Herald letter: Neil Oliver Is A Great Guy.

THE response of Scottish Nationalists to the appointment of Neil Oliver as president of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is as predictable as it is small-minded. As a long-time member of NTS, I find it hard to see a better ambassador than such an accomplished populariser of Scotland and its heritage.

I am sure that your readers will make their own minds up on some of his views which tend to challenge the self-satisfied nationalist stereotypes of victimhood and blameless historical passivity. However, they should also be informed that Neil Oliver has not referred to SNP and Yes voters as “cancerous” (as your correspondent Robert McCraw – Letters, October 4 – alleges.)

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Wee Herald letter: “Andrew Who?”

YOUR correspondent Alan M Morris (Letters, August 29) is to be thanked for reminding us about the existence of Andrew Wilson and the prospect of his answering vital questions about how Scotland will thrive economically when the £13 billion UK subsidy is removed. His report is taking so long to produce, like most people I had quite forgotten him.

I wonder if it will be worth the wait: his last pronouncement was that it would take at least a decade of ultra-austerity to even get back to parity with the status quo of the UK.

Peter A Russell

Herald letter: “Count The Spoons”

(The section in italics was cut by the Herald and did not appear in the paper.)

Sir,

I HAVE recently received an election communication through the post from the SNP. I am told that it has been mailed directly to many others across Scotland.

As a matter of public service, I would like to point out to any others of your readers who may receive it that it contains a number of untruths in claiming achievements for the SNP.

The most obvious of these are free elderly care, free university tuition for Scottish students and free bus travel for pensioners. It is of course a matter of public record that all of these were introduced by the earlier Labour-Liberal Democrat coalitions. Those less generous than myself might also notice that the Borders Railway (another “SNP” achievement) was signed up by the Lab/LibDem administration before it left power in 2007.

Such untruths only go to reinforce the sense that if you are unfortunate enough to have Nicola Sturgeon or your local SNP candidate come round for tea, you should be careful to count the spoons before they leave.

Your readers may also like to ask themselves how these services are paid for. The answer is of course that they are only possible because of the many billions of pounds that Scotland receives under the pooling and sharing arrangements of the United Kingdom. Yes, the same United Kingdom that the SNP wishes to kiss goodbye to – along with all of the funding that comes with it.

That is not on the direct mail shot either.

Peter A Russell

 

Herald letter: “Call off drive for indyref2 to save the Scottish economy.”

THE Scottish Government’s latest figures show our economy to be stumbling towards a recession, while that of the rest of the UK shows modest growth. No-one should doubt the seriousness of the situation. The main difference between the Scottish economy and those of other UK regions is that only Scotland faces the uncertainty of the threat of a further referendum on secession.

The danger of this threat has been apparent since the 2014 referendum, when the SNP failed to grasp the opportunity to create stability by abandoning its policy of independence in line with the wishes of the Scottish people. It has become even more so since Nicola Sturgeon chose to add yet greater uncertainty to that of Brexit by unilaterally declaring her intention for another referendum.

It is well documented in Canada how businesses have shunned Quebec and turned increasingly to cities like Toronto as they make investment and expansion decisions – again because of the threat of secession. Scotland faces the same fate unless independence is put to bed indefinitely.

There is still a course of action which the First Minister can take which will offer hope for businesses in Scotland: she can put country above party and call off her dogmatic and blinkered pursuit of independence. To do so would take enormous courage and real qualities of leadership, and would cost her the support of the most fanatical of her supporters. However, it would gain her the admiration of even her most sceptical of critics, and – above all – would save the jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Scots, now and in decades to come.

Peter A Russell

Herald letter: Celebrate Our Capital, Rather Than Turn Our Backs.

MAGGIE Chetty (Letters, March 24) seizes on the vicious and cowardly attack on innocent people in London to ask what kind of country we wish to be.

I would suggest that we should be one that celebrates the success of our shared capital as the greatest and most successful post-colonial and multi-racial city in the world, and does not turn its back on our fellow citizens who live there when they come under attack.

Peter A Russell