FOR many years now, Reporting Scotland has had a fascination with Scotland’s NHS. It doesn’t matter if the stories have substance or are trivial, our so-called Scottish news will, almost without fail, be led by an NHS-bad story.

At one time it was Eleanor Bradford who would bring us these consistently negative stories but now we have a new messenger of doom who will always furnish us with intros such as “BBC Scotland has learned, etc, etc”. The BBC north of the border has made many more Freedom of Information requests than its much larger version in the south so what we need to ask ourselves is... WHY?

While it is well known that the Scottish NHS is much better than its southern equivalent, whether it be on waiting times, ratio of nurses and doctors per head of population, provision of integrated health and social care, access to free medication etc, and while we witness absolute horror stories of patients queued up in corridors in English hospitals, still, those who choose which Reporting Scotland news items to run with are resolved to try and trash something that we should all be proud of.

Our NHS is achieving all this despite having to serve so many outlying rural areas and island communities which, in itself, will be more expensive than the demography down south.

Occasionally, there are NHS stories that should, indeed, be given plenty of exhaustive air time, such as the sad death of young children recently in Scottish hospitals. These are the issues that BBC Scotland should give importance to rather than the manufactured outrage at comparatively lesser matters.

I wonder if anyone has researched the number of occasions that our Scottish news bulletins have run with NHS-bad lead stories in recent years.
Alasdair Forbes 
Farr, Inverness-shire

I SHARE Mo McLean’s frustration (Letters, The National, November 21) regarding SNP politicians’ failure to rebut Unionist spin and downright lies when given a rare opportunity to do so on BBC programmes.

Although the SNP generally does well battling the united front of Tory, Labour, LibDem and BBC opposition using facts and logic, I believe they should occasionally sink to the Unionists’ level and get the hands dirty.

Which brings me to the current row regarding the latest offering from the Tory songbook, namely “once in a generation”, a refrain dating back to the “Great Scare” of 2014 and is now chorused constantly by Unionists from the exalted Westminster choirmaster himself down to lowly lackeys like Jackson Carlaw.

Whilst SNP politicians et al recognise “once in a generation” for the Britnat taradiddle it is, we should not be totally dismissive regarding its catchy simplicity, bearing in mind it is not aimed at us but at the uninformed.

Have we forgotten how Ruth Davidson achieved a measure of success by chanting her hit single (policy): you don’t want another independence referendum. Every hour on the hour, or so it seemed.
Malcolm Cordell
Broughty Ferry

READING through the UK Labour Party 2019 manifesto, some 85% of it outlined, would probably be agreeable to some 85% of those who support Scottish independence. Perversely, it could only be delivered with the support of elected SNP MP’s, elected to further an independent Scotland.

In contrast, the other UK party in the running for UK Government is reliant for support by the UK LibDems and upon the citizens of Scotland considering UK national priorities as equivalent to some form of an oven-ready meal.

More locally, the overtly Unionist ConDemSlab, seek “no surrender” to the Nats, to retain the possible status quo inclusive of potential UK Tory governance, further inciting the demand for Scottish independence.

This Labour manifesto is a dense but a worthwhile read full of hope, but there are many, many, secondary actions required to deliver it, as well as a sea of foreseeable secondary consequences which would vary across the UK.

Scotland requires to be an independent nation state but with a UK with a manifesto like this, close ties between Scotland and rUK are a foregone conclusion.
Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

I’M not as confident as David McEwan Hill seems to be that the “once in a generation” nonsense is “having absolutely no effect on the average voters or their voting intention” (Letters, The National, November 22).

The Unionist trope is important because of what it implies: the SNP have reneged on the “pledge” or “promise” they made around the 2014 independence referendum and that this is yet another example of how untrustworthy the Nats are. It’s entirely possible that the constant drip, drip, drip of this implicit message could be enough to put off soft Nos who are swithering, or even soft Yessers (they too exist!).

At any rate, I don’t think we can afford to take anything for granted at this stage, not only with regard to the imminent General Election but with indyref2 likely to take place in the foreseeable future too (hopefully!).

I agree that it’s important that SNP representatives don’t allow themselves to be deflected from communicating their core message and discussing the many pressing issues impacting on Scotland, of course, but they wouldn’t need to get bogged down in responding to said trope – a succinct rebuttal of no more than 20 to 30 seconds would do it, then they could swiftly move on.

Not countering it, on the other hand, far from being “wise”, is making them come across as weak and a wee bit slippery, in my view – something that, if it comes down to narrow margins, could make all the difference to both the constituency and national votes in the end.
Mo Maclean