Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Readers’ letters: SNP leadership race, whisky tax and TikTok being banned on Government phones

In today's letters, our readers discuss the SNP leadership race candidates, the impact of the whisky tax and TikTok being banned on Government phones.

Image:  Duncan Bryceland/Shutterstock
Image: Duncan Bryceland/Shutterstock

Sir, – Murray Foote, the former media chief of the SNP, resigned last Friday following revelations that he was misled by the party managers over the question of membership numbers.

The accusation that the numbers were down by some 30,000 was in his words “drivel”. Subsequently, after some kicking and screaming, the SNP had to admit that the loss of 30,000 members was in fact true.

Mr Foote rightly resigned as he felt that he was expected to manage information which was demonstrably untrue.

Now we hear that the SNP chief executive, Peter Murrell, has had to resign over the issue given that the national executive committee had lost confidence in him.

Questions must be asked given some of the suspicions which exist over the Salmond inquiry, the “lost” £600,000 and some serious shortfall in government spending over the monies received to combat Covid, not to mention the ferries.

There has been a culture of obfuscation and cover-up under the Sturgeon/Murrell partnership and the last thing we appear to need with a new leader is the “continuity” position.

Mike Salter, Banchory.

Round of applause for road closures?

Sir, – Surely we are blessed that within Aberdeen City Council we have great minds at work who can co-ordinate and organise road closures to ensure minimum inconvenience to motorists to allow necessary work to be done.

One can only stand in awe at their creative genius as they enact their wondrous plans, ensuring that this city continues to operate smoothly and without delays.

Indeed we are most fortunate that these plans are sanctioned and approved by our enlightened and wise council officials, officers and councillors who together must spend months working on the best solutions possible to assist motorists in these times.

Tailbacks were spotted all over the city due to the works. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

So, I ask all those responsible for the latest closures around the King George VI Bridge and Riverside Drive, together with the countless activities around North Esplanade West and South College Street, not to be shy but to stand up and step forward.

They can then identify themselves and receive the undoubted acclaim of the grateful Aberdeen public which I’m sure they will receive.

Mr K Anderson, Aberdeen.

Unionist fails again in research

Sir, – Putting aside his paltry attempt to sneer at and ridicule me, George Emslie (Letters, March 18) yet again demonstrates that unionists are bad at doing their research. I am not and never have been an SNP activist or a member of that party, nor am I associated with any other party.

That apart, he must explain that if not being in the EU is such a wonderful thing, how come all current 27 members took one look at the result of Brexit and decided remaining in the EU was a much smarter idea.

In fact, other countries are working hard to join and incidentally, not only do recent polls across the UK now agree with our friends in Europe but support for the EU from its own members has gone up.

They’ve learnt from our painful lesson.

I invite Mr Emslie to Google all this so he can see how ridiculous and out of step with the majority his political opinions are.

As to his “millions of illegal immigrants and the EU” being desperate to milk this “mighty nation” then I need to point out the number of allegedly illegal immigrants coming into the UK in the last year amounted to just 45,756.

Now who’s waffling, Mr Emslie?

Dick Winchester, Aberdeenshire.

Phones are for work – not TikTok

Image: Shutterstock

Sir, – I read with amazement your report about government ministers and civil servants being told to remove the TikTok app from their official phones.

Why did anyone have a social media app on their work phone in the first place?

It is unacceptable that publicly-owned equipment is being used in this way, regardless of the owners or designers of the app.

Work phones should be for work purposes – if people want to use social media they can buy their own device.

Ian Micklethwaite, Stonehaven.

Russell reveals Fawlty powers

Sir, – SNP “last man standing” Mike Russell did an excellent impersonation of “I know nothing” Manuel from Fawlty Towers on the BBC when asked about their membership meltdown, the reasons for it and why he, the party president, wasn’t informed.

Surprisingly Boris, Brexit or the pandemic weren’t blamed, only the cost-of-living crisis.

Mind you, if I had to choose between paying £12 to join the SNP, heating the house or put food on the table I’d plump for a jumbo bag of popcorn, sit back and watch the fun.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

Rot had to stop in SNP government

Sir, – Having gone through all the news regarding the present state of the SNP I am, like many thousands of others, shocked but not surprised at all as they did not have a creditable way of governing Scotland.

And with fewer than 70,000 members they are now outnumbered by all the other political parties.

With so many millions of taxpayers’ cash being spent on many dubious causes and telling lie after lie, the rot has to stop now.

It would now be more beneficial for the real people of Scotland to be governed back in Westminster and the idiotic building in Holyrood being sold off very soon as this was a building too far and a huge drain of public cash.

Gavin Elder, Peterhead.

UK won’t let £5 billion in whisky taxes go

Sir, – The budget, as usual, benefits the wealthy with tax breaks, keeping energy prices high removing £400 from the energy rebate while people can’t afford to heat their homes.

Whisky to be taxed another 10%. For a £15 bottle of whisky, if you can find one at that price, the UK treasury gets about £11 of that! Absolutely shocking, and last year alone the treasury profited roughly £5 billion from whisky. Scotland is indeed the cash cow, their magic money tree.

Image: Shutterstock

Why do you think they try so hard to keep us?

Those of us lucky enough to manage our bills are made considerably poorer, with prices for food and so on at an all-time high.

Some producers are unable to cover costs or maintain their workforce. Yes, you guessed it – Brexit. The most self-harm ever to be carried out by any government.

This Tory government gets the prize for making the UK a laughing stock around the world.

The Labour Party not laying a glove on the easiest target ever, leaning further to the right, backing Brexit.

Even if we get a change of government at next year’s election Labour will be more of the same with Sir Keir Starmer simply aping the Tories. We need independence now and a quick return to the EU. While in the EU, Scotland had protection from Westminster. The EU only ever did good for Scotland.

I can’t say the same being part of the UK.

Herbert Petrie, Dyce.

Avert your gaze – it’s live lobster

Sir, – I read with some mirth, followed by dismay, having read the Aberdeenshire Council planning committee has refused permission to the Bothy as children might run into the traffic at the harbour having been “spooked” by seeing live lobsters.

If this is the real reason for the decision, those who made it are, in my view, unfit to be involved in planning. If there was another and undisclosed reason, they are equally unfit.

Anyone who thinks councils never take into consideration other than relevant factors, sadly lives on another planet.

Let’s assume this is the real reason. It would follow that others who bring live lobsters into the harbour could not display them to any prospective purchaser if there were, or could be children who might be spooked.

Parents who bought such lobsters would need to satisfy the council the lobsters would not be displayed: after all, a child might run out of the room and cause himself or herself harm.

The children would not be allowed to watch TV programme showing live lobsters. David Attenborough, goodbye.

The Seafood Bothy in Stonehaven with owner Maria Lewis. Image: Scott Baxter

The police would have a field day getting their claws into these irresponsible parents and lobster fishermen. Really, they should be banned, thus obviating any risk.

In case readers think that this example of collective stupidity is a one-off, they should recall that some time ago, this same council wanted the Carron Fish Bar to stop using the “Deep-Fried Mars Bar” banner.

The “cogent” reason was these could be bad for one’s health. The council did not appreciate that it is not compulsory to buy a deep-fried Mars Bar, and the shop might attract visitors, not all of whom might indulge their taste buds.

Taking this a little further, if the genuine reason was health-related, it would have followed that every shop in the council area would have had to stop selling bakery goods, sweets and cigarettes. Common sense eventually dawned.

This “totally absurd” decision on the lobsters has to be challenged, if only to demonstrate the quality of the persons who make important decisions about planning matters.

Douglas J Cusine, Stonehaven.

Potholes need putting right

Sir, – When I saw the article about Aberdeenshire Council rejecting plans for the Stonehaven Seafood Bothy I had to check my calendar to ensure it was not April 1.

When I found it wasn’t I checked if Amazon Prime had decided to do a series on Aberdeenshire Council instead of Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm.

Stonehaven has been a fishing port for at least 400 years and searching through the archives I cannot find a single instance of a child “being spooked by a lobster” and falling under the wheels of a horse-drawn cart or any other form of perambulated vehicle.

A report for post-match celebration by Mackie Rugby FPs jumping off the harbour wall only to find that the tide was out and sustaining a few broken bones, but that was about it.

I can only assume that this decision not to promote a local company is made by the same council which appears for at least the last 30-plus years to have discouraged any other supermarket apart from the Co-op to have outlets in Stonehaven.

The Co-op has the monopoly by having four retail outlets – two in town and two at the top end of Stonehaven. It no wonder we shop further afield.

Is it the same council which is perfectly happy to have elderly or disabled residents living downtown walk up either the Slug Road or Arduthie Road to get to a post office since the only one is near the railway station. Is this the same council which has recently spent possibly £10,000’s resurfacing the Dunnottar Avenue footpath?

Potholes on Coningham Terrace, Tillydrone. Aberdeen. Image: Kirstie Topp/DC Thomson

Since the start of the Covid lockdown I walk to and from Dunnottar Castle on a very regular basis and I very rarely meet anyone on this footpath.

The money would have been much better spent on fixing the Stonehaven roads – for example Bath Street or the wheel-buckling, tyre-shredding potholes in the roads in and around Newtonhill.

Name and address supplied

Terrible mess verdict spot-on

Sir, – I would like to congratulate Michael Russell on his admission that “it’s all a terrible mess”.

For once I am in 100% agreement with an SNP politician. Like most voters who voted “better together” at the last referendum, I could only be persuaded to vote Yes after a period of sustained good government.

By this I mean a joined-up health and social care system that tackles prevention as well as cure, education standards to match the best in Europe, reduced child poverty and increased life expectancy, a sensible energy strategy which ensures the profits of the renewables bonanza are filling the Scottish Government coffers instead of the pockets of foreign government-owned utilities, recognition that North Sea oil and gas will have a role to play in the energy mix for years to come, and a balanced budget (and a credible approach to the currency and national debt questions).

Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf taking part in the first SNP leadership hustings in Cumbernauld. Image: Andy Buchanan /PA Wire

The continuity candidate, Humza Yousaf, has had ample opportunity to demonstrate his competence and unfortunately has failed every test.

Ash Regan may have many qualities, but the only competence demonstrated so far has been in management doublespeak.

I doubt many people will agree with Kate Forbes’s religious views, and I certainly don’t. However, she is the only SNP candidate to have demonstrated she has mastered her brief as finance minister.

It is ironic the 30,000 missing SNP members are most likely her natural socially conservative supporters. I would plead with the remaining 70,000 to vote for Kate Forbes as the only candidate who can represent all of Scotland as first minister.

(Or even better, put Mike Russell on the ballot where he could add the title “Bean Spiller in Chief” to his many other roles).

G Duncan, Stonehaven.

Five-year plan a pipe dream

Sir, – The three SNP leadership candidates agree their goal is to achieve Scottish independence within five years – exactly what you would expect them to say to rally SNP members.

SNP leadership hopefuls Humza Yousaf, Ash Regan and Kate Forbes. Image: DC Thomson

The reality is the SNP has failed to demonstrate in the last 10 years that they can govern Scotland.

They have had such a vast range of failures in devolved matters the Scottish electorate has no confidence in the SNP’s ability to govern. The truth regarding Scottish independence is that it’s a romantic dream that will never happen.

DFG, Bucksburn.