Readers' letters: Murray throwing mud from sidelines

It takes some cheek for Ian Murray to bad-mouth the Scottish Government on the day his Labour colleagues in the city council were set to take power - courtesy of support from the Tories! Nevertheless, a couple of Mr Murray's points deserve a reply.

First, it is political opportunism of the highest order to use hospital waiting times as a measure of the success or failure of the government given we are emerging from a pandemic. The treatment of the many life-or-death cases of Covid had to be given priority.

Second, on poverty let's remind ourselves that the vast majority of social security benefits are reserved to Westminster. Mr Murray should know this, since his Labour party took steps to ensure that they remained reserved to Westminster after the 2014 referendum.

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Had those powers been devolved completely, we could have expected to see, in addition to the Scottish child payment, measures to mitigate the bedroom tax, etc, many more steps taken by the Scottish Government to offset the increasing levels of poverty being driven by the appalling cuts being imposed by the Tory government in Westminster.

Mr Murray describes our first minister as a "skilled electioneer" - well it takes one to know one, Ian! But If he had real political ambition he would realise that in a naturally left-leaning country such as Scotland, independence could give him a seat in government with the opportunity to address these issues fully.

Sadly, he seems instead to be happy throwing mud from the sidelines.

David Patrick, Edinburgh.

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Nicola is missing a chance to shine

To the surprise of Peter Wishart, SNP MP, Nicola Sturgeon has declined invitation to appear before the Scottish affairs committee in Westminster to discuss welfare, education and renewable energy. Why?

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She was certainly happy to touch on such matters in Washington recently, and she's usually not reticent to seize an opportunity for media attention.

Maybe these days she believes she's simply too grand to appear before a Westminster committee? Of course, many of us know her track record in these areas is far from strong – perhaps she's keen to avoid the scrutiny of MPs who know what they're talking about?

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Martin Redfern, Melrose.

Derek was just having a Laffer

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Derek McKay, the ex-Finance Secretary told Holyrood that he had never heard of the economic theory called the "Laffer Curve”. This is a graph that purports to prove that increasing income tax actually has the effect of reducing tax revenues.

I wonder how many of the current team of Cabinet Secretaries have heard of the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”. This defines a type of cognitive bias where people with little expertise or ability assume they have superior expertise or ability.

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This overestimation occurs as a result of the fact that they don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge.

Donald Lewis, East Lothian.

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Devil’s in the detail for Aussie students

I was amused to read that an Australian students’ club for pagans, witches and Satanists says its affiliation with Adelaide University Union has been rejected because of a single complaint that its members may summon Satan onto campus.

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Newsflash: there is no Satan.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh.

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