I AM not sure where William Loneskie obtained his version of the UK economy, but he badly misses the mark (“All the economic arguments say Scotland should continue to be a part of the UK”, November 16).

There are many reasons why people risk their lives to enter the UK as illegal immigrants. However their well-documented suffering, both before and after their arrival, provides no evidence whatsoever that the UK economy is either healthy or humane.

The history of PFI projects in Scotland, imposed on us by the “smoke and mirrors” fantasy budgets of successive UK governments, has burdened our hospitals and schools, our councils and our children and grandchildren, blighting the economy for decades to come, to say nothing about sub-standard school buildings that collapse or hospitals that are unfit for purpose.

In 2000, the Royal Bank of Scotland, by that time run by friends of the City of London, was directed to absorb and “rescue” the National Westminster Bank, which had lurched from one crisis to another since the Thatcher Government’s 1980s “Big Bang”. NatWest, with its huge liabilities, took just eight years to destroy one of the most venerable banks in the world. Far from being “rescued” by the UK Government, RBS was processed by the City of London to divert attention from their corrupt practices unleashed by an incompetent government.

In the meantime, the same UK government disposed of 50 years of oil revenues with nothing to show for it except gross house price inflation south of Watford. Norway, on the other hand, built a Sovereign Wealth Fund, which is helping the entire country survive the economic fallout from Covid.

Nothing has changed in the UK. For the last 10 years Quantitative Easing has and continues to be the euphemistic term for printing vast amounts of money to disguise a failing economy dominated by the corrupt money-laundering City of London. The UK economy now stands with over £2 trillion in debt. The Covid recession is just the tip of that iceberg. And Brexit looms ahead. Very simply, Mr Loneskie, Scotland cannot afford to remain part of the UK.

Frances McKie, Evanton, Ross-shire.

I HAVE issues with quite a number of the points made by Mr Loneskie and Mr Lakin in their letters (November 16).

I tend to agree with the point about migrants and would like to hear from some of them about their reasons for striving to teach the UK.

Regarding the bail-out of the banks, it was the lobbying of the financial industry that led to the relaxation of regulations and permitted unadulterated greed through the bonus system. In a small way the PPI refunds were a tip of this iceberg.

Perhaps Westminster bailed out BS and the others through complicity and guilt and fear. Our banks were encouraged to get on the sub-prime mortgage bandwagon and, as is now known, the rest is history. Once upon a time, banks were respected institutions.

Regarding infrastructure projects, yes well said. However, where did much of the raw materials come from? Not the UK. Weren’t the contractors for the Queensferry Crossing multi-national? In the last century, businesses like P&W MacLennan and Sir William Arroll would have been lead contractors. In the building and civil engineering sector Carillion was the holding company of names like Tarmac and others. This was a business led by finance and we know what happened to it.

Like Mr Lakin, I also spent all of my working life in manufacturing based in Scotland, supplying the building industry and other specialist organisations.

My employers used to source from British Steel and British Aluminium and Alcan’s UK operations. This became impossible latterly due to Chinese dumping of steel and the closure of aluminium producers of materials needed for out building and cladding products. We ended up sourcing from stockholders who imported from foreign producers.

As an aside, my employer redesigned large industrial sound baffles, our customer being a UK American-based engineering company. We supplied a large order for onward shipment to China. After a while all future orders ceased. On investigation, we learned that our products had been disassembled and were now being made in China. Will the Internal Market Bill bring back these essential manufacturers supplying efficiently, and meeting approved and regulated quality standards?

My points are that Scotland is reacting to political de-industrialisation. If Westminster cares about the new post-Brexit market conditions that all of the UK is being taken into, then somehow a real leader must emerge who will assess the strengths and weaknesses of the four nations and start to recreate a new UK, with each nation seen to be contributing to the whole and not just for the benefit of the south-east of England.

Otherwise Scotland will go its own way. And I do have the opinion that Scotland is needed more than we need ‘them’.

Ian Gray, Croftamie.