FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf continues to rely on only half the story. After the recent summit on the subject, he spoke as if he had suddenly discovered poverty and was now going to adjust priorities to tackle it ("Higher taxes for better-off as Yousaf rips up SNP manifesto", The Herald, May 4).

He blamed events out of his control for where we are but forgot to mention how his SNP Government has for so many years actively chosen to channel resources into other things. Hundreds of millions into misjudged and badly-managed forays into failed businesses, including a shipyard and an airport, with no effective plans beyond throwing good money after bad. Tens of millions wasted on disastrous court cases despite legal opinion in advance warning of the likelihood of failure. Hundreds of millions spent on universal benefits prioritising the pursuit of popularity over the needs of the most vulnerable. Millions spent on resourcing a sequence of pushes for a further independence referendum due to a refusal to accept the result of the first one.

All this and more has seen vast amounts of public funds wasted or ill-targeted by the Scottish Government. What could have been done to reduce the impact of poverty in Scotland if the SNP leadership had really taken this issue seriously over all those years?

The latest half story from the First Minister is on HPMAs (“Sound of one hand clapping as First Minister flounders in fishing storm”, The Herald, May 5), where he assures us his Government will listen to fishing communities, without convincing anyone that the voice of impacted areas will be heard over that of his strident Green partners in government.

A First Minister only able to deal with the convenient half of the truth is destined to be disappointed with the outcome. It would be like trumpeting the appointment of an auditor before knowing just what they what might find.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

We see through this charade

AS the Coronation of an extremely privileged individual encourages some to revel in an overt display of British nationalism others confront the stark realities of life in “Great Britain” today.

While wealthy barons enjoy the fruits of the hard labour of others, those who struggle to pay their bills and rely on food banks cannot afford the time to watch more privileged people indulging in such extravagant pomp and ceremony. This immense distraction is the pinnacle of the pervasive indoctrination on the purported benefits of sustaining a high-profile monarchy under which feudal governance by representatives of the British Establishment escapes rigorous accountability for gross incompetence, if not blatant cronyism and entrenched corruption.

In Scotland, thankfully, most people can see through this contrived charade which keeps many on their knees while some selfishly bask in personal advantages derived from Empire without even a passing thought for those killed, enslaved or harshly exploited, throughout Britain’s colonised lands around the globe.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

Our taxes are not UK's highest

I WOULD like to correct two of your correspondents from today (June 5).

First, James Martin. Scotland’s taxes are not the highest in the UK. Since the vast majority of taxpayers are likely to be on the basic rate, in Scotland that is 19% as opposed to rUK 20%. Only the very small number of very high earners pay a higher rate than that in England, while still receiving many additional benefits not available there, such as free prescriptions.

Second, James Quinn. We would not need to raise taxes and make cuts, as we would not be paying for several things for which deductions are currently made before Holyrood receives its budget as a refund of part of our total taxes paid to the Treasury, for example for Trident, its related expenses and the cost of the new submarines now being built in England.

Moreover, instead of our renewables sector paying £7.36 per megawatt hour to send 40% of its output to England via the Grid, it would be paid that sum for exporting it to England if we were independent. This would mean that we saved that outlay and received the same amount in income, that is, a benefit of £14.72, while that added income would mean the renewable companies would pay more tax to the Scottish treasury.

And before someone writes in to tell me that we would not be able to export to England if we left the UK, let us apply a modicum of logic. We export to England because we have the supplies and they need them. Would they cease to need them just because we left? Even sourcing elsewhere would take time and leave them a supply shortage.

P Davidson, Falkirk.

• JAMES Quinn once again repeats the Union-supporting myth about the Scottish financial arrangements within the UK.

The "various freebies" are not "entirely due to the annual fiscal transfer from Westminster". Those come directly from Holyrood, which uses the money returned to Scotland by Westminster, all from Scottish taxes.

Scotland's deficit arises from the calculation of what Scotland costs Westminster and this is a combination of moneys paid to Scottish people plus charges for services administered by Westminster for UK-wide services. Much of this charge is not spent (that is not "transferred" to) in Scotland.

When this is taken into account, independent Scotland would not begin with a £24 billion deficit, but a sum considerably short of that.

Iain Cope, Glasgow.

Read more: SNP needs to stoke national anger to win our independence

Cut is bad news for young people

I WRITE to express my profound concern about the Scottish Government’s decision to deny £46m from Scotland’s colleges and its universities in the next academic/financial year ("‘Betrayal’ claim as Scottish Government claws back £46m for higher education", The Herald, May 3 and "Flawed thinking on FE leads to bad news for all", Agenda, The Herald, May 5).

This modest boost in funding had been promised in the most recent Scottish Government budget after years of essentially flat-line funding settlements.

Presumably these funds were hijacked to fund the recent NHS and school teachers’ pay settlements, the results of which allowed an already disintegrating but preening SNP to appear a little more competent than the struggling regime south of the Border.

Almost simultaneously the management at Glasgow City College declared the need to make 100 members of staff (mostly teaching staff) compulsorily redundant. Quite extraordinarily, the announcement, it seems, was made whilst it is alleged that the college principal was abroad attending New York’s Tartan Week.

The college’s EIS branch has, nevertheless, been advised that the board of management approves of the "direction of travel" (it is unsure whether that statement was applicable to either the redundancies or the principal’s jaunt aboard).

Regardless of circumstances it is hard not to draw the conclusion that such trips are extremely hard to justify almost regardless of purpose. Indeed it was, in hindsight, crass and might not unreasonably suggest that colleges have been generously funded. Their financial position has, in contrast, been highly precarious.

Inevitably let nobody doubt that similar announcements will now be made by other cash-strapped colleges.

Similarly let nobody doubt that this is extremely bad news for young people presently sitting prelim exams in schools throughout Scotland. Many hoping to go on to further education will be sorely disappointed this summer.

Both those young people and their parents should not doubt for a moment, if that is the case, that this situation is as a direct consequence of a decision made this spring by a desperate and disintegrating SNP administration at Holyrood.

Ian Graham, Erskine.

Read more: We should be proud of King Charles

A rubbish legacy

OUR recently-departed First Minister has been asked, of late, what her achievements have been these past nine years.

To assist her with an answer may I suggest that, now she has so much spare time and is also learning to drive, she might take a short trip on the slip road from Glasgow Airport to the A737 junction/roundabout and look at the litter and rubbish surrounding this major artery.

That is her legacy.

This is the first impression visitors have of Scotland. We look like and indeed are worse than many third world countries.

Maybe instead of cutting council cleansing budgets and wasting millions of pounds on baby boxes, ferries, overseas offices and court cases, to mention a few examples, our money could have been better spent ensuring our existing environment was cleaner and litter-free.

She and her Green Party allies leave us in a poorer state than she inherited.

Andrew Livingstone, Kilmacolm.

HeraldScotland: Would energy be a major source of income for Scotland after independence?Would energy be a major source of income for Scotland after independence? (Image: PA)It's not our electricity

NICK Dekker (Letters, May 5) states that "Scotland has been, and still is, a massive net exporter of electricity to England". He is wrong. The wind turbines in Scotland were manufactured abroad, brought here on foreign ships and erected by foreign labour. These turbines are foreign-owned and the electricity is supplied to the National Grid by foreign-owned energy companies. Before fossil fuels got a bad press the SNP cry was "it's Scotland's oil". Well they certainly cannot now chant "it's Scotland's electricity".

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

• NICK Dekker (Letters, May 5) asks how I came to "the conclusion" that Scotland was importing 1.5GW from England in my letter of May 4). I did not come to a conclusion, I simply stated a fact, since at the time of writing my letter, the net power exchange on the Scotland/England Interconnectors was actually 1,389MW from England. A figure which continuously varies. As I write this reply the transfer is 2.3GW from Scotland to England.

On the previous day the total UK energy contribution from wind was only 4%. Today it is 20%.

Norman McNab, Killearn.

• I NOTICE the antics of Just Stop Oil have even forced King Charles and Queen Camilla to use horse and cart for the Coronation.

When will the Greens be forcing this on the rest of us, and shoving insects down our throats?

George Herraghty, Elgin.

Wake-up call

AS remembered by Malcolm Allan (Letters, May 5), in the good old days I also was encouraged to stand my ground when the National Anthem was played at the close of the evening’s cinema, wilfully trapping those less respectful who had the misfortune to have been sitting upstream of me.

If anyone craves such a nostalgic nightcap, BBC radio continues this loyal practice nightly when Radio 4 morphs from national into World Service mode. I can vouch for this because on occasion I have drifted off to sleep listening to Radio 4, only to be jolted awake by the playing of the Anthem at 1am, at what in retrospect could be a mischievously-increased volume. Surely not?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.