PRETTY much on a daily basis I find myself in awe of the improbity of those who represent the Conservative and Unionist Party.

This party has a scheme to dismantle, sell off and privatise the NHS. They will, of course, robustly deny they are doing any such thing, and will quickly quote Theresa May’s announcement that the NHS will be “£20 billion better off by 2023”. The point, though, is this figure demonstrates an ongoing underinvestment which has been Tory policy since they took power.

Just as the situation was with British Rail they will take each and every opportunity to highlight the shortcomings of a nationalised service they have run down, and point up the attractions of privatisation because, when they’re in power, it’s a revenue burden and they have to portray themselves as the champions of lower taxation.

Step up Edward Mountain. His duplicity comes straight from the “How to be a Tory” training manual. He, like Mary Scanlon before him, would portray himself as the defender of the oppressed and downtrodden who suffered at the hands of bullies in NHS Highland. He’ll never miss a chance to make as much noise as possible, with his castigations of the Scottish Government; even when his accusations have no credibility.

He challenged Jeane Freeman because she followed standard parliamentary procedure by releasing the Sturrock Report one hour before she made a statement; wicked Jeane didn’t let him have sight of it before then. He acknowledges that for her to have acquiesced would have been exceptional but, just like the orchestra rises, as the Caped Crusader takes to the skies, he generates as much noise as possible, to drown out the fact due process has been followed. You see, the bold Edward will look around for each and any opportunity to, with minimum effort, board any controversial bandwagon that might be harnessed to embarrass the Scottish Government.

Through 2017 and 2018 I was part of the “We All Need the Heartbeat” group which was campaigning to prevent the hijack of the Highland Heartbeat Centre located in Raigmore. We had meetings involving Fergus Ewing and David Stewart; where were you then, Edward? Too much work for a platform too small?

Please don’t be fooled. Edward’s on a crusade: just he doesn’t have the cape. His latest attempt at “Ka-pow!” is to criticise the Scottish Government for not drawing up “contingency plans” because of the industrial unrest at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. He says he’s “deeply concerned (no; he isn’t) by the impact on businesses, families and patients who are reliant on air travel”. And he’s “disappointed (no; he isn’t) that the Scottish Government is not directly involved with the contingency plans”, concluding with “I think people in the Highlands would expect a lot more than the ‘hands off’ approach the Scottish Government seem to be taking on this very serious matter.” OK, Edward, what would you have them do? Mobilise the RAF? I don’t think they can manage that one because defence is not a devolved matter!

Make no mistake about it. The Tories have a policy, written in stone, to dismantle any and all public services. This they will hotly deny but they will continue, overtly or covertly, to do it while making sure they never miss a chance to denigrate any other party. Their loyalty runs “party and class before country or constituent” and Edward is up there with the best!

Ned Larkin

JEFF Fallow (Letters, May 17) misunderstood my message. I wrote in my letter “Is everyone in Scotland ready to take the responsibility of governing themselves?”

Are we certain that we are not going to witness what happened in 1707, when the final ratification vote decided about a mutual parliament for Scotland and England (about which Mr Kenneth S Macrae wrote wisely in his letter on May 16)? We must remember that no political party has a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

Everybody has got their own opinion. The coming election will show which party has the biggest support in Scotland, then we will be able to say which way Scotland will go.

I want to repeat my sentence – “my heart belongs to my new homeland – Scotland” – and I wish my new homeland all the best.

Roland Manowski
Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

IN your guide to Arbroath in the Sunday National (May 19) it is suggested the Stone of Destiny was “stolen” from Westminster Abbey in 1950 and deposited at Arbroath Abbey. Surprised The National should make such a basic historical gaffe! The Stone was in fact “stolen” by Edward Longshanks, Edward I of England, in 1296 and repatriated by four nationalist Scottish students. Although the perpetrators were, eventually, known to the authorities, such was the public approval of the deed that no further action was taken.

Ken MacColl

SPOTTED outside Glasgow Central Station at 1pm yesterday: a coach with the logo and (London) address of Change UK. I spotted one individual with a T-shirt displaying a giant Union Jack. I wondered if this metropolitan party realises the significance in Glasgow of that flag!

Why was the bus here? Who is paying for it? Does have any grassroots organisation in Scotland?

Hamish Kirk