THE constant attacks on the Scottish NHS by the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour and their heaping of blame on the SNP government are invariably presented in a context-free void.

Healthcare systems across Europe are all struggling in the wake of Covid, but none more so than those of England and Wales. All the above anti-SNP organisations never compare the Scottish NHS with its English counterparts. Sadly, but understandably, The National rarely does this either because it is focused on Scottish affairs.

I know it’s not usual for a newspaper to advise its readers to go to a rival publication for information, but if you want to see how truly dreadful the English experience is, I suggest you dip into The Guardian online from time to time. Being an Anglo-centric paper, it covers this on an almost daily basis.

The stories of the collapse of the service and creeping privatisation are enlightening, but more shocking are the below-the-line comments illustrating how our southern neighbours are experiencing hell on earth when trying to access GPs, waiting for ambulances, queuing for A&E or waiting years for appointments.

On almost every metric, the English NHS is in a far, far worse state than its Scottish equivalent. And its staff are enduring conditions (and pay) poorer than the worst of the Scottish system – and taking strike action which has been averted in Scotland. Yet the Tories are trying to convince us that we should adopt this broken model!

I hope that the next time (and ever hereafter) that D Ross and Kerr trot out their dismal diatribes against the Scottish NHS, Michael Matheson and Humza Yousaf will retort with comparisons rather than simply saying that record resources are being assigned to our NHS.

David White

ALEX Salmond is correct to assert that the SNP are now holding the cause of independence back.

Twenty years ago we would often tell activists to focus on Labour’s failures and the SNPs solutions on the doorstep, as the SNP were more popular than support for independence. When the SNP got into government it was certainly the case that support for the SNP was much higher than support for independence, so back then a gradualist approach made sense as the more we focused on delivering services competently, the more popular government would lead to support increasing for independence. Of course, Labour Peer George Foulkes once famously said that services were being run better in Scotland and that Alex Salmond was doing it on purpose to increase support for independence!

However, the polls out at the weekend show that support for independence remains on a knife-edge at nearly 50/50 but support for the SNP is at 37% and falling. The SNP need to realise that perhaps they should stop kicking independence into the long grass but instead spend more time focusing on it.

If they don’t then, I would warn them that “continuity won’t cut it” won’t just be a slogan but rather it’ll be the chapter in the history books that marks when the SNP went the same way as the Irish Parliamentary Party, who held three-quarters of all the Irish seats in the House of Commons between 1885 and 1918 but in the space of one election were completed routed by a new party that made independence a priority, leaving them with only six out of 105 seats and disbanding four years later.

Margaret Keogh

I ENJOY reading all of the expert opinion predicting the end of Scottish nationalism. The reaction to a dip in the polls by the Unionist press and the usual suspects within the movement is all too predictable.

What I see is the Scottish Government doing a better job in the problem areas with one hand tied behind their back by the Treasury and the Westminster government and opposition for opposition’s sake by the two dominant parties in England. There is going to be a General Election in the next 18 months. Are Scottish socialists going to vote Labour? Are the Conservatives doing a good job for anyone except the very rich?

Our road to independence should follow the Irish example (without the violence). We need to ensure that enough independence-supporting MPs are elected to hold the balance of power in Westminster. Then we must ensure that government cannot function until we are given the power to hold a referendum. If this cannot be achieved, I fear the road to independence will be a long one.

Colin Harvey

PLEASE can we spell out in BIG BOLD LETTERS what an independent Scotland would look like and how it would differ from being part of a failed Union.

Ross and Sarwar are puppets and will have their strings firmly pulled by Westminster, resulting in Scotland playing second fiddle all day long and getting a battle ship to build every 10 years to appease the natives. SPELL IT OUT.

Ross McLean
via email