I READ the excellent article by David Leask (“So who is really to blame for landing us with Johnson?”, The Herald, December 23).
The key to answering that question is in the pronouns he uses. When he says “we were warned” and “we knew that Johnson was bad news before he made it to No. 10″, the “we” in question was the electorate in the UK. When he asks “who is really to blame for landing us with Johnson?”, the answer is the electorate in England.
The electorate in Scotland are not to blame, as illustrated by the Westminster election results in 2019, where the Tories under Boris Johnson had a huge majority in England but lost more than 50% of their seats in Scotland. So “us” in Scotland clearly didn’t want him.
Conclusion: he was lauded in England and derided in Scotland, as England lurched to the right and the political chasm between the two nations widened still further.
That has been happening for some time now and the gap will only grow. So what to do? It’s time for “us” to wake up and smell the corruption and get cracking with independence asap.
Of course if anyone thinks I am wrong I’d be pleased to hear a robust defence of Boris Johnson, and his performance.
George Archibald, West Linton.
NO INTEGRITY IN TORY CONTENDERS
WITH reference to the good and bad luck enjoyed by Boris Johnson, I would point out to Christopher H Jones (Letters, December 24) that far from not knowing about the virus’s transmissibility, Mr Johnson was shaking hands with people at a time when he was urging the rest of the population to wash their hands while twice singing “Happy Birthday”; an early example of the Prime Minister breaking rules he expected everyone else to follow.
I also support calls for a Prime Minister with integrity, ability, a sense of public duty, fortitude, empathy, and courage. However, I don’t see these qualities in the vultures currently circling Downing Street, waiting to swoop when Mr Johnson’s luck finally runs out. And whoever is the next Tory to win the keys to No 10 will have no mandate to impose themself and their policies on Scotland; that’s been our bad luck since 1955.
Ruth Marr, Stirling.
PERSPICACITY OF ETON HEAD
I NOTE the contributions with regard to the behaviour and character of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Letters, December 22, 23 & 24). While I have not yet quite got to the stage of holding the same opinion expressed by Eddie Mair during a 2013 BBC interview with Mr Johnson – “You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?” – I have come to appreciate the perceptiveness of the Master of Eton College when he wrote in a letter to the father of Boris, then a pupil in 1982: “I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.
SOCIAL DEMOCRACY AND INDEPENDENCE
I READ Peter A Russell’s letter (December 23) describing how the UK’s fiscal arrangements work, with its heavy emphasis on the South-east of England “subsiding” the rest of the UK. I can find nothing fundamentally wrong with his analysis of the status quo, except that I would describe them as economic fault-lines rather than economic strengths.
Mr Russell is clearly, as I am, a socialist and a democrat but whereas he appears to celebrate London’s role as an imperial capital, and the economic advantages he imagines that brings, I do not.
He finishes by saying: “The two sides of the argument are called nationalism and social democracy”. I disagree that these arguments are on different sides. Writing as a socialist and ex-Labour Party member, and a lifelong Scottish nationalist as well as a social democrat, I would love to see the UK as a properly functioning social democracy, but it never has been and shows no sign of ever becoming one. I wish Mr Russell good luck in achieving his dream, though.
John Jamieson, Ayr.
* NICE try from Peter A Russell, but his ONS figures suffer from the same flaw as the GERS estimates – they are receipts and expenditures for the UK, not for a self-governing Scotland and there are substantial differences between the two conditions. For a proper debate on independence the Treasury would be required to open its books over a period of, say, 50 years. Only then would the economics of independence be clear and indisputable. We also require to know if rUK still wishes to declare as the “continuator state”, as that impacts greatly on everything else: for example, debt.
GR Weir, Ochiltree.
THE GRANTING OF INDEPENDENCE
SO Struan Stevenson (“Remember Ireland’s Culloden and how it shaped our story”, The Herald, December 23) tells us that 100 years ago the 26 counties of the Irish Free State were “granted” independence. In the election of 1918 the Irish people had already democratically decided that; but naturally Mother England, knowing best, simply ignored that, forcing the Irish people into an unnecessary armed conflict to reinforce their democratic wishes.
He goes on to compound his arrogant and patronising language by his historical ignorance. Ulster did not “remain” part of the UK, all 32 counties were, very briefly, all part of the Free State until six of the nine Ulster counties ceded to form the statelet of Northern Ireland. The remaining three Ulster counties like the other 23 went on to form the Republic of Ireland.
When Scotland decides to democratically to reassert her independence, will it be too much to hope that Mr Stevenson and his ilk will be in a “granting” mood ?
John Boyle, Ardrossan.
SNP PRIORITIES ARE RECKLESS
SCOTT Wright’s article (“Closed for business”, The Herald, December 24) reports widespread dismay within the business community at the SNP Government’s delay in publishing a national economic strategy for Scotland. As justification for this failure, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes cites the need to focus attention on dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak. However, it would seem this endeavour will not be allowed to interfere with attempts to promote the separatist party’s core beliefs. Time is being found and no effort spared as the machinery of government prepares for a second referendum.
Prioritising that activity during a pandemic is bizarre, but unsurprising. After all, this is a party whose leader stated: “The case for full self-government ultimately transcends the issues of Brexit, of oil, of national wealth and balance sheets and of passing political fads and trends”. Ms Forbes’ announcement confirms the SNP remains intent on living that dream, no matter the damage it engenders.
Bob Scott, Drymen.
COURAGE NEEDED OVER THE NHS
IT has been reported that excess deaths from causes other than Covid are mounting in Scotland. Deaths from respiratory diseases not associated with Covid, from cancer, stroke and heart disease, are all on the rise. Everyone knows that speedy diagnosis of cancer is essential for survival, yet the chances of seeing and being referred expeditiously by a GP are limited, as are the chances of a consultant’s appointment any time soon. A friend whose heart bypass operation was deemed “urgent” earlier this year waited months to see a consultant and then more months for surgery – happily with a good outcome.
I am relieved that my two cancers occurred before Covid, and that I received speedy treatment. For orthopaedic problems, I gather there is talk of years rather than months. I am lucky to have been able to pay for my new knee.
Covid is not the reason, or the only reason, for excess deaths from other diseases and the deferring of necessary but not life-saving treatment. The NHS has been teetering on the brink for years, even decades. But which politician will have the courage to undertake a root and branch reform, not least of its funding method? Not one visible at present.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.
WHERE’S THE CONCERN FOR PEOPLE?
IF the Omicron variant is mild, and we carry Covid antibodies from previous infection or from vaccination, then we could afford to let Omicron run, and so build herd immunity. Subsequent variants might also then affect us less, so continued vaccination – plus the huge benefit of herd immunity – could slay the beast for good.
But the official objection is more cases could mean more hospital admissions, to harm the NHS.
Concern for the NHS seems to be the driver in all this, not concern for people.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.