Focus on anthem a wasteful distraction

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It is both intriguing and disappointing to note so much of the news leading on the fact that Jeremy Corbyn did not sing the national anthem at the Battle of Britain Remembrance ceremony.

This was on the same day that the Conservatives pushed through a vote in the Commons in favour of lowering the earnings level above which tax credits are withdrawn, impacting on nearly half of all families in Scotland.

Around half the people in poverty in Scotland live in working households, a worse situation than in the UK as a whole, with tax credits going some way to alleviate this.

While more than 500,000 children in Scotland benefit from tax credits, seven in ten Scottish households who receive them are working households, with 90 per 
cent of expenditure on tax credits going to households with an income of less than £20,000.

It is estimated that a 10 per cent cut in child tax credit will cost Scottish families £150 million a year, while a 10 per cent cut in all tax credits would leave households £250m worse off.

The UK Government’s cut in tax credits will hit Scotland’s poorest children and families hard, a frightening indication of the potential impact of the proposed £12 billion in welfare cuts.

If the media mirrors society, it is indeed a sad situation we are in which sees Mr Corbyn’s non-singing of the national anthem dominate while many thousands of Scottish children are destined to be driven into, or even further into, poverty.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh

As an atheist and republican, I’ve sent my congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn for not singing the national anthem, a dull prayer to God on behalf of the monarch.

It is refreshing to see a party leader taking a principled stance.

He expressed his respect on this occasion by his presence and by standing. I also stand in silence at any religious funeral.

In fact, there is a better objection: that is that no one in a free country should be forced to say (or sing) anything with which they disagree.

The UK needs a new anthem that is about this country, not its monarch.

Steuart Campbell

Dovecot Loan

Edinburgh

Jeremy Corbyn is a man of principles, there is no doubt.

However, I strongly believe his position now as Opposition Leader of Her Majesty’s Government is going to have to see him slowly but surely lessen his strong stance on issues a little – he should have joined in the singing of the national anthem.

Personally for me, his shirt and tie not being done up was – given the significance of the occasion – a tad disrespectful too.

He can be as casual as he likes for 90 per cent of the time, but there are occasions when we all need to show a certain degree of reverence.

Judi Martin

Maryculter

Aberdeenshire