AS Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak battle it out to be the UK’s next Prime Minister, history tells us that tax cuts, a key battleground in the debate, are the worst way to tame inflation.

As with the First World War, a global conflict is driving up prices and the best that can be said is that at least we are not facing 25% inflation as was did in that war, while in the Second World War inflation reached a paltry 17%.

For those who favour tax cuts, recent history indicates that this could be the worst thing to do. One only has to cast an eye back to Anthony Barber, Edward Heath’s chancellor, who faced the same spectre of stagflation as we do today.

High inflation was failing to drive economic growth and Barber initiated an economic policy not so far different to that which we are witnessing being debated by the Tory leadership hopefuls today.

Aiming for 10 per cent economic growth over two years, in a so-called “dash for growth” introduced in 1972, Barber cut income tax, overhauled other levies and liberalised the banking system.

Government borrowing ballooned and then the bubble burst as sterling plunged in value and inflation climbed, before the Yom Kippur war triggered the oil crisis of 1973 and soaring oil prices.

While in other nations inflation fell, in the UK it rose to First World War levels, accompanied by two recessions.

Before the next Prime Minister looks to loosen the purse strings, the tales of Tory chancellors past should act as a clear wake-up call.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.


IT seems the choice in the Conservative leadership campaign is between a message designed to appeal to the personal interests of the immediate electorate, and one which has the needs and votes of the wider electorate – and a general election – in mind.

The former is Liz Truss’s promise to scrap the National Insurance rise, cut taxes and minimise targeted financial help, funded by borrowing and hoped-for growth, fuelled by an inflationary spending boom.

Rishi Sunak has realised that none of the above will help the people who will be most affected by the cost of living crisis, because they don’t pay much tax or NI; and the borrowing to pay for Truss’s lower taxes will force up interest rates and the value of the pound, which will make our exports more expensive.

I just hope that enough party members think beyond their own pockets and vote for what’s best for the country and their party’s fortunes at the forthcoming general election.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


ENERGY and communications are the bloodstream of the state, and they should be there for us without question.

And yet we are being exploited as customers of what has become a privatised version of that very life blood.

Unable to heat our homes because of the cost of fuel, and having to haggle over the price of our broadband service every year or so.

While the executives and shareholders of that life blood enjoy salaries and profits so large as to be incomprehensible to most of us.

The word ‘revolution’ must surely come to mind.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross.


I FULLY concur with Gordon Brown’s comments on our government’s lack of action to the crisis we face this autumn when the reality of another 54% increase in energy costs hits poorer families.

The SNP have buried their head in the sand over the fuel poverty issue and are preoccupied by fantasy talk of indyref2.

The SNP are enjoying their long summer vacation and have no intention of returning to Holyrood to tackle the crisis that is going to hit Scotland hard and cause endless worry and grief for poor families.

Scotland Deserves Better.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.


BOB Hamilton (letters, August 8) complains about “abusive and intolerant” views being expressed by “many in the independence camp” at the 2014 referendum.

I’ve received my fair share of abusive, anonymous letters over the years that I’ve been writing to The Herald and I very much doubt that they are the work of independence supporters.

During the referendum campaign a gentleman told me he hoped I’d burn in hell.

And a lady sporting a Better Together badge followed my daughter and her children the length of Falkirk High Street, screaming abuse because in answer to her question, my daughter told her she was a Yes supporter.

Abuse is unacceptable from anyone, no matter what side they happen to be on.

I detected no abuse in Willie Maclean’s letter; however, I have stopped reading the Herald’s on-line comments, as the amount of abuse directed mainly at the First Minister is pretty horrible to read – and that’s not the work of independence supporters, either.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


I WAS amused to read S.Campbell’s letter on Saturday, as replacing the words “Margaret Thatcher” with “Nicola Sturgeon” was both a mirror and a prophecy.

Then we were treated to John Swinney informing us that the £140m to be put towards pay demands from the Unite, Unison and GMB unions would mean severe cuts elsewhere. There was no chance of St Nicola announcing that one.

Then the Herald on Sunday (August 7) tells us that CalMac have been hit with £3.5m in performance fines by the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland over reliability issues that are the responsibility of CMAL, who own and manage the ferry assets and whose sole shareholder is the Scottish Government.

This is what the SNP regard as a circular economy, with the added attraction of pointing the finger at the shopfloor where CalMac are doing the best they can with the very dodgy hand that they have been dealt.

The ferries are in chaos with food shortages. The islanders have now been somewhat placated with a suggestion from the Scottish Government that the Resilience Committee will use the £3.5 million as part of a compensation scheme for the shopkeepers, but it does absolutely nothing about feeding the starving customers right now.

That £3.5m could very easily have been put towards the £140 million for the pay-deals and in reality, it probably will.

Meantime, for CalMac the beatings shall continue until morale improves.



THE content of S.Campbell’s letter is ambiguous, specifically the content of the penultimate paragraph commencing “But it is also worth noting....”. Key phrases are “her belief that she was always right”....”her increasing disability to tolerate dissent”....”becoming an electoral liability for her own party”.

The ambiguity is that these phrases apply equally to Nicola Sturgeon. Thatcher and Sturgeon as clones? Not a foolish notion. It would be interesting to canvas the opinion of the inhabitants of the Western Isles, the question being which of the clones has caused more damage.

I have long considered that Orkney and Shetland would not wish to be components of an independent Scotland, but would look instead to the Faroes in particular and Scandinavia in general. I predict that the Western Isles will do likewise.

William Durward, Bearsden.


ANOTHER classic case is reported in the Herald of a low uptake of a scheme designed to assist a group of citizens in these challenging times (“Almost six out of 10 young people still without free bus pass, figures reveal”, August 8) .

In this case it is the “free” bus pass initiative for young Scots aged between five and 21, with only a reported 4 in 10 of those eligible taking up the offer.

Surely the way to ensure the vast majority of our young people benefit from this scheme is, rather than have fill in forms to apply, the bus pass is given out automatically, for example at schools, further education colleges and the like.

The politicians and administrators really do make life difficult for so many in a multitude of areas without any real need to do so. Time for a change.

James Martin, Bearsden.