Readers' Letters: Sunak should tell UK pay rises are unaffordable

When Covid was largely over, I hoped Boris Johnson (despite his credibility problem!) would address the nation on TV in some detail about the adverse effects it had on our economy and how government finances had been impacted by its mitigation policies to avoid widespread bankruptcies and mass unemployment, but which led to our huge national debt, which was still reeling from the 2008 bankers’ bailout.

Pent-up inflation was clearly about to explode as many experts forecast, and it was then greatly exacerbated by Vladimir Putin’s war. The trade unions were stirring.

I then hoped that Liz Truss would address us, and still wait for Rishi Sunak to do so, with his ideal inside knowledge as the Covid Chancellor who warned us early on that his furlough and other schemes would soon have to be paid for. Surely most voters would accept that to yield now to all the pay increase demands would make our inflation and cost-of-living crises even worse, leaving us all back in square one.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Rishi Sunak should talk to nation about UK finances on TV, says reader (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Rishi Sunak should talk to nation about UK finances on TV, says reader (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak should talk to nation about UK finances on TV, says reader (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Two choices

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I don’t often agree with Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 9 December). In fact I have never agreed with anything she has written in support of Scottish separatism. However, the final paragraph of her column yesterday recognises the dilemma facing nationalists as we approach a general election.

Her statement that “the SNP now needs to focus on making that practical case, with a clarity and vividness that has sometimes been lacking of late” highlights a crucial flaw in the secession argument.

Apart from anything else, the nationalists have never had a “practical case” for currency, the economy or borders. Voters at the next general election will need to choose between the Labour and Tory parties. The nationalists have become irrelevant.

James Quinn, Lanark, South Lanarkshire


I am a creature of the Industrial Age and, for all the passion being generated about climate change, am rather more convinced about the intervention of the sun, which drives everything in the solar system, than I am by man-made CO2 driving the climate.

Indeed, I suspect that we may have quite a hard winter of it this year, despite assurances that it is the hottest year since whenever.

One of the points which seems never to be addressed is the fact (fact, I emphasise) that the zealots who are undermining our society at every turn seem quite happy at China, India, the USA etc producing the bulk of the CO2 created by man, but do not seem to wish to go to any of those places to do anything about it. They would rather disrupt the UK.

Equally, they are screaming against the coal mine in Cumbria which we need to produce the coke to make steel (there is no other means of doing so), but do not seem to have a problem with importing other people's inferior coke, with the associated CO2 that that causes, or would just let China make it and control world industry.

These eco-warriors are a menace and, if permitted to continue their campaigns, will only achieve the downfall of the democratic West. They must not be allowed to.

John Fraser, Glasgow


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Stuart Smith asks if he is missing something (Letters, 8 December). Yes, he is. The elephant in the room. More than two million Scots voted to stay in the Union in the independence referendum of 2014. The SNP, even with the help of the Greens, have never got anywhere near that number. They got 1.3 million votes in the General Election of 2019 and the same again in the Scottish Parliament election of 2021. On both occasions the pro-Union parties (Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem) together achieved a larger share of the vote. So the idea that the people of Scotland have switched over to the independence camp is totally groundless and ignores the evidence of the election results.

Nicola Sturgeon is to blame for spreading misinformation. She is forever treating the SNP majority at Holyrood as if it demonstrates majority support for independence. That SNP majority of MSPs is a reflection of the fact that the opposition is split between Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem. If the opposition was one party rather than three, the SNP majority would vanish immediately.

Therefore Sir Keir Starmer is correct to say that there is no justification for a second referendum. Even with the help of the Greens, the SNP are only getting just over half the two million-plus votes in favour of the Union.

And it is no wonder that their vote is not increasing – their administration is such a display of incompetence, squandering public finances and cronyism, that no Scot with any sense will vote for them.

Les Reid, Edinburgh

Missed chance

Stuart Smith asks if he is missing something in his letter, which is about democratic legitimacy.

When is a decision made by an electorate regarded as being valid? Is it when an MP, who wins a first-past-the-post election isn't actually the winner because she only won a minority of the total electorate, as he seems to be suggesting?

Perhaps elections should be decided by whoever wins the largest percentage of the electorate? Oh, hang on, that's actually what we do. Is it when a UK Government is elected with fewer than 50 per cent of the electorate? He lists Boris Johnson's “Get Brexit Done” election win to compare it to Nicola Sturgeon's wish to make the next general election a referendum on independence, suggesting that there is no difference between his slogan and the SNP's desperate attempt to subvert democracy.

The difference between “Get Brexit Done” and Nicola Sturgeon's attempt to make the next election a referendum is actually very simple.

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The Government was reelected to carry out the democratic decision of the British people to leave the EU. Nicola Sturgeon's is based upon having lost her referendum on Scottish independence. Both were democratic decisions and both must be observed.

As Ms Sturgeon's former law tutor says, he and his fellow law professors “failed miserably in making our classes on democracy understood” and we in Scotland are suffering from a First Minister who doesn't understand that precious gift and, most importantly, who does not wish to understand.

I trust that Mr Smith now understands what he is missing?

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Soar points

The recent poll purportedly showing an increase to 56 per cent of those polled in favour of independence following the Supreme Court Judgment merits consideration. Instead of the usual three men and a dog (dogs are intelligent) being asked, it appears that a massive total of 1,065 people were asked. It is not clear if they were all Scots or whether they all live in Scotland. To suggest that support is “soaring” by virtue of this sample gives hyperbole a massively increased meaning.

If the Supreme Court Ruling is responsible for the change, this insults the intelligence of Scots. Even the proverbial dog referred to above knew that by virtue of the constitution and terms of the Scotland Act, the application to the Supreme Court was doomed to failure and a waste of time and Scottish taxpayers’ money. The Law is the Law, independently interpreted without political bias by some of the leading judicial brains in the country. The application was a ploy by the First Minister to try to get unthinking Scots’ backs up, her irresponsible remarks trying to foment unrest and red mist, and the heart ruling the head tactic worked with some.

Let us have a rational case with indisputable economic proof for consideration, with all the facts.

Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh


What on earth having (the equivalent of) 55 per cent of the entire offshore grid potential of the entire Mediterranean Basin has to do with Scotland's finances beats me (Leah Gunn Barret, Letters 8 December).

Scotland currently supplies no wind power to that area and is highly unlikely ever to so do. It is just as relevant, perhaps more so, to say that China produces about 100 times the wind power of Scotland, and to say that North Sea tax “stays in London” is simply laughable.

The Scottish government, we may remind ourselves, is anti-North Sea oil so surely is not in the least interested in any tax that may arise from that source, unless, of course, it is needed to pay for USA-fracked gas to power a couple of ferries that may or may not run on such in a few years’ time.

A McCormick, Dumfries

Brass monkeys

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As the nation shivers in the long dark days of winter when solar power isn’t producing enough to run the heater on a goldfish tank and thousands of wind turbines throughout our country stand motionless and useless, I have one question to ask: Has our deluded First Minister forbidden her minions at Holyrood from looking at the National Grid Live figures which show day upon day how badly renewables are performing? Is it a case of, if we See, Hear and Speak no evil it isn’t happening?

Aileen Jackson, Uplawmoor, East Renfrewshire

Get out of bed

Gary Freestone of Leicester omits from his letter of 9 December that ambulance strikes on 21 and 28 December will take place only in England and Wales. I have just searched online to check whether there are ambulance strikes planned for those dates in Scotland. On the BBC, STV, Unison, Unite and GMB websites there are no reports or announcements of ambulance strikes in Scotland on 21 and 28 December.

E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire

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