CONGRATULATIONS to The Herald and the Ferret for the important and informative series on Who Runs Scotland (The Herald, July 12, 13 & 14). These issues on the Scottish economy and polity have been of concern to some academic and campaign groups but are seldom discussed and critically examined in the mainstream media, even less so in mainstream politics. Thank you for asking the serious questions about where power lies and who are making or influencing the decisions affecting many lives. And of course who are profiting.

There has been much justifiable anger about the contrast between how Norway managed her oil resources and how Scotland's resources were managed by the UK Government. Norway now has a massive sovereign wealth fund for its future security. But Scotland's renewable resources and their great future potential are being managed in a similar way to Scotland's oil. The Holyrood Government has shown little ambition and initiative in controlling these resources for Scotland's long-term benefit. Its members have not been entrepreneurial guardians but mediocre middle-managers with doors and phone-lines open to corporate lobbying.

Let's hope this series will promote some political developments with real substance, but that is more optimistic than realistic..

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.


WELL done to the Ferret and The Herald for the excellent article on wind farms, obscene profits and tax avoidance (“Scottish wind farm owners linked to foreign tax havens”, The Herald, July 13).

We have known for years that LLPs who operate wind farms send their revenues to tax havens overseas, where they are (not) taxed. From there benefits can flow to individuals anywhere in the world. Nothing accrues to the UK Exchequer. Putting it right is very complicated, because you have to say that what they are doing is unlawful and it's not.

Now that the box has been opened, it will be hard to close without nationalising all energy production. Can anyone see that golden goose being killed?

Imagine if you started with a blank canvas. Would you not have a strategy for wind farms, a compulsory development budget, a dedicated overseer and a taxation policy reflecting the massive earnings. Would you not have greater local authority and local community involvement in every case? Would you not have accountability and transparency? Epic failure all round.

Everyone should be getting behind the Scotland Against Spin Petition to the Scottish Parliament which seeks to increase the ability of communities to influence planning decisions for onshore wind farms. It's a step in the right direction.

Aileen Jackson, Uplawmoor.


YOUR article concerning Scottish wind farm owners states that there is no evidence that any of the companies are breaking the law. This is not surprising because there are no laws which support any attempt to control the various tax fiddles so successfully engineered by the financial services industry in London. We are constantly informed of the importance of this industry to the country's economy but never informed of the many billions lost to the economy due to the activities of some City operators in tax evasion, money laundering and gambling.

It appears that the maintenance of a largely parasitic financial sector is too important for any government to attempt to control it by law.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.


THIS has been a great week for Scotland's six Tory MPs. They all showed their true blue colours when they voted, to a man, to endorse the massive cuts of £4 billion in overseas aid (“Johnson accused of ‘shameful’ cut to foreign aid as Tory rebellion falls short”, The Herald, July 14). Warnings from Ruth Davidson and Theresa May about the Tories being seen as the nasty party cut no ice with them.

As loyal Boris Johnson supporters, they no doubt were untroubled by the announcement on July 9 that the £20 a week uplift for people on Universal Credit is to end on September 30. The UK Government made the decision without doing any impact assessment. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation had warned that this would pull 500,000 people including 200,000 children into poverty.

The six MPs must have been delighted on July 8 when the UK Supreme Court rejected the case against the two-child limit for Universal Credit brought by two single mothers supported by the Child Poverty Action Group.

And they would have been overjoyed when Mr Johnson threw caution to the wind in declaring "Freedom Day" with an end to all Covid restrictions in England. (Or they were until Nicola Sturgeon decided to keep some protections in Scotland for the sake of more vulnerable people.)

We can be sure that the super six will line up to defeat any challenge that may ensue to the little Englander provisions in Priti Patel's Nationality and Borders Bill, which had its first reading on July 6.

And no doubt they will back her position against taking the knee in support of Black Lives Matter as well as continuing to insist that "now is not the time" for investigating the multi-billions wasted by the UK Government on Track and Trace and Covid-related contracts given to Tory Party donors.

What a week it has been for revealing how the UK Government and its institutions work in the interests of the rich and powerful in society.

John Dennis, Dumfries.

* I WAS hoping some kind of compromise could have been reached between the UK Government and the Labour Opposition on foreign aid; as it is, the cuts have gone through. This is a hard one for me and I am pretty certain for others.

The basic principle of the better-off helping the poorer countries I feel instinctively right. Yet we must remind ourselves that India and Pakistan – both major recipients of UK aid – have enormous and horrendously expensive nuclear arsenals and, in India’s case, a space programme. Does supplying UK aid not free these governments from the burden of looking after their own poor and allow the money to be used where the donors would rather it was not?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


HAVING read Andrew McKie's article on Britain's worst ever Prime Minister (“Five years on, May tops the list of worst ever British Prime Ministers”, The Herald, July 13), I noted with interest that the present incumbent of 10 Downing Street was not included in his musings. Perhaps Mr Maciver felt it only fair to leave Mr Johnson out of his calculations until the end of his term

as Prime Minister. It hardly needs me to point out to your readers that he is "coming up fast on the rails" and will surely snatch the trophy from Mrs May's grasp.

I do not feel qualified to judge who might or might not be entitled to be awarded the title of Britain's worst Prime Minister. However, having watched part of Tuesday's debate in the House of Commons regarding the present Government's proposal to cut

Britain's overseas international aid, from 0.7 per cent to 0.5% for the foreseeable future, and managing to catch Theresa May's contribution to this debate, the one word I could apply to her is "decency". This is not a word I could use to describe any single member of the current Government's front bench and, in particular, not one I could ever apply to our present Prime Minister. The best I could come up with which would be printable in your Letters Pages is "shameful".

Ken MacIver, Milngavie.


DOUG Marr's article on the Triple Lock for pensioners (“Why intergenerational fairness has to begin by unpicking the Triple Lock”, The Herald, July 12) was interesting, and his comments re wealthy pensioners is not something I would disagree with. However, he said that the Triple Lock had been introduced by the Labour Party, to try to address some of the imbalance in the income of older people.

The Triple Lock was a Liberal Democrat policy which the Tories accepted, kicking and screaming, as part of the coalition. The other parties supported it and it was made law. This was partly to balance the 75p (remember that?) pension increase awarded by Gordon Brown in his last Budget.

Yes there are some very wealthy pensioners, and they should be taxed accordingly. But there are very many older people for whom the state pension is almost their only income, and as such the present levels are still barely adequate. The fact that the Tories are looking to possibly dismantle this very progressive payment tells you all you need to know about the multi-millionaires running our Government.

Please, let's not try to dismantle this Liberal Democrat policy which has done much, along with the raising of the the tax thresholds (another LibDem policy), to begin to give older people the income they deserve. Fight to stop abuse of the tax systems employed by wealthy pensioners – don't stop a payment designed to support older people out of poverty.

Cllr Eileen McCartin, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Paisley.

Read more: UK Government guilty of serious dereliction of duty