MPs’ staff must surely expect their roles to be temporary


L McGREGOR’S letter in yesterday’s National raises again the decision by the SNP to require sitting MPs to resign their seats before contesting another election, and uses the simplistic and weak logic of “what sane person gives up their job before securing another one”?

My understanding is that Joanna Cherry is a highly qualified legal person and this is her “job”, while the path she is presently on in politics is her vocation. (Protect us please from career politicians with “jobs”.) Her “job” is vastly different from, say, those of the Alexander Dennis bus makers in Falkirk.

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Laudable, admirable thoughts have been expressed for staff who may lose their jobs. My understanding is that a high proportion of people so employed expect their employment to be temporary and their employment there is at best a stepping stone in their careers.

I don’t recall it being mentioned that if she failed in her attempt at the Edinburgh seat a large number of people would be left without an MP for three months or longer in her present constituency. Short memories also seem to forget the political flak raised while Alex Salmond held two seats, including his decision to relinquish one of his salaries to appease the mob.

I would like to repeat the thought that Joanna et al presently in Westminster should be out of there anyway and come back here in whatever form where they can do more good. Surely the present number of older SNP MSPs intending to resign at the next election will open doors.

RG ClarkGorebridge

I TOO read with interest and agreement Charlie Kerr’s long letter (August 29). However, I just left it at that until I read the corresponding letter from L McGregor of Falkirk, where she asked who in their right mind gives up their current job so they can be considered for for an interview for a different one. She then went on to suggest that the SNP National Executive Committee’s decision would “not pass a grassroots vote at conference”.

This got me thinking. If the people of Scotland are sovereign then so we are as members of the SNP, as demonstrated at conference where we make decisions about motions submitted, on a show of hands and, where necessary, by a membership card vote.

This procedure indicates that even where the motions might disagree with the government representatives in attendance on the stage, conference (the membership) carries the vote, for or against. This is democracy at work.

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Therefore, can I suggest that where we seem to disagree with the NEC decision about, for example, Joanna Cherry’s wish to stand for election to the Holyrood parliament next year, all the branches to submit a joint motion to the autumn conference condemning the NEC’s decision and seeking to change it?

This would allow as many SNP MPs who want to seek a change of employer within the Holyrood parliament. Especially where we currently have 13 of our most experienced and, in the main, senior MSPs who are due to retire at the end of this parliamentary term.

We do have some excellent players in Westminster who might be considered, if they so wished, as possible replacements for the SNP vacant constituencies.

Alan Magnus-BennettFife

THE recent publication of this year’s GERS figures (estimates of Scotland’s financial position within the UK) has prompted the ritual round of claims that the figures show how Scotland could not possibly afford to be independent.

Leaving aside the fact that these figures show how Scotland’s finances are faring whilst we are part of the UK and not how they might fare if we were independent, they give some people an excuse to claim Scotland has a financial deficit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The devolution settlement that established the Scottish Parliament expressly provided that the Scottish Government was not allowed to spend more that it receives from Westminster. (It has since been granted very limited borrowing powers.) Thus the Scottish Government is prohibited by law to run a deficit and in fact has run surpluses for many years.

The figure that is often mentioned for “Scotland’s deficit” is really Scotland’s notional population share of the United Kingdom’s deficit, to which Scotland has contributed not a penny. It is Westminster’s deficit – not Holyrood’s.

Peter SwainDunbar

IF Scotland is such a drain on rUK, why not let us go? Is there something they do not want to lose? It can’t be the midges or our Scotch mist, so maybe it is our abundant natural resources, our high-quality food and drink, our teeming fishing areas, our successful innovation and tech sector, our natural tourist destinations, our high animal welfare standards etc, etc. I could go on.

Joanna McKenzieBridge of Earn

I’VE decided to share with you all what GERS stands for: Grotesquely Exaggerated Repressive Skulduggery. Nothing more, nothing less.

Steve CunninghamAberdeen

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