YESTERDAY’S front page in The National (Shambles as Kez suspends north east councillors, The National, May 18) firmly nailed the chaos that the Labour Party in Scotland finds itself in. This disgraceful decision by the nine Labour councillors in Aberdeen to ignore their Scottish party leader and continue with their coalition with the Tories, a party that is, or should be, at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Labour defies believe.

I am sure the thousands of people who voted for these nine Labour councillors, wherever they were placed on the ballot paper, must question their commitment to their party. The honourable decision now would be for the “Aberdeen nine” to resign and stand again as independents.

Hector Maclean

THE debacle in Aberdeen where the Red Tories have joined with the Blue Tories to form an administration while the Kezia Dugdale shouts from the sidelines has exposed Scottish Labour for what it is, a powerless, policy-less branch of Westminster Labour.

Labour are now fighting the General Election on a manifesto containing commitments already introduced by the SNP in Scotland, and some still in the pipeline, while Scottish Labour are reluctant to join with the SNP to help deliver these policies locally.

We are witnessing a strange phenomena in Scotland where the UK Labour Party, that has so often voted with the Tories in Westminster opposing almost everything that the SNP proposed, is canvassing on a manifesto that contains much of what the SNP has done or proposes to do in Scotland.

It appears that many newly elected Labour councillors prefer the Tory manifesto to their own, even to the extent of accepting their removal from the party whose supporters voted for them only a fortnight ago.

A week into power broking negotiations following the local elections Labour councillors discover that bad SNP policies are now good Labour policies, no wonder that confusion reigns in the ranks.

In their confusing they appear to have observed Scottish Labour’s opposition to everything SNP in Holyrood and UK Labour’s regular support of the Tories at Westminster and decided that the best course of action for them is to cooperate with the Tories at local level too.

Kezia Dugdale is left apparently powerless in the middle, forced to support policies coming from party headquarters that she has recently opposed while trying to control her councillors, elected on former Labour policies.

No doubt some way of papering over the cracks will be found, Labour will continue in open coalition with Tories in Scotland and, as far as Scotland is concerned, behind the scenes coalition with the Tories at Westminster.

We will have to wait until the June 9 to see what the Scottish electorate makes of the situation.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

YOU reported that Labour has suspended nine members in Aberdeen in what appears to be a clear case of Vote Labour Get Tory.

And at the same time, the Tories have suspended two new councillors, in what appears to be a case of Vote Tory and get councillors who (allegedly) make and send bigoted and racist comments.

You further remind us that Vote LibDem and you get bowing down to the Tory big brother and all that brought over five years: bedroom tax, abandoning the promise to abolish university fees, and more.

Could we just be clear then that at least we have one who’s getting on with the job of running the country.

So perhaps we, the electorate, could put the bins out... filled with the two very weak, inefficient opposition parties and the other one, more determined than ever to deny us self determination and railroad us with a hard Brexit, no plan B, and a plethora of policies that will bring even more hardship.

Selma Rahman Edinburgh IT WAS intriguing to see Labour has suspended nine councillors after they agreed a coalition deal with the Conservatives on Aberdeen City Council.

The Labour group signed a deal, forming an administration with the Conservatives and independents, allowing them to out-vote the SNP, the biggest party.

This was only for those Labour councillors then to be suspended by the party, a true “coalition of chaos”.

The rationale is that according to the Labour Party a deal cannot be done with the Tories as it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities. However, up until three weeks ago Labour was in coalition with the Conservatives and three independent councillors in Aberdeen.

Indeed, Labour was in coalition with the Tories in a number of councils across Scotland, including East Lothian, Falkirk, East Dunbartonshire, South Ayrshire and Stirling.

Dare I say, it is more than a little hypocritical for Labour to have been in bed with the Tories in town halls until a matter of weeks ago, imposing cuts on communities, and then cynically perform a dramatic U-turn, coincidentally only days before a General Election.

Alex Orr

THE landed classes now say foxhunting is to rid the countryside of a pest: but is it still a sport?

Hare coursing is not a sport but in order for travelling people to eat. They live off the land but don’t own it.


Drugs policy should never be about money

THE LIBERAL Democrat election manifesto contains some good ideas, but their proposal to legalise cannabis is a bad one.

It has been largely sold, as Andrew Learmonth writes (The National, May 18), as a “money spinner” for the Exchequer. This should be troubling for those who believe our laws should be written according to political, ethical and scientific principles, rather than subordinated to the the market. Public health policy should have nothing to do with the profit motive.

The LibDems’ signature issue of the last several years has been mental health and yet, they want to make access to cannabis a whole lot easier. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, cannabis is addictive and “regular use” doubles the risk of “developing a psychotic episode or long-term schizophrenia”. Research proves a “clear link” between cannabis and serious mental illness, including depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Long-term use can cause “cognitive deficits” which are “irreversible”.

Legalising cannabis for non-medical purposes will deepen our mental health crisis and line the pockets of big business, so I am pleased the SNP has ruled it out.

David Kelly