NEWSPAPER headlines recently could easily have been taken from the 1970s and 80s. We have inflation going through the roof, interest rates crippling households and businesses, strikes and threats of strikes. It is all reminiscent of the Thatcher years (1979-90), a time that saw the end of manufacturing as we knew it in the west of Scotland, a time when a Friday became a day of fear, worrying if you would receive a brown envelope on your way out of the workplace.

It was a time when uncertainty and struggle became the normal. My husband was made redundant six times and myself once during this era and it was very difficult to find new employment. Those years saw a government in London preside over increased poverty rates and the inequality gap widening.

One change that appeared to go against the tide in the 1980s was the days lost through industrial action, they had in fact reduced, but why did that happen? Well, many became fearful of losing their jobs, being blacklegged or targeted, so the fear factor kicked in. However, just like the 1970/80s, poverty and hardship is now driving a new wave of industrial action that will ultimately impact on us all, yet the Government in Westminster is idly standing, awaiting the crowning of the new PM.

This Friday could be reminiscent of Fridays in the 1970/80s, a time of worry and fear as the country awaits the announcement from Ofgem of the new energy price cap. The UK Government at Westminster must act with urgency and compassion.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


NICOLA Sturgeon states that "nationalised energy", a popular social media slogan, should be an option. In this regard, she has no responsibility; this is not a devolved matter. So is she simply using the cost of living crisis as a stick with which to beat the UK Government, as per her daily habit?

She can pretty much say anything, in the full knowledge she won't have to properly cost any proposal, assess whether it is genuinely feasible nor attach a realistic schedule to it, that would have a tangible and instant impact on our bills. She famously told us the SNP would set up a Scottish Government-owned energy supplier yet, as multiple energy companies went bust, she utterly failed to do so.

Ms Sturgeon also doesn't tell us how the UK Government should fund the mandatory purchase of energy companies, some being European-owned. Or is she intending simply to seize the assets, including from hundreds of thousands of individual shareholders across the UK?

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

• NICOLA Sturgeon has stated her desire to return energy companies to public ownership in order to enable consumers to benefit from the perceived financial gain. Presumably this position is based on her achievements with the nationalisations of Prestwick airport and Ferguson Marine, neither of which is a beacon of financial success?

GM Lindsay, Kinross.

• NICOLA Sturgeon ("Energy price cap rise ‘must not be allowed to go ahead’", The Herald, August 22) cares as little for those likely to be affected by the rising cost of energy as does this Conservative Government, otherwise she’d release the £20 million set aside for a nonsense referendum and close her even more nonsensical “embassies” in other countries to help those who need real assistance.

Iain MacDonald, Kilmacolm.


IT’S not often I would admit to agreeing with Michael Gove, but I suppose his decision to “leave front-line politics” means he’s free to express his views without the need to worry about what the new Prime Minister thinks of them ("Gove backs Sunak for Tory leadership as he admits his political career is over", The Herald, August 20). The unedifying sight of the greasy-pole climbers falling in behind the fairytale pronouncements of the front runner would be hilarious if it wasn’t so depressing.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.


NEITHER Alex Bell ("Sturgeon has ‘known for years’ that bid for Indyref2 is doomed", The Herald, August 22) nor Jim Sillars ("Former SNP deputy chief Sillars ‘in despair’ about the state of Yes movement", The Herald, August 22) has been close to the SNP leadership for many years, so we should see their views in that light. Alex Salmond received “informal advice” on the legality of a Holyrood-approved referendum, and the UK Government will have had the same (it refuses to publish it). The Supreme Court will pass judgement on the “rights” Scotland enjoys as a constituent member of the UK: basically whether a cardinal principle of international law –“the right of a people to self-determination” – is inferior to domestic law (a paragraph in the 24 year-old Scotland Act). Could the case end up in Strasbourg, as the UK constitution grants some, but not others, this right?

Ironically Mr Sillars rails against Scotland rejoining the EU, just as opinion polling puts 72% of Scots in favour of this option, a rise of 10% on the 2016 referendum ("Over two-thirds of Scots want to rejoin the EU", heraldscotland, August 22). I personally prefer the Norway Option, but it is surely an argument for another day as Scotland, prior to joining, would have several years to debate this.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

• IT was a typo, but I am reported as saying the literacy rate at primary seven was 5 per cent in deprived areas, when in fact I gave the figure of 57 per cent ("Former SNP deputy chief Sillars ‘in despair’ about the state of Yes movement", The Herald, August 22).

My emphasis at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe meeting about the importance of education is because it is more important now than when my generation entered school. Then, the western nations ruled the world, economically, politically and militarily. When seeking to describe something as really bad, people said it was in a worse state than China.

The world present and future Scots are in now is different, very different, much more competitive. Scots are five million in a world population of eight billion, in which power in most of its aspects has shifted to the Asia-Pacific, where the potential that lay dormant in my time, has now been unleashed. If we do not provide our children, and theirs, with a genuine world-class education, enabling them to compete effectively in the world economic sphere, they will be locked permanently into a low-growth, low-productivity, low-wage society. A good future for them really does depend on education, education, education.

Nicola Sturgeon said she wished to be judged on education. That test should be applied to every government of every political persuasion. Government failure should carry a penalty for them, because they are inflicting upon the children.

Jim Sillars, Edinburgh.


WHY is there such vehement opposition from those of a unionist persuasion to a second independence referendum?

Forget all this "once in a generation piffle", as threats over Brexit and too many other vows and promises have since been broken. It’s not even a question of moving the goalposts – the pitch has been blown up.

If unionists are confident of success, then why not just allow the vote and let us all move on? Constantly arguing the case and denying the vote is expending much more energy than actually holding it.

If they truly believe they would – or could – lose the vote, then to deny democracy to the majority of their fellow countrymen and women is unforgivable.

Stewart Falconer, Alyth.

• ALASDAIR Sampson (Letters, August 20) proposes that democracy and self-determination are somehow best served by the denial of a second referendum. May I suggest, as Desmond Tutu said, “don’t raise your voice, improve your argument”?

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.

I READ in The Herald about the astonishing piece from Lord Frost about devolved powers and why they should be rolled ("evolved") back ("Sturgeon hits back after calls for devolved progress to be reversed", The Herald, August 20). This from someone who was instrumental in gaining the UK’s independence from the EU.

I have sent him a voucher for a can of Brasso.

George Archibald, West Linton.


GEOFF Moore (Letters, August 20) is right about the present ghastly Ukraine situation. As he says, the lack of any peace initiatives is worrying, because when it all ends there must be all-round face-saving arrangements in any treaty. We and others have to resume diplomatic relations with Russia, or live with a permanently-ticking world time bomb.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

Read more: Truss should concentrate on putting her own house in order