Letters: Forget the wish list, the SNP’s plan should be to focus on improving literacy and numeracy

THE SNP Government has devised a 10-year plan economic plan which is notable for its failure to mention either a referendum or ferries. Even Stalin aspired only to five-year plans. It is – as is typical of SNP plans – long on process but short on practicalities. There are to be new committees and institutions. The First Minister is to chair some of these, which rather sounds the death knell for any hope of promoting entrepreneurship, given her attachment to the public sector at the expense of the private sector.

As an example of the proposals, let us consider the focus on improving skills and embedding entrepreneurship in education. The skills that employers need and that require to be improved are the basic ones of literacy and numeracy, which are the building blocks for everything else. Encouraging children to develop first-rate literacy and numeracy would do a lot more good than having a “chief entrepreneurship officer to sit within government structures”. The Ukrainian village school that I visited nine years ago had clear and instructive wall boards for learning English grammar. No doubt the purveyors of fashionable education nostrums of our country would condemn that as authoritarian, or something of the sort.

Why not have aspiring young entrepreneurs shadow successful business people to learn on the job what business involves and how to make a success of it? One of Scotland’s most successful businessmen, Sir Tom Hunter, has called this new SNP plan “a long wish list with no magic wand to deliver it” (“New Scots economy plan draws criticism from top business chief”, The Herald, March 2). Why would anyone be surprised about this in SNP Scotland?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


THE Finance Secretary’s 10-year plan for the Scottish economy has been criticised by business leaders and union leaders alike. But the question that occurs to me is more basic: if Kate Forbes believes that Scotland will be independent soon after a referendum in 2023, why produce a plan for a Scotland that is still in the UK and stretches to 2033?

Of course, if she believes there will not be independence, her plan might be needed. If it was any good, which, according to most early analysis, it isn’t.

Alex Gallagher, Labour councillor, Largs.


REGULARLY you print serial letters from the pro-Union side warning Scots of the dire consequences for Scotland if it dares to become independent. All sorts of predictions are made as to how we will fare when we have the audacity to create a border that we ourselves will control.

England will not buy our wind-generated electricity, and when the wind does not blow they will refuse to send us their nuclear and gas-generated electricity, is just one such daft threat. Your readers will know of many more: pensions, currency, debt burden and so on as they are repeated over and over.

I smile to myself when I think of the present situation with regards to oil and gas security for Great Britain. Silence.

The Scottish Jurisdiction sector of the North Sea is the source of nearly all of GB’s home-produced oil and about half of GB’s home-produced gas. I would never dream of suggesting that when Scotland becomes independent it would try to use oil and gas as a financial weapon against the rUK.

I firmly recognise that when we sit down as equals to have our joint negotiations to settle our leaving arrangements we will do so with the intention of seeking a fair and equitable settlement and I feel certain the then rUk will do the same, regardless of what they may say prior to and during the coming referendum. It will be in our mutual interests to do this, and we will.

Nick Dekker, Cumbernauld.


I HAVE received my Scottish Census form, a year after the rest of the UK. I wonder how many people, like my daughter, will not appear on either our local Scottish census or the wider UK census as a result of relocating to another part of the UK, all as a result of the nationalists’ desire to appear “different” to the rest of the UK?

Lennie Hill, Troon.


HOW fitting that Paisley Abbey should be chosen to launch Unboxed: Creativity in the UK (“Around the UK”, The Herald, March 2). It has provided an imposing canvas for the spectators. The Abbey itself has so many outstanding features, some of which are detailed below:

Its origins date from the 12th century when it was dedicated to four saints, including the local Saint Mirin. It is the final resting place of six High Stewards. William Wallace is believed to have received education there when a child. Moreover, it is referred to as the “Cradle of the House of Stewart” since the first of the Stewart monarchs, Robert II, was born there. The building itself incorporates many splendid internal and external architectural examples and excellent workmanship in stained glass. With all that exceptional background, it is important to appreciate that the abbey acts as a parish church of the Church of Scotland and, as such, serves the people of Paisley and beyond.

The Abbey in Paisley deserves to be viewed not only as a local and regional asset, but also certainly as a national treasure .

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


THERE he sits, the marvellous John Stewart McKie (1929-2020) on the staircase in his house, smiling in contentment as he holds his pipe and wreathes himself in smoke.

I was just sorting out some clothes to jettison as I prepare to move house next week when I came across the Wee Stinker T-shirts I managed to win over the years. Tucked into one of the packets was The Herald obituary by his son Andrew McKie, with the magnificent photograph, and an article on Myops by Mark Smith which mentions Myops’ favourite clue, which he devised after phoning a friend to ascertain the key used when playing Happy Birthday. Solvers were given the clue “G-GAG, the answer being “Happy Birthday”. Apparently several Glaswegian cruciverbalists were able to solve it.

I am still pondering over that one.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

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