A FORMULA frequently adopted by some submitting letters to The Herald is to start by bemoaning aspects of national life and ascribe blame for these solely to Westminster and the Tories. This is then cited as sufficient reason for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom, concluding that, by doing so, Scotland will become an idyllic place.

Elizabeth Scott (Letters, September 26) offers a classic example of the genre. She links Brexit, the recent fiscal statement and aspects of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth before concluding that "our only hope is independence" because Scotland can "keep the energy" it produces and "lower its price" for people in Scotland.

The claim that independence would result in a lower energy price is, at best, questionable. There are two aspects to this.

First, while there is a significant amount of renewable generating capacity in Scotland, it seldom produces sufficient electricity to meet Scotland’s needs. As I write on a windy Monday morning, wind generation is providing 78 per cent of Scotland’s generation needs while gas and nuclear generation provides the remaining 22%. On August 28, when the wind was light, wind generation produced 9%, nuclear and gas generation together provided 83% and electricity was imported to Scotland. Torness, Scotland’s last nuclear power station, is due to be decommissioned in 2028 and the SNP Government policy is to run down oil and gas production. What will be the source of this cheap electricity post-independence?

Secondly, both the UK and Scottish governments have sold the rights to exploit Scotland’s energy resources to private companies. These companies have made substantial investment to exploit the resources and generate electricity which they then sell. That will not change simply as a result of independence. What mechanism would allow an independent Scotland to sell this electricity at a lower price?
George Rennie, Inverness

Gamble is bound to fail

THE run on the pound on global stock markets ("Pound drops to all time low against Dollar in response to Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's tax-cutting strategy", heraldscotland, September 26) highlights the clear scepticism there is of Chancellor Kwarteng’s mini-Budget, as he pledges borrowing at increasingly expensive rates to give tax cuts to the wealthiest.

The £45 billion tax giveaway, including the abolition of the 45 per cent tax rate and cancellation of the proposed rise in corporation tax, will see almost half all the gains from personal tax cuts going to the UK’s richest five per cent.

Contrast this with the tightening to Universal Credit rules that will see a new regime of benefit sanctions, further bludgeoning the poorest.

The widely-discredited “trickle-down economics” theory the mini-Budget represents is a massive gamble, and one that will not succeed, pushing borrowing, inflation and interest rates higher. Flying in the face of economic orthodoxy, it is a plan for recession, totally misguided and unsustainable, not creating growth but delivering economic chaos.

There was a time when even right-wing politicians feigned concern about the poorest in society, but the Chancellor could hardly hide his delight as he stuffed the wallets of the richest and gleefully held up his middle finger to the rest of us.

The decreased value of the pound on the back of this mini-Budget has put further pressure on already-struggling households, and fuelled by unsustainable public finances it is hard to see anything but dire economic consequences following.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Time to ditch Westminster

AFTER last week’s extraordinary Budget giveaway to the wealthiest in the UK, it’s clear that the lunatics really have taken over the asylum at Westminster. And anyone hoping for salvation from the opposition is deluded: Labour stopped being socialist a while ago and is now wrapping itself in the biggest Union Jacks it can find, while performing hearty renditions of God Save the King.

Surely it’s time to ditch this charade of a Parliament, which acts to advance the interests of its own members and a tiny minority of citizens, while ignoring (with a bow to Thelma Edwards, Letters, September 26) hoi polloi.
Doug Maughan, Dunblane

• FORMER Labour leader Jim Murphy calls for Scottish Labour to "confront nationalism to win back power”. Can he maintain a straight face when parading his anti-nationalist stance while Labour leaders are recorded standing in front of enormous Union Jacks leading the “comrades” in a rendition of God Save the King?
Brian Dempsey, Lecturer, University of Dundee

Sturgeon is giving to the rich

NICOLA Sturgeon, commenting on the Chancellor’s tax changes, said that it was the wrong time "to make a relatively small number of rich people richer” ("Catastrophic disaster': Nicola Sturgeon criticises UK's 'fiscally reckless' tax strategy", heraldscotland, September 26). How strange considering that this is what she does day in, day out.

Rich people in Scotland don’t have to pay for prescriptions and don’t have to pay for their children’s further education or their use of public transport. They also don’t have to pay for early years’ childcare which allows them to go back to their well-paid jobs. In addition, high earners over 60 can travel free of charge to work on the bus. How much does this save those rich people, helping them get richer, I wonder?

According to the Scottish Government, the typical salary for all employees in Scotland in 2021 was £26k. There is nothing “fair” about the income tax system in Scotland where those earning around this amount are taxed to finance the “freebies” that those earning six-figure salaries are entitled to. Ms Sturgeon might imply that she cares about the less well-paid but the evidence says different.
Jane Lax, Aberlour

• IF Ian Balloch (Letters, September 26) doesn’t think that the opportunity to live in Scotland is worth a couple of pence on income tax then maybe he should, as he implies in his letter, move to England. For myself, and I am English, I am more than happy to pay a little extra tax to have the privilege of living in Scotland.
John Palfreyman, Coupar Angus

They'll all want to come here

THE tourist tax proposed by Edinburgh City Council is supported by 85% of locals and as such should go ahead ("Capital to press ahead with plans to roll out tourist tax in bid to bring in £15m", The Herald, September 23).

I note that a Labour councillor has suggested that two per cent is not enough and he is quite right. A tourist tax of five per cent would hardly decrease the number of tourists wishing to visit.

Having heard the new economic policies announced by the Chancellor and having watched the value of the pound plummet compared to the the dollar and the euro, I would expect many more tourists will to want to visit Edinburgh and the UK as a whole.

Twelve years of getting it wrong, one could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps the Labour Party had been in power for those years.

Good news for those visitors who may wish to visit our not-so-wealthy country, perhaps an alternative to Greece.
Malcolm Rankin, Seamill

Truss famed for her U-turns

TOM Gordon ("Reporting on the new PM in her game of high stakes", The Herald, September 24) may be right when he suggests that Liz Truss is "a different sort" of Prime Minister from her predecessor, but I find it strange that Mr Gordon apparently thinks that "she also appears to believe in things, which is not always wise for a politician". Presumably, Ms Truss believed in the Liberal Democrat Party, before she left it, and believed in scrapping the monarchy, before bowing before it, and she certainly was all for remaining within the EU, before another change of mind and heart saw her embracing Brexit, to say nothing of all the numerous and infamous U-turns she made throughout her leadership campaign. Indeed, it would seem the only believable thing about Ms Truss is that she's unbelievable.

Mr Gordon wonders if Ms Truss will do the same as Boris Johnson who "shrewdly avoided walkabouts north of the Border", but while it may have been shrewd of Mr Johnson to avoid coming face to face with the population north of the Border it was also cowardly; he was after all the Prime Minister, albeit one who was soundly rejected by Scotland, as was the Prime Minister before him and the Prime Minister before her. Given Ms Truss's mini Budget which will cause maxi damage, it seems highly likely that the new Prime Minister will also be greeted with disgust north of the Border, and sent homewards to think again.
Ruth Marr, Stirling


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