Readers' Letters: End travesty of rich dictating fortunes of poor

I write this a week before Christmas because it is time the situation of Rich vs Poor changed!

Why is much of the population being dictated to by obscenely rich people who don’t know, never mind care, about poverty, homelessness and starving families? Does Rishi Sunak have to queue for the foodbank to make sure his kids get fed? Do other MPs, paid ridiculous amounts, starve themselves to make sure their kids eat? What do they and other rich people who parade about in designer clothes know about having to use clothes banks or rely on charity shops to buy clothes?

Nothing, yet they are still allowing millions of human beings to live on or below the poverty line. These people are afraid to put lights on or the cooker on or heating on because they can’t afford the extortionate bills. While the payments being given to help in this Cost of Living Crisis are very welcome, the amounts and when they get paid are dictated by the rich government.

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It is time this travesty ended. Instead of the rich dictating if we can eat or have a warm home they should be forced to give a large amount of their millions to those who need it, instead of putting cash into offshore accounts, property, flash cars etc. How many must starve, even die, while those with money ignore their needs and laugh? The problem is not lack of money, it is mismanagement on a huge scale of the money there so obviously is plenty of... if you are rich!

For thousands of people across the UK, foodbanks are the only thing ensuring they get a meal (Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images)For thousands of people across the UK, foodbanks are the only thing ensuring they get a meal (Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images)
For thousands of people across the UK, foodbanks are the only thing ensuring they get a meal (Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Bronwyn Matthew, Prestonpans, East Lothian

Democratic deficit

The SNP is to hold a “Democracy Scotland” conference next March. It will not be about democracy at all, but, according to Nicola Sturgeon, it will discuss “the way forward to secure independence”. I imagine everyone is mightily surprised by that. The problem is that the misnomer goes further than to misuse the word “democracy”. The term “Democracy Scotland” conflates the SNP’s obsession with Scotland itself. If this were a genuinely national project, the conference would not be restricted to one party.

In any case it all seems highly hypocritical. In 2014, Scotland held its largest ever exercise in democracy with a referendum that attracted an 85 per cent turnout. The document validating this event was signed by both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. It stated that all parties to it would respect the result of the referendum. The SNP has not done this, having constantly campaigned to overturn it since 2014.

I await answers to the questions: which European sovereign country permits its regions to secede? Which democracies hold repeated referendums on the same major constitutional issue every few years?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Family friendly

I am not keen on Independence partly due to the economic case not stacking up. But it is far more than that. I don't want to be in a foreign country separate from my friends and family in England, needing a passport to cross the border and having customs posts at all the main roads. It would be the same going on holiday to Wales and Northern Ireland. That will all be necessary as Nicola Sturgeon is determined to get Scotland back into Europe.

Jack Watt, St Ola, Orkney

Bottling it

I am somewhat bemused by the difficulties the Scottish Government is encountering in its attempt to set up a Deposit Return Scheme.As a youngster in the 1930s I was sometimes given the task of “going a message” for others in our tenement, especially the old lady in the top flat. My reward was usually a delicious roll spread with treacle (no worries about sugar or calories then) and often an empty “ginger” bottle which I took to the local corner shop and for which I received a copper or two. The man who made the next delivery of drinks to the shop took away the crates of empties and, I suppose, the retailer received suitable recompense in his next invoice – all without any need for the government to be involved as far as I know.Of course, there weren’t the ubiquitous drinks cans or plastic bottles then, but even so why can it not be left to the trade to organise the details?

S Beck, Edinburgh

Sea Lion II?

I am at a loss to work out just how Britain and France, two major Nato powers, seem incapable of stemming the flow of refugees crossing the English Channel. They arrive on a daily basis for well over a year now and no end seems in sight.

If only Hitler, instead of taking on the legendary defensive power of the RAF, had used the small boats technique the Second World War might well have had a different outcome.

Hugh T Grant, Inverness

Free society?

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Alex Orr resorts to misleading or questionable statements when defending SNP policies (Letters, 17 December).Boasting that council tax is lower here than down south rings hollow indeed when considering a £1.2 billion black hole in local authority budgets and savage cuts to their services predicted by Cosla, thanks to the ruling party’s myopic spending decisions.We are told that “most Scottish taxpayers pay less income tax than their English neighbours”. Could this possibly be due to the fact that we generally earn less? The full-time average annual salary here is £31,605 compared to £38,131 in England and £35,100 in Wales, with Northern Ireland just behind us on £30,000.Predictably, Alex Orr trumpets “better funded public services” and lists freebies such as bus passes, prescriptions and tuition fees; it can only be hoped that the public services referred to do not include education, transport or cash-strapped Police Scotland since its disastrous reorganisation.As for free university tuition, this high-profile virtue signalling is only possible because our third level institutions must rely on students from UK and overseas to subsidise it, putting an effective limit on numbers of Scots who can graduate in their own country. The number of Scottish students unsuccessful at gaining a place on degree courses here has doubled since 2008, a trend that Universities Scotland predicts will increase.After years of misrule by First Ministers Salmond and Sturgeon, our growth rate lags behind that of England at 3.6 per cent compared to 4.2 and is forecast to contract next year.Last week’s budget, produced by a devolved administration focused on creating political and economic instability, further damages business confidence and deters inward investment. With our ageing population and diminishing tax base, the entitlement “something for nothing” culture defended by Alex Orr is simply unaffordable and unsustainable.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Landlords’ lament

I read with interest “Half homes fail energy target” in yesterday’s Scotsman. A holiday home I had upgraded failed to meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards for Highland Council required by 31 March 2022 to enable us to be landlords for a long term rent. I managed to beat the deadline by replacing the boiler to a Condensing boiler and so raised my EPC rating from F to E.

As said in the article, 56 per cent of properties do not have sufficient insulation to qualify. There is simply no way old stone-built properties can match the EPC level of band C without major expenditure. I can see many landlords calling it a day in 2028 when all properties have to reach band C.

Michael Baird, Bonar Bridge, Highland

Queer state

Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network says that the rival LGB Alliance does not speak for him (Letters, 18 December 2022). Irony, much?Of all the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and others I've known or spoken to over the years, I've yet to encounter one – outside of those working within the “rainbow rights” industry itself – whose view of today's advocacy groups and “queer quangos” weren’t unprintable in a family newspaper, all feeling they merely exist now to perpetuate lives of Riley on government grants for career truculent folk.It reminds one of the old story about Marc Almond OBE being asked aggressively by fellow pop star Jimmy Somerville when he was going to do something positive for gay rights, to which he retorted, “Well I could start by strangling you!”

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire


The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is over and hundreds of thousands of fans and footballers go home. Tens of thousands of additional greenhouse gases were created. Qatar has the world's third-largest proven natural gas reserves and oil and gas account for more than 70 per cent of total government revenue.

It is therefore surprising that not one single demonstrator from Extinction Rebellion, Tyre Extinguishers, Affordable Energy, Insulate Britain, Just Stop Oil, Animal Rebellion, The Fridays for Future Movement, Last Generation, Scientist Rebellion and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland glued or chained themselves to the stadium or threw paint on buildings. Eco-warriors? No, they are all eco-cowards.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Card sharp

I must thank Jim C Wilson for making me smile with his recent letter (“Better than none”, 15 December). I can empathise with the Christmas card senders, as I’ve reached a stage in life where I sometimes repeat things I’ve already told my patient husband.

Let me give a word of advice to anyone who has the same problem – don’t get defensive when you’re reminded of your repetition, just laugh, and spend the next few hours waiting for an opportunity to point out a similar error made by your spouse. Do remember to tell them that you’re just trying to help.

Carolyn Taylor, Broughty Ferry, Dundee

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