The Spectator

Letters | 22 October 2015

Plus: Conducting the Proms; diplomatic salesmen; Bruce Anderson’s big lunch; faint praise

Scotland isn’t failing

Sir: It will take more than Adam Tomkins descending from the heights of academe to persuade the Scots that education, health, policing and everything else in Scotland is failing (‘The SNP’s One-Party State,’ 17 October). Scots aren’t stupid: they have heard all this before from the unionist press, and they don’t believe it. That’s why, after seven years in power, support for the SNP is still growing. Meanwhile, the Tories continue to have dreadful results in Scotland, despite having an articulate and personable leader in Ruth Davidson and no competition any more from the Lib Dems.

Here’s two reasons why: first, most Scots have come to the conclusion that in Scotland there is one party that talks about Scotland, and three that talk only about the SNP. Second, there is the perception that the London Tories seem bent upon being offensive to Scotland even in minor things, like appointing a failed Scottish businesswoman to the House of Lords.
David McCarthy

Parks of Aldie, Kinross

It’s worse than that

Sir: Adam Tomkins’s account of the excesses of the SNP government in Scotland tells barely the half of it as far as education goes. The nationalisation of further education colleges, the profoundly troubling indifference to the autonomy of Scotland’s universities, and, most recently, proposals to interfere in the appointment of heads of independent schools all indicate a government that has lost the proper awareness that all democratic governments should have that the nation, the state, the government and the governing party are not all the same thing.

Worryingly, Scotland’s devolved institutions were designed at a time when no one party could realistically expect to gain an absolute majority under proportional representation. The checks that might otherwise have been put in place are therefore absent. Those advocating the repeal of the Human Rights Act should ponder what the long-term consequences of such a repeal might be for the institutions and people of Scotland.

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