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Readers’ letters: SNP happy to U-turn, even if it contradicts itself

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Sir, – Ian Blackford, “the voice of Scotland” in Westminster, appears to have a short memory when it comes to air passenger duty tax.

In May 2019 the Scottish Government had to withdraw their controversial plans to abolish airport departure tax.

On Wednesday the UK chancellor in his Budget speech announced a plan to reduce the tax to help support the airline and tourist industry at home.

Right on cue the voice of Ian Blackford bellows out that this is a disgrace and he asks whether the UK Government has any green credentials.

Can Mr Blackford and his party really be taken seriously when their only strategy is to loudly shout down and oppose any policy or idea that Westminster proposes, even if it was their own planned policy less than three years before?

John Godsman, Kirktown of Fetteresso, Stonehaven.

Green Party are entitled to seats

Sir, – In our society the concept of winning has been engrained into us from childhood so it is easy to understand why Alastair Willet believes that “first past the post” is the best system. Elections are held to appoint people to represent the political views of the
nation. Our current system gives power only to the winning party.

Proportional representation creates a consensual and nonconfrontational form of politics. Parties with similar views can form a united and reasonably representational
government with a much wider support base.

I am unsure why Mr Willett describes the Green Party as “unelected” as they garnered sufficient votes under our electoral system to have enough MSPs to give their supporters a voice.

Their presence in the Scottish Government elegantly demonstrates
the point of proportional representation. PR is not a “disaster in every country which
operates it.” Forty of the 43 countries in Europe use a form of PR and they are, on the whole, well governed.

Reducing the voting age to 16 has been an outstanding success which has increased political interest and awareness in the younger generation, a greater proportion of whom use their vote than the adult population.

You can get married and join the Army at 16 – both momentous decisions in anyone’s life, so it is clearly appropriate to allow voting at that age.  Restricting the franchise
to only those who pay tax is an incredibly retrograde step which would erode the foundations of our democracy – therein lies the road to dictatorship.

Colin D Young, Newtonhill, Stonehaven. 

Government guilty of late payment

Sir, – Why is it that this SNP government are so slow in releasing funds which are overdue? £6 million in Covid support was supposed to be in the hands of Aberdeen
City Council by the first of September but it has yet to arrive.

Scotland is a relatively small country with (supposedly) small government which
should mitigate towards responsiveness but not so.  Inefficiency in a wide range of spheres appears to be the government’s trademark. The first minister, instead of committing to fix matters, merely gets angry at being challenged.

Mike Salter, Glassel, Banchory.

Health masks bad but Halloween OK?

Sir, – Halloween: a day when some people will wear masks for superstitious reasons but for the rest of the year won’t wear them despite science-backed health reasons.

Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia.

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