ACCORDING to UK parliamentary traditions, the party in government has to convince those remaining political parties that its policies are good for the country. Some governments achieve this situation marginally, while others can fail miserably through either poor policies or downright selfish policy composition.

This is the situation we have in Westminster, where the Tory government has placed itself beyond the reach of all other opposition parties. The situation in Holyrood is somewhat different. Here, we have a now long-term government which has espoused some good, one might say, socialist policies that have, in the main, served this country reasonably well given its fiscal arrangements with the Westminster government.

In fact, it has proved to be a very popular government with the Scottish population.

There is a “however” here, which is that the Scottish opposition parties feel that they, by tradition, have to remain just that, in opposition. And this regardless of the First Minister’s invitation to work together on Scotland’s future requirements.

Even now, after publication of the excellent policy programme announced on Sunday at the SNP party conference, the three opposition parties still feel the need to stick by the now old-fashioned traditions of political opposition. Not one had the guts to say: “Well yes, we could support that new policy on a compromise agreement.”

Many has been the time in my own workplace, acting in my capacity as trade union negotiator, that I have had to offer or accept a compromise when negotiating on behalf of my members. So why the ingrained stubbornness of these opposition parties? It really is time they unfettered the shackles that attach them to their Westminster mother parties and joined the 21st century

of modern politics, as Nicola has Sturgeon in her leadership of the SNP government.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

WE have just had a welcome break over Easter from Brexit, but “watch this space” is the message in days to come.

We have the Westminster Conservative government in paralysis as they continue to hit the self-destruct button, unable to negotiate home or abroad, unable to afford any parliamentary time to pressing issues that affect so many on a daily basis.

The Brexit issue is costing the country millions in administration and parliamentary time, not to mention the economic uncertainty for business.

Contrast all this with the clear message from the SNP conference last weekend, when the First Minister and her Cabinet demonstrated clearly they are getting on with the day job, dealing with issues that affect the daily lives of so many.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP announced an additional £70 million in funding for our NHS to tackle waiting times, a very welcome announcement for anyone waiting for treatment. This was followed by a new scheme to assist first-time buyers onto the housing ladder, with £150m funding. An extension to Best Start Grants for low-income families and the uptake of the “baby boxes” exceeding 1,000 a week.

Those announcements are not from a government in paralysis, they are from the government in Scotland who, despite the uncertainties of Brexit, are pressing forward in the interest of the country.

Is it any wonder a second independence referendum has been announced?

Catriona C Clark

WELL done the person who made the complaint to the BBC (BBC and Andrew Neil slammed for misleading claim in Salmond interview,, April 29). I think it’s time we complained more and more often and don’t accept their wishy-washy bland responses that never directly answer the issues raised. Escalate more cases to Ofcom, it’s what it’s there for. Maybe eventually the

BBC will get the message that their falsehoods will be challenged and people like Neil will be held to account for their actions.

Robert Lamb

BRILLIANT is the only word for Greg Moodie’s contribution to The National yesterday (In Your Dreams, April 29). Linking this to Barry Stewart’s letter of Saturday, may I suggest this piece be put on a large billboard where many people congregate? How about railway stations in which, due to Abellio, many Scots seem to spend much of their lives?

Kenny Burnett
Dyce, Aberdeen

IT was reported in yesterday’s paper, in a column titled “Conference Diary”, that John Swinney, a former English teacher, gave a speech to a fringe meeting during which he said: “If there is a change [...], I’m sure you’ll be working less hours.” I must conclude that this is has been incorrectly quoted, for I cannot imagine any student of the English language making such a fundamental error :-)

Andy Duncan