IT’S an open secret that the only reason the UK has a free NHS and formerly had all so many nationalised institutions such as power and rail transport is because of the disquiet amongst the population and returning armed forces after the Second World War combined with the insurrection amongst our troops in the Far East when faced with the new challenge of fighting not the Japanese but the local population to maintain the Empire.

The Establishment knew it had to throw some crumbs to keep the riffraff quiet, crumbs that have subsequently been gradually taken back by privatisation. What the recent Lineker episode clearly demonstrates is that if society calls the Establishment’s bluff it will back down.

When after more than a decade of deliberate austerity targeted at the lower levels of society’s pyramid, at the risk of being called an anarchist, why should we just sit and do what we are told when our invisible millionaire Chancellor Jeremy Hunt adds to our collective financial problems as he shortly will do, while ensuring that the rich get richer? Shall we all go on strike?
David J Crawford, Glasgow

Tax everyone at standard rate

CHANCELLOR Jeremy Hunt is promising measures to attract early retirees back into the workforce to fill the massive number of vacancies which have arisen for many reasons, none of which he attributes, even remotely, to the fall-out from Brexit. In the same breath he tells us that the economic achievement he is most proud of is the fact that "anyone in the UK can earn up to £1,000 per month without paying a penny of income tax or National Insurance".

He clearly does not understand that many over-50s have taken early retirement from well-paid occupations and can live comfortably on substantial final salary-based occupational pensions which put them close to, or even into, higher-rate income tax.

To return to the workforce they would be faced with 40% tax on every pound they earned. They would be much more inclined to take on some part-time work, contributing their skills and experience to the economy, if there were fairer tax rules which did not punish them in order to allow employers to pay poverty wages to the occupants of Mr Hunt's non tax-paying utopia.

If all earned income were to be taxed at a standard rate, with no thresholds or personal allowances, everyone would pay income tax in proportion to their income. Our unfair system has arisen from the misguided philosophy which extols the virtue of taking people out of tax when what they require is to be taken out of poverty by paying them a proper living wage.

Gary Lineker would not require to be so highly paid by the BBC if his full salary were taxed at standard rate.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie

Read more: Hunt to announce £8.6m funding for Edinburgh's festivals

Let's have an election now

WITH every passing day the state Scotland finds itself in gets worse. Your excoriating reports about GP services in Scotland ("General practice in crisis", The Herald, March 13 & 14) ought to be the final wake-up call to the electorate that the SNP Government is simply incapable of even fixing the basics.

The shocking focus upon independence by the three wannabe leadership candidates is breathtaking. It is patently obvious there are far more pressing issues than this facing Scotland. If Humza Yousaf can declare he is open to a snap Holyrood poll to push for independence (with the usual "in the fullness of time" caveat) then why cannot Scotland get a vote right now on the effectiveness of the last near-16 years of SNP rule? If whoever becomes First Minister truly believes that their party's record in government has been a " resounding success" then why not? This would be "progressive".
Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

What's so great about Yousaf?

I CANNOT understand why Humza Yousaf is the bookies' favourite. I admit that he is a long-serving MSP and has held a number of high offices within the party. That's all well and good but what has he achieved?

He has been Justice Secretary, Education Secretary and is presently the Health Secretary. He has had little or no success in any of these positions. So what makes the SNP membership and the bookies regard him as the favourite?

The overall electorate in Scotland favour Kate Forbes and I can see why. She is the best person to lead the party if the SNP is to remain credible and attract new members.
Neil Stewart, Balfron

• IS Humza Yousaf the Gary Lineker of Scottish politics? He never makes much sense yet for some unknown reason seems to have a lot of people behind him.
Michael Watson, Glasgow

Going down in the world

IN my letter to The Herald published on November 25, 2022, I cited four signs which seemed to indicate that Scotland was on its way to becoming a third world country. These were the dictatorial attitude of the political leaders who are aways right, a preponderance of third-rate politicians, a decline in the quality of essential services such as education and health and, according to the media, corruption in high places. It would appear from what some members of the SNP are alleging that I might soon add a fifth – vote-rigging ("SNP race sliding into ‘paranoia and mistrust’ after warning about vote rigging", The Herald, March 14).
Alan McGibbon, Paisley

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Why trust UK with our assets?

DOUGLAS Cowe (Letters, March 13) suggests that “the SNP economic case for separation is: we have great resources, we have great people, we have food and drink production, we have tourism but none of them can put credible figures to support their case”.

Norway has an oil fund worth some £1 trillion whilst we share a debt of £2 trillion, despite since oil production began the UK having extracted about two billion barrels more from our share of the North Sea. There is plenty “left in the tank”.

Perhaps given that the past determines the present and the present determines the future, Mr Cowe could advance a credible case for continuing to entrust our abundance of assets to Westminster?
Alan Carmichael, Glasgow

• DOUGLAS Cowe is clearly exercised by the SNP and its current leadership election. He claims "devolution has been been hijacked by the SNP socialists" and lists failed policies and some of the politicians involved as evidence of Holyrood "embarrassment".

For me, the recent debates provide evidence, if needed, that the SNP is more like a coalition representing the broad spectrum of Scottish political attitudes and values, which may explain why it has been so successful in winning elections beyond the normal "sell-by date" of most governments. But the debates also demonstrate that, should the SNP succeed in delivering independence, the party would almost certainly split or realign, enabling a return to political normality.
David Bruce, Troon

Hypocrisy of the SNP

I WOULD like to make it clear that I fully support Gary Lineker’s recent tweet, largely because it is largely in accord with my position on this matter. I’m sure he will be delighted by the First Minister’s support, although I would question whether he would enjoy the same support if he were to use his position to criticise the Scottish Government. It wouldn’t, of course, be politics without a large dose of hypocrisy.
Paul Teenan, Glasgow

Stop the endless politicking

SOME people object to former senior politicians also being pundits, but it lets us see that essentially, they are just as much idiots as the rest of us. So Brian Wilson, who managed to morph a term as Energy Minister into a lifetime career in nuclear, wind and coal energy, pontificates from his high horse on the problems faced by remote communities, with his verdict being it's all the fault of the SNP ("SNP’S Green Deal is the last straw for our struggling islands", The Herald, March 14).

Yet depopulation of the islands, Argyll, Dumfries and Galloway has been ongoing for many decades including during Labour governments. Solutions include better transport links, more social housing, cheaper energy costs, long-term employment with promotion opportunities. Mr Wilson complains about fishing, but Labour wants Marine Protection Areas, does it not? Labour was as gung-ho as the Tories in selling off social housing, was it not? Labour has backed every strike (including education with a leader who does not use the public education system) without ever saying what pay rise it would settle at.

Time for us to build a better future for all, without the endless carping and politicking.
GR Weir, Ochiltree

Read more: SNP’s Green Deal is last straw for struggling islands


Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.