Alexander grates

Douglas Alexander (Perspective, 23 April) may have a constituency in Scotland but he has not “worked” in Scotland since 2001. During those 13 years he has held a number of high-profile Cabinet and shadow cabinet positions at Westminster.

Mr Alexander expresses “outrage that a million people are now having to use food banks”, some in his own Paisley constituency. 

Perhaps he should be more concerned about what the last Labour government, in which he was a prominent figure, were, or more pertinently were not, doing to bring about this calamitous state of affairs. Both he and Gordon Brown (also spouting parsimony in The Scotsman yesterday) have a lot to answer for.

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Pensioners in poverty, food banks, benefit cuts to the most needy, all a legacy of the criminal handling of the economy, and the whole country, under Labour

These inequalities have not just occurred because there is a Tory government at Westminster now, although it has since added to the woes of the poorest in society in Scotland. And Mr Alexander still has the gall to ask people to vote No in the referendum – for more of the same? 

C Murphy

The Glebe

West Calder, West Lothian

DOUGLAS Alexander makes a positive appeal to vote No and support solidarity with the pillars of an egalitarianism which used to be the centre of Old
Labour values.

For many of us, myself included, who used to be members of the Labour Party, it is the departure from these values under New Labour that persuade us that Scotland must produce a different society and can only do so with independence. Even forgetting the Blair years, the present Labour Party has hardly committed itself to overturn many of the coalition policies that punish the poor, only pledging at the last minute to scrap the bedroom tax.

The policy of selling off public assets and the disaster of its Private Finance Initiatives were hardly slowed by the last Labour government and anyone who cherishes the idea that a future Labour government would rid us of a wasteful and dangerous nuclear armoury on the Clyde should consult Lord Robertson.

Only with a chance to shape our country around the ideals expressed in the Kirk’s Common Weal will we perhaps see a more just society, in which a Scottish Labour Party can hopefully take full part. With even “work in progress” we can indeed show solidarity with our neighbours, but as equals.

We should beware of claiming too much for the Scottish Enlightenment, as Mr Alexander does. Francis Hutchison was against slavery but only if “no public interest requires it”. Lord Kames in the case of Knight v Wedderburn in 1778, that ended slavery in Scotland, voted for the Jamaican’s freedom with the words “slavery is a forced state. We are all naturally equal”.

(Rev Dr) Iain Whyte

Carlingnose Point

North Queensferry, Fife