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Readers’ letters: First Minister Humza Yousaf, Aberdeen City Council’s budget and Boris Johnson

In today's letters, our readers discuss First Minister Humza Yousaf, Aberdeen City Council's budget and Boris Johnson's Covid controversy.

Humza Yousaf with the Great Seal of Scotland after being sworn in as First Minister of Scotland at the Court of Session, Edinburgh. Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Humza Yousaf with the Great Seal of Scotland after being sworn in as First Minister of Scotland at the Court of Session, Edinburgh. Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Sir, – As I predicted the leader of the SNP has stepped into the first minister position.

I predicted this knowing the other main parties would not mount a proper challenge to his election.

I would like to have been wrong and was ever hopeful that the others in the assembly would, for the sake of Scotland, form an alliance and vote as one against the election of the SNP leader for the post of first minister.

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the rest are not interested in the wellbeing of Scotland and are quite happy to see us slide even deeper into the mire.

Because if you think things will change under “Useless Yousaf” then think again.

Listening to him after he was confirmed as the new leader was like hearing the ex-FM spouting off about her policy legacy.

We can expect the Green Party to continue strutting their stuff and the tail wagging the dog, because the new FM will not consider putting them where they belong – in the brown bin. He is not strong enough to run a minority party.

The 40,000 out of the 72,000 SNP card holders who voted have missed the boat by not electing a candidate who puts Scotland first.

Kate Forbes would have put real effort into solving the mess left by Mr and Mrs Murrell, because she realises something that the previous leaders of the SNP never did.

If she could demonstrate to the people of Scotland that the SNP are capable of successfully running the country then many more would look at the idea of an independent Scotland.

Finlay G Mackintosh, Forres.

Libraries are vital parts of the city

Sir, – I was disgusted and dismayed by Councillor Hazel Cameron’s comments in the Town House this week that “a building will not teach your children to read” as she voted to close six libraries in the city.

Aside from the councillor’s contempt for the communities who are set to lose their local services, her statement is not based upon any evidence whatsoever.

It is like saying of hospitals “a building will not save your life”. It is a preposterous statement.

Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Countless studies show that there is a significant link between reading for enjoyment and educational achievement. Indeed, according to evidence compiled by IFLA, an increase of 10 library workers per 100,000 population equates to an increase of an extra 1,000 people reading.

Clearly, the provision of library services requires space to deliver them, and consistency, availability and continuity of service is key to realising the benefits.

Aberdeen already suffers from one of the lowest library provisions in the country.

Further than this, though, libraries have been increasingly providing services well beyond education. Across the city, and Scotland, these services include community groups, advice surgeries, meeting places and so on.

The – now former – first minister said of libraries “they provide vital access to learning materials and resources, helping to improve literacy and tackle the attainment gap”.

She was right.

Aberdeen could do with more brilliant librarians. It appears the Town House cannot teach the partnership how to lead.

Barry Black, Education postgraduate researcher, University of Glasgow, Aberdeen.

Shame on 30% of SNP members

Sir, – Shame on them, the 30% of SNP members who didn’t think it necessary to vote in the recent leadership contest to elect a successor to Nicola Sturgeon to become the first minister of our country.

Was it because, like unionist supporters, they considered the three candidates unworthy of being elected to high office?

So if chaos emerges will they feel the satisfaction of being blameless?

Humza Yousaf says he felt like “the luckiest man in the world” following his victory, and with that I agree. Lucky to be around at a time when the dearth of talent in the chamber of Holyrood is eye- watering.

Alex Salmond, for all his faults, did have a touch of charisma that set him apart from the hand clappers and head nodders who comprise the bulk of our elected representatives.

Where are the modern- day Scots, the equivalents of Blair and Brown, who in a grander chamber, by vision and dynamism transformed a party stuck in outdated ideology into a vehicle that was electable by the masses?

Humza Yousaf speaking at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, after it was announced that he is the new Scottish National Party leader, and will become the next First Minister of Scotland. Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The former SNP leader at Westminster says we will be pleasantly surprised by Yousaf’s leadership, and for our country’s sake I wish the new first minister success.

Success concentrating on issues affecting our everyday lives; in building a strong and viable economic platform that may convince the undecided to vote for independence at some future date. That date, due to the shenanigans at the heart of the party, now pushed back a generation.

For the leaders of parties who favour the union, if substantial progress is not made towards breaking the nationalist stranglehold during a time of maximum vulnerability, they will fully justify the belief that their futures lie elsewhere.

Ivan W. Reid, Laurencekirk.

As Private Frazer said, we’re doomed

Sir, – If devolution was evolution, we now need revolution – or else – in the words of Private Frazer: “We are all doomed” to political mediocrity.

Angus Jacobsen, Inverbervie.

No interest in governing well

Sir, – So now we have a new first minister, elected by a vote smaller than the population of our most northerly mainland county, Caithness.

A county, incidentally, not considered large enough to have its own MSP. The post has to be shared with the neighbouring counties of Sutherland and Ross.

In addition, his government will be propped up by a party (the Greens) whose constituency vote of around 35,000 at the last Holyrood election was less than the combined population of Caithness and Sutherland who, as mentioned, are not thought important enough to have their own MSP.

Not only has he been elected by a pitifully small electorate but, according to a recent poll, his popularity stands at -20% with the population as a whole.

Surely even the most ardent SNP supporter can see this is not democracy?

I would suggest, in addition to abolishing the House of Lords and considering further regional devolution, that Keir Starmer, if elected as prime minister, needs to look again at the voting system set out in the Scotland Act of 1998.

The system, intended to broaden representation, has actually been hijacked by single issue campaign groups such as the SNP and Greens with no interest in good governance of the country as a whole.

That’s certainly not what I expected when I voted for it.

A Mackay, Stonehaven.

Where has all our cash gone?

Bob Keiller on Union Street. Image: Our Union Street

Sir, – I refer to your front page piece regarding the need to clean properties in Union Street put forward by a retired oil executive in the city.

May I suggest that in this cost-of-living crisis your author of the piece should be banging on the doors of Marischal College and demanding answers to the questions everyone is asking. Where has all the money gone in council tax over the last 30 years at least, that as a city we find ourselves in this pathetic state of affairs?

Over this period of time, money has been wasted on vanity projects, trips overseas which have produced nothing and looking to Russia for a portrait that could have been done in an artist’s studio in King Street.

In my opinion council taxpayers have been taken for granted. Take a walk along Union Street – the evidence is there for all to see.

James Noel, Leggart Terrace, Aberdeen.

Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Johnson is unfit to be in UK politics


Sir, – I watched part of the MPs’ inquiry into Boris Johnson to determine whether he lied to the House of Commons over the Covid breaches and to determine his political future.

He readily admits that the rules were broken with the boozy parties at No 10 while he was there but claims he wasn’t advised accordingly by his aides.

Considering he made the public announcements of the lockdown rules, he is guilty as charged and should be considered as unfit to continue in UK politics.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen.