LISTENING to Liz Truss during the hustings increasingly resembles those occasions when you make an insurance claim only to discover that what you thought it said on the policy is not what you are actually covered for.

She started off her leadership bid with the somewhat revolutionary suggestion that if you were a public sector worker in a rural area of the country you should expect to get paid less than if you worked in London. A number of her fellow Conservative MPs in rural constituencies duly let it be known what they thought of that proposal, forcing her to rapidly backtrack and claim that she had been "misrepresented" by others. Cue endless video clips taken by the media during the first week of her campaign where she is quite clearly seen stating that this is her policy. In other words, she was at best being economical with the truth.

Having weathered that particular storm she was then quizzed about her stated view that British workers are lazy after this surfaced in a book which she had co-authored with Dominic Raab. She duly replied that this was actually one individual’s view and not hers, but was promptly challenged by the other contributors who said that she’d signed up to a "collective responsibility" agreement for the publication’s content. A further denial then followed, only for the Guardian to undermine this by pointing out that she had been arguing along the same lines when she was a Government minister.

Last week we had yet another statement from her past in which she said that she wanted to cut doctor’s pay, reduce funding for the NHS, cut the winter fuel allowance, and abolish free TV licences for the over-75s. Despite these proposals being in print this was once again dismissed, no doubt because in today’s fraught political environment it’s a guaranteed vote-loser.

Why is this important? Well, there’s a pattern emerging here of somebody who is seriously duplicitous when it comes to being held to account. This at a time when many of us thought that Boris Johnson had cornered that particular market for himself. He was subsequently forced out of office because of his perceived serial lying. Yet we now have the unedifying spectacle of him being followed by a third-rate politician who not only appears to be equally mendacious, but seems to be even more divorced from the harsh realities currently confronting the rest of us. Here’s a simple question for Conservative Party members: whatever happened to "lessons learned"?

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.


CATRIONA C Clark (Letters, August 23) isn’t remembering quite right. Twenty per cent inflation and consequent worker discontent remind me not of Margaret Thatcher but of James Callaghan. Mrs Thatcher stopped that inflation quickly

She still has a word to say to Rishi Sunak and the other one who forgets her lines. She said the Scottish people had authority to leave the UK if they should choose

Why on earth do these would-be inheritors of Baroness Thatcher speak as if they have individual authority over the decisions of a population? Their hero never supposed anything so myopic and infantile.

I was unionist and actually a Conservative Party activist for 50 years of my life. Now I say let’s escape the wreckage of the UK and get back to Europe where we belong. That’s a far more important issue than the British state.

A word of caution. The first half-century of the Irish Free State showed the deadening effect of poor quality government. A new Scotland will need all sides to contribute effort and goodwill.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.


NICOLA Sturgeon, pretty predictably, has called for Her Majesty’s Government to consider nationalising energy supplies. That will be because nationalisation of Ferguson Marine and Prestwick Airport have been such roaring successes.

In her speech to the SNP conference in 2017, Ms Sturgeon pledged to establish a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company, to great acclaim. No wonder: she was promising her audience energy supplies at not much above cost price. £400,000 later, the plan has been virtually abandoned.

But never mind: Ms Sturgeon received her ovation from SNP members at conference, just as she did when she launched – also in 2017 – the Glen Sannox ferry that is yet to be completed. A pattern is developing here – with the closing of the attainment gap in schooling also kicked far into the long grass.

Perhaps the SNP’s next election slogan should be "Promises, promises".

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


WITH food prices rising alarmingly, food banks under pressure as never before and everyone dreading horrendous energy bills as summer slips away and chilly winter waits in the wings, it is comforting to know that whatever challenges will have to be faced regarding eating or heating, the population of Scotland will continue not to be charged at the counter for our medical prescriptions. For those with chronic health conditions, that is worth a lot.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


THERE are many who will struggle to pay the standing charges never mind the actual electricity and gas usage to avoid hypothermia.

There are distraught parents who have disabled children using electrical medical equipment who will somehow have to find more than £800 per month for gas and electricity from money they do not have. This could easily go up to more than £1,000 per month next January. This may only be about one hour’s wages for the energy company’s directors, but it is unaffordable to anyone else.

Instead of the wholesale companies making so much profit that they are giving all their employees an 8% bonus, why not take the profit they made last year and allow that same profit plus 5% for this year and impose a windfall tax on the remainder? After all, the only reason the costs have gone up by an eye-watering amount is because the cost is tied to the world cost of gas and not for any other reason. We do not import Russian gas and the wholesale energy companies do not have to pay Russian prices.

The CEOs did nothing to generate a profit increase in the region of 500%-800%, so why should they and their shareholders pocket million-pound bonuses at everyone else’s expense?

This would reduce inflation significantly and could prevent a mass failure of small companies if it is distributed fairly.

Who knows, it may even reduce the number of people who will die of starvation or hypothermia this winter.

Iain McIntyre, Sauchie.


NO matter the SNP spinner army attempts to cover it up, the fact remains that the census mess-up remains up there in the already-overflowing catalogue of horrendously expensive nationalist failures. It was an unprecedented disaster and the responsible minister should have been long gone.

Three hundred thousand did not complete the returns at all and it has now been reported that there will be none of the promised prosecutions. Some of those making up those staggering numbers were upset at the gender-associated and prying questions and felt the SNP compilers were bowing to the woke brigade but whatever the reason, this was failure on a new level of incompetence.

All this is clear because the other countries who make up the UK and had no wish to appear different for the sake of it had no problem getting meaningful returns.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


WHILE Europe rightly concentrates on the war in Ukraine, the so-called peace in Afghanistan has degenerated into misery, famine and chaos. In 30 years of war with the tragic loss of 3,500 coalition and 60,000 Afghan soldiers and more than 200,000 civilian casualties, what have even the best intentions of America and Britain achieved?

If the first casualty of war is the truth, the second has to be the most vulnerable where women, children and the old suffer the most.

Peace can only last if all sides agree to a new way forward, accepting differences but working together for the good of all, where honest democratic principles, free from extremist religious views, apply.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

Read more: Government must act to ease the fear that stalks families