MICK Lynch, leader of the RMT union, is absolutely right about the Labour Party under Sir Keir Starmer.

"Many people can't spot the difference" between them and the Conservatives, he told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday ("It’s cheerio to Sunday mornings from Sophy, the bottle half full host", The Herald, July 17). He wants Labour's leader to show he's "on the side of working people and progressive politics" but he's not seeing that. In fact, quite the opposite.

At the weekend Sir Keir Starmer confirmed that as Prime Minister he would keep the Tories' controversial two-child benefits cap, pushing low-income families deeper into poverty. That's despite saying in 2020 he wanted to scrap the policy, the same pledge appearing in the Scottish Labour Party's 2021 Holyrood manifesto.

But Sir Keir's sidekick in Scotland, Anas Sarwar, has now also u-turned and agrees with his boss, blaming the UK (English) Government's disastrous mini-Budget for the shift ("Sarwar backs Starmer over two-child benefit cap u-turn", heraldscotland, July 17).

What nonsense. Yes, it was an abject failure, but what should come first now, money or morals?

It is patently clear Labour's leader in Scotland won't stand up for Scottish values on family rights.

He's also woefully out of step with expert advice on drug reforms and not so forthcoming on the immigration issue.

But don't worry, Mr Sarwar. Your London boss will direct you every step of the way. Just be prepared for the u-turns that follow.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

Labour's finger on the pulse

I ENJOYED Mark McGeoghegan's article ("Scotland’s legitimacy crisis is a problem for Labour", The Herald, July 17). He is absolutely right to point out Labour is doing well in the polls because Labour has its finger on the pulse when it comes to issues of importance.

Sorting out the cost of living crisis is important, far more important than the constitution, which the SNP still sees as its big issue. The public do want change, but not change with independence; they want change to help citizens with their mortgage payments, change to provide hope in how best to tackle climate change and importantly a change from continual constitutional battles that only help politicians justify their existence, but do nothing to help citizens overcome everyday problems.

Scots now have a credible alternative to the SNP, whose one-trick-pony politics of independence is no longer appealing to voters worried about the cost of living crisis. Mr McGeoghegan has not picked up on what I believe will eventually dethrone the SNP for good and lead to a Labour-led Scottish government again, ending this legitimacy crisis. A progressive UK Labour government will work for the benefit of Scots, Scotland and the UK rather than what we have at the minute where constitutional grievance politics is what stirs the SNP.

This UK Labour government will inevitably lead to citizens realising that Scottish civic nationalism starts and ends as part of the UK rather than as we presently have with flag-flying nationalists who offer no practicable solutions other than grievance and division.

Willie Young, Aberdeen.

Read more: Independence isn't going away – and that's a problem for Labour

Re-rerun idea is a non-starter

A 10-YEAR post-independence referendum re-run, is an interesting, though doomed, proposition from Colin Gunn (Letters, July 17). How could it be enforced and by whom?

After a decade of independence the SNP will probably no longer exist; ditto the unionist parties. Who would vote for parties that take funding and orders from what would be a foreign country?

Nor is independence such an “unknown future”, as Scotland is surrounded by small self-governing countries, all more prosperous and socially egalitarian than the UK. Sixty-five countries have gained their independence from the UK/British Empire and none has ever returned to London rule, and surely no serious Scottish politician would propose a re-Union with England on the same “vassal state” terms as Scotland enjoys now?

There again, the House of Lords is replete with Scots who would disagree with me on this, but I suspect most would remain south of the “new” border after independence.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Referenda and our unitary state

COLIN Gunn offers us the option of two referenda on independence, one to leave the UK followed by one 10 years later to rejoin. If the latter were passed this would be followed by a 100-year ban on any further referendum allowing the people to have a say on their future.

A couple of points. First, David Cameron made clear in 2014 that leaving meant there was no rejoining option. Secondly, in what way does this square with the right of people in Northern Ireland to hold a referendum every seven years or so as outlined in the Belfast Agreement? Referenda are a reserved matter, so how within a unitary state could you have two interpretations of one principle?

Meanwhile Christopher Jones (Letters, July 17) points out that if you live in Scotland you are entitled to £2,332 per head more than in England. Can he please explain the justification whereby Westminster gives this money to a millionaire in Scotland but not to a single mother on benefits in England? It’s another unionist principle which has long puzzled me.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.

Read more: Indy backers should have the courage to commit to a rerun

Winnie should inspire Scots

FOLLOWING the wonderful memorial service celebrating the life of Winnie Ewing, a lasting and honourable testament to the legacy of Madame Ecosse ("SNP politicians and public pay memorial tributes to pioneer Ewing", The Herald, July 15), Scotland should have the courage and confidence to fulfil its true potential.

For those hesitant Scots, please remember the once-poor and backward country of Ireland. With independence it developed into a socially democratic and progressive European country. Today, with nothing like the resources of Scotland, the Republic of Ireland has a high-tech economy and the Dublin government commands diplomatic respect when negotiating with the UK, the EU and the world. This could be the Scotland of tomorrow.

However in the UK, directly because of Brexit, we have the highest inflation rate in Europe which devalues the pound, resulting in a staggering cost of living crisis including strikes and mortgage increases, all down to this disastrous, dysfunctional Tory UK Government.

With the utter disaster of Brexit a united Yes independence campaign will lay out the obvious and clear economic argument that Scotland will be better off and more prosperous outside the UK and inside Europe.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

The real costs of Brexit

I NOTE William Loneskie's letter (July 14) on Brexit.

It was impossible to totally predict the outcome of a Leave vote. Clearly some dire predictions did not come to pass but for good reason, which seems to be forgotten by those who voted to leave.

We pumped (borrowed) £80bn-£100bn in quantitative easing into the economy in the few weeks after the vote. This was to stop the total collapse of the pound. It is debt which we will carry for generations. It is debt which represents a substantial part of what was subsequently used to underwrite the economy during the pandemic. It was debt which in the medium and long term (now) is adding to our inflation and higher interest rates. It was this printing of money when coupled with the other actions taken by our central bank which stopped total carnage in the markets and the unemployment which would have resulted.

We devalued the pound overnight by 10-12%. In fact the pound (via the market), on the basis that the UK might actually undertake this pointless piece of self-harm, had already devalued by around 12% in the year or the 18 months or so leading up to the 2016 vote. It has made everything we import hugely more expensive and has not led to an upturn in our goods sold to the world.

It was of course again hugely inflationary.

We reduced interest rates by four points in a few weeks to prop up the economy and again to stop markets collapsing.

Growth has reduced and will continue to reduce by 4% per annum according to the OBR.

Of course, every Brexiter now wants the country to move on and not look back or take account. We live in a democracy, however. With democracy comes accountability. After all, if Brexit does prove a success no Brexiter will be slow in saying so. Likewise we need as a nation to know what the costs really are now and in the longer term.

Michael Luck, Bearsden.