I DIDN’T know whether to laugh or cry while reading the letter from Clark Cross (July 8). He claims that people make the hazardous journey here to seek asylum because the UK is “the land flowing with milk, honey, welfare benefits and housing”. In fact asylum seekers are kept in very basic accommodation, are denied the opportunity to work, and are given less than £40 per week to survive on. You can’t buy much milk and honey for a little over a fiver a day.

I remember canvassing for the Labour Party in Glasgow East some years ago, and being assured by a local resident that the council was giving cars to newly-arrived asylum seekers. Total nonsense, and those lies are spread for a purpose: to create opposition and hatred towards those who come to us for aid when they flee persecution, imprisonment and torture in their own country.

We already have a Channel Threat Commander, appointed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose job it is to use the might of the UK’s military and security services to repel these dangerous invaders in their flimsy dinghies. I expect we’ll soon have Boris Johnson channelling his inner Churchill again and talking about fighting them on the beaches, on the landing grounds, and in the fields and streets. If it wasn’t such a serious matter, it would be hilarious.

If Ms Patel’s bill becomes law, the UK will be in clear breach of its international obligations and of the UN’s Refugee Convention. It will also be engaging in a cruel, xenophobic attack on weak and desperate people. I want no part in that and, if that’s the sort of country Westminster wants to build, I really don’t want to be part of the UK.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


IF ever anything illustrated the depth of the Tory Government's ignorance of the lives of ordinary people it was this morning’s interview on Radio 4's Today programme with Chancellor Rishi Sunak (July 8). It was patently obvious that he had no conception at all of the lives that many thousands, perhaps even a few million, in this country have to endure.

There were no answers to questions, but all his talk was of the great schemes he and his wealthy colleagues are putting in place to help the unemployed back into work. Of course many will be able to benefit from retraining programmes and the like, but why does no interviewer ever ask, for example, what those who are waiting to go on such a scheme are going to feed to their family today, tomorrow and the next day until they actually start on the scheme?

He has obviously no concept of the state of having no money, not a penny. I can remember my mother crying because she could not feed us AND pay the rent, and for years she was in fear of being made homeless, no matter how hard she worked. When someone looks in the fridge and it is empty, and there are two slices of bread left for three children, with nothing to put on them, will the prospect of being accepted on a training scheme in a few weeks’ time put food in their mouths even for the next few days? Even begging for an emergency loan could take that long.

So many folk have already fallen through the cracks and been given nothing while being unemployed. A highly-skilled, self-employed tradesman I know, normally with as much work as he can cope with, who pays every penny of tax he owes, got nothing, due to one of the Government rules that made him ineligible.

I would like to ask Mr Sunak to come to Glasgow, with nothing but the clothes he stands up in and the cash in his pocket, and spend a month in a nice, damp, minimally furnished single end, while he waits for a Universal Credit payment. It might introduce him, not just to real poverty, but to the need for those values so foreign to this Government: understanding, sympathy and empathy.

L McGregor, Falkirk.


IT is being reported that the Chancellor is under pressure because of the “triple lock” state pension commitment in the Tory manifesto. No matter how it's measured, the UK state pension is relatively low compared to other countries. Pundits refer to the rise in pensioners' income in recent years, as though going from rank bad pensions to modest pensions had made them wealthy.

Of course it isn’t just pensioners who worry about future income: the UK is increasingly becoming the poor man of Europe. Though we have some of the richest people in the world living here, their money tends to be stashed away in tax havens. If only the UK had some influence on tax havens. Oh wait…

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


AS I read Tom Gordon's article ("Golden goodbye racket tarnishing Holyrood", The Herald, July 8) I was reminded of a scene in the film The Name of the Rose starring Sean Connery where the leaders of the church all meet to discuss whether Christ owned his own clothes. After the great debate, as they leave they are surrounded by the poor with outstretched hands looking for alms; all they get is a blessing from the bejewelled hands of the cardinals.

Today's poor queue outside food banks as our leaders wring their hands as they make their way to the bank with their golden goodbyes. Shame on them.

Shaun Murphy, Kilbirnie.


YOUR reported comments by Douglas Ross that “the SNP is failing to get on top of the virus in Scotland” ("Plea for SNP to give ‘concrete guarantee’ over timetable to lift restrictions", The Herald, July 7) are frankly pathetic. If Boris Johnson had followed the Scottish Government’s example by imposing strict quarantine on overseas travellers wishing to enter the UK, then we would not be in this appalling mess with Covid cases rising steeply yet again.

The Prime Minister then compounded his folly by failing to protect the country from the Delta variant. This virulent strain of Covid had been raging in India for several weeks before the first cases were reported in the UK on March 28. For whatever reason, the Prime Minister failed to place India on the Red List until April 23. Even then hundreds of travellers from the Indian sub-continent were still able to make their way to the UK via Turkey without going into proper quarantine.

As a consequence, the good progress that had been achieved here in Scotland in suppressing Covid has been thrown away needlessly. What makes this tragic situation even worse are the regular denials by UK ministers that this failure on the part of Mr Johnson to "shut the door earlier" has contributed in any way to this dreadful situation. It is truly eye-watering to listen to Tory Government ministers talking blithely of infections reaching a shocking 100,000 cases a day over the next few weeks. We urgently need a proper national committee of inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.


IT is reassuring that Nicola Sturgeon is continuing with her cautious approach to lifting restrictions, with no dates set in stone, and admitting that the decisions she may have to take in the days ahead will be "not easy or popular". One thing that is certain in these uncertain times is that we will never hear the First Minister declare "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" or that she would rather let coronavirus "rip" than lock down again.

However, no government can do it all, and vaccines can't give 100 per cent protection. I've been concerned lately when entering shops to see that very often the people in front of me haven't taken a moment to sanitise their hands, two metres seems to be getting ever shorter, and, out enjoying the summer sunshine, I've noticed three or four friends crowding together on park benches. Perhaps a rethink and a reset of our own personal choices and decisions is also required.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


AS children, many of us would play "I spy with my little eye". Next time readers sit at a table in a cafe or restaurant, spot how many at adjoining tables remove their face masks and place them on the table beside them.

It's doubtful if these same people would think of doing this with a used paper handkerchief.

Although staff do spray and clean tables between users, please allow me to make a request: "Gonnae no dae that?"

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: UK policy on losing Covid restrictions is utterly reckless