MARK Smith’s speculations on the prospects of Labour in Scotland ("The SNP voters who are still proving resistant to Labour", The Herald, October 24) are interesting; but surely we have learned by this time how futile it is to place any hopes on Labour.

The Callaghan government could easily have implemented its proclaimed commitment to a devolved Scottish “assembly”, and would have done so if its intention had ever been serious: instead it reneged ignominiously on its promise.

During the Thatcher years Labour was by far the strongest party in Scotland, both at Westminster and in local government; and how much use was it in protecting Scotland from the damages wrought by Tory policies? Precisely none. And in the run-up to the 2014 referendum, the unholy alliance between Labour and the Tories to counter the independence movement was the betrayal for which the party will never be forgiven.

Probably Sir Keir Starmer’s party will win the next General Election; and no doubt it will do rather better in government than the Tories under the Cameron-May-Johnson-Truss circus parade, since it is scarcely imaginable that it could do worse. But the plain stupidity of the slogan “make Brexit work” bodes ill for their prospects of bringing about any real improvement. ("If such a thing is possible", Mark Smith? No, sir, it's not.)

Before the rise of the SNP, the pattern was that when Scotland voted Labour and England voted Tory we got Tory governments which paid no attention to Scotland; when Scotland voted Labour and England voted Labour we got Labour governments which paid no attention to Scotland. One was as bad as the other in those days; and that is still true. Scotland’s only hope lies in independence.
Derrick McClure, Aberdeen

Examining Sunak's record

SO Rishi Sunak has pulled the rabbit out of the hat and is to become the latest Prime Minister of these islands for the time being.

He has previously pulled a few things out of the hat, not all of which were universally popular including.

There was his recently-cancelled Green Card – one of the conditions for having one is that you must swear allegiance to the United States of America.

There was also his fixed penalty notice for partying during Covid.

His “eat out” scheme cost hundreds of millions of pounds and disproportionately benefited people with money and was unlikely to have been used much by food bank clients or those on benefits.

There was also his wife’s non dom status – recently cancelled after it became public knowledge – saving them millions in unpaid UK tax each year.

In view of the above, he would seem to have all the right credentials to be a Tory Prime Minister. Once he is found out and leaves office, he can console himself with a guaranteed £117,000 for life which will help when he is down to his last few hundred million.
Stewart Falconer, Alyth

'England first' once again

WHILST Frances McKie (Letters, October 24) highlights some of the mistakes which landed us in the present financial chaos, she missed out one step.

After Margaret Thatcher's political demise, John Major gave away too much at Maastricht, and this was the birth of Brexit in the Tory camp. Many years later the immigrant situation fuelled it further.

The first three PMs after David Cameron were originally Remainers but cynically switched sides to get the PM's job. What did that say about their integrity and morals? It was Brexit which then caused many Scots to seriously start to support the SNP.

One other event which changed our future occurred on the very eve of the referendum when Gordon Brown made an impassioned, but unauthorised (and false), proposal for a change of constitution such as a federal set-up to save the Union. This definitely swung the voters who had doubts about separation.

In the last two weeks we have seen many U-turns but, unfortunately, not a Euro-turn. Worse still, Rishi Sunak was always a Brexiter, so we will still have our trade deficit, Irish border problems and an "England First" Tory government.
JB Drummond, Kilmarnock

Sturgeon has a short memory

I SHOULD begin by affirming that I am no fan of the Conservative Party and I believe that the constant division within the party and the current lack of integrity and competence of the party leadership has done immeasurable damage to our country.

I do, however, have to take issue with the First Minister in her interview on BBC Scotland news at lunchtime today (October 24). She claims that the new Prime Minister does not have a mandate and that a General Election is a democratic necessity. I assume her infamously poor memory has once again let her down. If I recall, in November 2014 Ms Sturgeon was elected unopposed as leader of the SNP and became First Minister. I further recall that the next Scottish Parliamentary election was in May of 2016, a whole 18 months later, at which election Ms Sturgeon lost her majority in Holyrood.

Perhaps the First Minster should remember that the electorate have better and longer memories than she might find convenient.
Paul Teenan, Glasgow

The damage done by austerity

IN a column last week ("People will pay for the Tories' failures with their lives", The Herald, October 20), Neil Mackay painted a chilling picture of the impact of Tory austerity. He drew on the compelling research showing the clear relationship between the politically chosen path of austerity and the rise in excess deaths in the period 201219. Professor Ruth Dundas indicated that "many more deaths are likely to have been caused by UK Government economic policy than by the Covid-19 pandemic". For the first time in 35 years, Scottish life expectancy has fallen. I wonder why.

While we have been watching our TVs, disbelievingly, fearing which liar, clown or multi-millionaire is going to foist the next raft of austerity upon us, we might well ask why these astonishing research findings have not made continuing headlines across the UK. Why do we remain transfixed, like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights, by these charlatans who claim to be looking after our best interests? As a recent social media post had it: there are two kinds of people in our electorate – those who think the Tories are good for us, and those who think.
Dr Angus Macmillan, Dumfries

Johnson doesn't deserve credit

ISN’T it time for the deluded Conservative Party members to face the truth about Boris Johnson and put his political aspirations to bed for good? He didn’t win a landslide victory for the Conservatives – Jeremy Corbyn did.
Alan McGibbon, Paisley

After ten years of indy ...

I AM attracted by the idea of Scotland holding an independence referendum every 10 years (Letters, October 21 & 22). ] I guess supporters of independence really like the idea because they think they can keep going until they get the result they want. What they don’t anticipate is the consequence that attracts me – namely that if a referendum delivers a vote in favour of independence, we can hold another 10 years later to rejoin the UK. Or am I missing something?
Robin Mather, Musselburgh

A pretendy TV service

AT the end of the BBC national TV news we are told that we are about to receive the local news in the nations and regions of the UK. However, more recently, the viewers in Scotland have had imposed on them the BBC Scotland version of major national issues. This would be acceptable if there was a particularly Scottish dimension to the issue, but today (October 24), for example, the issue of the Tory Party leadership had been dealt with exhaustively in the national news and yet BBC Scotland devoted a substantial segment of the time to regurgitating the issue apart of course from repeating the views of Nicola Sturgeon. Today this involved a commentary from David Porter in London, but on other occasions it has involved the needless appearance of BBC Scotland presenters in London. Having watched the regional news service in other parts of the UK I am of the impression that they concentrate on local issues.

Apart from the wasteful duplication, this must mean that less time and effort is being given to dealing with genuinely local issues. At a time when money is short it is surely wasteful to be transporting presenters down to London, when they could present the issue just as well from the Scottish studio.

BBC Scotland would appear to have anticipated the outcome of the referendum debate by establishing a "pretendy" Scottish National Broadcasting Service.
TJ Parke, Uddingston


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