Readers' Letters: Scotland is crying out for love and attention
I am positive that there is a large majority in Scotland who are fed up with the policies being pursued and imposed on Scotland by the UK Government despite the lack of voting support here. This has been going on increasingly since the Thatcher era when so many damaging decisions were taken as Government opted to govern with money, greed and profit uppermost rather than policies to benefit the people and the country. That is why the Independence movement is so strong. Scotland wants to move in a different direction.I am ashamed of our country. It is crying out for love and attention. The crises that are present today can all be traced back to bad policy decisions of the 1980s. There was an abdication of Government responsibility in favour of privatisation, so now there is an energy crisis (loss of state-owned companies), a social housing crisis (forced sale of council houses), poor public transport (rail privatisation), no oil fund ( unlike Norway), and also river pollution in England where the water companies were privatised. And now, of course, there is Brexit. The continual policy of low taxes/small state stimulates greed, self interest and widens dramatically the gap between rich and poor.I love my country but feel the only way to change direction is by Independence. We’ve tried voting differently but the UK Government refuses to accept our different outlook.
Peter D Cheyne, Barbaraville, Ross-shire
Poor health secretary Humza Yousaf wails that “We have no more money” to pay NHS wage demands. How tragic. Maybe his government shouldn’t have blown hundreds of millions on free bus passes, baby boxes, fake embassies, an unwanted referendum or ferries that don’t sail anywhere.What a pity that his boss, the First Minister, gave away £5 million of our cash at Sharm El Sheikh last week during her latest virtue-signalling spree.And perhaps the SNP ought to have thought twice before immediately caving in when other trade unions took industrial action a few months ago.Despite years of fiscal irresponsibility, the Scottish Government yet again demands more funding from wicked Westminster to bail itself out of the mess it has created.Teachers and other public service workers will soon jump on the strike bandwagon too, so expect to hear Mr Yousaf’s plaintive “cupboard is bare” excuse parroted by his cabinet colleagues.
Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is very keen to castigate the Tories for what he calls incompetent management and financial and economic failings. He is correct up to a point but fails to recognise that our financial woes did not begin when the Conservative Party came to power in 2010. They started in 1997 when “Education times three” Tony Blair, and “Prudent” Gordon
were Prime Minister and Chancellor respectively.
In 1997 UK national debt was £340 billion, and when Mr Brown left office in 2010 it was £840bn, with an annual deficit of £156bn. One wag in the former Labour Government left a note on the chancellor’s desk – “the money has all gone”.
The Tory government took five years to bring about some financial stability in the UK – remember austerity? – then the country was hit by Covid, Putin and inflation – a perfect storm.
We should all be wary of what we wish for; the Labour Party strategists are loud on rhetoric and very quiet on what they will actually achieve.
James Macintyre, Linlithgow, West Lothian
News that London has lost its crown as Europe’s largest stock market to Paris should hardly come as a surprise.
The French capital has successfully closed a trillion-dollar gap since the 2016 vote on Brexit. This was further hastened by recent currency movements following former prime minister Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-Budget, which saw the pound sink to its lowest ever value against the US dollar.
Former Bank of England policy maker Michael Saunders recently reinforced this, saying that the UK economy has been “permanently damaged by Brexit” and had this act of economic self-sabotage not taken place we wouldn’t be talking about an austerity Budget this week.
The UK economy is now the weakest performer of the G7 economies, with Brexit significantly reducing the economy’s potential output, and the only one not to have recovered to pre-Covid levels.
Leaving the EU has been an unmitigated disaster for the UK, and by fundamentally weakening the economy the Brexit chickens are simply coming home to roost as we enter a new era of austerity.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh
Don’t sink jobs
The UK Ministry of Defence has made it clear that the break-up of the UK, if ever forced upon the people of Scotland, will end Royal Navy shipbuilding in Scotland. This is extremely relevant in light of the latest frigates contract being awarded to the Clyde.
We must remember also that nationalist antagonism towards the RN’s submarine force would close the Clyde bases, which employ many thousands of Scots in hi-tech jobs and supporting infrastructure. These would no doubt be relocated most likely in a welcoming north-west England. Ditto, in time, the Army and RAF bases.
It would not be vindictiveness to cancel these orders once Scotland had split. It would be doing as other countries do as a matter of course and a continuation of the eminently sensible policy of not building warships in foreign countries.
And anyone who thinks that a separated Scotland would somehow or other be a even a smidgen safer if the submarine bases are gone really do exist on another planet and know nothing about modern warfare. It would be the classical case cutting off the nose to spite the face multiplied by infinity. But standard procedure for this SNP/Green administration.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Green zealotry and net zero are undermining our way of life – banning internal combustion engines, banning gas central heating, fining people for leaving their "15-minute neighbourhoods", telling us what to eat and drink, and now undermining modern agriculture.
In the Netherlands farmers are under attack for their use of chemical fertiliser which hugely enhances crop yields. Dutch farmers are being taxed heavily for nitrogen use. The closer farms are to urban areas the more heavily they are being penalised. Because of this policy 11,000 farms are expected to close. The Dutch government like the German government wants to make organic farming the mainstay of agriculture. Experts agree that such a policy will cause these countries to become heavily dependent on food imports, and dramatically raise food prices. Furthermore, foodstuffs in developing countries will become more expensive because much will be exported, creating a shortage of supply.
Natasja Oerlemans, the WWF agriculture boss in the Netherlands, backs this anti-modernity policy and has said she wants a huge cut in pig and cow numbers. This is to “save the planet”. Clearly Ms Oerlemans has never heard of the fate of Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million which has no trouble feeding its population – until April 2021, when its unhinged government banned the import of synthetic fertilisers. Now 90 per cent of Sri Lankans skip meals and food rice inflation is at 60 per cent.
William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire
Feed our pupils
Obviously any additional payments for child benefits are welcome. A comparatively simple way to illustrate how different an independent Scotland could be, that is made even more urgent by the punishing increases in the cost of living, would be to make universal free school meals an integral part of our education system. This would quickly show results in national educational achievement (hungry children do not perform well) but also long-term health benefits (saving NHS unnecessary work) and welfare generally.
Local government in Hull has already showed how easily this becomes part of the wider curriculum (nutritional values of food and science generally) as well as social development (eating socially and not competing for commercial food).
In addition, Hull noted that attendance was nearly 100 per cent, with the attraction of breakfast, as that was guaranteed as well.
Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders
War of words
I am disgusted at the disgraceful arson of the Edinburgh War Memorial and its Remembrance Day tributes.I am pleased the police are taking this matter seriously and that the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has also expressed her disgust at this massive insult to our war dead. However, I cannot help fearing that it is the recent highly voluble, incendiary and acidic anti-British rhetoric by said Ms Sturgeon that may have triggered a perverted sense of nationalism in some pinheaded cretin and led to this vile appalling outrage.Ian McNicholas, Ebbw Vale, Wales
The award won by your deputy political editor Conor Matchett (your report, 11 November) is hugely deserved. His persistent pursuit unearthed the facts behind the shocking care home deaths in the Covid-19 pandemic and dubious details of the Lochaber deal with Gupta and Greensill. Everybody in Scotland who cares about democracy and the importance of quality journalism owes him a big thanks.
Harald Tobermann, Edinburgh
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