Readers' letters: NHS too important for divided politicans

"Due to underfunding by successive governments, our NHS is struggling.”

NHS too important for divided politicans

Recovering after a recent operation at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital, I'd like to say a big thankyou to everyone involved in my care.

I've always believed that the one institution to still retain favour with most British people, believing that is should be separate from market forces, is our NHS.

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Due to underfunding by successive governments, our NHS is struggling. I'd like to think its founding principle of healthcare for all in our time of need, funded by fair and progressive taxation, is still within our grasp.

Watching these dedicated workers, under added pressure due to the coronavirus, I did not see them as right or left, Unionists or Scottish nationalists, Labour or Tory, I saw them as dedicated workers doing jobs most of us couldn't.

I believe the future of the founding principle of our NHS is far too important an issue to be left only in the hands of our badly divided politicians.

I find it difficult to fathom how someone who would struggle to fund private care can put our NHS at risk by supporting spending billions of pounds on nuclear weapons; or how we spend obscene amounts of money on unelected royals and lords when our care providers are overworked and underpaid?

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh.

How electoral mandates are made

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The SNP trounced the other parties in May and have a mandate for a referendum, not for independence per se, which is a decision which awaits the outcome of the referendum.

The fact that less than 50 per cent of votes cast were for the SNP is irrelevant. The last UK governments elected with over 50 per cent of the popular vote were the National Governments of 1931 and 1935.

No UK government since has achieved a majority of the popular vote. Margaret Thatcher’s high-water mark was 43.9 per cent of the popular vote in 1979 and Tony Blair’s was 43.2 per cent in 1997. These wins were hailed as “landslides”.

Cameron attained an overall majority in the Commons in 2015 with 36.8 per cent of the popular vote. In a parliamentary democracy, the issue is whether a party has a majority of seats – alone or in concert with others – not whether it has a majority of the popular vote.

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If some are so confident that a referendum will result in a “no” vote for independence, why do they resort to specious arguments as they seek to avoid one?

Bill McKinlay, Cockburn Crescent, Balerno.

Why not save more animals from death?

Regarding the proposed killing of the alpaca Geronimo, the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, was quoted saying, "while the loss of individual animals is always a tragedy, the farming communities have worked with our government vets in this arduous but necessary endeavour".

Ignoring the euphemism "loss", as Eustice has used the word "always", he needs to clarify, does he man to include the killing of many millions of animals in slaughterhouses, given that it is not necessary to kill any animals to provide humans with a healthy diet?

As it is no more necessary to kill cows, sheep, pigs, etc. than it is to kill Geronimo, perhaps he will explain to us why he apparently believes that such killing is justified, all the more so, given that he is the environment secretary so surely is aware of the dangerously damaging impact that the animal food industry is having on the environment.

Sandra Busell, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh.

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