Readers' Letters: Tory grandees must replace Truss team now

Surely Conservative MPs and the “grandees” know they have to act immediately to get rid of the wacky, inexperienced duds that only just over half of their party members dumped on them and us when they voted for Liz Truss.

They should find a way to form a new government around Michael Gove, Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Ben Wallace and fill the other ministries with some of the many experienced, common sense heads like David Gauke and Dominic Grieve.

That would steady the ship and give both Tories and Labour time to create two competent, sensible options for a general election in 2024.

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Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Leaflets with Liz Truss on the cover are seen on the second day of the annual Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Jings, Liz!

Liz Truss's attempt to attribute the suggestion of top-tax cuts to Kwasi Kwarteng sounds like the Scottish attempting to shift the blame for some act of wickedness: “It wisnae me – it wis him as weel!” Jings!

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Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

Envying Irish

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As the pound and the economy slides into a winter of discontent, just maybe, the men in suits have rescued the Tories!

In stark contrast to the UK’s disastrous mini-budget, the Republic of Ireland’s budget package did not offer massive tax cuts. Instead it is tackling the cost of living crisis by increasing welfare and pensions along with increased subsidies on energy bills and childcare. This is being funded by a tax collection from thousands of foreign multinational companies based in Ireland.

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In truth, while pensioners in Ireland get one of the best deals in Europe, Scottish – and indeed UK – pensioners get one of the worst. Ireland again demonstrates that independent European nations, the same size as richly endowed Scotland, have more than a happy and successful future.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

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SNP blip?

With or without the top rate tax U-turn, the bookies, who rarely lose, have made the next general election a shoo-in for Labour .

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For the around one million Tory voters in Scotland, however, all is not despair. A moderate UK Labour government in London will not be the end of the world. The biggest loser of all will be the SNP. Their case for breaking up the UK and separation and their bogeyman will be destroyed at a single stroke, even if they hang on at Holyrood. It may take some years but a Labour victory could well be the beginning of the end for nationalism in Scotland. So, whatever political pain there may be to come for the Tories, it is more than compensated for by the positive side. The SNP may well be joining the Quebec separatists as a blip in History.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

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Future state?

Crystal ball time. The Conservatives will not win a majority in 2024. Labour will ask the Lib Dems and SNP to assist in forming a government. The SNP will ask for a referendum but Labour will refuse. So the SNP face the big quandary, the choice of power sharing in a UK government or allowing another Tory government. They will accept the former, beginning the end of the SNP in Scotland. A splinter independence party will form and Scotland will return to being a peaceful nation within the UK.

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Lewis Finnie, Edinburgh

Unfit schemes

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At least three things were ignored in the government’s mishandled mini-budget.

Largely in order to prevent the collapse of defined-benefit pension schemes, the Bank of England was forced to buy £65 billion of government bonds in its emergency intervention last week. It has been clear for around 30 years since the private sector began moving away from such schemes because they are unsustainable, that the public sector should have followed suit.

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There is no particular logic in basing one’s pension on final salaries rather than accumulated contributions, and those of the effectively bankrupt RBS in 2008, whose CEO’s pension “entitlement” from age 50 was £700,000 per annum, are merely the most outrageous examples of a system no longer fit-for-purpose. They should be converted into defined-contribution schemes, with reasonable notice and respecting their accrued rights to date.

The lifetime cap on pensions’ deemed values also needs radical change or abolition, as one effect is to encourage senior NHS medics to retire earlier than otherwise, just as their services are needed most.

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Finally, it is SMEs, the small and medium enterprises, which will fuel our economic recovery. But it is their enterprising, risk-taking leaders who are penalised by the ludicrous reduction in tax-free personal allowance for earnings from £100,000-£125,000 pa and its cancellation for those paid over £125,000. This results in a 60 per cent marginal rate, yet the Chancellor managed to get himself into a mess with the 45 per cent rate.

These all need urgent “action this day”, not merely fine words and lip-service.

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John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Levers alone

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Social justice secretary Shona Robison tells us that now is indeed the time to hold a referendum (stifles yawn). She makes some elementary errors. First, using the present UK government’s problems and unpopularity as reasons to break up a country forever is the opposite of sensible. Second, we are back to the tired old “levers”. Ms Robison talks about the need “to make our own decisions”. There are already decisions that the Sturgeon regime could have taken but hasn’t – on, critically, the poverty-related attainment gap in education. The SNP has done nothing about that and recently consigned it to the “too difficult” box.

Third, Ms Robison treats us to the usual SNP delusion: “We’d be able to borrow like other countries are doing.” How often do SNP members and leaders need to be told that no-one would lend to a country – other than at Wonga rates – which had no plan for having its own currency, central bank and lender of last resort? Can Ms Robison name the institution that would act as Scotland’s lender of last resort – guarantor to lenders – in the event of secession? This question is perhaps the thorniest for the SNP, whether it chose to adopt Sterling or a new currency. No-one has been able to suggest what the answer would be.

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Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

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Pity young

I feel a sense of concern for our younger generation. Through initially spin, then social media, we have reduced our politicians to “mouthpieces” for the anticipated, “popular” voice of the masses.

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Of course this is fickle, without any foundation and it is self-centred. I remember a friend of 60 years ago who voted Labour locally for good local services and Conservative nationally for lower taxes! Politically, we seem to be in the transition from a sense of serving to a sense of spinning and in the process have lost every politician of worth. We are rapidly being left with empty mouthpieces hoping to articulate something they perceive as popular and vote-winning.

Our young deserve a better inheritance. Our ancestors laid down their lives for a better world. We appear to be ready to lay down everything to satisfy our self-indulgent pleasures.

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James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Faux horror

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Jim Craigen fails to mention that the reason Glasgow City Council had to resort to the sale and leaseback of buildings to an arm’s-length council organisation was to pay for the £500 million equal pay award made by the SNP after the previous Labour administration spent £2.5m over 10 years fighting equal pay claims by female council workers (Letters, 3 October).

The spiralling CalMac ferry costs is due to construction not with the contract procurement process. Design changes and poor management at Ferguson Marine, pre-nationalisation, and at Cmal are to blame. Previous CalMac ferries built in Polish and German yards needed additional remedial work after delivery and both firms went into liquidation after providing the lowest tender.

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If commercial shipbuilding hadn't been killed off in Scotland, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place. Some of our oil revenues could have been used by successive Westminster governments to remedy decades of lack of investment and outdated working practices.

Despite paying higher wages, Norway is a world-leading shipbuilding nation as its government helps shipbuilding through taxation to encourage advanced technology and niche design, plus providing guarantees of one billion euros has helped build 35 green energy cruise ships and ferries. Other European countries have credit agencies which are government backed but also raise third party finance and can put up guarantees that get round state aid rules.

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Faux horror at assisting a Scottish yard to gain business and providing 400 jobs is naive when subsidisation is rife elsewhere.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

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Wee chuckle

I had to chuckle when I saw the headline and subhead to Brian Monteith’s Perspective column yesterday, referencing his view that the Scottish Government’s policies are “morally repugnant” and urging Scottish Ministers to “pinch their nose” and follow the top level tax cuts of the UK Government.

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These views follow his column last week predicting a brain drain of Scottish high earners to England. What made me chuckle over my porridge was reading his sycophantic views, whilst hearing of the humiliating u-turn by the PM and Chancellor reversing the 45 per cent to 40 per cent tax cut. What is morally repugnant was a plan to borrow money to give a tax cut to the highest earners in the UK, whilst impacting those citizens in need during these challenging times.

John Collington, Edinburgh

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