Letters to the Editor
No evidence for smear of party
Last week’s Southern Reporter contained a letter from “independent” councillor Michael Cook which has to be one of the most disingenuous I have read for some time.
Mr Cook claims he is compelled to throw off his “independent” label now because he knows the main candidates in his constituency and they’re all, erm, nice guys.
Paul Wheelhouse, however, is in the Scottish National Party (and has been a minister in the efficient and fair-minded government which Scotland has enjoyed for nearly a decade).
Mr Cook says that the SNP has a “profoundly ugly disposition” – a disgusting, unnecessary smear for which he provides no evidence at all.
His real issue with the SNP is that it believes Scotland would be better off as an independent nation.
How will the SNP try to bring more people over to its point of view?
By peaceful persuasion. What an outrage! Utterly bizarrely, he describes the basic democratic principle of people getting the governments they vote for as “totalitarian”.
He wants us to vote Tory – those nice people who recently voted down a proposal to bring 3,000 traumatised and vulnerable unaccompanied children stranded at Calais to the UK, where many of them have family.
This is the party that still wants to force rape victims to prove they were raped or have their tax credits taken away.
It’s the party that currently presides over a UK where more than a million people are so poor they can’t afford to eat properly, keep clean or stay warm and dry.
The really jaw-dropping moment in Mr Cook’s letter was the bit where he described himself as a “soft-left tactical voter”.
The Tory party in Scotland is the same as the Tory party in England and Wales.
It unceremoniously threw out a proposal after the last Conservative election disaster up here to change that arrangement.
So, today, if from the leafy shires of the Borders, your ardent British nationalism leads you to vote for a supporter of possibly the most vicious right-wing government Britain has seen, then do go out and vote Tory. It is your democratic right to do so.
Please though, Mr Cook and others, do it without trying to pretend to the rest of us that you don’t know exactly what you’re voting for.”
SNP has people at its heart
David Cameron’s Westminster government is riven about Europe, struggling with corruption, immorality, excessive expenses, cruelty towards our most vulnerable and extreme unpopularity.
His representative in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, can only offer us a defence of the Union, prescription charges and university tuition fees.
A correspondent correctly says these, and indeed the NHS, are not “free”, but as in other progressive and civilised countries, we all pay for them via our taxes (well, all but the offshorers) and we all benefit.
Is it not remarkable that in Scotland the SNP, which has been in government for nine years, is still enjoying a level of trust that is almost unprecedented? Not only that, but Nicola Sturgeon continues to be the most respected politician in the UK. That level of voters’ confidence is not earned by incompetence or evidence of self-serving SNP politicians.
It is reported that during April to December 2015, Nicola Sturgeon claimed £9,712 in expenses, Paul Wheelhouse claimed £8,674, while John Lamont claimed more than £23,000. No wonder he wants to join the Westminster gravy train.
You hear much about a second independence referendum, but all the noise is coming from the Unionist parties. This is perverse because the SNP has made absolutely clear that there will not be another referendum without a demand from the Scottish people.
The SNP deserves your votes because it is the only party with Scotland’s people at its heart.
So when I cast my two votes for Paul Wheelhouse and the SNP today, it will be for the continuation of intelligent, caring and humane government.
Sadly, as we must confront the probable arrival of yet another five-year SNP “winter north of the wall”, it would seem an appropriate moment to contemplate some contradictory statements recently made by a “presidential-style” First Minister regarding her policies on the current parallel referendum on UK membership of the EU.
Am I alone in being insulted by the blatant constitutional hypocrisy in statements such as: “I’ll concentrate on making the positive case [to remain in the EU] and leave Nigel Farage to the rather depressing, narrow case that he tends to make [about an independent UK]”.
Look in a mirror, Nicola Sturgeon, and translate this into “the UK” and “Scotland”.
Then we have: “Scotland benefits from being part of the EU [but clearly not from being part of the UK, despite all the extra money that flows north from the UK Treasury], and the EU benefits from having Scotland a part of it.” In truth, we should substitute “the UK” for “the EU” in this sentence.
On ITV’s Reporting Border (April 26), another revealing slip was made by the aspiring FM when it was repeatedly pointed out that to deliver all the “Alice-in-Wonderland” pre-election SNP promises, only approximately £ 330- £400m per annum would be raised in additional tax revenue by freezing the threshold for those in the 40% tax bracket (compared to England and Wales).
Voters be warned, apparently “this was only a start, and more would be raised in future by higher taxes on higher earners”.
Vote wisely. Do not make Scotland an even less attractive, high-tax destination that repels ambitious entrepreneurs, wealth and job creators, and middle-class home owners. This will only generate a downward spiral of increased poverty, welfare dependency and higher taxes on the few as even more jobs disappear and the economy continues to shrink faster than the rest of the UK.
Voters, don’t get fooled again
I could not help laughing recently when the Daily Telegraph, in a headline, referred to “Socialist Sturgeon”.
I hope at today’s election that people will not be fooled again by the SNP. It is a party that talks left wing but acts right wing. It is a classic neo-liberal party.
The SNP has done nothing for the poorest in Scottish society, nothing for education or for the NHS, but it is happy to privatise Caledonian MacBrayne.
Nicola Sturgeon made it clear that she does not want a top tax rate of 50%. Also, remember that had it won independence, the SNP would have slashed corporation tax (George Galloway’s “race to the bottom”) which would have meant either increases in personal taxation for all, or massive cuts in services.
Now that we have a proper Labour person in charge of the British Labour party, the Scottish Labour party can be renewed and return to its roots. The Labour Party is the only one of the major parties to stand up for the working class.
The Tories, SNP and Lib Dems (are they still a major party?) are all pro-austerity neo-liberal capitalists in action, if not in word.
Appeasing both sides
As the debate rages on in the Brexit war, we have been, yet again, treated to Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to leave the Union if the ‘outers’ win.
She said the SNP will then seek entry into the EU as an independent country.
Ms Sturgeon said that this is her position, and that she “couldn’t be more plain about the matter”.
Let us refresh our mind as to just what this would mean for Scotland:
z Scotland would have a major fiscal fight on its hands to even gain entry into Europe due to economic terms of entry;
z Scotland’s economy has only survived due to the massive funding from being part of the UK as a whole;
z Major firms and institutions would leave Scotland with dramatic resultant job losses and revenue issues;
z Scotland would be forced to accept the euro;
z Scotland would be plunged into economic and political chaos.
So why does Ms Sturgeon doggedly keep raising this suicidal course of action when, if implemented, she and her party could not possibly survive politically and, more importantly, she would leave Scotland in dire circumstances? Could it simply be that the SNP’s strategy has always been one of appeasing both sides of their diametrically opposed sets of supporters and hence garner all their votes.
She seeks to bolster her hard-core support from Glasgow and Dundee, as well as showing her softer side to the moderates.
I fully expect that if Ms Sturgeon wins another landslide victory, the SNP will be forced to buy-off the radicals who expected independence.
Be warned middle Scotland – the price we are to pay will be very high as the nationalists take control of our income.
John E Payne
Storing up trouble?
I read in the Southern Reporter that the local review body has given the green light for Aldi to build a store in Hawick.
While this may bring much-needed jobs to the area, do we really need another supermarket? Why not try to encourage smaller companies to take on some of the already-empty shops. Those that shop on a regular basis in Hawick will have noticed that some of the stores have had to reduce the amount of products they are selling because of lack of customers.
Lidl has already been granted permission to increase the size of its current store.
Why is Scottish Borders Council allowing this to happen?
There are days when some of the existing stores are nearly empty. It will not be long before one of them decides it has had enough and may well close.
So what would be the benefit then, I ask?
The comments of those in favour appear to be short-sighted. If one of the existing stores closes, then jobs will be lost. There are many bigger towns that don’t have the number of supermarkets that Hawick has.
What will happen to the last few remaining food shops in the High Street?