THE spending gap indicated by the GERS accounts is for the economy as it is at present.

The economy lacks diversity, being heavily dependent on financial services, based predominantly in London. The UK needs to change whether Scotland leaves or not.

The models for an independent Scotland, should it come into being, are to be found in Scandinavia, where entirely new industries have been created by public investment.

They provide high value-added employment (most importantly) for young people coming from school/university, new wealth in the economy, and a base for taxation.

None of your correspondents have mentioned this. Why?

John Fleming,


The SNP appears to think it can win the Shetland by-election (The Herald, August 24).

Given its track record, by far the best way to judge any party in office, this would fly in the face of those Scots facing poorer health and education outlooks, shorter lifespans, more taxes and inefficient running of transport, hospitals and “nationalised” industries.

The major difference between the SNP and the Liberal Democrats comes down to one word: independence. If the SNP win in Shetland, this will be its conclusion. The independence debate has been poorly challenged so far by the pro-Union parties, possibly because they don’t think it will ever happen.

The Shetland result might just stir this up if the SNP win.

In essence, independence will always just remain a dream as the nationalists lack the wherewithal to actually deliver this successfully, success being the key word.

The SNP’s track record, after over 12 years of trying, points to a chaotic outcome of a positive vote for independence, especially since Brexit has shown the way. Have the voters in Shetland taken this message on board?

Dr Gerald Edwards,

Glasgow G77

WEEK after week The Herald features articles about our dysfunctional public services.

So why are our social services creaking? There are no doubt a host of reasons, from inefficiency to inappropriate strategies, but the underlying issue certainly relates to lack of finance.

One common response to this relates to reducing taxes.

The received wisdom, based on a discredited piece of economic nonsense called the ‘Laffer curve’, shows a theoretically positive relationship between reduced taxes and increased government income.

This curve is discredited by most economists but is still used widely by politicians; a way of giving more to the wealthy at the expense, normally, of the less-well-off.

But you don’t need to be an economist to realise that the Laffer curve is nonsense.

If you take it to its extreme you should reduce taxes to zero and this would promote growth. However, it’s not going to increase government income.

Whilst the curve might be true at high levels of tax, there must be a point of inflection where it is no longer valid.

So the unfortunate truth is that if we want to improve our public services we need more public funds.

That means higher taxes, but no political party has the courage to say this. In addition, none of our newspapers seem to be able to recognise this piece of logic.

John Palfreyman,


Forward Coupar Angus

JUST as the most industrialized and developed economies of the world were meeting under the banner of the G7, Kevin McKenna (‘A chance to die at work, and it’s all thanks to the Tories’, August 24) brought us humbly down to earth, revealing the tragedy of capitalism.

Mr McKenna highlighted the state of the country under the Conservatives’ watch: people living in shipping containers, people suffering the plight of the benefits system, and many families feeling the effects of the draconian two-child tax system, real daily experiences for so many.

Added to those miserable experiences for so many is a daily visit to the foodbank queue, queues that are increasing on a daily basis.

In the midst of Westminster Cabinet meetings, meetings that are bringing the country ever closer to a no-deal Brexit and all that that entails, do the daily issues affecting millions so badly ever appear anywhere on the agenda?

Mr McKenna’s harrowing analysis of the state of a G7-developed economy of the world, under the watch of the Conservative Government, is clear evidence as to why Scotland’s future must be apart from a Conservative Government that would treat its citizens in such a unsocially just way.

Catriona C Clark,