I HAVE just heard the Prime Minister state that the country is united but Westminster is not. That is the depth of understanding that these Tories have of the mood of the United Kingdom, which is now more divided than ever before. Of course, Theresa May wishes to rid herself of the Tory back-benchers who oppose her and would like a bigger majority, but this election is entirely about the interests of her party and absolutely damaging to the interests of the United Kingdom. The Tories seem to think that governance is theirs of right and that the electorate, aided by the mainstream media, will perform whatever tricks their party demands.
To obtain this election Mrs May will require a two-thirds majority in the Commons and Jeremy Corbyn has announced that he will accede to that demand. Opposition, it seems, is not what the Labour Party now bothers to do and one must ask: just why is it still there? In Scotland, where overwhelmingly the majority are indeed united in opposition to virtually everything represented or inflicted upon us by Mrs May's government, it is difficult to comprehend the banality of her statement that the country is united. In Northern Ireland her conduct has re-awakened troubles that were on the verge of sleep. In Gibraltar there is unity in opposing the monumental folly of the Brexit she champions.
The division at Westminster lies within her party. Apart from the dissidents on her own benches and the shambles behind Mr Corbyn there is no division among the SNP members in their consistent opposition to all that she does. In talking of a country united it may be that she is talking of England, in which case she is in for a shock. If she was talking of the United Kingdom she may learn that her governance has done more than any of her predecessors to render obsolete the adjective “United” in the country she purports to lead.
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Bank House, Doune.
AT last – a chance to tell the Brexiters that it’s not working.
Forget the constitutional arrangements of the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill that was supposed to stop snap elections mid-term. Theresa May has decided there is going to be one. In the post truth/ alternative facts political world of nauseating hypocrisy so openly practised by President Trump in the United States, the UK has got the message – say anything, you can always change your mind when it suits.
For us in Scotland, let’s put aside the Scottish agenda of a second independence reference. In this General Election Mrs May has staked everything on a more powerful mandate to continue up the mad Brexit trail, a Brexit which has, up to now, offered only the early promise of the disaster that many people forecast.
We are now clear that Brexit is alienating all of our European partners, the ones Mrs May calls “our closest friends and neighbours”. However, we are seen as being neither neighbourly nor friendly.
The Tory Brexiters have bullied and harassed everyone including the EU, the House of Lords, and the other political parties who now question the wisdom of a Brexit which is now turning sour. The EU has told us that we must pay our exit dues, the money we owe them for subs and so on, before it will negotiate this divorce. Fair enough – they are the rules we signed up to. Furthermore it has let us know that we cannot expect an agreement which is as favourable as our current membership arrangements – that’s fair enough – and further, we must accept the four freedoms outlined in the Treaty of Rome in their entirety to stay in the single market, and that includes freedom of movement of labour.
This seems to have taken aback those who suggested that the EU needs us and will drop most of their demands; they won't. And those who thought that we will have billions left to spend on the NHS have been told that they really didn't mean it, it was all electioneering stuff – and it was. And for those eternal optimists who believed that the world would be queueing up to sign trade deals with us: they aren't. They are now aware of the risk of jeopardising the current deals they have with the EU. In short, we are hardly into the water and we are discovering that it is cold and hostile, not warm and welcoming.
This June election is being used to help the Tories secure a further, stronger mandate, to drag us deeper into the mire of a more certain and worrying future outside the EU. It will also use any increased majority approval of its continued economic cuts and reduction of living standards for the less well off.
This cannot be allowed to happen and I urge Scottish Nationalists, and I campaigned and voted for Yes, to focus on this issue and this issue only. I also trust that the Labour Party will come to its senses and seize this new chance and get activated and vocal in its opposition to Brexit.
27 Buchanan Drive, Lenzie.
JUST when you think things couldn’t get any more Ruritanian, up pops Theresa May to announce a General Election. So, although a referendum is “divisive” and interferes with Brexit, an election apparently isn’t and doesn’t.
Why is she doing it? Labour has lost all its soft seats already. The LibDems are making a bit of a comeback down south, making things a bit dodgy for some Tories. Ukip will encourage its support to keep the Tories “honest”.
The SNP might lose a seat or two, but it has the Maggie Thatcher dictum to keep it warm at night: win a majority of Scottish MPs for a mandate to negotiate independence. With first past the post, winning elections are a darn sight easier than referendums.
All in all, a bit of an own goal from Mrs May. Not much to gain, but any loss will be a big embarrassment.
17 Mill Street,
HASN'T it been an interesting few days?
Theresa May lectures we poor simple Scots that "now is not the time" to decide how we want our country run. Then we have Ruth Davidson exhorting voters to vote for her party in the local council elections in order to "tell" Nicola Sturgeon that we don't want a second referendum in spite of the fact that these elections have absolutely nothing to do with a referendum and all to do with how we want our local communities run.
Just to ensure we know our place a House of Lords briefing paper tells us that we Scots have no right to decide on independence in spite of the fact that in Scotland sovereignty lies with the people (“Holyrood lacks the power to declare nation independent”, The Herald, April 18). Once more the unelected feel they have the right to tell us what we can and cannot do.
Now in a despicable piece of political opportunism Theresa May announces a General Election solely because she sees an opportunity to gain a large majority for herself and her party in spite of the damage she said this would do to the Brexit negotiations. So suddenly now is the time.
It would appear that we should have no problems drilling for oil as these politicians spin so much we could use them as drill bits.
22 Templeton Crescent, Prestwick.
IS it too much to hope for that Ruth Davidson will now be repeatedly calling on Theresa May to get on with the day job, rather than wasting two precious months on unnecessary electioneering?
4/1 Levengrove Court, Dumbarton.
THE Prime Minister’s decision to call a General Election is bold and necessary, and her main reason for doing so – essentially that Westminster as presently constituted wilfully refuses to reflect the views of most people – applies even more worryingly here in Scotland.
Holyrood is now egregiously out of step with the opinions of the majority of Scots, and the shenanigans of the SNP (and the shamelessly opportunistic Greens) threaten not just the prosperity of Scotland but its very stability.
That Nicola Sturgeon has let the usual bogeymen out of Bute House’s broom cupboard is no surprise: stop the evil Tories increasing their majority and their appetite for a hard Brexit, and of course “stand up for Scotland”.
The First Minister’s battle cry is, as usual, vacuous, and the “hard Brexit” mantra is wearing thin. (Those two words have been forged into the most meaningless pairing in the long history of our hustings.) What the UK and increasingly most Scots want is a clean Brexit, one that leaves Britain in the best possible shape for the very uncertain future we face. Turkey is thumbing its nose at Europe, Hungary is behaving badly and getting away with it, and who can guess what a deeply divided France will have decided come Sunday?
Now is certainly not the time for one thing: weakening the UK’s hand when negotiations begin after June 8.
Sandringham Court, Newton Mearns.
POLITICAL party leaders apart, surely the vast majority of the populace do not seek yet another election contest. Understandably Theresa May seeks personal endorsement of her position before becoming immersed in Brexit negotiations, whilst the other party leaders will rejoice in the opportunity to articulate opposition policies. In particular the SNP will use the election as a referendum on whether there should be another independence referendum. Such is the gamble involved, when no gamble was required.
All opposition parties will metaphorically flex their political muscles but a repeat of the SNP 2015 performance would assuredly give credence to its second referendum call. Self-inflicted opportunities to opposition parties should not occur. The election result may well confirm a gross misjudgement in so far as Scotland's political future is concerned.
Allan C Steele,
22 Forres Avenue, Giffnock.