Readers' letters: Why would Scots vote Labour, Ian Murray?

Based on actual results, Labour has as much chance of winning the next UK general election as Hearts have of winning the league in 2022 (Ian Murray, News, 30 December).

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 7:00 am

Also, Anas Sarwar lit up May’s Scottish Parliament elections to such an extent that Labour lost two more seats.

In the most recent by election in North Shropshire, Labour was in second place and main challengers to the Tories but their vote fell by over 12 percentage points and finished third.

In Scotland, the SNP are the main challengers in all of the Tory held seats and even if Labour had won every seat in Scotland, it would have made no difference to the UK result.

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My prediction is that Boris Johnson will be removed as Prime Minister and replaced by an even more right wing ideologue who will appeal to jingoist Brexiteers and those opposed to Covid restrictions.

Replacing Johnson with Sir Keir Starmer will not solve the major issues facing Scotland as he too supports Brexit, Westminster’s power grab of devolved competences, plus spending billions on nuclear weapons and refuses to back Scotland's democratic right to vote on self-government.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

Twain was joking, the SNP aren’t

Mark Twain was joking when he said unemployment could be solved if each one of us did someone else's laundry and charged for it.

He assumed everyone would realise that he was joking because such an economy would be useless as far as production of the things we really need is concerned.

But now it seems that the SNP did not get the joke. The economy they have created for Scotland is as frothy and insubstantial as the Mark Twain laundry system.

Take, for example, the £350 million per year which is now being spent on pretend embassies in more than 100 countries around the world.

The UK has a long-established system of embassies world-wide and Scotland is a part of the UK. But the SNP have decided to blow all that £350m per year on unnecessary duplicates, just out of vanity.

It is the same story here in Scotland. There are more than 130 quangos, all funded from the public purse. Some of them do provide useful services, but many duplicate each other's activities.

Back in 2018 the Fraser of Allander Institute warned that the proliferation of quangos and advisers was creating a fog of recycled information which was a drag on the economy. The Institute recommended a severe pruning.

Clearly nothing of the sort happened since another think-tank, Reform Scotland, recently repeated the call. In fact the number of quangos has increased, not decreased, and the cost to the public purse risen inexorably.

We need not look to the SNP to remedy the situation. Their leader, Nicola Sturgeon, keeps increasing her retinue of special advisers. There are now 17 of them, all paid for out of the public purse at a total cost of more than £1 million per year. They are like the flocks of courtiers the old monarchs of Europe used to gather round them.

It seems the SNP have brought Mark Twain up to date. Instead of exchanging laundry, the modern version has people at computer screens all day exchanging worthless information. It looks like work, but it makes no real contribution to our economy.

No doubt, if Mark Twain could see his joke brought to life, he would find it amusing. It is not so funny for us, though, since we shall have to live with the consequences when a sudden gust of reality brings down this house of cards.

Les Reid, Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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