NEIL Mackay’s article on Nicola Sturgeon’s dislike of the media (“Here’s why Sturgeon’s SNP government hates journalism”, The Herald January 4 ) epitomises everything we suspected about this SNP’s Government’s house of cards built on waffle and propaganda.
Ms Sturgeon has loved the adulation of her docile followers, revelled in her popularity with selfies with everyone and anyone and has built a career out of public posturing and courting publicity.
She found it easy to score points over a big bad posh English Tory but now when the waffle queen learns she is not the fairest of them all, that she too has to be scrutinised and her policies questioned or criticised, she vents her sanctimonious wrath and “will strike down upon them with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy me”. So, she shoots the messenger, the media.
Running on empty now, the SNP has nothing more to offer Scotland. Separation for the sake of separation is not enough to justify the damage being done. It is time to admit our mistake, it is time for change.
Allan Thompson, Bearsden.
* NEIL Mackay raises the question as to why relations between journalists and Nicola Sturgeon are at times somewhat fraught. The use of the word “hate” strikes me as a bit strong. Perhaps it is that bad.
I believe that the existing flaws in that relationship can be largely attributed to the failure on both sides to pay heed sufficiently to certain observations made previously in the context of politics and journalism generally. In the case of the First Minister, she has not quite accepted the message contained behind the words of Eric Schlosser, author and journalist: “Journalists aren’t supposed to be cheerleaders.” In the case of members of the journalist profession, there are many who have not heeded the advice of the author Dan Brown: “Never underestimate the ego of a politician.”
Having said that, I do not think that it will ever be plain sailing on that particular sea of troubles. Clearly Ms Sturgeon does not like criticism and, unfortunately for her, there is much that can be directed with justification at the Government she heads.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.
LET US HOPE FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
CAN we expect to see any changes for the better in 2022 under the present SNP administration? I fear not since there is little political talent within the ranks of the SNP at any level, and its only means of achieving a slim majority in debate is with the help of the unelected Scottish Greens. What a catastrophic political scene.
In the good old North Sea oil boom period which peaked in 1999, it was Scotland’s oil according to Alex Salmond and his fellow nationalists. But now we have a situation where the nationalists and their allies are opposed to further development in the industry, especially in the new proposed gas field off Shetland.
Scotland’s economy at the present time is unsustainable; it has been totally reliant on support from Westminster in normal years, and during the pandemic would not have survived without massive inputs from the London Exchequer.
In terms of industrial output, shipbuilding on the Clyde and at Rosyth on the Forth is reliant on contracts for the Royal Navy – an independent Scotland would not qualify for such work.
The general political malaise in Scotland is entirely down to the single-mindedness of the Scottish nationalists. Let us hope that 2022, and beyond, will bring about some positive changes within the structure of the Scottish political scene. Our wee country is certainly not thriving under the present regime at Holyrood.
Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.
WE DON’T WANT TO BE MALTA
L MCGREGOR (Letters, January 4) equates warnings about Scotland’s economic situation post-independence with warnings given at the time of Maltese independence that its economy would collapse without British Treasury subventions, adding that Malta has nevertheless gone on to become a thriving independent country since then.
It was very unwise of your correspondent to choose Malta as an example. Instead of British subventions, it now relies on subventions from the EU, plus large amounts of money earned from selling Golden Visas (a backdoor entry into the EU) to wealthy Russians and others, a scheme the EU Commissioner for Justice considers to be undermining the essence of EU citizenship. It also supports itself by being a remote gambling hub and the Mediterranean’s tax haven. It is a place where Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist investigating corruption amongst the country’s wealthy and political elite, was murdered.
Perhaps upon reflection, your correspondent might agree that the warnings given to Malta all those years ago were in fact prescient.
R Murray, Glasgow.
TRUSS LUNCH NOT VALUE FOR MONEY
IT is unsurprising that a journalist who tells us that he was formerly employed by the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail should come to the defence of the Foreign Secretary and the lunch bill footed by the taxpayer (Andrew McKie, “Lay off the Tories. £1,400 is not a lot to pay for lunch”, The Herald, January 4).
Despite the outrage stoked daily by his former employers, it nevertheless doesn’t sit well when the boot is on the other foot.
Mr McKie neglects to mention that the lunch in question was held at premises owned by a close relative of a Conservative Minister. The civil service advice to go elsewhere was therefore likely primarily motivated by a desire to protect their minister from allegations of sleaze, advice which was then ignored.
It is also questionable whether the schmoozing of the US trade delegation was value for money, given that a US trade deal depends firstly on the UK upholding the Northern Ireland Protocol. We have a fair idea where the Prime Minister and his party stand on that matter as well as the US Government’s position.
Perhaps it goes without saying that, without Brexit, there would have been no reason for a lunch at all.
Councillor Alasdair Rankin (SNP), City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh.
RENEWABLES GIVE US AN ADVANTAGE
NORMAN McNab (Letters, January 3) argues that Scotland’s 25 per cent of Europe’s wind power “is certainly not an economic advantage”, based on the problem that if the wind doesn’t blow, we don’t have any electricity. Had I only cited Scotland’s share of wind power his argument might have had some value, but I didn’t. I also cited tidal and wave energy, both of which are much more reliable than wind.
Moreover, in aggregate Scotland has 24% of the UK’s renewable energy generation, from a range of sources, including wind, even though it has only just over eight per cent of the UK population.
Given the emphasis, which will only increase in future, on sustainable sources of energy, Mr McNab’s judgment that it is “certainly not an economic advantage” seems very short-sighted.
Even if his claim is correct that Scotland “does not have the physical geography to support long-term energy storage based on pumped hydro power and battery storage”, I don’t think anyone would advise that any country should depend on a single source for their energy, or even entirely on their own resources. Instead, it is likely that countries will import/export power as required. The inter-connector being built between Scotland and Norway is one example. In this context Scotland’s possession of renewable energy sources will be an “economic advantage”.
Mr McNab’s preference is for nuclear, which he describes as a “safe, reliable and constant source of electricity at a fraction of the cost of wind”. However, the “strike price” of electricity from Hinckley Point station – which has been under construction for 10 years and will be not operational till 2026 at the earliest – was set 10 years ago at £92.50 per megawatt hour (MWh). In 2019 the strike price for offshore wind (more expensive than onshore) was set as low as £39.65/MWh.
Lastly, it should be pointed out that energy policy has never been devolved to Holyrood.
Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.
LET US CONTEST HONOURS AWARDS
THERE have been letters and reports in The Herald regarding Tony Blair’s knighthood (“Petition in backlash at honour for former PM Blair”, The Herald, January 3, and Letters, January 4). There ought to be a system in place whereby the public can contest honours before they are bestowed; this is especially true of political and civil service honours where it appears they are given for just doing your job, and often badly at times.
I heard Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, on Radio 4 the other day saying that all Prime Ministers should be knighted at the end of their term. God forbid that Boris Johnson is knighted. That would totally and utterly discredit the honours system.
Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.