OVER the last few weeks, news programmes have regularly featured random people stopped on the street to be asked about the election. Quite a few seem to be thinking of not voting at all, even though they equally do not seem very happy with how things are. 

After some prevarication I have decided, like many others, to vote tactically, which involves deciding who has done us the most harm and trying to stop them doing it again. 

It does not feel a particularly democratic thing to do, potentially ignoring some who are trying to talk the most sense, in favour of voting instead for simply whoever has the best chance to stop the party that has most consistently sought to mislead us. 

Indeed, I can think of very good reasons for not voting for each of the parties on offer. They all have black marks against them that aren’t fading as quickly as they might have hoped. Some have even added to their tally during the campaign. 

Trying to see the positives in each of the parties is not so easy. Yet I have to remind myself that running a government is arguably one of the most difficult jobs to do and not one that I or, I suspect, most people would be suited to or indeed want to do. 

So, I will cast that vote, not least because whoever wins will be expected to do a job I would never dream of doing. Good luck to them all, and as for you voters, I hope most of you can at least find something positive in the outcome revealed on July 5.
Keith Howell, West Linton. 

Scotland can be a nation again
THE Tartan Army left the people of Germany and the rest of Europe in no doubt about the nation they identify as their home during the recent Euros tournament.

I hope they will continue to display the same passion for our Scottish nation when it comes to casting their votes in the election, where all the indications are that the result, a massive Labour majority, is likely to be in no doubt before a single Scottish vote is taken into consideration. 

All that remains is the opportunity to cast their votes in a manner which asserts their national identity and rejects any attempt to draw them into a contest – a contest which has been all about attracting English voters to switch from Sunak’s Tory brand to Starmer’s air-brushed version of the same right-wing, pro-Brexit English nationalism.

It was remarkable that in last week’s final live TV Sunak v Starmer sparring session, the words Scotland or Scottish were never uttered. We can still rise and be a nation again!
Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


Why does the FM keep raising Brexit?
THERE is little doubt that voters in Scotland are very concerned about NHS Scotland in seeing the growing waiting lists and ambulances queueing at A & E for hours, and patients dying in corridors as there no beds available.

John Swinney is however ignoring the current NHS crisis in Scotland and instead raising the now-dead issue of Brexit, which few in Scotland are concerned about.

The UK voted to leave the EU and that is not a reversible decision as good progress is now being made in forming worldwide trading contracts, giving all in the UK – including Scotland – a prosperous future.      
Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen.


Why I’ll be voting for Sunak ...
POLLING day will soon be upon us and it is important that we all exercise our right to vote for the party which best represents one’s views. It’s no good moaning about the result if you didn’t bother to vote.

For me the choice is clear and I will vote Conservative. But why, given the difficult period the country has gone through during the past number of years? The reason is because I think Rishi Sunak is best qualified to lead our country now and in the future.

Take, for example, the fact that his party is the only one which unequivocally supports North Sea oil and gas along with a sensible approach to net zero and has got inflation down to 2% and stabilised the pound at 1.27 against the US dollar (1.08 when he became PM). Growth ‘will be faster than forecast’ (according to KPMG), and mortgages are forecast to fall. He will cut our taxes and has a real deterrent for illegal immigration.

He also understands the importance that AI will have on our competitiveness going forward, because of his technology background and his connections with high-tech companies in the US. Meanwhile, we have chaos in the EU with a lurch to the far right and in the US there is dangerous polarisation. 

Simply put, the other parties have a very narrow focus on populism and are unable to look at the bigger picture. As night follows day, they will put into reverse all the good progress we have made since the economic havoc created by Covid and Ukraine on the world’s economies.
Ian Lakin, Milltimber, Aberdeen.

...And why it’s Labour for me
CRYSTAL Clayton (‘Deafening silence by all parties on food poverty issue’, July 1) observed that “despite some positive policies put forward in party manifestos, the overwhelming silence around current levels of poverty and the cost-of-living crisis has been truly deafening. In 2024, people’s incomes are so low that they can’t afford even the essentials like food, heating, and rent”. 

The reason for that “overwhelming silence” is to be found in an article headed “Keir Starmer should be Britain’s next prime minister. Why Labour must form the next government” in The Economist, which maintains nevertheless that “prime minister Starmer could … be blown off course by events or sidetracked by growth-stifling left-wing preoccupations, such as …. stamping out inequality …...”.

So far to the right have Westminster politics been drawn that The Economist considers it appropriate to dismiss inequality as being an undesirable “left-wing preoccupation”.

I used my postal vote to vote for Labour on the basis of Anas Sarwar’s speech earlier this year, in which he condemned the fact that inequality and injustice are on the rise with “the trip to the till at the end of a weekly shop having become a moment of dread for too many families.”
Scottish Labour has got two years to influence a Starmer Government in the right direction as regards poverty otherwise it will pay a heavy price at the Holyrood elections in 2026.
John Milne, Uddingston.


Grit your teeth and vote SNP
I HAVE begun to think that Alex Salmond and Alba are losing the place when they believe that taking votes from the SNP will “energise the independence movement”. Have they not noticed yet that Westminster completely ignores the existence of any independence-supporting parties other than the SNP?

It is already clear that nothing can stop Labour from gaining a dangerously huge majority from English votes alone, leading to a government which is tantamount to a one-party dictatorship.

Not a single Scottish vote will be required to achieve that, and any Scottish vote for any party other than the SNP will simply increase the Unionist strength at Westminster.  Just as happened with the Labour-produced Vow in 2014, there will be no need for them to fulfil a single promise made on anything.

Whatever the results, they will read only the SNP result as an indication of the strength of the desire for independence. So even if you believe that the SNP have let you down on independence or in other ways, hold your nose, grit your teeth, but give them your vote this time, or accept that you are setting our goal back for even more years.  Then put your efforts into helping to work on the other ways forward that do exist – a Labour government will increase our success.

Perhaps some of those in Alba need to remember a couple of wise sayings – “quit while you are ahead” and “every hero is the architect of his own downfall”.
L. McGregor, Falkirk.


Tories should look in the mirror
PERHAPS the Conservatives are correct to warn us of the dangers of a supermajority for Labour. Just look at the example they have provided themselves on a relatively modest majority.

Neil Mackay (‘The Tories have destroyed themselves - and Britain’, July 2) provides an excellent resume of the damage that the Tories have inflicted on this country over the past 14 years and particularly since the 2019 election.  They elected an egotist as their party leader (and, by default, Prime Minister) who is now a proven liar who has trashed our country’s reputation. The pattern continued with his unelected successors.

The Conservatives should look in the mirror at themselves before raising concerns about what Labour might do should they win a big majority. If Mr Mackay is right in suggesting that the Tories have destroyed themselves, they have only themselves to blame by their choice of party leaders. The tragedy is they have taken the country with them.
Willie Towers, Aberdeenshire.