SIR Keir Starmer once again raises the issue of “radical federalism”, without any clear exposition of his plan ("Starmer sacks Corbyn favourite Long-Bailey in anti-Semitism row", The Herald, June 26).

Federalism, as I understood it, was a form of government where a relationship of parity existed between two different levels of government, and the powers and responsibilities of those two levels of government were of equal status. Sir Keir seems to be suggesting instead, just a different form of “devolution”, where regional government would remain subordinate to central government.

He asserts more powers would be “devolved” from Westminster, not to Holyrood but to local government: I’m sure I have read Ian Murray imply that these powers would be taken from Holyrood to local government. Either way, it is hardly “radical” or “federalist”; if these are the constitutional proposals to win back support for Labour, where supporters of Scottish Labour are now 37 per cent pro-independence, then they don’t stack up.

It is also suggested Labour would join the Tories on refusing a plebiscite on independence: can any unionist spokesperson lay out their official party stance on what remedy exists for Scots to exercise their right to self-determination, without recourse to extra-constitutional means? The English have that right by dint of their numbers. The Irish have it guaranteed in UK Constitutional Law. We can either follow Margaret Thatcher’s dictum on MP’s elected, or a specific referendum of our choosing. Which is it?

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

IT was the cheapest of cheap shots to suggest the conspiracy theory suggestion that Israelis trained the US Police in the neck-hold that killed George Floyd and started the current Black Lives Matter unrest. For torch holder of the far left, Rebecca Long-Bailey, to have passed on the article in which this suggestion was made would indicate that anti-Semitism still retains more than a foothold in the Labour Party and it was wonderful to see Sir Keir Starmer act as a Labour leader should and instantly sack her from the Shadow Cabinet.

Sir Keir is now showing up Boris Johnson as well as Jeremy Corbyn.

Could this really be the Labour revival for which we have waited so long? No more pussy-footing with anti-Semites or their fellow travellers, or for that matter with nationalists in Scotland.

Is their life in the old dog yet?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

I TAKE slight issue with Rebecca McQuillan ("A return to austerity after this crisis would be unthinkable", the Herald June 26;. I would ask: has austerity ever gone? Theresa May declared in 2018 that a decade of austerity will come to an end – that was after her Conservative Government had introduced a cap on benefit claims, a 1,000 per cent increase in food bank use and the introduction of Universal Credit.

Despite Mrs May's declaration, the misery of austerity is still with so many today still suffering the consequences of a full decade of no security of employment, on zero hours contracts, going through the appeals process to get benefits which they were rightly entitled. Nobody wants to be unwell or unemployed, no one wants to be dependent on benefits, but there are circumstances that through no fault of one’s own results in claiming benefits, as many are about to experience as a consequence of Covid-19.

That is why, if evidence was needed and amidst the cliff-edge that is to follow Covid-19, full welfare powers need to be devolved to Scotland with immediate effect (only 14 per cent of welfare spend in Scotland is currently devolved). The economic and employment cliff-edge looming demands and requires government spending on infrastructure and major projects to get the economy kick-started and create much-needed jobs generally and especially for the 16-25 year olds. This spending must come from both Westminster and Holyrood, but as Ms McQuillan alluded to, Scotland needs enhanced borrowing powers to allow this to transpire and that can only be gained from the Westminster Treasury. So is Scotland being held back?

Austerity always punishes the vulnerable, the needy and those who are on the edge and we simply can’t expect them to carry the burden again. The economic crisis that is looming gives the economists and governments the opportunity to take a long hard look at doing things differently, getting real priorities like tackling child poverty right at the top of the agenda and reviewing the possibility of introducing a Universal Basic Income.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

IT is ironic. Our SNP regime and supporters spend their time decrying anything British and in many cases xenophobia is evident, including the banner “England out of Scotland” being displayed at gatherings. Scottish ministers are now looking at an advertising campaign to encourage our neighbours to holiday in Scotland and save our hospitality businesses amidst the Covid devastation.

Perhaps those in Scotland who would destroy the United Kingdom for no good or proven reason should change their attitude to our neighbours. The cancer of nationalism has done untold damage to virtually every aspect of Scottish life and it may be too late to expect our friends in the rest of the UK to save us.

Chickens coming home to roost?

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.

NEIL Mackay, writing about the schools fiasco ("Schools fiasco is an indictment of our entire political class", The Herald, June 25) speaks a lot of truth. However, his arithmetic, and that of others, needs updating.

When he states that there have been just over 4,000 Covid deaths here in Scotland he then multiplies up by10, pro rata he says by population, to make comparison with the UK total figure of around 42,000 deaths.

It is many, many years since Scotland was one-tenth of the population of the UK, which is now 67 million in total. For all budding comparators, please note that Scotland is one-thirteenth of the UK population.

Readers will have a better picture now of numerous comparisons in civic life and funding flows.

Graeme Smith, Newton Mearns.

Read more: Starmer sacks Rebecca Long-Bailey