Nicola Sturgeon has an opportunity to do something radical for Scotland. At a stroke and at no financial cost, our new First Minister can significantly enhance the governance of Scotland and also improve our economic prospects and ease social division.
First, recognising the weakness in the Scottish parliament’s committee system when one party has an absolute majority, the First Minister could sit down with the leaders of the other parties to agree a new system of committee appointments to ensure the government of the day is more properly held to account.
Second, in a magnanimous gesture, the SNP government could announce there would be no second independence referendum during the five-year term of this parliament. This would remove a great uncertainty that is otherwise hanging over Scotland’s economy, undoubtedly putting off future investment.
Equally, it would lift the threat of social discord hanging over the people of Scotland, more than half of whom have no appetite for another divisive referendum.
You have the power First Minister, but the way you use it will define how history will judge you.
Keith Howell, West Linton, Peeblesshire
End uncertainty over another referendum
Nicola Sturgeon was laudably modest throughout the election campaign.
She repeatedly maintained that six months’ plus of opinion polls in her favour didn’t mean she’d win the election. What really mattered, she told us, wasn’t pollsters’ numbers but our ballot box votes on Thursday.
But hang on a minute. Isn’t this the same Nicola Sturgeon who chooses to gloss over our democratic will, as expressed in the 2014 referendum? The very same Nicola Sturgeon who plans to demand a second separation referendum should a yet-to-be-specified number of opinion polls suggest a yet-to-be-specified number over 50% support her UK break-up dreams? Apparently this is democracy, SNP style.
Martin Redfern, Royal Circus, Edinburgh
Use powers we have to build a better Scotland
It is a myth that the only way to change Scotland for the better is independence. Having fought for so long, and having achieved our own Parliament through Labour’s devolution, now is the time to use the new powers in the Scotland Act.
We now have the power to stop austerity and start to build the Scotland we want to see. Banging on about yet another referendum, ditching the promise that it was once in a generation, is not good for Scotland, not good for its economy, not good for jobs. There is too much uncertainty for companies to invest. It is also divisive, and does not respect the 55% who said they wanted to remain in the UK in 2014.
Labour’s plan to increase tax by 1p and increase the top rate only for those earning over £150,000 would allow us to invest in our education system, driving up skills and talent, in early years learning, in the NHS.
The SNP’s cut of 152,000 college places is exactly the opposite of what we should be seeing, with unemployment going up on a monthly basis.
The SNP have failed on education, on the NHS, on independence.
Scots do not want a country with a £15 billion budget deficit and falling oil revenue, leading to big hikes in taxes. The Barnett formula gives us more spending than in the rest of the UK. Let us use the powers we have now got and build a better Scotland.
Phil Tate, Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh
How to save funeral costs and aid wildlife
I volunteer at Five Sisters Zoo and was thrilled when the zoo saved four lions from a miserable life in cages. It got me thinking:
I’m not leaving my body to science,
And I’m not going to rot in the ground
And as for the fire or some fancy pyre
They’re not for me I’ll be bound.
I just want to make myself useful
And ensure it just doesn’t end dying
So my will is all set, my wishes are known
I want to be lunch for a lion.
Joyce Watson, Longstone Road, Edinburgh
Council gets priorities right on road repairs!
Upon reading some big yellow notices, I was momentarily gratified to learn that Edinburgh council’s roads department was planning to do some work in Montgomery Street.
Sadly it was not to actually fix the potholes that are rapidly consuming the carriageway, but to repaint white lines in connection with their no doubt highly profitable parking scheme.
It’s always interesting to learn our council’s priorities.
John Hein, Montgomery Street, Edinburgh
Total renewable energy system is just fantasy
Yet another disingenuous press release has appeared claiming that wind powered most of Scotland’s homes in April. However, there were six occasions that month when wind power collapsed.
For example, on April 28 the 8000 MW UK metered wind fleet was generating just 365 MW at 7am, a time when the sun wasn’t high enough to give much solar power, assuming the skies were even clear.
To attempt to replace these frequent energy shortfalls in a green utopia of zero fossil or nuclear fuel would be arguably unachievable. The idea of a completely renewable energy system by 2030 is fantasy.
Geoff Moore, Braeface Park, Alness