Time only moves forward, and all knowledge comes from what has gone before, so John Lloyd's
'facts...about the future' cannot exist (17 April). We can all only speculate about the future. Interestingly, the direction of his argument appears to suggest that if Scotland were currently an independent country then it would have to have a smaller fiscal deficit than some of those projected from GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures, simply to exist. On that point I think we could both agree.
The Barnett Formula per capita difference he refers to as being of so much benefit to Scotland at present, is entirely funded by UK government borrowing, and is also diminishing over time. Furthermore, it could be removed at the stroke of a pen by our all-powerful, sovereign parliament at Westminster. That parliament's current government has a prime minister who continues to insist a no deal Brexit is a viable outcome, and a former foreign secretary (and favourite to replace her) who, in the same context said 'f**k business'. Anything could happen.
The leaders of both main UK parties appear to be pro-Brexit, but that view, like many expressed in the UK parliament is, at best, adolescent. It not only seems ill-informed, but irresponsible, and no robust evidence has been produced that suggests Brexit could be beneficial. Mr Lloyd rightly points out that Scotland needs to remain in a single market with England, but likewise, the England-dominated UK must have that same access to the EU market on its doorstep. For a large country like England, the political reality is that to retain such access it must also remain a full member of the EU.
The biggest challenge the SNP has is creating a vision of Scotland's future in which most folk here want to participate. The party has become too comfortable within Establishment Scotland, and many of our institutions leave much to be desired. A dominant public sector does not necessarily use its resources efficiently or wield its influence wisely, and there is undoubtedly a lack of effective scrutiny or accountability. Too much of the orthodoxy that continues to prevail in Scottish governance at all levels stems from our being a subsidiary part of an authoritarian, centralised and backward-looking UK.
Dr Bruce Scott
(10 April) obviously feels very strongly that there is some sort of cult of specialist psychologists encouraging the use of reporting 'adverse childhood experiences' as, he suggests, a way of spying on parents and subjecting them to forced interventions into their style of parenting. I assume, maybe wrongly, that Dr Bruce has not suffered 'ACEs' in his own childhood. I have, so I'd like to comment from another angle.
My parents were appalling – if parenting was a job they would have been sacked for gross misconduct. Latterly, after years of (literally) throwing things at each other, in the 1970s my mother developed multiple sclerosis and became doubly incontinent as well as developing a number of 'mental health challenges' as it would be termed today. As the only daughter, I was expected to be the main carer, as well as studying for A Levels. No-one helped me – I guess then it was just expected that people would cope. Superficially I did – I went on to university after my mother died, and successfully graduated, but probably never fulfilled my potential due to several physical and mental health problems which plagued me ever since. I now think I was suffering from a mild form of post traumatic stress.
I would be unwilling to see myself as a victim, but looking back I would have quite liked some official person to have intervened in my totally dysfunctional childhood and got me the help that would have changed my life then and in future. Perhaps there is a fine line between intervention and totalitarianism, and maybe the 'ACE' movement is something of a flavour of the month fad, but I would like to know what alternative arrangements Dr Scott thinks would successfully protect children from the effects of traumatic childhoods now and in future.
Dr Mary Brown
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