And brace yourselves, folks, for the banquet of devastating consequences to Scotland’s economy, social/cultural life and international soft power that are headed our way and becoming more clearly visible to us each day.
Naturally the architects of this insanity are either long gone (Cameron, Corbyn, Farage etc), or are in the process of sloping off elsewhere (Frost) or are comfortably protected by their largely offshore/EU-based wealth. There’s no evidence of the “union-benefit” much favoured by north-Britons like Gordon Brown to see here for us ordinary Scots, or of the “pooling and sharing” and the UK’s “broad shoulders”.
Leaving aside Australia, the UK currently has “nae mates” internationally. The US has more important matters to deal with than a trade deal with tedious isolated little Britain and trade/relations with our important European neighbours and friends are, unsurprisingly, at a historic low. In Ireland the economic benefits of NI remaining in the EU single market are clear to most and reunification of the island is now a real prospect in a few short years.
Fortunately, for the majority of Scots who wish to live in a progressive, prosperous and connected Scotland, Brexit is not irreversible and the UK is not permanent; there is a positive alternative on offer for us and our families in a confident and independent Scotland. The direction of travel is clear; looking forward to 2022 already.
D Jamieson, Dunbar, East Lothian
All rather taxing
How do I tax thee? Let me count the ways: there’s income tax and National Insurance contributions, which come directly out of salaries, hotly followed in April by the Health and Social Care tax.
There is Value Added Tax, a tax on goods and services, less obvious along with Capital Gains Tax, which gives the Treasury a slice of any profits made from selling property or belongings and Inheritance Tax.
There’s excise duties, a tax on petrol, tobacco and alcohol; the graduate tax of student loan repayments; Stamp Duty, a tax on buying houses or shares; and Air Passenger Duty. Rising council tax rates seem the least of our personal contribution to the wealth of the nation.If you run a business, there are business rates, employers’ contributions to NI and HSC and Corporation Tax on top of VAT.Confused? The UK taxation system is complicated and expensive to run. It doesn’t stimulate the economy. It punishes the poor who pay a far greater proportion of their income in taxes than the wealthy.
And there is a myth that the Conservative Party is a low tax party, which their own backbenchers are beginning to question.
Frances Scott, Edinburgh
Derek Farmer (Letters, 29 December) has forgotten that the Scottish Government has been more helpful to small businesses, including the hospitality sector, than their English counterparts. In Scotland they can access up to £8,600 in assistance compared to £8,000 down south, plus, the Scottish Business Ventilation Fund allows them to claim back £2,500 on improving air quality in their premises. Also, the 100 per cent business rates relief for hospitality, retails and leisure businesses will continue until March 2022 in Scotland, whereas businesses in the rest of UK have had to pay part of their business rates since July.
As for “SNP insistence on Scots difference is harmful”, if we had slavishly followed the UK government we would not have the lowest rates of infection, the highest vaccination rates and fewer deaths per head of population than the rest of the UK.
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh
What a year
What a year it has been! How many millions have been “donated” to lawyers by our Scottish Government in failed court cases? How many millions poured down the drain for ships that never sailed?
How many “challenges” has our First Minister created? How many empty words about a referendum?
How many poison arrows hurtled at Westminster to distract from failures on our own doorstep?
How much has the ordinary punter handed over to pay the inflated wages of footballers so they can celebrate with un-social distancing enthusiasm then complain when Covid grips their club and income is threatened?
What a year – it may go down in history, unless 2022 tops it!
James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian
Deputy First Minister John Swinney warns against Scots travelling across the jurisdictional border to see in the New Year.
Covid infection rates in West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, West Lothian and Edinburgh are significantly higher than in all northerly English counties.
Swinney is keen to suggest that celebrating Scots will bring back infection from England to their home towns and cities – but surely the reality is that Scots will take the virus to England post-Hogmanay, and so should stay home to protect the English?
Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire
The dramatic rise in prices being paid for land in Scotland in general and the Highlands in particular (your report, 24 December) has less to do with timber production than the excessively high level of grants being made available by the current Holyrood administration to further their land nationalisation programme – funding more usefully channelled into the NHS at the moment.
Iain Thornber, Oban, Argyll
Let’s get serious
“Is the UK irredeemable?” asks Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael (Perspective, 28 December). Well, it might be more secure if the three opposition parties considered an electoral pact to maximise their combined majority anti-independence vote; at least Tory Douglas Ross made the effort to do just that before the May Holyrood election.Labour’s Anas Sarwar responded with outright rejection, and the Lib Dems’ Willie Rennie seemed more interested in promoting his “I don’t take myself too seriously” image by frolicking about on bouncy castles and trampolines. “He never phoned me” wailed Willie when it was all too late. Well Willie, he never phoned me either so how did I know about it?
Come on chaps, pride comes before a fall. Swallow that pride and get as serious about saving the Union as those determined to break it up.
Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife
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