Readers' Letters: Vote Labour, get Tory won’t be a vote winner
On 5 May the voters of Edinburgh firmly rejected the Tories in the council elections and in the run-up to these elections Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said his party shouldn’t be doing any pacts, deals, or coalitions.
Why, then, did Edinburgh Labour award senior positions to Tory Councillors and allow them back into a position of influence over council policy while rejecting a progressive alliance with the SNP, as the largest party, and Greens, who were both willing to work with Labour? Labour is now trying to pretend that they weren’t jointly responsible for the actions of Edinburgh Council over the past five years.
Labour also struck similar mutual arrangements, otherwise known as coalitions, with the Tories in Fife, West Lothian and Stirling against the wishes of the local population. On social media former Labour MSP Neil Findlay congratulated the two principled Edinburgh Labour councillors who refused to back the Tory deal in line with Labour’s local government committee democratic vote.
It seems Labour’s inherent British nationalism and high salaries are more important than stopping the Tories. Vote Labour, get Tory won’t be the vote winner they think it is.
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh
Little and late
A Windfall Tax finally emerges, but it is too little too late and goes nowhere near far enough. What about the large corporations making billions, are they to remain with shareholders, while many households struggle? What about the price discrimination between those on pre-payment meters and those who pay by direct debit, didn’t this deserve action?
No mention from the Chancellor on raising benefits (3.1 per cent rise this year) in line with the 40-year high inflation rate (9 per cent) or reinstatement of the £20/wk uplift to Universal Credit.
Instead, we got a sticking plaster from the Chancellor. A Chancellor whose UK Conservative Government is the only G7 Government to raise taxes on working people this year and a Chancellor who has imposed over a dozen tax rises under his watch.
Thursday’s U-turn by the Chancellor was not an announcement for struggling households, it was an attempt to put out the fire and appease his backbenchers in light of the publication the previous day of the Sue Gray report. The country will see through the Chancellor’s U-turn.
Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk
Clap for Boris
After hearing the excellent and timely comments of Ruth Davidson on Channel 4 News on both Boris and the MPs supporting him I believed he would have to go – somehow. We then heard about the many regular drinks gatherings, and finally the Sue Gray report was published.
The UK now has a Prime Minister who makes, ignores and breaks the law, has a crocodile skin, and contrite tears as required, and insists on remaining in office. This is indeed a sad disgrace for us all, as it takes our nation onto a very slippery and destructive slope where honour and integrity are dead.
This is something that only Boris’ resignation can resolve. His spineless and self-serving party must be very like-minded to him if it cannot see this truth.
Perhaps the one effective resource left to the opposition is to chant repeatedly and constantly “Boris must go” at the PM's weekly question time, until he gets it. This would be a variation on the weekly claps given to the NHS staff – who will of course now be able to pay their additional living costs with that marvellous and helping-hand windfall.
D Ogilvy, Perth
Until now I thought Partygate should take second place to big national and world events, especially as Boris Johnson seemed to be handling them well. But I fear his energy cost support response has been driven more by Partygate than a real sense of justice. Otherwise, why is every household and pensioner to get £400 and £300 handouts when many, like me, with comfortable incomes and no debt, can absorb these rising costs, and the many millionaires won't feel it at all?
The lesson of Covid was, as my local Co-op used to preach every few minutes “we are all in this together”, so why was there no windfall tax on households earning, say, £80k or above to help those desperate to make ends meet? That would not fund the £21 billion but it would be an important gesture.
It seems to me that the PM has been spooked by Labour and his desire to keep better off voters onside, so now that it's done and the UK's Ukraine policy seems set, perhaps now is the time for him to stand aside and let his successor deal with the bigger issues coming down the track, not least the danger of interest rates exploding. The average UK mortgage loan is £138k and the average house price is £220k. Every one per cent interest rate rise would mean annual payments increasing to between £1,400 and £2,000. And then there is the job of somehow paying back the almost £190bn cost of Covid and fuel borrowing.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
A tad high?
Over the past few years press reports on major business start-ups and expansions have consistently indicated a price of about £100k per job. John Swinney's justification (First Minister’s Questions, 26 May) of the ferries scandal that it was worth it to save jobs on the Clyde – at nearer £500k each so far – thus seems, to say the least, to be a bit far-fetched.
A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries
Taxpayers funded the "severance pay" of the 43 MSPs who were defeated at last year's elections or opted to resign. The cost was £2.2 million.
Disgraced former finance secretary Derek Mackay got £53,000. MSPs salaries are £64,470 yet when they are defeated or resign they get “resettlement” grants of £32,325 for those with one to six years service and £64,470 for those with 12 or more years' service. The cost to the public for “severance pay” for MPs will be more than 10 times this figure. Surely MPs and MSPs are on a fixed-term contract of five years until the next election so there can be no justification for them being entitled to extra money when they are not re-elected or choose to leave.
These resettlement grants should be scrapped but will politicians change the rules? Do turkeys vote for Christmas?
Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian
The news this week that the Church of Scotland has said sorry for its capture and murder of witches continues the litany of apologies this century from the Christian churches for the abject failure of their previous moral certainties.
In addition to the murder of witches, the Christian churches have apologised for the industrial-scale paedophilia of their clergy and their cover-up of it, for their attempted genocide of native peoples, for their Magdalene laundries, for their role in the slave trade, for their criminalisation of homosexuality and for their oppressive blasphemy laws. In the Kirk's case, it has also apologised for its infamous 1923 “Irish menace” report that has fanned the flames of Scotland's sectarianism ever since.
All this amply demonstrates that humanity's progress has been in spite of Christian belief and ethics rather than because of them.
Alistair McBay, Methven, Perth
Rory Kennedy justifies predator control by citing the decline in curlew populations, among other examples (Perspective, 26 May). The reason for this decline is more complicated than he suggests. Curlews are endangered because of the loss and fragmentation of their breeding habitats, afforestation and changing agricultural practices. In other words, human activities.
The control of foxes and crows by gamekeepers managing moorlands for red grouse shooting may prevent further declines – the emphasis being on the word “may”. This also begs the question: what if we are over-enthusiastic about this extermination?
We should also question whether it’s morally acceptable to slaughter some species in order to protect others – including those destined for our dinner tables.
We humans should accept the fact that nature is “red in tooth and claw”, as the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote. Instead of targeting other species, we should question our own folly in despoiling our beautiful planet with no consideration for all the creatures which co-exist with us on its surface, and beneath the sea.
Carolyn Taylor, Broughty Ferry, Dundee
First Ministers Questions was a real eye opener this week. Without First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in control, Deputy John Swinney just did not come across as very convincing. He answered no questions either satisfactorily or at all from either Douglas Ross nor Anas Sarwar.
Given the backlog of serious problems facing Nicola Sturgeon, not least trains, ferries and the on/off referendum, she cannot last for much longer. Fifteen years in power has consequences, particularly as the record of failures lengthens. It might have appeared unthinkable until recently, but are Scots now in sight of the next First Minister being from a different party?
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
Taken for fools
It's hard to disagree with what Derek Sharp has to say on the educational content of Yes Prime Minister (Letters, 26 May).
But I sometimes worry that by laughing at programmes such as that or The Thick of It or W1A because they're so wittily accurate, we aren't responding as we should: feeling outrage at being taken for fools over and over again and paying for it all into the bargain.
Stephen Callanan, Guildford, Surrey
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