Can anyone tell me what's so precious about this Union … – HeraldScotland

CHRISTOPHER H Jones (Letters, March 30) says that the SNP is “now holed below the waterline” and along with several other regular contributors gleefully predicts impending failure, which “can only be a good thing for our precious Union”.
It’s clear that many contributors value this “precious Union” and therefore I would be keen to hear exactly what is precious about it.
Would it be the lowest pensions and highest energy bills in Europe (despite being an energy-rich nation, we are privileged in being able to contribute to the national grid and buy it back at a higher price)?
Would it be the obvious deprivation and poverty visible not just in Scotland but in the north of England, inner city London and just about everywhere except the Home Counties?
Would it be the BBC, once revered around the world, now a timid mouthpiece for the gang of snake oil merchants trashing the reputation of what used to be called the Mother of Parliaments, which is now stuffed full of second-raters in the Commons and somnolent nonentities in the Lords?
Or the ultimate obscenity of being part of the Anglo-American Boys Brigade, vandalising countries around the world when their leaders don’t reflect our “values” and driving up the grotesque profits of the arms companies, merchants of death who should be put out of business? Because we’re so lucky to host their most precious piece of hardware, Trident, soon to be replaced by the excitingly named Dreadnought?
I despair.
Marjorie Thompson, Edinburgh.
Disunity in the UK
AFTER listening to all the debates and giving careful consideration to what all three candidates had to say, this SNP foot soldier voted for Humza Yousaf, but I have several friends who voted for Kate Forbes and they have reacted positively to Mr Yousaf’s win; we are all Team SNP.
However, given the tensions in the Conservative Party, which were all too apparent last week when 22 of their MPs voted against their own Government’s Windsor Framework, while 48 others abstained, and given the decision of the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his National Executive Committee to stop their former leader Jeremy Corbyn from standing as a Labour Party candidate, it is all too obvious which parties are really split down the middle.
Ruth Marr, Stirling.
Read more: Yousaf risks disunity with sacking of SNP deputy leader from cabinet
Cabinet does not bode well
HUMZA Yousaf’s Cabinet has a very familiar look about it (“More party turmoil as Yousaf names team”, The Herald, March 30. Scotland now has two failed health secretaries as First Minister and deputy. Angela Constance, Michael Matheson, Jenny Gilruth and Shirley Anne Somerville have 14-15 previous Cabinet posts between them. If this is the best the SNP can muster it does not bode well for us. This collection of recycled below-average politicians has three years to improve life in Scotland. Don’t get your hopes up.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.
• SO the new First Minister has adopted the nomenclature of leader of the generation that will see independence. He has certainly put paid to the prospect of my 60s-plus generation ever seeing it with his Cabinet and ministerial appointments.
Roddy MacDonald, Ayr.
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Robison move is baffling
I HAD a strange dream last night. I was the newly-appointed First Minister and was appointing my Cabinet. The first job to be filled was Finance Secretary and I dreamt there’s only one choice, someone with governmental financial experience and an economic background, possibly even a chartered accountant. Just before I appointed Kate Forbes I woke up to discover it was Shona Robison, a failed health secretary with a degree in social sciences. 
What the hang is going on?
Michael Watson, Glasgow.
Indy minister makes no sense
THE new Scottish Government now has a Minister for Independence so that no other ministers might bother their heads with such an aim, albeit the primary aim of the SNP.
What post might be created next? Perhaps a Minister for Liaison Coordination?
Stuart Swanston, Edinburgh.
SNP MSPs will stand down
JOHN Gilligan (Letters, March 29) writes that “the idea that the various MSPs of the SNP will surrender their positions and stand for election as a candidate of another party is quite simply unbelievable”.
Why? Mr Gilligan shares with most of the Union-supporting correspondents a refusal to consider how different post-independence Scotland will be. If those MSPs stand as continuing SNP candidates, what reason will anyone have to vote for them?
None, and those MSPs will know that as well as anyone.
Iain Cope, Glasgow.
Read more: Profile: Who’s who in Humza Yousaf’s new cabinet?
BBC Scotland let us down
WHO or what is the BBC in Scotland? No live coverage of Scotland’s magnificent, many would say unbelievable, football result against Spain at Hampden. But you can bet BBC bosses would have been fighting and paying for any of England’s games to be broadcast.
Yesterday (March 30) First Minister’s Questions was cut short on BBC Scotland because it overran. “There we will have to leave it,” said the reporter as Humza Yousaf was answering a question during the historic event.
I know scheduling can be difficult to cope with, but surely there’s room for a little flexibility.
Andy Stenton, Glasgow.
Stop obsession with central control
THE Scottish Government already has a very wide measure of independence; it just doesn’t know what to do with it. As your correspondent George Thorley (“Holyrood needs to stop trying to be our biggest local authority”, The Herald, March 29) pointed out, all it can think of is to squirrel all the powers to itself and the 113 unaccountable quangos it has set up. It has taken many powers and budgets away from democratically-accountable local authorities. But then it sit on these powers and doesn’t use them wisely, as is all too obvious in the case of CMAL.
To govern is to choose, but it has been so obsessed with centralised control that every decision had to be authorised by Nicola Sturgeon or be seen to produce good short-term PR. It allowed no long-term thinking overseen by devolving power to experienced chairpersons, who were prepared to listen to end users and adapt things. The problem with making independence your only goal is that you ignore important functions of government and see little progress in long-term issues like drug deaths, reducing poverty gaps and improving education. Will the new FM see this? We hope so.
Peter Gray, Aberdeen.
Read more: Kate Forbes was wrong to rebuff Humza Yousaf on job offer
Danger in new trade pact
PROPOSALS by the UK to sign a trade deal with the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will effectively serve to lock the UK out of the European Union indefinitely and brings little economic benefit.
The UK, it has been reported, is close to signing a deal with the 11 members of the trans-Pacific trade pact which includes Japan and Australia. Economic gains for the UK are however minimal, even according to the Government’s own projections, and will do little to offset the European trade losses incurred as a result of Brexit.
It has been estimated, for example, that the consequences of the deal will see an increase in our economic output (GDP) of a miniscule 0.08% over the next 15 years. On the other side of the balance sheet, the loss of GDP due to exiting the EU single market is put conservatively by the independent Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) at 4% of GDP by 2030, at least 50 times greater.
Accession would also mean that the UK will not be able to rejoin the EU customs union. Since the pact requires that the UK has control over its own regulatory system, alignment of UK regulations with the EU would not be feasible, except in those areas where EU regulation passes CPTPP muster.
For those under the belief that there is a chance of the UK rejoining the EU in the foreseeable future, accession to CPTPP means that this just became a whole lot harder.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh.
Lack of trust is no surprise
I WRITE to comment on Neil Mackay’s column on trust, or the lack of it (“Why the crisis in trust has hit us harder than England”, The Herald, March 30)
This should not come as a surprise to anybody. Selling off social housing, destroying public transport, removing financial support from the weak and vulnerable, are actions which are bound to destroy trust. The rich members of the UK Government moving their billions from tax haven to tax haven, newspapers hacking mobile phones, how can we trust anybody?
Margaret Forbes, Blanefield.
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