Far from standards sinking under the private sector, they rose for one simple reason: if they were poor, people wouldn’t use them and businesses wouldn’t make money. To the public sector, there is no profit motive, so no need to bother with what Joe Public thinks and those of us over 50 know and remember that.It was the state capitalist approach which her attitude typifies which dragged the UK down to being “the sick man of Europe” in the 1970s, when our state-owned industries were being undermined by extreme left-wing trades union leaders.
The power blackouts of the Seventies; the NHS strikes; coal industry strikes; dismal, barely functioning British Rail; rubbish piled high in the streets and unburied bodies are what she seems to think is what we both want and need. To anyone who lived through those times, this is astonishing. As a case in point, now, we have a nationalised shipbuilding yard on the Clyde with ferries which are years late, rusting and likely to cost £450 million plus. The SNP do not seem to have any paperwork to show who approved it. It has been “lost”. I cannot think of a better exemplar of what happens with state ownership and what a disaster an independent Scotland would be.
Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh
Bob Taylor equates misogyny with offensive behaviour of women at social occasions (Letters, 27 April). There is a difference between alcohol-fuelled misbehaviour and the deeply ingrained beliefs and offensive attitudes towards women which misogynists hold at all times. A misogynist objectifies women, and usually has fixed ideas about gender roles. He is controlling, and often blames women for his own problems and inadequacies. He also tends to view women as being either “pure” and saintly, or dirty and degraded – whores.
Women can certainly offend others by their behaviour when they have had too much alcohol at a social occasion, but the same applies to men. Alcohol is a great leveller in that respect.
Angela Rayner responded to the misogynistic comments with dignity, but she said that the “sexist slurs” were “mortifying and deeply hurtful”. If Mr Taylor thinks that our liberties are eroded by being asked to behave like civilised people who care about the feelings of others, he has a strange view of social interaction.
Carolyn Taylor, Broughty Ferry, Dundee
Many people are scunnered with the 2022 Census because of the questions it asked. The vast majority of the Scottish population don’t speak Gaelic so they would have to tick the box marked “No skills in Gaelic”. Why not ask about “skills” in other languages too? “What do you feel is your national identity?” is another question included to placate nationalists. Here the choice for the majority is between Scottish and Other British. So you cannot be British and Scottish at the same time, according to the SNP government.
I wonder if the Census information will be used by the 11 Scottish civil servants who have been instructed to prepare the ground for an illegal independence referendum to be held next year according to Nicola Sturgeon. The annual salary total for this group of worthies is £700,000.
William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire
Now that 21st century society has made progress in spite of its principles, the Church has decided it has another set of principles which it can now bring into play. As ever, progress has come in spite of “Christian values”, not because of them. It’s a tacit admission that its Bible is past its sell-by date.
The Kirk is in danger of having more sets of principles than the leader of the Scottish Conservatives!
Alistair McBay, Methven, Perth
Summer Goodkind’s lovely article in Tuesday’s Scotsman marking Anzac Day kindled a historic memory of significant importance to the little village of Hill of Fearn in Easter Ross, Highland. The photo of the New Zealand War Memorial in London’s Hyde Park of the “Celtic Standing Stones” depicts a lasting bond of camaraderie between nations at a time of turmoil and despair. It is a sympathetic memorial of considerable importance, bringing together the true value of recognition. The bronze standards depict so much of importance that may not at first be recognised. Some represent the similar pattern to the Southern Cross with the little lights atop that twinkle in the darkness within Hyde Park. Together they represent a group of soldiers marching in procession.
They also represent Maori pouwhenua markers, which are beautifully carved wooden “totem” poles marking the Maori cultural heritage of New Zealand. They also represent a class of weaponry marking the Maori contribution to the Second World War. The prominent commanders mentioned are General Bernard Freyberg and Keith Park, but their overall Commander was New Zealand’s wartime Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, born and educated at the little school at Hill of Fearn in Ross-shire.
Peter’s interest in politics arose when, as a schoolboy, he and his friends were allowed to listen in to the stormy debates on local and national issues amongst the local people held in his father’s workshop and known as “The House of Commons”. The arrival of the arch-conservative headmaster, Donald MacArthur, would add fire and brimstone to these debates in which Peter revelled. With little prospect of employment in the Highlands, Peter emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 26 where his interest in politics flourished, with him becoming wartime PM in 1940 on the death of Michael Savage.
He was the only Commonwealth Prime Minister, including Winston Churchill, to survive the post-war elections and became a highly respected founding father of the United Nations. The Anzac replica of the Celtic Standing Stones at Hyde Park in London also represent Peter Fraser’s Scottish heritage and unfailing support to the war effort which prompted Winston Churchill to say: “New Zealand never put a foot wrong.” And his name is there.
Jean W Cheyne, Barbaraville, Ross-shire
Tories have defended their inaction over Partygate by claiming that we need Boris Johnston’s steady hand at this time of crisis in Ukraine. But how steady is his steady hand really? A Polish general has just criticised Boris Johnston because during his India trip he claimed that Ukrainians were being trained in Poland on how to use our British tanks. Was Boris internationally throwing the Poles under a Russian bus? Doesn’t he know how deep the Polish fears are, that they will be next in line for Russian genocide?
Perhaps we need to keep in mind that Boris Johnson has form in his capacity to make unthinking statements on the international stage. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was one person who accidentally got thrown under a bus by his careless use of words concerning her.
There is perhaps a case for arguing that poor Boris is a little stupid – if everyone in his office came in with pyjamas on, he would not seem to realise he was taking part in a pyjama party. He is surely either stupid in some way or else totally self preoccupied. His blabbing on about Ukrainians being trained in Poland may have been him focusing narrowly on Falkland factor-type propaganda to help ease away memories of Partygate. “Hammer home the theme that Boris walks the world stage as a colossus.”
Unfortunately, Boris Johnston is not inspiring to the discerning onlooker because we see that often in the past he has put the cultivation of self-image before all other considerations. So is he a steadying hand or an accident waiting to happen?
Michael Veitch (Care, Friends of the Scotsman, 26 April) thinks that the truth is that God sent Jesus, that he died on the cross and rose again.As Pilate is recorded as asking Jesus: “What is truth?” In this case it appears to be true that Jesus died as he was crucified (he was stabbed by a Roman guard). But there is no evidence that God sent him, nor is the Gospel record clear on resurrection (see John 21, an addendum chapter in which the disciples were not even sure that they met their master).The Bible is not the “ultimate source of truth in a confused world”; it’s a hotchpotch of myths, history and speculation. Beware of anyone claiming have the truth about anything.Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh
I note that the SNP’s Ian Blackford was recently advocating, with respect to the war in Ukraine, that the UK should unilaterally disarm our own nuclear capability as the UK contribution to peace. To say that would be a meaningless gesture would be grossly understating the case.
Is Mr Blackford really unaware that it was only after Ukraine gave up its nuclear arms that the Russians invaded? Would they have done so if they knew the threat was there? Horrible and detestable as they may be, nuclear arms have kept the peace in Europe and prevented invasions by more powerful enemies for many decades.
Multilateral nuclear disarmament is the answer, no matter how long it takes; not the posturing of Scottish nationalists or Greens or the UK going out on a limb and upsetting what is a fine balance, simply for the sake of dogma.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
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