Despite having two parliaments representing us, there is nothing the people of Scotland can do via our elected representatives to resist this. The devolution settlement means our Holyrood parliament is not deemed competent to legislate on such matters and due to simple arithmetic, even if all 59 Scottish MPs voted against it at Westminster, the legislation would pass, imposed on us by the majority of English MPs in the Tory Government.
Given that he sits in both houses, please can Douglas Ross explain why his English colleagues possess the competence to make such decisions, yet despite a dual mandate, he is incompetent?
Gregor Clark, Irvine
• IT was kind of Jeremy Hunt to include in his Budget speech a line that the SNP will be able to use for at least the next decade: “Independence is always better than dependence” was what he said. You’d think the Chancellor or one of his advisers would have picked up on the faux pas, but I guess Scotland is rarely if ever in their thoughts.
Interesting that the Opposition’s response was given by Sir Keir Starmer, despite the convention that it’s the Shadow who replies. The SNP and the LibDems followed the convention, so I assume Sir Keir doesn’t have a great deal of confidence in Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves. Labour may not be harking back to the old days of Blair v Brown “tensions”, but it appears all is not well on Labour’s front bench.
Doug Maughan, Dunblane
Read more: Alcohol duty rises by 10 per cent in Budget
Why I cannot vote Labour
I WAS considering voting for Ed Balls/Ed Milliband a few years ago. Then they called me “rich”.
Now they’re back at it. I was thinking about voting for Sir Keir Starmer in the future. Then Labour says that raising the pension limits is just for the “wealthy few”.
So it’s okay for the public sector to have good pensions. If I were an NHS consultant I would also be stopping working if I almost had to pay for the privilege. Labour will see them right though.
But what of any aspiring person with a personal pension, a person who makes good life decisions and costs the state as little as possible? Are they not allowed to get a decent pension? A £1 million limit is low and will be reached by anybody who is responsible and puts by. Is this person less important than one who works for the public sector? An increased limit is not just for the super-rich.
So that leaves me with an ugly situation yet again come next election.
Angus MacEachran, Aberdeen
Yousaf’s attack was uncalled for
I AM sure that the candidates to become the leader of the Scottish National Party are relieved that their exhausting series of local hustings and television debates are behind them. I think all three of the hopefuls in the race should be proud of their stamina in the light of such a gruelling schedule that encompassed travelling the length and breadth of the country in a very truncated time frame.
Many questions were asked of each participant on a vast number of issues affecting Scotland today, including the NHS, education, the economy, independence, gender recognition and many more.
For the most part, I was satisfied that these subjects were addressed with insight, honesty, and forethought, however, due to the very nature of the contest, a certain level of combativeness was inevitable and even encouraged by some invigilators. Unfortunately, this duelling was vastly exaggerated by the language used in many sections of the media and I am quite sure that a convivial meeting ensued between them, following each debate.
However, I have to say that I was disappointed with Humza Yousaf when on several occasions he questioned Kate Forbes’ suitability to be First Minister due to her socially conservative beliefs. This to me was uncalled for and I am glad that she was robust in her answers when she confirmed that she would always uphold the rule of law, relating to gay rights, gender recognition and abortion. Her honesty was a breath of fresh air.
In contrast, Mr Yousaf made misleading claims that he was responsible for the Queensferry Crossing coming in under budget, also the fastest Covid booster rollout in the UK. His claim in one TV debate to be a proud “Muslim-Christian” also muddied the waters, which seems to form part of his raison-d’être.
Alas, I fear the most suitable person, Kate Forbes, will not win this race unless the voters are prepared to drill down into each of their qualities and not be led by the SNP hierarchy who have not only been forced to reveal its membership numbers as requested initially by Ms Regan and Ms Forbes (“SNP loses 32,000 members in less than 15 months”, heraldscotland, March 16), but have circled the wagons around the continuity candidate, Humza Yousaf in an effort to save their jobs.
Christopher H Jones, Giffnock
• DO we have to all follow the same religious beliefs as each other, just to get along? No.
I don’t care if Kate Forbes thinks people having a baby and not being married is not for her. That’s her opinion, her choice. And, her religious beliefs.
However, she’s an economic-minded person. That’s why I want her to lead this country to better days.
I’m not an SNP supporter.
Jamie Millar, Paisley
Read more: SNP loses 32,000 members in less than 14 months
Keep dark money out of Scotland
IN the interests of openness and transparency I look forward to the Tory, Labour and LibDem parties in Scotland publishing their current membership numbers. In 2021, newspaper leaks reported Labour’s Scottish membership at 16,500 whereas the Scottish Tories keep their membership figures a state secret.
Much has been made of the SNP’s finances, but Electoral Commission figures for Labour’s Scottish Accounting Unit indicate that the branch office is heavily subsidised from London.
The much-wealthier Tories benefit from funding from several opaque organisations and during the last Scottish council elections the anti-independence outfit Scotland Matters was bankrolled to the extent of £46,000 by the little-known Centre for Economic Education and Training, which only has a London PO Box address with no record of who is a member or who is funding it and did not register with the Electoral Commission. A further £19,000 donation was from an individual based in London.
Other political campaigning units such as Scotland in Union and These Islands are also secretive about their donors. “Dark Money”, particularly from third party organisations, must not be allowed to influence Scottish politics and the Electoral Commission should ensure that only voters registered in Scotland be allowed to donate monies for Scottish elections or any future referendum on Scotland’s future.
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh
Division has been exposed
MOST politicians, no matter how strong their own beliefs, respectfully view those who don’t share them as their “opposition”. Today’s statement by Michael Russell, expressing concern that his party’s current shambles will “aid our enemies” (“SNP president fears leadership secrecy row will ‘aid our enemies'”, heraldscotland, March 16) speaks volumes – sadly confirming the division which the SNP’s party’s blinkered and damaging agenda has created in Scotland and how they view anyone who dares express any view, even from within, that is contrary to their official party diktat.
Robin McNaught, Bridge of Weir
Iraq horror will never fade
IT seems incredible that 20 years have passed since a British Prime Minister, dazzled by an American President, took the UK into a bloody, illegal war, in a search for weapons of mass destruction which were never found (“Why the SNP owes everything to Tony Blair’s Iraq War sins”, The Herald, March 16).
Two decades later we are still haunted by the scenes of carnage as British bombs screamed down on Iraq. Shock and awe was indeed shocking and awful and the sight of people digging with their hands at the wreckage of their homes, desperately trying to find their families and children crying hysterically over the bodies of their dead mothers, can never be forgotten.
Tony Blair has never faced justice for his horrible war, his only punishment to be awarded a knighthood. He lives and thrives and advises the current Labour leader. However, if he is still looking for weapons of mass destruction, he’ll find them on the Clyde.
Ruth Marr, Stirling
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