improvements, cyclical economic growth may enable him to honour his pledge of reducing taxes – and Liz Truss popped up over the weekend to remind us just how shambolic it could have been.

His biggest problem is factions in his own party undermining him because he's not Boris and they are terrified he succeeds.

Every prime minister needs luck and events to go their way, so do the people of the UK, and I don't see anyone else around who could do a better. And, honest ah'm no a Toary.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

A little mystery

So Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has now dropped his legal action against the owner of a small children’s nursery in Broughty Ferry, where he alleged racial discrimination after it declined to offer his child a nursery place. The nursery owner claims that Yousaf's action has cost her thousands of pounds in legal costs, building a defence against what she claimed were totally unfounded allegations. Where is the redress for that coming from?

There are also serious questions to be asked of the Care Commission that "investigated" the Yousaf claim, and appeared to support it. Surely a privately owned business has the right to decide the clients with which it wishes to do business? It may very well have been the case that the nursery owner did not want the responsibility of protecting the child of a prominent Minister in the Holyrood Government! Was this ever taken into account by anyone at all?

It is time we knew the full facts of this matter instead of the sanitised media frenzy that was in full force at the time of Yousuf's complaint. At first sight, the event appears to be yet another example of the “wokeism” that bedevils Scotland and of a politician who appears to think that his status enables him to bully those who do not accede to his every wish.

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Carnage coming

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I read that Green MSP Gillian Mackay was proud/boastful that her legislation, via the Scottish Parliament, to introduce buffer zones around hospitals would soon be in place. This is the same Gillian Mackay who voted to allow male rapists easier access into female prisons female wards etc via the now discredited Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The women in Scotland should be under no illusion that the Green Party are left wing extremists, they will hijack the transgender issue, abortion rights, children’s rights etc to further their ideology. The most chilling part of Gillian’s comments was that abortion rights should be “expanded”.

What further carnage have the Green party got up their sleeve?

John Smith, Falkirk

A simple plan

Despite being poles apart politically, Liz Truss and Leah Gunn Barrett share a similar grasp of economics (Letters, 7 February). Ms Gunn Barrett believes that “inflation-matching pay rises pay for themselves because the government taxes the money back and workers will be spending their money back into the economy”.

Added to this is a shockingly naïve statement that the Bank of England “can create all the money that is needed.”

Can she name a single example of when a government simply churning out currency didn’t spark hyper-inflation? Think of what happened in Zimbabwe, Argentina, the German Weimar Republic and the Confederate States of America, to name but a few.

Commodity costs were already soaring prior to the Ukrainian war due to “quantititive easing” during the pandemic. Why are there labour shortages everywhere? Because of massive money printing and deficit spending worldwide.

When people spend these great wads of extra cash, it causes the cost of living to sky-rocket because there’s already too much demand.Evidently, Scottish separatists like Leah Gunn Barrett don’t believe in inflation any more than they believe in budget deficits.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Dark skies

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Astronomers say global light pollution is increasing by ten per cent year-on year. Out of solidarity with all those unable to afford electricity for their home surely Scotland should cease the wasteful illumination of the Forth Bridges and consider a national policy of turning off street lights during certain night-time hours to allow the wonder of the night sky to be glimpsed by an increasingly disconnected humanity.

On the few clear skies in the last week the passing Green Comet has been invisible due to serious light pollution throughout the Forth Valley.

Just as the Forth Bridge has stood as symbol of Scottish engineering so ceasing to illuminate these Forth Crossings would probably save little but would be a powerful symbol that we are not a wasteful nation and have a government in tune with ordinary people and their energy concerns.

Stewart McKenna, Kirknewton, West Lothian

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