LETTERS

Strong voice

Labour’s main campaigning point for the forthcoming election seems to be the myth that if we vote SNP in May we will get a Tory government.

What they deliberately, and conveniently, overlook is the truth:

Scotland returned a majority of Labour MPs in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992 and 2010 and we got the Tories. The sad fact is that, under the present system, if people in the rest of the UK vote to elect a Tory government that is what we in Scotland will get.

Coincidentally, David Cameron told the Scottish Conservative Conference in February that a vote for the SNP is a vote for a Labour government!

The truth is that a vote for the SNP is a vote for a strong voice at Westminster speaking up for Scotland, no matter who is in government.

Margaret Ann Macleod

Isle of Lewis

Put house in order

Scotland’s First Minister is appearing very arrogant in her latest outpouring to her ardent following. She is apparently going to sort out Westminister. I think that most unlikely.

Personally I should prefer that she resolve the governance of Scotland as her number one priority. Before you start telling others what to do, it is a good idea to have your own house in order.

Her contributions since becoming First Minister tend to mimic the bluff and bluster of her predecessor who continues his role as master of saying anything which will generate a headline.

Nicola Sturgeon has had to accept that her figures on oil revenues were wrong-very badly wrong. It was never going to be a good idea to pin all Scotland’s hopes on oil.

I have always wondered why any government would wish to pin this nation’s future on fossil fuel receipts given that climate change is so seriously affecting our planet, the enormous expense of locating new oil resources, the unreliability of such finds in the long term and in the case of the SNP, its policy of encouraging renewables-in ‘selected’ areas!

Another contradiction has intrigued me: why would you have a referendum in Scotland about becoming independent when you have no idea what tax system is to be in place in future?

I hunted in the SNP White Paper for some enlightenment; there was none. Recently I attended a conference session billed as the replacement to the Council Tax freeze ( a freeze which incidentally has meant the non-collection of £5.5 billion-think of what councils throughout Scotland could have done with such monies!) where the speaker was Marco Biagi, SNP Minister for Local Government and Community.

He also co-chairs the Commission on Local Tax Reform. Well he spoke for about an hour and it is clear that he has no idea what is to replace the Council Tax.

He is hoping to have something to pursue as an election pledge next year. So over the course of two terms in office, the SNP has done nothing to establish a tax regime for Scotland.

As ever the SNP is terrified of taking a decision on anything remotely controversial in case they lose votes.

Now we’re told the SNP has many members but unfortunately no policy on the important issue of Local Tax Reform.

Professor John Curtice has described the SNP in government as being ‘very conservative’.

How very true. I am quite convinced that the gloss will wear off and voters will see that the SNP has done nothing for Scotland in its two terms in office - nothing that would lead to real resource redistribution. Plenty of platitudes but no action.

Angus McCormack

Sandwick

Isle of Lewis

Work of MP

The letter from Donald Mackinnon (2nd April) is designed to mislead readers about the hard work being done by Angus Macneil as MP.

During the past five years Mr Macneil has ranked first among Scottish MPs and 21st among 650 British MPs in terms of the number of contributions made on the floor of the House of Commons.

A small sample of the points important to the people of the Western Isles raised by Mr Macneil include :-

* The shaming of Danny Alexander into carrying out his pledge to introduce fuel derogation and save motorists five pence a litre for fuel. He also helped Gordon Diesel to expose the restrictive practices on filling stations, and cut the price of petrol even further.

* A reduction in the rate of VAT for the tourist sector as requested by Mr Macritchie of the County Hotel, Stornoway

* The re-introduction of the Coast Guard Tug for the North West of Scotland

* Improved broadband and 4G mobile coverage for the Western Isles

* Protecting people with mental health problems from austerity cuts

* Requests for an increase in the Winter Fuel Allowance

* The issue of staffing at coastguard stations

* Support for Syrian refugees

He has also spoken up for the people of these islands on a host of other issues. This can be readily seen by reading Hansard, which is available on the internet.

Dr David Wilson

Press Officer, SNP Lewis branch

Isle of Lewis

We need roads

I guess it is ok to get slightly cheaper fares on our West coast ferries, but along with such a bait comes clogging of roads!

Our officials may, or may not be aware, of the fact that the double lane road program which began in 1983 in the Uists to do the 47 mile from Lochmaddy to Lochboisdale is still not completed after 33 years! What kind of effort is that?

So, what RET will do is to clog the little amount of double lanes that are available with extra gallivanting vehicles.

I really feel for delivery drivers and such, who have to weave their way around cyclists driving abreast and a whole convoy of more traffic that our roads are not suitable for.

Really the Scottish Government has got the cart before the horse here, because roads need to completed on the islands, before launching an onslaught of unnecessary cars onto the poor island roads, meantime locals cannot get on or off the islands due to block bookings and such.

What we need first and foremost is road construction, which would also generate local employment. Then we could consider a few extra vehicles possibly, just get it right for a change!

Angus Campbell

South Uist

Funding gap

No wonder Sir Stephen House, Chief Constable for Scotland is complaining bitterly about having to face a funding gap of £11M this year. He added that Police Scotland were the the only Police Service in the whole of the UK that had to face having to pay as much as £23M in VAT to the Treasury annually.

Surely this is an injustice which could not only result in large reduction in recruits but also an increase in crime which is at present an all time low for over 30 years.

Donald Morrison

Buckie

PHOTO: Reader Morris Macleod submitted this striking image, he said: “The sun was between 3 ° south of the Equator and on the Equinox on March 21st,it set directly behind the wind turbines on the Pentland Road when viewed from Newmarket as this shot shows.