IAN Blackford, the leader of the SNP in Westminster, has spent vast amounts of political capital attacking his opponents for a variety of sins, including moral turpitude. Boris Johnson is, of course, the ultimate pet peeve, warranting, according to Mr Blackford, contempt and ultimately banishment to a political Hades. Like a fundamentalist preacher seized with righteous anger, he portrays Mr Johnson as the political Antichrist.
Such moralizing makes Mr. Blackford stand out like a rash at the first opportunity to sow derision, scorn, scorn and moral outrage. He never hesitates to frantically demand the harshest possible negative sanctions for violations of acceptable standards of parliamentary behavior. The word “liar” is never far from his lips. In this he has been indulged by recently and currently serving parliamentary officials.
What a different Ian Blackford we’ve seen recently about the Patrick Grady case… walking away from relentless news reporters, executing a U-turn in the face of leaking uncomfortable facts in leaked video revealing his lenient approach to questionable behavior of the SNP and refusing until pressed to offer sympathy and restitution to the victim of Mr. Grady’s unwanted advances (“Sturgeon to meet Grady victim as sex pest MP hung out to dry”, The Herald, 24 June).
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Mr. Blackford’s default options include obfuscation, control panic, cynical pursuit of self-interest and outright hypocrisy.
The sins of his enemies reside clearly and increasingly prominently in Mr. Blackford’s political playbook.
I’m going to indulge myself and allow the use of one of this hero’s favorite taunts… “Not pretty, is it…..(Ian)”?
(Professor) Douglas Pitt, Newton Mearns.
NOT HOW THE LEADER SHOULD ACT
HAVING watched on STV and BBC news Ian Blackford’s abysmal performance attempting to defend the indefensible question of sex pest (justified description by Bernard Ponsonby) Patrick Grady, I was trying to recall another recent individual performance where to fake the question , sticking to a pre-prepared script and deflecting personal responsibility, when it suddenly came to me: Boris Johnston defending Partygate.
I can now see why Mr Blackford appears in the House of Commons with sheets and sheets of A4 paper to the Prime Minister’s questions, as he is clearly incapable of answering directly anything an interviewer puts to him unless he can’t read from a prepared diatribe and play for time telling us how the process works.
Mr Blackford refers to himself in less difficult situations as ‘the leader of the SNP group at Westminster’. Oh good? A leader is defined as “an individual with the ability to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization”. If that is what Mr Blackford thinks he was doing at the meeting which was recorded and subsequently leaked, I am appalled at what appears to be a case of career rather than compassion on the part of Mr. Blackford, and indeed other members of this group.
David Gray, Bearsden.
WHAT MORE IS NEEDED?
ONE now has to wonder what else it will take for Scottish voters to come to their senses and realize just how rotten this SNP government really is and the utter contempt in which it holds the electorate. His behavior and actions following the British Parliament’s decision against Patrick Grady are despicable and demonstrate that he believes he is invincible.
Ian Blackford’s comments at an SNP Group meeting that they should ‘give as much support as possible’ to Mr Grady showed a complete lack of understanding and respect for the complainant and supported by other comments of SNP deputies. Therefore, Mr. Blackford and Nicola Sturgeon repeat the same old narrative, heard so often from them about their many political failures, that “lessons will be learned” and all will be well. What will it take for SNP leaders and their representatives to show real leadership by taking responsibility for their actions and comments and to do the decent and honorable thing by stepping down? I won’t hold my breath.
Richard Allison, Edinburgh.
WERE THE COVID BRIEFINGS USELESS?
HAVING tested positive and now in isolation at home, and as another Covid spike affects Scotland (“Access to Covid testing may need to be extended if cases continue to rise, said MSPS”, The Herald June 24), I note that the Prime Minister seems woefully absent, having abandoned his daily briefing. It now seems like that was unnecessary, or maybe it’s just the inconvenient truth that our current infection rate is more than double that of England.
This may be the justification for her to focus on another independence referendum where she seems confident the result will allow her to close the border and protect the Scottish electorate from all sorts of harm.
It’s enough to make you cynical.
Peter Wright, West Kilbride.
PM NOT LEAVING SOON
TWO by-elections lost in the north and south of England, will Boris Johnson now face the chop, as so often in his career? If it is because of Tory MPs looking like poodles in Westminster, then I would say not immediately.
He won’t step down until his future prospects are secure, so my guess is that a peerage will be available and the presidency of a major corporation is reserved for him. Something with a lot of media coverage and the ability to bask in the glow of the luminosity of his vast ego.
His dismal tenure (he trashed every government standard of conduct) will have seen the UK fall in every international ranking, be it inflation, quality of life or even basic reliability, but it’s the price we paid to elect a man who was never fit for high office (and everyone knew it).
GR Weir, Ochiltree.
PAYING THE PRICE OF BREXIT
The NEWS that Sir Keir Starmer is ruling out free movement with the EU if Labor wins the next general election is clearly disappointing, but not unexpected.
Labor is now clearly as bad as the Tories on Brexit, which is exacerbating the cost of living crisis, costing the Scottish economy billions of pounds in trade losses and hurting our NHS due to rising costs and staff shortages.
Free movement, along with the wider benefits of EU membership, is essential to growing the Scottish economy, improving living standards and supporting the staffing of our public services. . In the wake of Brexit, it is clear that the UK is lagging behind other countries.
The irony is that Sir Keir’s announcement came at the same time as a report by the Resolution Foundation found that Brexit has hurt Britain’s competitiveness and will further reduce productivity. It is also expected to leave the average worker poorer than they otherwise would have been, with real wages pegged at £470 per worker lower each year on average than they would otherwise have been.
Reinforcing these horrific economic statistics, according to the OECD, the UK is set to experience the weakest economic growth of the G20 countries next year, with the exception of Russia.
We deserve better than this economic sabotage, and it is heartbreaking to see freedom of movement, one of the EU’s greatest achievements, stolen from Scotland despite our vote to stay.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh.
SUPPORT ALL OUR SCHOOLS
CATRIONA Stewart writes about the issue of school rankings (“When we redefine a ‘good’ school, we will have equality”, The Herald, June 24). The subject over the years has been controversial due to the methodology adopted in their formulation and the way they are interpreted. She refers to the “myth” that the schools where students pass their exams are the best schools. I agree with her when she says such thinking is “shallow” and “snobby”.
I believe it is to the credit of the Herald to offer advertising to a range of schools from time to time. The advantages that some children have over others during schooling are quite clear, such as parental support, availability of tutoring, peer competition, and the ability for classes to run with fewer disciplinary issues. I’m not saying that areas outside the leafy suburbs are devoid of supportive parents.
It is important to encourage and recognize schools where teachers work with children with impressive commitment in what can be difficult circumstances and where children sometimes succeed against all odds.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.
We should encourage schools where children succeed through thick and thin
COST CUTTING LEADS TO FLOODS
I NOTE an extremely welcome letter from Andy Cartwright (June 24) debunking the World Health Organization’s catastrophic predictions that Glasgow is facing increased flooding and heat stress due to climate change. Flooding in the UK happened because councils, to save money, were not systematically cleaning drains. Dredging of riverbeds has also been reduced with predictable results.
In one case, sand and gravel dredging was refused due to a depressed river mussel colony. Now it’s the flooded homeowners who are depressed.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow.
IT was interesting to read about the “fully recyclable” beer bottles that Carlsberg is about to launch in a wide market. (“Probably the best bottle in the world…”, The Herald, June 23). Made with a wood fiber shell and plant-based polyethylene furanoate liner, Carlsberg says the materials can all be fully recycled.
I have two Tencel briefs made from the wood of the Eucalyptus and worn alternately since 1978. These are my favorites because Tencel is recyclable, anti-static, drapes beautifully and I can’t find Tencel briefs anymore. They have survived over 40 years of wear and wash and repair and although they may look a little tired around the edges, much like their owner I guess, we get on very well .
We wish success to Carlsberg’s new fully recyclable beer bottles…every little bit counts; but it’s the water tap for me.
Thelma Edwards, Kelso.
I SUSPECT the headline of Alan Simpson’s article, “Minister Responsible for the Elderly Does Not Inspire Confidence” (The Herald, June 24) elicited some wry smiles. I’m sure I speak for many older readers when I suggest we would vigorously raise a finger or two at any government minister who thinks he or she is “in charge” of us.
Eric Begbie, Stirling.
Read more: We must act now to fight this attack on our democracy