BOTH the constant and the increasing support for the SNP defy logical analysis.

During its tenure of office we have seen record levels of drug deaths in Scotland, record levels of child poverty, an increasing gap in life expectancy between rich and poor, and, for the first time since John Knox, educational attainment levels below those of the “auld enemy”.

None of this is, of course, the fault of SNP governance, but is entirely due to Westminster’s stranglehold and all will be resolved in the sunny uplands of an independent Caledonia.

I recall similar arguments by the Brexiteers as to the negative effect of the Brussels stranglehold, and future promises of a United Kingdom of Cornucopia.

The days when we were told we would be the fifth (or was it the fourth?) richest country in the world are relegated to a distant memory given the permanent collapse in oil prices (I never did square the “green” claims of the SNP with the fact that such riches were to be based on raising world climate levels by oil-produced volumes of CO2, but that is history now: we “move on”).

The recent LSE study on the potential aspects of Scottish independence by reputed and impartial academics is interesting in that it argues the negative effects would be far greater than those of Brexit, since there are far greater economic links with England than with the EU.

Time for a rethink? No chance.

Indications are that most people including now a very large proportion of the Nationalists themselves, accept that “there will be a price paid for independence” but it will be “worth paying, faced with the reality that many Brexiteers are now chanting the same mantra that freedom does not come free, and that austerity is a price worth paying for liberation.

Arguments are turned on their head with legerdemain, positions become immune to logic and to evidential criticism. The lemmings head for the cliff of their own making.

Brexiteers and ex-Brexiteers sing from very similar hymnsheets, their religions those of post-truth and alternative facts. Make Britain Great again, Make Scotland Great....again? We have heard and seen all this flag-waving nationalism already from across the Atlantic.

Against this an Internationalist perspective is urgently needed. And that can only be socialism. Sadly, the Labour Party appears to be abandoning its last relics of that, and is becoming an irrelevance.

Ian R Mitchell, Glasgow.





JUST how long are we going to accept increased poverty (including in-work poverty), foodbanks, homelessness, zero working hours, poor health, anti-trade union laws, nuclear weapons, reactionary economic and social policies, the lowest benefit support in Western Europe, and all the horrendous ways that inequality impact negatively on our people?

How long are people going to continue to blame those groups of people who they deem to be less worthy than themselves – e.g., immigrants, asylum seekers, the unemployed, the sick, when we should be supporting them and be looking at those who actually caused the mess we are in?

I refer to politicians (who are beholden to big business interests), bankers, financiers, the Oxbridge-educated elite and a few big businesses and their lobbyists, whose political influence should not exist in a democracy.

The really infuriating thing is that it doesn’t have to be like this. Using just about every method of measuring happiness and contentment, evidence shows that people in Sweden are the happiest and most content in the world. How do they do this?

Simple: those people who are able to pay more tax are actually happy to pay more tax. Income tax rates in these countries are among the highest in the world but those paying the highest tax rates do not object.

This lead to a redistribution of wealth. The wealth gap between the poorest and richest is the narrowest in the developed world and this develops a greater contentment across citizens at all levels of wealth.

People care about each other, they’re not driven by looking after number one. The wealthier in their society are happy that others can benefit from the wealth being earned by themselves but created by others.

So, the answer is simple. Increase the tax of those more able to pay and they, and those less wealthy than themselves, will be happier and more content. Redistribution of wealth, a guaranteed basic income and investment in the infrastructure such as education, training, health, transport etc will benefit everyone.

A redistribution of wealth could lead to greater wealth creation due to the economic multiplier effect. A wealthy person earns an extra £100. What does he/she do with it? Most likely save/invest all or most of it, adding little or nothing to the economy.

On the other hand, a person on low wages earns an extra £100 and is then likely to spend most of it in businesses and these businesses will, in turn, need to purchase more supplies and extra labour to cope with the increased demand.

The extra labour and other businesses will be paid some of that £100 in wages and the cost of the extra supplies and they in turn will spend their wages and create more employment and this effect will be multiplied many times.

Imagine the positive impact of this across the entire economy.

Britain is a wealthy country. No-one should be living in poverty. We should make sure no person goes hungry, every person has access to adequate health care and a home and those who fall through the net are supported and not blamed for their unfortunate position.

It’s easy to achieve. All we need to do is care about each other and view having to pay more tax, not as a burden, but as a privilege and a way of helping others.

Alistair Witherow, Gourock.





IT is refreshing to read Roddie Macpherson’s informed and positive account of the reality of Scotland’s economic strengths and forward looking attitude towards independence (letters, February 12).

This sort of detail needs to be shared more widely amongst the general population prior to May’s election in Scotland. The Unionist promises currently being worked up in Westminster by Mr Johnson’s newly-formed ‘save the union’ team must be countered robustly.

Eileen Michael, Ralston.





MICHAEL Settle (“Scotland: prepare to be love-bombed by Unionists”, February 12) finds it baffling that the UK government has “ceded so much media ground” in the face of the growing momentum towards Scottish independence. The UK government only remembers our very existence when there’s an immediate likelihood of losing control of Scotland and its assets. Just like they forgot about the very existence of Northern Ireland during the entire EU campaign.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow.

OUR response to the proposed “love bombing” campaign designed to make recalcitrant Scotland snuggle up to the Union should be a simple one. As the old adage has it, “Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.”

Richard H Allison, Edinburgh.




UNTIL he resigned last week Yoshiro Mori was president of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee. He is 83 and a former prime minister of Japan.

His demise stemmed from him saying essentially that “women talk too much”.

This was enough for the woke to wail and wring their hands and demand his resignation, to which pressure he duly succumbed.

I repeat, he is 83 years of age with a distinguished career, forged in times when pressure groups so full of their own importance were given short shrift.

Imagine for a moment what these thin-skinned liberals must think of Prince Philip, a man who really knew how to insult properly, compared to a man whose downfall was the uttering that “women talk too much”.

I really do despair how nowadays some people take offence at the slightest innocuous comment and even more so at how the silent majority who think them pathetic stay silent.

James Martin, Glasgow.





AMONG a list of reasons why a four-day week would be a bad thing, Penny Ponders (letters, February 12) claims that the end of the furlough scheme will cause unemployment to rocket. Surely the main reason to introduce a shorter working week would be to share available employment among a greater number of people.

David Clark, Tarbolton.





FERGUS Ewing says he “will do his utmost” to help the Scotch whisky industry. This is rich coming from an SNP government which increased the price of whisky by 25 per cent for Scottish consumers.

The minimum price for a litre of whisky is £20 in Scotland but a premium blend such as Whyte and McKay, Grouse, Bells or Grants may be bought in supermarkets at Berwick or Carlisle for £16. When we are not forbidden by the regime to go there, that is. Cheers!

William Loneskie, Lauder.