OUR illustrious outgoing Prime Minister, having just returned from two five-star holidays with his family, decided to send his staff on a £50,000 jolly, namely a short return flight to the Scottish Borders in the Government aircraft which we all pay for ("Officials blasted for using PM's plane for 'boozy jolly'", heraldscotland, September 2).

Then I watched his final live address to the nation, and the main plank of that speech seemed to be that if we all bought new £20kettles we could save £10 in energy bills each year ("No financial vaccine coming to end relentless grim news", The Herald, September 2). Is that it?

This man and his Government are an absolute disgrace.

We are told that this is possibly the worst crisis since the Second World War with inflation well into double figures and rising and energy bills going through the roof. We’re repeatedly told by the Tories that it’s nothing to do with Brexit by the way. Household energy bills for the Shetland Isles – historically the coldest part of our country – are forecast to rise to up to £10k per annum. I feel sure that most islanders would happily tell the Prime Minister where to shove his kettle.

Without condoning any illegality, I can fully understand why tempers were at boiling point outside Perth Concert Hall recently. How can the people who filled that hall still vote Tory? How can they sleep at night?

How many old and vulnerable people's lives will be unnecessarily lost over the winter months?

History will no doubt show that this Tory Government is the worst ever.

Stewart Falconer, Alyth.


VICTOR Clements (Letters, September 1) writes about three things he – I don’t think he can honestly claim “we” – found offensive about the Edinburgh Festival Conversations hosted by Scotland’s First Minister: all three are caused by his own misunderstanding.

In the first place, piles of uncollected rubbish in Edinburgh are not the responsibility of the Scottish Government. They are the result of failed negotiations between council workers and the Labour/Tory/Liberal ruling coalition on Edinburgh City Council.

Such strikes – by public service workers, throughout the UK, will surely be repeated as our cost of living grows to the point where no-one but the very rich will be able to pay council tax while also buying food and electricity.

Mr Clements needs to understand that Edinburgh rubbish piles are just one symptom of the simple fact that the UK Government’s national debt is now more than 95% of GDP. Brexit has reduced the UK GDP by five per cent while our costs multiply. The London Tory Government has been printing Quantitative Easing money for more than 10 years. There is no real money left at its disposal; it keeps the Scottish Government, and Scottish councils, on a fixed budget which has been reduced in real terms over the same period. Despite being one of the most asset-rich nations in the world, Scotland is trapped in that same Brexit mess despite voting overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.

Mr Clements' interest in genealogy is one thing but the reality of cultural differences between Scotland and England – his second offence – is another. As we say in Scotland, with our ancient and modern global heritage, we are “all Jock Tamson’s bairns”. No matter how or when you our your forebears arrived here, Mr Clements, you are a welcome, respected member of an electorate that is socialist as opposed to capitalist, internationalist rather than nationalist, has not voted for Conservative government for over 60 years and is more than ready now for independence.

His third upset was another awful misunderstanding. The phrase “Too wee, too poor, too stupid” is a very well-known, now defiant, retort to the lies of the Better Together Campaign in 2014. As the leader, Blair McDougall, celebrated later, that Project Fear worked to convince Scotland that we were not fit to be independent of London rule; North Sea oil had run out; we could only stay in the EU by voting No.

No insult whatsoever in any of these issues is directed towards Mr Clements. They are, nevertheless, symptoms of the current constitutional, economic, social, moral and political predicament of the UK. The first positive step towards resolving some of that lies in Scotland, at last, regaining her own independent, internationalist government From there, the UK, having woken up to the 21st century, also gets the chance of a new start.

Frances McKie, Evanton.

• IF the bin strike was a crisis demanding the personal attention of the First Minister, is she willing to say why she has left the ferry crisis unattended through yet another year?

Anthony Ireland, Glasgow.


AFTER nearly £100 million wasted, the Scottish Government has awarded another £25 million contract to two Canadian companies to solve the Rest and be Thankful problem (“Rest and Be Thankful contract A83 deal for Canada firms”, The Herald, August 31, and Letters, September 2). No CMAL or Calmac excuses, just people who know what they are doing. That is encouraging.

I just hope that the Scottish Government allows light to be seen at the end of the tunnel, although, I suppose, it is unlikely to be a train coming.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.


I AM 72, retired and receive the state pension. My wife is 64, has multiple sclerosis, and won't receive any state pension until she is 66.

My state pension plus my modest works pension means we have an income that requires us to have to claim Housing Benefit to help pay for our rent and council tax.

As I am a state pensioner, we will get the increased Winter Fuel Allowance, but not the two lump sums otherwise offered to those receiving Universal Credit.

At November 2020, there were 1.1 million pension-age and 1.8 million working-age recipients of Housing Benefit rather than Universal Credit (DWP figures).

That's nearly three million people who have been denied the cost of living payments just because they receive Housing Benefit rather than Universal Credit. That cannot be right.

In addition, since the current Prime Minister says that more help is on the way, we worry that the UK Government would further discriminate against those just on Housing Benefit.

This discrimination is putting people even further into poverty and the deafening silence from politicians of all parties is disgraceful.

Andrew Welsh, Glasgow.


IN all the talk about cost of living the pound exchange rate is hardly mentioned. This has had the biggest effect on our cost of living. Since 2010 the pound has fallen from 1.6 to 1.17 against the US dollar.

This drop has accelerated in the last few months and there is no evidence that the fall is likely to stop. I have not heard either of the candidates for PM talking about this and yet if the trend could be reversed our inflation problems would disappear.

Do we have anyone who can put forward some ideas?

Jim McAdam, Maidens.


THE Prime Minister encourages us to get behind his Great British Nuclear Campaign ("£700m for nuclear energy", The Herald, September 2).

That’ll be the campaign led by the Sizewell C plant, funded, constructed and eventually operated by the majority state-owned Electricité de France.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.


AS a follow-on to the failings, perceived or otherwise, of the Glasgow Subway (Letters, August 26 & 29) it is the overall strategy, or lack of it, that is the bigger picture as regards public transport within Glasgow and its environs.

As intimated, despite aspirations and drawn-out plans over decades the only public transport that consecutive Glasgow councils took heed of was buses. Road in all its manifestations was king. All this played into the inevitable decline of the rail system that had gathered strength from the 1920s, succumbing first to trams/trolley buses and thereafter to burgeoning bus services. It can be remarked this mindset was also applicable to the majority of cities and like conurbations within the UK, aided and abetted by proscribed rail service closures over the years that followed. By now it is not only Edinburgh that is turning the clock back with bold plans and proposals. Good for them, costs notwithstanding.

The overall betterment for Glasgow and its periphery lies with a tram or light rail system utilising both road and bringing back sections of underutilised or abandoned rail routes. In the latter much remains of the infrastructure as commented on by Ian Gray (Letters, August 29) that could be restored. This is particularly evident in parts of the Glasgow Central Low Level lines that lie derelict. As an example Botanic Gardens, which closed as far back as 1939, had evidence last time of looking at its abandoned platforms if one peers over the wall from Great Western Road.

John Macnab, Falkirk.


Was yesterday’s celebration of Bill Turnbull on BBC1’s Breakfast over the top?

Was yesterday’s celebration of Bill Turnbull on BBC1’s Breakfast over the top?



IT is with some regret that I put pen to paper, because I was a great admirer of Bill Turnbull as a broadcaster and what he has done for awareness of prostate cancer. This morning (September 2), however, the BBC went way beyond the acceptable in its tribute to Bill Turnbull.

I think there could well be a special programme in his memory, but the Breakfast Show is meant to be a topical magazine covering key issues, not an indulgence of the presenter's interests. There are key issues like the cost of living, energy costs and the election of a new Prime Minister which are the focus of most of the viewer's attention. I suggest this morning's input exceeded even that given to the death of Prince Philip.

Yes, there was some good reporting on prostate cancer itself which was appropriate – though not necessarily in this depth during a breakfast programme – but this was not the occasion for the presenter's self-indulgent reminiscences.

James Watson, Dunbar.


JANE Cowan (Letters, September 2), in not wanting to start "the whole grammar debate", has done so. In her worthy plea for less clumsiness and for brevity in headline construction, Ms Cowan begins a sentence with the forbidden word "however".

I shall, however, forgive her.

David Miller, Milngavie.

Read more: It's not Scotland that's the problem, it's the SNP