DO you ever listen to the news when the NHS is a subject used to beat up the Scottish Government? Between this and the screaming tabloid headlines, you would think our Scottish NHS was in meltdown.

During this last year, a 78-year-old family member was diagnosed with three major health issues: 1. A failing aortic heart valve which if not treated leads to heart failure.

2. A slow-growing cancer on one of his kidneys.

3. A more aggressive cancer on one of his lungs.

Because of the complexity, it was necessary to treat these serious illnesses in order. Firstly, to improve his resilience, his heart valve was successfully replaced by inserting a wire in through an artery and avoiding open-heart surgery. Secondly, the lung cancer was successfully treated using a new targeted radiotherapy, again without the need for surgery. Finally, the kidney cancer was killed off using a keyhole freezing technique that allowed rapid recovery. All done in this last year.

He is one of very many receiving excellent healthcare within our Scottish NHS. NHS resources in staff and finance are limited and we have a population that is now peaking in age profile. I’m one of the many baby boomers born just after the Second World War and we are all getting to that age where time catches up with us. The old and infirm are taking up a large proportion of resources as we fail and die off.

If you have a life-and-death issue that can be treated it will be but, unfortunately, less serious issues need to wait. Hopefully their turn will come. Meanwhile, every week, Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar and Alex Cole-Hamilton dig up examples of people waiting and having operations postponed. Great fodder for the news headlines and the tabloid press but really a distraction that is politically motivated.
D S Blackwood

LABOUR figures have announced the formation of a “radical democratic” new group with a vision to reform politics in the UK! This group is made up of politicians from across the UK, including Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

I like the use of the words “radical and democratic”, however, those words don’t sit comfortable with the Labour Party and certainly not under the leadership of Keir Starmer.

This new group has come about as a result of a “think tank” established by Gordon Brown – incidentally, the same Gordon Brown who gave us the Vow and has been the prime minister and chancellor. It has suggested abolishing the House of Lords – this would be a very “radical” move and can’t come about quick enough, but do Labour have what it takes to carry this through? I’m not convinced on current performance!

Under proposals for “radical change”, a call is made for deeper devolution to the cities and regions of the UK. Sounds promising, but where do the nations of the UK come into this?

Moving on to “democratic” – this is something the Labour Party have not demonstrated much of to the people of Scotland. Labour keep denying Scotland the democratic choice to decide their own future. Keir Starmer continually tells us that Labour would not work with the SNP and indyref2 will not come about under Labour. So as far as Labour in Scotland goes, “radical and democratic” do not feature on their agenda.
Catriona C Clark

THE Long Letter in The National on Tuesday from Douglas Skoyles of Elgin painted a very clear picture of what Scotland can expect – perhaps “not expect” is closer – if the Labour Party are returned to power in future.

Labour office-bearers in Scotland masquerade as leaders of a political party, nothing could be further from reality.

Scotland’s status in the Labour hierarchy is clear – the Scottish Labour Party is the name of a branch registered by the National Labour Party at Labour Central, Kings Manor, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6PA, United Kingdom.

They appear to be nothing more than a means of channelling funds from the Labour Party to fight elections in Scotland under a “Scottish Labour Party” banner.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I LIKE the Greens and have a hell of a lot of time for their co-leaders, Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie. I’m proud and glad that Nicola Sturgeon’s government came to a deal with them to make Lorna and Patrick the first-ever Green politicians throughout the UK to be involved in government. Surely it’s a damning indictment of the state of UK politics that this has taken so long. Also, well done Humza Yousaf for continuing with this arrangement despite significant pressure not to do so.

The National: File photo dated 25/03/23 of co-leader of the Scottish Green Party Lorna Slater who is in charge of setting up the deposit return scheme (DRS) in Scotland and has accused the UK Government of blocking Holyrood at every turn. Ms Slater, the Scottish

Why are the vast majority of politicians in the UK and throughout the world either too thick to get what’s happening to our planet or more likely don’t give a stuff as the short-term interests of their electorate and particularly their rich and powerful backers come first (I think I’ve just answered my question)? What is it they don’t get about the decimation of people, animals, trees, plants, marine life, biodiversity generally, etc, through the adverse effects of human-induced climate change?

So given all this, the total crap Lorna has received about something as basic, innocuous and drop-in-the-ocean in the scheme of things as the Deposit Return Scheme makes my blood boil. Folk go “blah, blah, blah” with barely concealed insincere concerns about the environment. As soon as someone actually does something tangible about it, they are thrown to the dogs. That’s right, thrown to the bloody dogs!

Clearly Viscount Jack, et al, played divide-and-rule tactics on this one, like they did with the GRR Bill, and will continue to do so as the opportunity arises. However, I’m so disappointed (massive euphemism!) that some within the independence movement are quietly happy and some maybe not-so-quietly happy about this situation.

I realise I’m now “on one” – not unusual for me – but there’s another thing that really “gets my goat”. That’s the term used by some, “the Greens are the tail wagging the SNP dog”. That is so disingenuous! Maybe they are just hacked off because they want to be the one tampering with the dug’s tail!

Well, I’ve a message for the Greens’ detractors. I hope this dug’s tail will be vigorously wagged by the Greens for many years to come, obviously in the spirit of mutual appreciation. Let’s face it, if I was a dug, I’d be pure deid fussy aboot who messed wi ma tail!
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay

LIKE many SNP members, I am suffering from high levels of apathy towards the Dundee Convention coupled with a rather big slice of deja vu, even before it meets.

We have a political majority both at Holyrood and Westminster with a manifesto pledge to bring about a referendum – why do we need yet another electoral round to give Scotland’s people’s wish for an independence referendum political credence?

The UK Parliamentary Union is hurtling towards democratic, social and economic collapse as its central players destroy each other, as in a rerun of Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son.

The pat argument from pro-independence politicians is, “there is no legal way to exit the Union”.

Yet no pro-independence politician has turned this on its head and asked, is it legal or legitimate for Scotland to be part of a parliamentary union that has acted illegally in terms of international treaties, agreements and conventions, against Scotland’s sovereign people’s will and consent?

Surely, by its actions, the UK Union Parliament has rendered itself null and void in any constitutional or legal terms for these breaches of international norms?

Are we expected to stand idly by for yet another electoral cycle as governments Scotland has not voted for take the UK Parliamentary Union ever closer to a full-blown fascist state?

There is a legal way – a direct appeal to the UN under its charter and the right to self-determination, with an appeal supported by EU governments for a UN-sponsored and controlled referendum on the future of Scotland ... but does any pro-independence politician have the courage to do so?

The US are indifferent to post-Brexit UK – their military refer to the UK as a second-tier power of little significance, their president has little time for Westminster and their congress is in no rush to put forward the oven-ready trade deals the Brexiteers said were just waiting in the offices in the Capitol to be signed. Westminster has no international friends who would oppose an appeal to the UN by Scotland while Scotland has a lot who would support such a move, including many in the US congress.

Simply put, if there is no “legal way” under the Scotland Act to hold a referendum on independence, given the current support for independence, then we must find an “illegal way” or usurp the British Establishment’s cold, clammy death grip on Scotland’s throat via the UN.
Peter Thomson

WHAT a huge relief to read Richard Walthew’s response (May 28) to Glenda Burns’s previous correspondence defending BBC Scotland’s coverage of the island ferries scandal. Thank god someone pointed out some home truths re so-called comparative British Government projects and the massive, eye-watering monies wasted on the relative contracts, plus post-completion remedial measures taken on some of them – an absolute disgrace!

And yet the reporting of said scandalous management and contractual/financial shambles is totally different from what is being regularly reported up here on a Scottish Government project that has been admittedly worthy of criticism and searching questions. BBC Scotland has hardly stopped banging on about the island ferries ever since the issues materialised about two years ago!

The island ferries debate is now a tired, “played-out” story that has run its course and yet the BBC has failed to recognise that fact. It is clearly politically driven to damage identified political targets, as usual!

Every time I come across a BBC Scotland reporter trying to play out his/her political agenda on this particular issue with more repetitive, boring nonsense – bad-mouthing the SNP/Scottish Government again – I immediately contact/remind them of that long period of repetition and “tiredness” of such a played-out story and prompt them to move on.

Their whole methodology of reporting really is open to question and I do wonder if they are breaching rules of reporting in applying such double standards to a story that we all know about and it is now a case of “let the Scottish Government get on with it” – give it a rest, BBC Scotland.

I could follow on and give a qualified opinion re effective project management/preparation, proper tendering, contracting and procurement to an eventual successful outcome, but I’ll leave that for another day.

One thing I’d like to say before I sign off is that acting government officials were never going to be building these ferries in the way that some media/press reporting bogusly reported it, and there was always going to be a great dependency on various maritime/shipping-construction expertise from people (including a reputable independent maritime consultant/adviser) who could be trusted to effectively follow every stage of this multi-million-pound project with full competency.

A team of people all in it together and seriously pulling together to overcome any obstacles or issues that arose on the way to compiling a final draft ship-building contract document that would not have any chance of a “horse and carriage” being driven through it.
Bernie Japs