BORIS Johnson's resignation, and the subsequent "race" to become his successor, has seen much of the media direct themselves away from the real issues that confound our society: food poverty, fuel poverty, in-work poverty, homelessness, addictions, mental health crises and elevated rates of suicide.

Gone from No 10 (though not quite yet) is a PM who dodged many a bullet before his own lieutenants picked him off at close range.

This is the millionaire Boris Johnson who resisted calls from, amongst others, the Children's Society, to give every child from a family in England on Universal Credit a free school lunch. This would have saved each family approximately £400 per year. This is the same Boris Johnson who, just over a year ago, the tabloids revealed had a butler "smuggle" in £27,000 worth of hampers filled with organic food during lockdown.

Some might say that we live in a meritocracy and "them's the breaks", but we don't all live in a world where we get by on our demonstrable abilities.

I have taught hundreds of young people who are far more innately intelligent than me, who worked very hard at school and followed all the rules but will never be given the chance to fulfill their potential because of their socioeconomic backgrounds.

I have taught hundreds of young people whose families have had to make the decision between eat or heat, or to line up at the food bank.

At least they could all rest assured that our illustrious (soon to be former) leader was grubbing up on gourmet food from Lady Bamford's elite organic farm shop. Yes, this is the wife of the Lord Bamford who donated £10 million to the Conservative Party's coffers.

Politicians are so out of touch with others' realities. At the time of writing, eight Conservative politicians are vying to get the top job. Of this eight, five are Oxbridge-educated and each of them is a millionaire, some many times over (including Rishi Sunak, who is estimated as having a £200 million fortune and who is married to an heiress who stands to inherit billions yet was caught out on her personal tax affairs).

Labour is no better. Most of its top positions are filled with Oxford and Edinburgh alumni and its leader, who has an estimated personal net worth of more than £7 million, is the Right Honourable Sir Keir Rodney Starmer KCB, QC, MP. Sounds just like a man of the people, eh?

All of these politicians are destined to fail not because the problems I mentioned earlier are beyond their sphere of influence, but because it is beyond their sphere of experience.

I do not pretend to know the answers to these problems, but I can't help get the feeling that yet another generation is being left to rot, whilst those who desire to "lead" us are continuing to live lives of luxury.

Gordon Fisher, Stewarton.


I AGREE with GR Weir’s approval (Letters, July 13) of John Major’s condemnation of those in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet who “were silent when they should have spoken out”.

I have no doubt that only the Labour and Liberal Democrats recognise the need for the UK to be given a new start. I appreciate that any attempt to rescue our democratic processes and social cohesion from the disarray the Conservatives have plunged both into will not be made any easier by Sir Keir Starmer’s unrealistic belief that he can “make Brexit work”.

It is, however, no more unrealistic than the belief of the SNP that “an independent Scotland can be made to work”. Eight years after the 2014 referendum it has not made any attempt whatsoever to convince us it can. I can only assume that is because it cannot do so. Yet still it asks us to press the UK’s self-destruct button.

It is obvious that we must have faith in those for whom we chose to cast our vote. There will always be a element of “Project Fear” in relation to those for whom we choose not to vote.

In other words I have more faith in Labour’s ability to restore the UK’s values from their current disarray than I have in the SNP's ability to create a functioning independent Scotland.

John Milne, Uddingston.


NICOLA Sturgeon and her acolytes tell us that democracy must prevail, by which they mean that they should get their own way on having another referendum. I seem to remember democracy in action in Scotland, in 2014, in the biggest democratic exercise we have ever seen. On a turnout of 85 per cent, Scots voted to remain in the UK and rejected the SNP’s very flaky proposition for leaving the UK.

According to the Edinburgh Agreement of October 2012, the vote was to "deliver a fair test and decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect". Nowhere was it stated that this would pertain "unless…" – take your choice: Brexit, Tories, Boris Johnson. There were no qualifying clauses that suggested that the vote could or should be overturned for any reason, and certainly not simply because one side was offended at having lost the vote. I realise that many nationalists believe that they should have won, because of the perceived rightness of their cause. They believe that Scottish voters should be given the opportunity to mend their ways and rectify the error that they made in 2014 – for as often as it takes.

This is the argument of the small spoilt child in the playground shouting "it isnae fair". Most of us didn’t want a referendum at all – Alex Salmond held one on the basis of achieving 45 per cent of the vote on a 50 per cent turnout in 2011 – but we went along with it nevertheless, reckoning that it would settle the issue once and for all.

One thing is clear: the nationalist side that wants to break up our country cannot tell us how it would solve our manifold problems and has shown scant respect of the kind required by the Edinburgh Agreement. It’s time to tell them: enough.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.

• THERE seems to be an agreed policy across the entire slate of Tory leadership hopefuls – and I would include Sir Keir Starmer under this description – to meet any questions on Indyref2 with the response that the referendum in 2014 was a "once in a generation" event and that the current generation has at least 10 more years to run. None of the interviewers explores the provenance of this much-quoted attribute of the 2014 vote.

It was certainly not part of the question asked on the ballot paper and I can only trace it to comments made by certain SNP politicians at the time. Even at that the only evidence I have been able to find is of Alex Salmond, discussing the matter on the Andrew Marr Show, expressing his opinion that we were unlikely to get another chance in "the current political generation". I would suggest that Mr Salmond's resignation as FM very shortly thereafter could quite reasonably have marked the end of a political generation. In any case, Alex Salmond's comments carry no more legal or legislative weight than those of any other individual and are certainly not binding on the Scottish nation. Scots aged under 16 in 2014 were too young to vote and will be aged at least 24 in 2023 and at least 33 10 years from now. How much longer will that generation have to wait before the unionists agree that democracy entitles them to have their say on the matter?

I appeal to all media interviewers in the weeks ahead to challenge their subjects on the relevance of the "generation" excuse.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

• EILEEN McCartin (Letters, July 13) says the 2014 referendum result was the settled will of the Scottish people. That may be so. But circumstances have radically changed since then. For one thing, the solemn promises of further constitutional reform made at that time have not materialised.

In the 2016 referendum, the Scottish people gave a resounding yes to remain in the EU – and by a bigger majority than the No voters achieved in 2014. How did that turn out? Was the settled will of the Scottish people in the EU referendum respected?

Jim Morrow, Glasgow.


DO many people wonder why the NHS is not receiving the £350 million a week promised by the Tories? Are many people aware that Boris Johnson in his previous career as a journalist wrote that Brexit was a very bad idea which would damage the British economy? Do many contemplate the promises of numerous trade agreements just waiting to be signed which would transform our economy? Do many people know that the Russians interfered in our Brexit vote? Are we now poorer but happier in our new-found freedoms?

James Evans, Dumbarton.

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