GR Weir (Letters, August 18) likens Liz Truss’s assertion that she “will never allow the Union to be split up” ("Union will ‘never ever’ end, says Liz Truss", The Herald, August 17) to Putin asserting Ukraine is part of Russia and Xi Jinping’s that Taiwan is part of China.

He says those who believe in democracy and self-determination will be outraged at such “imperialist declarations”.

He forgets that 55 per cent voted to remain in the UK. Why am I and the rest of the 55% not entitled to the same democracy and to the same right of self-determination? Instead we, the majority, are increasingly vilified by Mr Weir’s fellow travellers for what we believe.

Alasdair Sampson, Stewarton.


GIVEN the shameful behaviour which occurred at the recent political meeting in Perth ("Sturgeon condemns abuse of reporter at Tory debate", The Herald, August 18), does it not seem strange that this did not feature prominently in the Scottish news? Down south, the Westminster Government is frequently taken to task by several programmes but nothing approaches that as far as BBC Scotland and the Scottish Government is concerned.

Are the programme editors running scared of the SNP and its more zealous supporters or are the majority of the staff being less than objective? I fear that a banner reading "SNP SCUM" accompanied by egg-throwing and worse, would have met with an entirely different response.

George Watt, Drongan, Ayrshire.


TO partially quote David Bone (Letters, August 19) the extent and tone of comments seeking to smear the SNP and by implication all supporters of independence, over the actions of a tiny minority of protesters with questionable motives, “has been breathtaking”.

Of course, verbal abuse and the display of derogatory banners are rightly to be condemned, and many who are legitimately concerned about the now-exploding cost of living and insidiously-increasing racism across the so-called United Kingdom, including those who were protesting peacefully outside the Conservative and Unionist Party husting in Perth, will not thank those who did not act accordingly.

That said, those who use "extremist language" of their own in letters to newspapers in duplicitous attempts to vilify the millions of law-abiding and respectful citizens who support Scotland’s right to self-determination are not helping to make any possible reasoned case for sustaining a grossly dysfunctional Union.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


SIR John Curtice says only a "spectacular error" can stop Liz Truss becoming Prime Minister ("Sunak: ‘I’ve still got a shot’", The Herald, August 19). Has it just happened? Revelations about the 2009 report she co-authored proposing the scrapping of the new aircraft carriers, cutting doctors' salaries and charging for GP appointments ("Truss plan ‘to charge people to see a GP’", The Herald, August 19) dwarf her previous overnight U-turns.

Conservative Party members must be wondering if, to paraphrase a Sky TV debate host, "the real Liz Truss has just stood up" and it's not 80 seat majority-winning "Doris Johnson", more 2010 gaffe-prone "Gerda Brown".

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


GLOBALLY the UN calculates that almost six million people die each year directly as a result of malnutrition. It’s difficult to state accurately how many people die annually in the UK directly as a result of malnutrition, suffice it to say that it already happens and that in 2018 there were 111,450 Employment and Support Allowance claims that were quickly followed by the deaths of the claimants although multiple factors including malnutrition are involved. Institutions such as the Trussell Trust have been flagging up the increasing demand at food banks for some time now; that in one of the richest countries in the world two million people are forced to regularly rely on food handouts to survive is disgraceful and that statistic was before the current and predicted inflationary surge.

Hardship, hunger and cold are not strangers in the UK but more in the lower levels of the social pyramid are starting to experience them and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. In many decisions taken at Westminster those who determine policy are neither subject to the circumstances being addressed nor the results of the decisions they take and citizens starving and suffering from hypothermia is a prime example. That MPs would countenance a single citizen having to turn off the heating or go without a meal simply because their wages are inadequate or their state pension they worked for is insufficient is outrageous.

We all know that there is no shortage of money since the banks and the Treasury create it from thin air and that any money the poor spend on heat and food doesn’t disappear but trickles upwards in the social pyramid. It is a matter of choice taken by government that the poor will be cold and hungry; they even have a fancy name for it: austerity. Relative poverty is a construct, they could solve it tomorrow. Who, not what, is stopping them?

David J Crawford, Glasgow.


I AM not an “acclaimed British economist” like Richard Murphy as referenced by Neil Mackay ("Truth about the financial crisis ... and how to fix it", The Herald, August 18), but the seemingly simple solution to the current cost of living crisis offered by Mr Murphy looks very like a thinly-veiled version of Modern Monetary Theory.

Basically, MMT proponents argue that a state’s central bank can increase money supply, almost without limits, while relying on the state to control inflation by increasing taxation.

The solution to the financial crisis will not be found in the economic sophistry of Richard Murphy’s MMT but in genuine redistribution of wealth and the courage of politicians to pursue this.

James Quinn, Lanark.


IT should by now be clear that the UK Government’s ideologically-driven privatisation of public assets has failed.

The UK Government paid Serco £37.5 billion for a useless contract tracing system, whereas the Scottish Health Service’s Test and Protect system worked. The increasingly privatised English NHS has worse outcomes than Scotland’s NHS. In transport, private bus services serve fewer and charge more than public services.

A National Audit Office study concluded private finance was far more costly and less efficient in providing hospitals, schools and other infrastructure than public financing.

Private English water companies not only routinely spew sewage into rivers and oceans, but also fail to invest in reservoirs or fix leaky pipes, choosing to reward shareholders instead. Because Scottish Water is publicly owned, 65.7% of our rivers are healthy versus just 14% in England.

The nation’s energy assets were sold off to companies reaping grotesque profits while people go bankrupt with many likely to die. Countries retaining public ownership of energy such as France and Norway have controlled prices. In energy-rich Scotland, Scots face the highest bills and Scottish renewables developers pay to connect to the private National Grid while English developers are paid.

It’s not rocket science. Public assets everyone depends upon should be publicly-owned, another reason Scotland must take back control by restoring its independence.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.


SO the Politician of the Year awards are upon us again (“Search is on again for Politician of the Year”, The Herald, August 18). Perhaps we should have a “Least Effective Politician of the Year” award. Maybe Ferguson Marine or Calmac might want to sponsor it.

Michael Watson, Glasgow.


THE conflict in Ukraine rumbles on (“Fires burn and ammunition explodes after attack on Russian Crimean base”, The Herald, August 19).

In 1982 Alexander Haig famously shuttled back and forth between the relevant capitals to try to broker peace and prevent a war over the Falklands. Unfortunately I've seen little or no effort by prominent politicians or the UN to try to bring peace to the Ukraine. All Western politicians do is to send even more arms and encouragement to the Ukraine leadership, which is like fighting fire by pouring petrol on it. These are the same politicians who say we are on track to catastrophic climate change by 2030. If nuclear war breaks out over the Ukraine it certainly won't do the climate much good.

Can someone please give peace a chance? Who knows, it also might bring energy bills down.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


Last Monday’s Picture of the Day from reader Jacki Gordon which sparked a debate – and a poem

Last Monday’s Picture of the Day from reader Jacki Gordon which sparked a debate – and a poem



I HAVE enjoyed the discussion about crows recently (Picture of the Day, August 15, and Letters, August 16 & 17).

Ms Gordon says "... a crow."

Mr Hardie says, "No:

It's a jackdaw."

But Mr Crowe says naw –

It's from the Corvidae

So calling it "crow? Aye!"

But surely no-one

sees a swan

and calls it duck?

That would suck*.

They are both Anatidae

So it wouldn't be a lie,

but so's a goose!

(Further to confuse).

Why not let the jackdaw be

to "chack" away at the top of its tree,

And – as country wisdom knows:

A rook on its own is a crow,

And a crow in a crowd is a rook.

Just stop and take a look...

Rhona Godfrey, Luncarty, near Perth.


I WAS interested in Alistair Johnston's letter (August 17) concerning "the Government are" instead of "the Government is". It's one of my pet hates too.

Over the years several letters have been written about grammatical errors and I often wondered how long it would take till this one appeared.

It reminds me of the time when I was getting married. My parents had died before that and I was considering how to word the invitations. Instead of saying "Mr and Mrs Russell request" etc I decided on "The Russell Family requests".

However, when the invitations returned from the printers I noticed that they said "The Russell Family request". I was expecting this to happen and was looking out for it.

When I returned to the printers I pointed out the error, but the sales girl couldn't understand what was wrong... so I said to her: "It's the same as the Government. You wouldn't say the Government are, you would say the Government is."

Missing the point, the harassed girl shouted at the top of her voice: "I don't care about the bloody Government."

However, she did reprint them.

Helen Lane, Bearsden.

Read more: Now we know how out of touch Scottish Tories truly are