APPARENTLY there are no bounds to hypocrisy in the Tory Party.

The archaic first-past-the-post voting system is enthusiastically exploited to deliver a large Commons majority on significantly less than 50% of the votes cast by only around two-thirds of the electorate (that does not include 16- and 17-year-olds). And appointments are made to the Lords without any public vote.

Yet the latest UK Tory Government regime is considering changing (many would say “rigging”) the minimum threshold for Scotland to become independent to 60%, or perhaps even 67%, of the votes cast.

Unlike many governmentally advanced states around the world, the UK still does not have a constitution to protect the rights of its citizens, nor a voting system that produces proportionately representative outcomes.

UK sovereignty rests with the UK Parliament, not the people, so the UK government is “free” to change voting rules and set back democracy by unashamedly taking Brexit Britain further down the bleak tunnel of totalitarianism.

When will those with integrity who genuinely believe in democracy cease voting for a party that abuses their votes and treats their principles with disdain?

When will those who still consider it important to “stick to one’s principles” cease voting to sustain a system of government that at the whim of a single politician can be abused to diminish, and even abolish, their hard-won human rights and the rights of their children?

Democracy in the UK is now on life-support and the anointment of another Tory Prime Minister is not the cure.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian.


I CANNOT help but be amazed at the repeated comments in the letters pages and the news reports about the “affront to democracy” by Liz Truss, and many others arguing about the necessity of indyref2.

I thought democracy was allowing the will of the people to dictate a result.

So how can it be democratic when the will of the people said ‘no’ to independence in a referendum that was supposed to be a once-in-a-generation matter, yet our leader (who signed the document confirming this) now defies the democratic decision of the majority, because the result was not what she wished?

To me, that smacks of totalitarianism not democracy.

John Harrison, Glasgow.


I THINK we now have proof beyond doubt that the SNP will always put their ideology before the people of Scotland.

Whilst it must be accepted that their raison d’etre is independence, the announcement by John Swinney that he will cut services to support employment before he would even consider abandoning or, at the very least, postponing his indyref2 preparations shows he values his own ideas before the livelihoods of the people he serves.

He and his party have chosen to make direct cuts that will impact people, farmers and other businesses this year and next year, before he would cut plans for something that – if taking an extremely benevolent view – could deliver no tangible benefit to a single person in Scotland for decades (with the exception of politicians, of course).

There is no defence for this ideological and bloody-minded decision. Even by the SNP’s own admissions to court, such a referendum is ‘advisory’ only and thus not worth a single penny of the £20m budgeted, even to their own side. It is almost literally money down the drain.

As First Minster, Nicola Sturgeon often claims she makes “difficult decisions”. Abandoning plans for a second referendum would, I accept, be a difficult decision for her – but it would be the right one for everyone.

Jamie Black, Largs.


GUY Stenhouse seems not to have grasped the severity of the cost-of-living crisis, the acute impact on essential public services, and the legacy of economic mismanagement that has brought us to the present point. (“And another thing…where is the cash for public sector pay coming from?” , September 7).

The austerity visited on the country under the Conservatives after the financial crisis produced the deepest recession and slowest recovery amongst all western economies. It also halved the long-run rate of economic growth.

That whole approach has now been repudiated by the incoming Truss government, despite consistently defending it for years. What it has not repudiated is Brexit, despite the government’s own watchdog estimating that it will cause twice the economic damage of a global pandemic.

Since 2010 public sector pay has been suppressed and public sector employment has fallen substantially.

Real incomes have declined for a large majority of working people, which has forced many into claiming state benefits, and poverty. Yet Mr Stenhouse wants to see, in effect, more poverty even amongst working families.

The inconvenient truth is that Conservative ideological economic policy bears substantial responsibility for so many having so little financial resilience that current and projected rates of inflation will impoverish them to the point of bankruptcy.

No wonder there is resistance.

Mr Stenhouse’s argument pitches public sector workers against private sector workers, which has a distinct odour of divide-and-rule when both sets of workers are facing impossible costs.

It is always better to address causes rather than symptoms, but Mr Stenhouse prefers to blame working people and expects them to pay, again, for circumstances not of their making.

There are better answers, but they have been set out by politicians Mr Stenhouse finds uncongenial.

Alasdair Rankin, Edinburgh.


HOW dare Nicola Sturgeon intervene on what is an open, market-driven process and pass legislation to dictate what private home owners can or cannot charge tenants for rent?

Add this initiative to the already lengthy list of wholly unacceptable, intrusive measures this left-wing SNP administration have imposed on the people of Scotland over the years, essentially controlling what private individuals can or cannot do with their lives and or their hard-worked-for assets.Under this abhorrent woman and her wholly incompetent administration, life in Scotland gets more like life in North Korea every day.

Paul McPhail, Newlands, Glasgow.


ALMOST 50 years ago we had a fuel crisis with supply problems affecting Middle Eastern oil and British coal.

The coping regime was to switch the electricity off in different districts of different cities for three hours at a time – three hours on and then three hours off. In winter.

On a Saturday, a couple of friends would come to our flat for an early supper (6pm-9pm), and then at 8.55pm we would all leave our home for theirs, on the other side of town, for the 9pm-to-midnight shift.

Unfortunately, on Wednesdays I had to give a lecture on the 11th floor of the David Hume Tower during the 9-12 ‘off’ period, but at least I was young and fit in those days.

I recall an acquaintance had previously boasted that he always sat at home in shirtsleeves because the central heating kept him warm.

President Nixon had advice for Americans who were used to this regime. They could, of course, always don a sweater, he said. That really hadn’t occurred to them.

Bearing his advice in mind, I have kept my mother’s old and anathematised fur coat with a view to wrapping it around my feet if the worst comes to the worst this time.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


I AM no economist but I’m intrigued by the debate whether to fund help for the soaring energy costs by borrowing or increased taxation (“Truss rules out windfall tax to fund £100bn freeze”, September 8).

Surely there is an argument that help should come, at least in part, from money that we know we have (energy companies’ profits) rather than entirely from borrowing. The more that the Government borrows, the more that it (in essence, all of us) has to be pay back.

But they have always been in shareholder’s pockets since privatisation. And an energy crisis won’t stop that.

Willie Towers, Alford, Aberdeenshire.