I SUPPOSE it is flattering that such lengthy responses (Letters, October 30) have been generated by my quite reasonable observation (Letters, October 27) that if people are unhappy with the effects of government policy – in this case regarding families and poverty – they should blame the Tory Government at Westminster for the reserved issues and the SNP at Holyrood for the devolved ones.
However, there a few observations which I would like to make about the responses of Messrs GR Weir and Alasdair Galloway.
Mr Weir takes the opportunity to lay the blame for all of the problems of Ayrshire and (it seems) the entire industrial decline of the area on the Labour Party. If this was indeed the case, it would be expected that the voters of Ayrshire would have punished Labour much earlier than actually happened: the miners’ strike was in 1984-85, but according to Mr Weir, the voters waited 30 years (until 2015) to notice. And when they did so, they elected as their MSP Jeane Freeman – who had been at the heart of Labour policy making before turning her coat. (For what it is worth, I blame the decline of Labour in Scotland on a catastrophic failure in its politics surrounding the 2014 independence referendum, rather than its local and UK polices.)
Mr Galloway is even more fanciful: he suggests that the Yes vote in the 2014 referendum would have banished poverty from Scotland forever.
Here is some news to him from the real world. A Yes vote would have meant Scotland leaving the EU as well as the UK in March 2016 (evidence: the letter from Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission to the Scottish Parliament of March 2014); there would have been no currency union with the remainder UK (evidence: repeated statements of UK Government); Scotland’s revenues would not have benefited from oil at the fictional price of $113 per barrel (evidence: today’s price $76); and Scottish public services would be worse off by an annual sum of more than £10 billion redistributed from the rest of the UK (evidence: the SNP Scottish Government’s GERS publications). All of these factors would have had a disastrous effect on the economy, and made poverty in Scotland both much more acute and much more widespread.
In contrast, Mr Galloway (and Mr Weir and the rest of the SNP and its dupes) offer the fairy dust of independence, underpinned by wishful thinking and best-case scenarios. We have had to put up with too much magical thinking from the the Nationalists, and it is time that they were brought to account for their failings at Holyrood as much as the Tories at Westminster.
Peter A Russell