I’M sure that few tears will be shed this week when they read that the Prime Minister’s net worth has increased by only £109 million in the last year to £651 million.

There are more millionaires in his cabinet than at any other time. He is presiding over a government that is lurching further to the right with each passing day.

They do say that as the rich get richer the poor get poorer, and exponential increases in child poverty and foodbank usage would seem to bear this out. Scotland is doing what it can to mitigate this but it is difficult without overall fiscal autonomy.

It is disconcerting that this Prime Minister recently gave a list of “extremists” who are a danger to the country. Interestingly, extreme right-wingers are not on this list yet supporters of Scottish independence are, according to him.

So I say to my fellow extremists – keep the story of David and Goliath at the forefront of your mind. When truth, justice, transparency, inclusiveness are on your side then you will win against all the odds.

The establishment has a history of fighting dirty and will no doubt continue to do so. The struggle for independence and the desire to join the 60+ countries who have already gained independence from the UK, will not be easy but our day will come. Not “if” but “when”.
Stewart Falconer, Alyth, Perthshire.


Read more: 

PMQs: SNP demand apology from PM over extremist speech

Swinney: Scotland can be independent by 2029

Swinney defends decision to scrap minister for independence


SNP ought to have called an election
DENIS Bruce makes a lot of very fair points in his letter  (‘Give us an election now’, May 20). Unfortunately, and typically of most Nats, he doesn’t see the irony of his letter. If he substituted Sunak and Starmer with Swinney and Slater he would be right to describe then both as pretty much unelected enforcers of power in Scotland.

We listened to Sturgeon, Swinney et al screaming blue murder when the UK prime Minister was selected by the Tories then they did exactly the same with Yousaf and Swinney.

If ever a man was haunted it must Swinney, who has failed previously and continues in his same slow, deliberate, patronising voice to tell us he’s going to better this time. As for Ms Slater, dear oh dear. If the SNP and the Greens had once ounce of common decency towards the electorate they would’ve called an election long ago. 
What’s good for the goose, as they say.
John Gilligan, Ayr.


Grim example of gesture politics
THE Scottish Government is spending at least £70m per year in grants to offset the “bedroom tax”. 

The effects of this are to subsidise people to stay, at the taxpayer’s expense, in larger houses than they need, to block availability of larger homes for those who need them, and to spend in the process enough money to build or buy around 500 units of social housing per year. 

This may satisfyingly cock a snoot at the Tories, but by squandering money which could have built several thousand homes since the policy was introduced, the SNP has missed an opportunity to do something about the housing emergency which they have finally acknowledged.

This is gesture politics at its very worst and is serving Scotland extraordinarily poorly.
Dr Ian Johnston, Castle Douglas.


Swiss role for Question Time?
A COUPLE of weeks ago, chatting over a pint, a friend claimed that Fiona Bruce demonstrated Tory support regularly.

That week the Question Time panel contained two Tory MPs and one SNP member, and certainly Fiona seemed to favour the Tory side.

Last week, when Stephen Quinn criticised  the PM for describing the SNP as extremists during a major speech, Fiona butted in and claimed that it was just one  minor remark at the end of that speech. Immediately Alex Salmond retorted that he had heard the entire speech and Fiona’s assessment was incorrect.

In fairness, I have no proof that Fiona is a Tory. She is just showing that English disdain for the other home nations. Maybe the next chairperson on this show should be from another country – say Switzerland.
J. B. Drummond, Kilmarnock.


Justice denied in blood scandal
IT is a sad (but typical in the UK) disgrace that the blood transfusion scandal has taken decades to now come close to some kind of resolution to the victims and their families.
I seem to recall that 20-30 years ago there was a proposal in Scotland to pay an interim payment to those affected but sadly that was vetoed by the then Labour government in London. 
Some of those, debilitated by illness,  who could have had some small measure of financial and moral compensation will have passed away waiting, justice denied to them.
GR Weir, Ochiltree.


Alister Jack’s unerring talent
PERSONALLY, I will be sad when Alister (‘Union’) Jack is kicked upstairs to the House of Lords. He has such an unerring instinct for putting his foot in his mouth that he gives a boost to the independence movement every time he opens it.
John Jamieson, Ayr.


Sturgeon cannot escape blame
IT seems the former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s appetite to remain at all relevant and in the limelight is insatiable.

Rather than serving her constituents in the Scottish Parliament, she makes an appearance at the Charleston Festival in Sussex. Happily she did not need her passport at the border!

She regales her audience with self serving platitudes around her decision to step down including the comment, “I also thought that politics in Scotland, is pretty polarised and that the country also has the divisive “independence issue”, in the mix. 

Why is it that she seems blind to the fact that the division in our country and the toxicity around Scottish politics can be pretty much laid at her own door? After all, one only has to look back at her comments in October 2022 where she commented that she “detests all Tories and everything they stand for”.
Richard Allison, Edinburgh.

Tom Nairn’s succinct response
IT would take a surgical operation (pace Sydney Smith) to get a reasoned and valid idea in the head of Leah Gunn Barrett regarding Scottish history.

 In her latest disquisition (‘Indy Backers Extremist? No, Prime Minister, that’s the UK’,  May 15) she writes that Scotland has experienced 317 years of “a chronic sense of inferiority and deficiency in its collective psyche” under the heel of a colonial power which is responsible for “supplanting the colony’s history, hiding its constitution, removing its languages and suppressing its culture”.

In the face of such bloviation the most succinct riposte is Tom Nairn’s, the greatest theorist of Scottish independence: “Scotland is not a colony, a semi-colony, a near colony, a neo-colony, or any kind of colony of the English. She is a junior but highly successful partner in the general business enterprise of Anglo-Scottish imperialism”.
Michael Cuthbert, Edinburgh.


Labour and Scotland
LABOUR in Scotland must have wished that Wes Streeting had got his coat when he suffered the embarrassment of failing to remember all six of Keir Starmer’s  pledges on Laura Kuenssberg’s Sunday show.

When he was challenged by Kuenssberg on whether his party could be trusted to run the NHS, given what she called the “terrible problems” in the Labour-run Welsh health service, Streeting said: “Right across the UK, every part of the NHS is in crisis and all roads do lead back to Westminster because even though this is devolved, decisions taken in Westminster have an impact on the NHS across the whole country.”

NHS performance is better in Scotland despite Westminster’s austerity, high energy costs and inflation that has destroyed public services throughout the UK, and Labour’s plans for increased privatisation of health services will mean less money for any Scottish government.

Also, Jackie Baillie has claimed that homelessness in Scotland is at a record high at 30,724 but there were around 58,000 open homelessness cases in 2006, the last year of a Labour administration in Scotland. According to the ONS, for the year to March 2023 new housing building per 10,000 population was 43.6 in Scotland, England 30.5 but only 18.5 in Labour run Wales.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.


SNP indifference towards business
KATE Forbes is to be congratulated on her sensible attitude towards business start-ups. But why on earth has the SNP wasted so many years being indifferent to business, old and new?
M. Lewis, Glasgow.