Letters - Cash wasted on shamed politicians

In 2017, Mark MacDonald MSP resigned as the SNP’s Childcare Minister following allegations of his inappropriate behaviour against several women.He remains an MSP and is paid £64,000 a year. When he quits Holyrood next year, he will receive a £52,500 “golden handshake”.

Saturday, 10th October 2020, 10:30 am
Margaret Ferrier's Covid movements have been criticised
Margaret Ferrier's Covid movements have been criticised

In 2020, Derek Mackay resigned as the SNP’s Finance Secretary following reports of him messaging a 16-year-old boy.

As an MSP he continues to be paid £64,000 a year and to claim expenses for a second home, despite having not being seen at Holyrood for more than seven months.

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He is also entitled to £12,000 for losing his Cabinet post and a £54,000 ‘golden handshake’ when he too quits Holyrood next year.

Most recently, Margaret Ferrier, the SNP MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West, refused to resign after serious and reckless breaches of Covid-19 Regulations. She is paid £82,000 a year.

At the time of next year’s Holyrood elections, the total remunerations for these three offending SNP politicians will be in the region of £400,000, not to mention their expenses.

Bearing in mind the hapless consequences of Covid-19, with many either already unemployed or facing unemployment, is this brazen exploitation of public funds what Nicola Surgeon and the SNP mean by “Building a Fairer Scotland” or even “Stronger for Scotland”?

TIM JACKSON

Whim Road, Gullane

Ban coming?

Now that the unsurprising connection between alcohol consumption and the spread of the virus has been realised, the next step in banning things could be prohibition.

MALCOLM PARKIN

Gamekeepers RoadKinnesswood, Kinross

Talk is sheep

More and more restrictions and, it seems, the population of these great islands is happy to oblige.

I do believe my fellow citizens have become sheep who simply blink, bleat and bow with docility at Sturgeon's stupid draconian rules.

Have you noticed that she and all those forcing us into submission continue taking their bloated salaries? I thought that "we are all in this together"?

Not a bit of it, like the generals in battle they survey the destruction their idiotic strategy causes from a distance through field glasses and keep pocketing their gold-plated salaries whilst the troops become penniless. It is only a fool who keeps repeating the same strategy in the hope a of a different outcome.

Sturgeon has already tried locking the virus out and, guess what, when she opened the door, in it came again. I can tell you it was no surprise to those of us who have only common sense to depend on.

STAN HOGARTH

Young Street, Strathaven

Thole truth

With regard to the Electoral system that exists throughout the UK I can assure Gill Turner (Letters, 8 October) that I need no educating.

We have in both Westminster and Holyrood electoral systems that regularly put in power political parties that only represent a minority of the electorate. It is an unsatisfactory system but until it is changed I, like millions of others, accept the results.

Unfortunately for us in Scotland, since 2007, when Alex Salmond turned to his natural allies for support, we have had a party in power that represents only a minority of Scots. Not once did the SNP gain a majority of the actual vote.

That's fact, that is the truth of the matter.

So until our electoral system is changed to make it more representative, or the opposition parties get their act together, we Scots will “hiv tae thole” the most incompetent and dishonest group of politicians ever inflicted upon us.

STUART STEPHEN

Midtown HouseInverasdale, Poolewe

EU beauty

Numbers notwithstanding, if we have another referendum the question will be different this time.

In 2014, we chose between staying with both the UK and the EU or going it alone. In a future referendum we would be choosing between staying with England, Wales and Northern Ireland orhaving a chance of returning to be part of a much larger and more successful partnership. This is not the same question.

And the statistics will be different, especially with the government at present running Westminster.

JENNY MARTIN

Dudley Avenue, Edinburgh

Cutting the rug

Whilst enjoying the lunchtime sun in the courtyard of the Bonnie Badger in Gullane I noticed a box of blankets with a sign suggesting patrons help themselves should they feel cold.

I remember (fast becoming a distant memory) during holidays abroad the relief I felt in seeing blankets folded neatly over the backs of the dining chairs – so welcome when the the sun went down, the air rapidly cooling.

So yes, an excellent idea but – and this is open to debate – is this offer safe? Perhaps I am being over cautious but personally I fall on the side of No. So I have ordered a tartan rug (with matching mask for special occasions) in colours I hope will complement my various outfits, thus allowing me the added comfort of still socialising al fresco (If we are allowed) as we slide towards the winter months.

It seems to me, as a fashion-conscious septuagenarian,that a rug or blanket could become the new essential accessory.

Maureen Graham

Braid House, Longniddry

Cafe society

At her Friday press conference, the First Minister was pressed, without success, to give a clear description of the difference between a cafe and a restaurant.

One of the most famous examples of the former is the Scottish Cafe in Lwow, then in Poland, where the Lwow school of mathematics, including Stanislaw Ulam, the co-inventor of the H-bomb, used to meet before the Second World War.

Their sessions in the Cafe lasted many hours, but together was not the reason why they met. Covid-19 would have luxuriated in such an environment.

Hugh Pennington

Carlton Place, Aberdeen

Missed chance

David Millar (Letters, 9 October) states that he won’t be out to eat if he cannot enjoy a glass of wine /beer with his meal. I find it disappointing that alcohol can be regarded as such an essential component of a meal out.

On the same theme, the 16-day restriction period was surely a golden opportunity for the Scottish Government to recommend to the nation that, from a health point of view,they might consider abstaining completely from alcohol until the restriction period ends?

This from a Government that professes to have the well-being of the country at heart.

Of course,supporting the hospitality industry trumps (no pun intended) the health of the nation in terms of votes, so I’m not holding my breath.

DAVID EDGAR

Main StreetSymington, Biggar

Forget inquiry

Exactly who is Ruth Davidson MSPrepresenting at First Minister’s Questions (FMQ’s)?

This question arises in a week that has seen more restrictions put in place by the Government in Scotland due to the global pandemic and, sadly, the rising figures of those effected. Continued and new restrictions are difficult for us all, and have a knock-on effect to the economy of the country and incur financial hardship for many families.

Yet unbelievably Ruth Davidson (stand in Leader of the main opposition in Scotland) chooses to go on the topic of the Alex Salmond inquiry. An inquiry that is currently underway, an inquiry currently questioning witnesses, an inquiry currently with much evidence from the First Minister already presented and, importantly, an inquiry First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is waiting to hear from to allow her to give her evidence in front of the enquiry members.

The Alex Salmond inquiry may be of great interest to the Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland, but I am pretty confident Ms Davidson’s constituents and the country at large would expect the main opposition in Scotland to be questioning the Government on the current crisis the global pandemic is presenting the country with, the long-term health, economic and social implications - especially considering that in 23 days’ time the current furlough system will come to an end, resulting in devastating consequences for thousands of families and businesses in Scotland.

CATRIONA C CLARK

Hawthorn DriveBanknock, Falkirk

Futility room

As an architect, I am mildly amused to see housing developers jumping on the coronavirus bandwagon by promoting the concept of a ‘home working space’ as a new selling point. Such a space used to be known, rather quaintly, as a “study”. With another six months of proscriptive purgatory and paralysing perdition in prospect, I am now proposing to my domestic clients that all dwellings should also be provided with a small windowless compartment where one can self-isolate and discreetly adopt the foetal position without fear of being disturbed by the troubles of the outside world.

Some cynics may be inclined to dismiss this radically innovative enclosure as a mere "cupboard” but, given the current circumstances, I would prefer to badge it as a purpose-designed “futility room”.

ANDY DAVEY

St Andrews Road, Peebles

Droned out

"My heart in hiding. Stirred for a bird" - Gerard ManleyHopkins.

Why do I feel so improperly gleeful at the news that a seagull has downed a drone by deliberately attacking it? Chortle chortle.

STEVE HAYES

Aithernie Court, Leven, Fife

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