THE answers to Mark Smith’s question (“So what is going on in the secretive world of Scotland’s Don’t Know Ten Percenters?”, The , February 15) are clear. First, there is no overwhelming appetite for Scottish independence, and never has been. In the last Holyrood election in 2016, out of around 4.3 million registered voters only just over one million bothered to go to the polls and tick the box for the party that claimed there is overwhelming desire for separation.
The reason the SNP keeps winning elections is because the pro-UK opposition parties, individually and collectively, have failed to convince voters that they can form a better government than the SNP. This is some failure, given the SNP’s poor record in most areas.
Where are the radical, popular policies to reform planning and force builders and fund councils to build truly “affordable” low-cost, good-quality, well-serviced private and social housing, to reverse the SNP education supertanker’s suicidal voyage to the edge of its woke, ideological flat earth, sensible reform of the care system and to attract high-skilled industries and jobs?
And even if they did that, they will probably still lose because the vote is split.
There were a few encouraging straws in the wing last week. Apart from the ComRes poll showing support for independence below 50 per cent, a YouGov poll for Scotland Matters showed 31% of Labour, LibDem and Conservative voters in the 2019 General Election support tactical voting for pro-UK parties and a coalition government. This represents 545,000 votes, more than enough to swing the May election.
As ever, there is no silver bullet, but the best way is to vote the SNP out of office in May. The pro-UK parties should embrace voter appetite for a joint approach, and, at least this once, rise up and fight for Scotland and the UK.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.
WINNING DESPITE PARTY SPLITS
PERHAPS a little clarity for Mark Smith. Yes, Hillary Clinton did lead Donald Trump in the polls, but she also got nearly three million more votes than him, in the actual election. Women did fall more for No in 2014 but all recent polling shows women are now more inclined to a Yes than men are (the Boris Johnson Philanderer Effect?).
Mr Smith is also puzzled that the SNP, while split, is still polling well. We should recall that Mr Johnson won a General Election just shortly after expelling two dozen senior Tories from a deeply-split Tory Party, many of them recent Cabinet members.
GR Weir, Ochiltree.
* AS someone who was involved in the organisational side of the SNP for many years, I am forever amazed by its politicians who, for the want of a better phrase, appear to have “never mind the ba’, let’s get on wi the game” approach. Just breaks an organiser’s heart.
Alan McKinney, Edinburgh.
CONCENTRATE ON DEVOLUTION
SCOTLAND does not need a bitter battle between nationalism and unionism. The country is crying out for “devolutionism”, where a government in Holyrood accepts our current devolved status, and uses the powers which it already has, to improve the quality of life for its citizens and make the country a better place to live.
In its myopic quest for independence, the SNP has long neglected the day job. The current administration seems incapable of using the tools at its disposal to build a country that we can all be proud to belong to, and which is envied across the world.
Drew Wright, Giffnock.
LOGIC BEHIND SNP SUPPORT
IT is the view of Ian R Mitchell (Letters, February 15) that increasing support for the SNP “defies logical analysis”. My logical analysis tells me that the increasing support is not for the SNP as a party of government but is in fact for the right of Scotland, as a nation, to be able to elect the government of its choice. Logical analysis would not suggest that any of the alleged failures of the SNP administration listed by Mr Mitchell are indicators of inevitable or likely consequences of Scottish independence, unless we are once again being asked to accept the unionist myth that an independent Scotland would be a one-party state governed in perpetuity by the SNP.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie.
UK DENIES US TAX OPTIONS
TWO letters today (February 15) highlight the desperate situation in which the Labour Party and socialists in Scotland find themselves.
First Ian R Mitchell tries to equate Scottish independence with Trumpism with his jibe that the SNP is a “Make Scotland Great Again” party; utter nonsense. Alistair Witherow than makes the much more accurate assertion that if we want a Scandinavian quality of life, then we will have to accept Scandinavian levels of taxation; spot-on.
As someone who has only ever voted for parties that would ask me to pay more tax, because I’m in the fortunate position of being able to, then I am firmly in Mr Witherow’s camp. On the other hand, I sadly have to inform both of your correspondents that as long as Scotland is part of the United Kingdom then we will never have the society that most of us in Scotland want.
John Jamieson, Ayr.
* ALISTAIR Witherow’s easy solution to the problems of inequality falls at the first hurdle. Swedes are egalitarian by nature; we in these islands are not.
The highest rate of UK income tax in the 1970s was 83 per cent, to which was added 15% for those with stated amounts of investment income. That did not seem to work. Those taxed at that level were not happy.
The wealthy person cited by Mr Witherow who invests extra earnings helps provide the wealth which creates jobs and increases business profits and the subsequent “tax take”, all of which in turn boosts the value of pension funds, a fact oft overlooked in the rush to tax more.
We in this country have many miles to travel in any search for egalitarianism.
David Miller, Milngavie.
OH FOR A JACINDA ARDERN
THE Government is contemplating easing lockdown restrictions next month. I can see it going horribly pear-shaped. On the other hand, New Zealand has imposed lockdown on Auckland after finding three cases there – no mucking about (“Auckland placed into three-day lockdown after three virus cases in city”, The , February 15). Oh to have Jacinda Ardern as our PM.
Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.
EUPHORIA AFTER THE VACCINE
UNLIKE my “normal” lockdown self I am at present happy and positive about the future. Even Dominic Raab saying I need to take a 10-year view of the world can’t shake this almost euphoric feeling.
Why? On Saturday at 8.30am I went to the SECC and got my Pfizer vaccination. The experience from start to finish was efficient, pleasant and professional.
I’m not sure how long this feeling will last but the actual experience is one that we should be proud of and celebrate. Something we seldom do in “normal” lockdown.
Foster Evans, Renfrew.
WHY ARE THEY FLYING?
JUST A thought: why are there so many people still using airports?
Perhaps some are returning from work abroad, but does anyone check to see if the journeys were necessary?
Alasdair MacKenzie, Dunblane.
EDINBURGH SHOULD HONOUR HORTON
AS readers will know, Edinburgh University’s David Hume Tower is to be renamed following the exposure of Hume’s unsavoury views on race. The university is to carry out a consultation process under the guidance of Sir Geoff Palmer, the university’s only black professor, to canvass opinion on a suitable new name.
To this end I wish to put forward a proposal, and to seek support from the wider public for my choice. While I was an undergraduate at the university I noticed a blue plaque (since removed) on the wall of the Adam Ferguson Building, commemorating Africanus Horton, the first African student at Edinburgh University.
On investigating, I found that Horton had come from Sierra Leone to study medicine, graduating in 1859. He then went on to become a surgeon, a writer, and a political thinker widely credited with being the father of African nationalism a century before the independence movements emerged.
For all these reasons Horton seems to me to be the obvious choice. To choose him would greatly enhance Edinburgh University’s international profile, putting the university on the right side of history, and helping to expunge the stain of our colonial past, just as Glasgow University did in acknowledging its links to the slave trade.
Douglas Currie, Edinburgh EH16.
So where is Labour when we urgently need its voice?