THERE are (at least) three disturbing aspects of Theresa May’s announcement of a snap General Election that fall significantly under the title of failure; failure of personal integrity, of political confidence and of parliamentary principles (“May rolls the dice”, The Herald, April 19).
Mrs May over the Easter period offered the country a vision of a vicarage-trained leader imbibed with Christian principles of honesty, integrity and reliability. In a matter of three days she has thrown aside those personal attributes under the angry influence of the wilder Tory backbenchers. She has made herself look less than principled by reneging on her earlier assurances that there would be no election prior to 2020. Trust in politicians is at a low ebb and the Prime Minister has tarnished that “honourable” title even further.
By rushing to the country in a matter of weeks Mrs May has shown real fear in the outcomes of the EU negotiations emerging prior to 2020.
Loading article content
She has sub-textually indicated that economic circumstances may become so frightful that to wait could bring political defeat. Factory closures, companies exiting the UK, increased financial uncertainty, clumsy new customs regulations, cuts in EU funding and so much more coming down the negotiations line has forced her hand to bring forward an early election for fear of failure.
Finally, what was particularly disturbing was the clear authoritarian tone of her address. Parliamentary opposition was described as divisive and a national threat. What is democracy but the parliamentary clash of opinions? This was an extraordinary proposal for Tory hegemony over the Parliament that reeked of the new dispensation in Turkey.
Scotland will have its own say on this act of Tory gross opportunism, returning a strong voice for Scotland and democratic principles in a House increasingly under the influence of a right-wing ultra majority.
18 Needle Green, Carluke.
WHY is everyone so surprised? Leading politicians always do what they believe is in the best interests of themselves and their own party, irrespective of whether it is good for the country and its people. Theresa May still has a sizeable number of opponents on her own backbenches and only a slim majority in the House of Commons. She has been able to get her own way on virtually everything only because of the hopelessly dysfunctional performance of the Labour opposition. Labour has been in freefall ever since 2010, when all party members were given a vote to elect their Westminster leader and under union pressure picked the wrong Miliband brother, and then made matters even worse by replacing him with a diehard socialist with no leadership skills or experience.
So it should have been easily predictable that, with a lead of more than 20 per cent in the opinion polls, this was the perfect time for Mrs May to go to the country and expect to win a much larger comfortable majority. She will also hope that a clear victory will add to her negotiation stance in Europe, although I’m afraid she is in for a very rude awakening.
It will be interesting to see how the voters in Scotland react to yet another visit to the polls, immediately after next month’s local elections, and what their votes may indicate regarding the likelihood and outcome of another independence referendum. Will they again return 56 out of 59 SNP MPs, or might they even increase that number? What will happen to the other three current Scottish MPs?
The only Tory, David Mundell, was Hobson’s choice to be Secretary of State for Scotland, but his public utterances as if he were governor-general of Scotland rather than representing Scotland’s interests in cabinet must cast doubts on his already very slim majority of just 800 constituency votes.
The single Liberal Democrat, Alastair Carmichael, also won his Orkney and Shetland seat by just 800 votes, and that was before he admitted knowing about and authorising the press release of a scurrilous and untrue email. Will his constituents remember that and give him his marching orders? And will Ian Murray’s slim five per cent majority in Edinburgh South be repeated, given Labour’s abysmal performance in opposition?
It is amazing how quickly “now is not the time” has changed to “now is the right time” when it happens to suit the party in power.
Iain AD Mann,
7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.
I AGREE with your leader analysis that the General Election in Scotland will be framed within the context of whether or not to have a second independence referendum (“Now is not the time for opportunistic General Election”, The Herald, May 19). Whatever the result, it will send a clear message to both the First Minister and the Prime Minister on where Scotland stands on this issue – a message from the electorate that surely could not be ignored by Nationalists or Unionists.
Should Scotland send a majority of MPs back to Westminster who support a second independence referendum then that would be viewed surely as a mandate to re-run 2014. The Prime Minister’s decision to call a snap election may secure the Home Counties, but she is rolling the dice with respect to the Union.
1 Glenmount Place, Ayr.
THE First Minister criticises the UK Prime Minister for seeking the support of the people to carry out the decision made in last June’s EU referendum (“Sturgeon says ‘screeching U-turn’ by May is huge miscalculation”, The Herald, April 19). Yet the SNP’s attempts to derail the Brexit process are part of the reason for there being another election just now.
Theresa May calls for a vote, with every opinion poll suggesting she will increase her majority and in turn improve the confidence with which she can carry forward the Brexit negotiation process.
In contrast, Nicola Sturgeon seeks an independence referendum rerun to overturn both the 2014 Scottish independence referendum result, and that of the UK-wide June 2016 EU vote, even though opinion polls suggest she would be putting the people of Scotland through a divisive vote that they not only do not want, but also in which they would likely deliver the same result as before.
Surely it is the height of hypocrisy for Ms Sturgeon to accuse the Prime Minister of putting the party before country, when for months now she has been doing exactly that herself in regards to a second Scottish independence referendum?
White Moss, West Linton, Peeblesshire.
I AM almost beginning to feel sorry for our First Minister. With an attempt at a straight face, she has accused Theresa May of putting party politics above the interests of the country. Meanwhile, she has been promoting SNP policy on a second independence referendum all over the globe, completely ignoring the damaging impact on our economy and on jobs, and in the teeth of public opinion.
If there is no appetite now for another referendum how keen will we be after yet another election?
132 Terregles Avenue, Glasgow.
THERESA May is being criticised for not wishing to enter into a TV debate prior to the General Election. Do we want a PM who uses the TV to put forward her policies? I hope not. Her debating chamber is on a Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions and this is when she responds in an articulate, competent manner.
35 Colquhoun Street, Dumbarton.
A DISTINCTIVE and positive Scottish Labour General Election campaign, very different in tone from Jeremy Corbyn, could be the start of the long road back. Mrs May’s snap vote might, surprisingly, boost Kezia Dugdale rather than Nicola Sturgeon.
The SNP is the establishment now, with the Greens eternally co-opted to do its bidding. Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats are the insurgents. Labour should approach this election with confidence, opposing hard Brexit. Success in that endeavour at a UK level would, by one reading of Ms Sturgeon’s own logic, obviate the need, after all, for an independence referendum in the near future.
157 Collingwood Drive, Great Barr, Birmingham.
I DON’T support Brexit nor the Conservative Party, but I think the Prime Minister has made a very clever gamble, especially since the Labour Party is in a hopeless state. I would however urge voters to examine issues which are non-Brexit to make sure that they agree with the domestic policies being proposed by any party since we shall be governed by these policies for a further five years.
107 Ardrossan Road, Seamill.
WHY do I find myself hankering for the likes of David Sutch, the late Screaming Lord Sutch? Who is around today to prick the pomposity of our politicians? “Division in Westminster “is apparently “of enormous national significance” (Theresa May). Really? Is it not the role of politicians in a democracy to debate and resolve their differences in the best interests of the people? Or is the one-party state the objective of today’s idealogue politician? The only thing the governments, both Scottish and Westminster are achieving at present is the creation of ever more uncertainty, endangering inward investment and jobs.
9 Birnam Crescent, Glasgow.
EVERY cloud has a silver lining. My wife and I will be on holiday in Canada for three and a half weeks of this damned General Election.
Southcroft, Knockbuckle Road, Kilmacolm.
74 Wardlaw Avenue, Rutherglen, Glasgow.