Scottish Labour must oppose to succeed - Readers' letters:

It is now eight months since Scottish Labour suffered its worst Holyrood election defeat on record, winning just 22 seats, two constituencies and under 18 per cent of list votes, despite changing leader from Richard Leonard to Anas Sarwar at the beginning of 2021.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 7:00 am
Anas Sarwar casts his vote at last May’s Holyrood election

The most recent opinion poll shows no sign of Scottish Labour recovering, with just 17 per cent of participants supporting Labour in the constituency vote, down from 22 per cent in May last year, and 15 per cent supporting the party in the list vote, down from the aforementioned 18 per cent at the last Scottish Parliament Election.

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When Scottish Labour give the SNP a free pass to do whatever they like, and show no opposition to anything the Scottish Government implement, whether that’s new Covid-19 restrictions or policy of any sort, it’s little wonder so few look at Scottish Labour and consider voting for them.

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If the party that spent eight years running Scotland seriously wants to get back into government again, it needs to start actually opposing some of what the Scottish Government does.

You can’t go from opposition into government without actually providing some opposition. Even the Scottish Greens provided decent opposition to their fellow nationalists before they entered government last year, most notably forcing the SNP to U-turn during the exams debacle of 2020.

Finlay Turnbull, Edinburgh

Household bills will keep mounting up

By the end of this month all homeowners must have interlinked fire safety alarms fitted. The deadline had been extended already and now we hear of further pleas to delay implementation due to cost.

If many homeowners can’t afford the suggested £220, what is going to happen when the SNP government turns off gas supplies for heating in a few years’ time?

We are already seeing the cost of going green with fuel bills expected to double this year. Soon we will be have to rip out our gas heating and cooking appliances and replace them with more expensive electricity. Who is going to fund this?

Alastair Murray, Edinburgh

Size does matter

Political parties are notoriously reluctant to reveal membership figures, but in 2019 the House of Commons Library published the number of SNP members as 125,000 and many more have joined since. Recently Peter Duncan, formerly chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, let the cat out of the bag and put the number of Scottish Conservative Party members at about 5,000.

This means that party policy and choice of candidates for election are determined by what is little more than a clique, so it’s little surprise that the Scottish Conservatives follow an undeviating Unionist line and seldom break ranks on any issue.

In contrast the SNP with 25 times the number of members, has a structure that embraces a wide variety of views which are freely and openly expressed and fed forcefully to the party leadership. It is not surprising that with such a huge membership, there are diverse opinions on many subjects, including the route to independence.

This is democracy working at its best, though sadly it also lays the SNP open to nit picking and sniping comment from a largely hostile media. Nevertheless, it is in this broad church approach that the strength of the SNP lies and which will carry the country to independence.

Elizabeth Buchan-Hepburn, Edinbugh

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