Ten years of SNP rule in Scotland has given us little to celebrate

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The Independent Online

Nicola Sturgeon tells us, celebrating 10 years of power, that the SNP has made “real progress”.

This self-evidently isn’t true. We’ve witnessed, despite the efforts of hard-pressed frontline professionals, severely declining standards in our public services, particularly in education, on the SNP’s watch. 

But has there been no progress? Let’s not forget the SNP is a single-issue party – independence, Ms Sturgeon freely admits, transcends everything else. And here she has succeeded in growing support for the only cause close to her heart – from around 25 per cent to perhaps 45 per cent.

Sturgeon and her party of course failed to win in 2014 so, if we’re being honest, the SNP has also failed here. 

The SNP’s principal legacy won’t be to have improved public services in Scotland and therefore everyday lives of Scots. The nationalists’ independence obsession has created a bitterly divided country torn apart by their relentless agitating for independence. 

Hardly progress, Sturgeon. 

Martin Redfern 



Time to care

The Tories idea to grant unpaid leave for carers for up to one year is a farce. Employers will not be impressed, but the real issue is the level of Carer’s Allowance. It is pitifully low, many already miss out due to lack of knowledge. It needs to be dramatically increased, I would say to a minimum of £200 a week. It would be offset by reducing reliance on care agencies by social services and other agencies. Unpaid carers already save the state billions of pounds each year.

Time for payback methinks.

Gary Martin

London, E17


Pray that Corbyn wins

I was delighted to see your report (Labour climbs to highest poll rating since start of election campaign, 15 May) and the photo of Jeremy Corbyn appearing to pray, hoping desperately that his increased support will continue enough for him against the odds to win the coming general election.

I have always been a Corbyn supporter and know him personally as he was at one time married to Claudia, my niece born in Chile but now in Madrid. She and Jeremy still keep in touch.

I have been in regular contact with the Labour Party head office and have been shocked at the way even his own colleagues have rejected him. There is no evidence at all that Corbyn is “unfit to govern”. It is Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s tactics and those of President Trump that have brought us close to World War III and in danger of a nuclear holocaust. The cyber attack is just a warning of what may happen. Beware of far worse!

Keith Minton



Taxation without representation

I am a British Army officer, who on retirement 17 years ago decided to spend his remaining years in Thailand. I have a Thai wife.

As a serving officer non-payment of tax or National Insurance was not an option. Since I retired, I reduced my assets in the UK to nil and visits to less than one a year. Thanks to the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, I have lost my right to health care and my state pension is frozen at the amount I first received it at age 65. Last year I also lost my right to vote, having been an expatriate for 15 years.

It used to be that there was no taxation without representation, but not even this applies to British expatriates. I have to apply for a visa for my wife to accompany me to the UK on each and every visit, each year seeing the system become more time consuming, expensive and repetitive. As it takes about three weeks, a short notice visit – eg for a funeral – is not possible.

This is unworthy of the country I grew up in, loved and served for 37 years.

Colonel Johnny Thoyts (Retd)



Moral standards 

If Tim Farron were to legalise cannabis or other actions which currently constitute a crime he could cut back on police funding, but we would have a society with awful moral standards. Liberalising society can have undesired adverse consequences.

J Longstaff

East Sussex