ALEXANDER McKay asks if the younger generation in Scotland is aware that our country was economically better off and better governed before devolution and the present set-up.

I am sure Scotland’s Youth Parliament (SYP) would take issue with that view. SYP members campaign on various issues affecting Scotland’s young people, they have a voice, something they never had before devolution. I am sure the youth of today appreciate our devolved parliament at Holyrood which abolished tuition fees, allowing our young people to study without the burden of heavy loans, in many cases for years into their future. This was the Holyrood parliament recognising the value investment in further education brings to the long-term future of the country.

Mr McKay suggests Scotland was economically better off before devolution; in other words Westminster was financially keeping Scotland as the land of milk and honey. Nothing could be further from the truth: we all remember the lights going out, a three-day working week, massive strikes, mortgage rates in excess of 15%, appalling housing and the decline of manufacturing. The most harmful economic act since devolution that Scotland has endured has been imposed by Westminster, Brexit.

If it were not for our devolved parliament, where would those who are suffering in the cost of living crisis turn to for assistance? Holyrood has put many mitigating measures in place to reach out to those trying to make ends meet, those who are suffering the consequences of an economy that has been crashed by the UK Westminster Government The youth of today in Scotland have democracy due to legislation by the devolved parliament, they can influence elections in Scotland with a vote at 16, something that is denied to their peers in other parts of the UK.

Scotland was better governed before devolution? I don't think so.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

Read more: We must get together to stop this council tax madness

Indy is the better option

ALEXANDER McKay is partially right that devolution hasn’t been a complete success. That’s because it’s a cul de sac. What we need to do is reverse out of it and take the road to independence.

But despite devolution’s shortcomings, most Scots would not want to return to the "way we were" before it.

The limited powers granted to the Scottish Parliament have enabled Scotland to blunt Tory austerity by increasing family incomes with 12 benefits including the Child Payment, which is why our poverty rate is the UK’s lowest.

Under devolution, university tuition charges were scrapped, school meals are free and free early learning and childcare has been expanded. Prescription and dental care charges were scrapped, free personal care was introduced, and the number of doctors, nurses and midwives per capita is the highest in the UK. Furthermore, the 14 integrated health boards ensure better healthcare provision than in England and make NHS privatisation harder.

Unlike England, Scotland has proportional representation in local authority and Holyrood elections and has reduced the voting age to 16.

But what it really comes down to is Scotland’s right to govern itself, in all policy areas - economic, foreign, defence, energy, trade. Westminster has made a complete hash of the UK, which is why it’s failing.

Scotland, with its five million resourceful people, a third of the UK land mass and the majority of its energy and water resources, has everything it needs to be a successful and prosperous independent nation.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

• I WRITE to endorse every word of Alexander McKay's letter. I know many who do agree with him. Would that we could wind back the clock.

Olive Bell, Dunbar.

Time is ripe for change

THERE is absolutely no doubt that at the next elections, both for Westminster and for Holyrood, that the SNP is going to be thoroughly thrashed.

Its wide-ranging failures as an administration at Holyrood have reached the point where even its most ardent supporters have lost faith.

We have witnessed the demise of first Alex Salmond, and more recently Nicola Sturgeon. Very few people, including their own supporters, have much faith in Humza Yousaf; Kate Forbes was regarded by many as the obvious successor to Ms Sturgeon.

But surely now the time is ripe for change. We Scots expect more from our politicians than what the SNP/Green administration has accomplished. The current decline has to be halted, and sooner rather than later. The SNP has proved to be totally incapable of achieving this.

A change of strategy is desperately needed in Scotland. If the Scottish Nationalists really care about this part of the UK, they will accede to the call from the people for an earlier Holyrood election than 2025.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.

Don't take the lazy option

AT the end of his provocative article in support of a four-day working week, Neil Mackay suggests everyone should just “fart around" ("Hooray for Humza for backing the four-day week", The Herald, September 7), from which I infer he considers this to be a viable non-lazy option to actually working. Perhaps he envisages some way of measuring individual farting output to determine taxable liability so that Mr Yousaf has the funds to pay for all the SNP vote-catching freebies, including this latest one of a paid extra day off each week? Mr Yousaf would also have to be mindful of the likely opposition of his coalition Green colleagues because of the consequences on climate change when this activity is added to the vast amounts of methane already farted and belched out by cattle.

My counter-proposal would be to limit “farting around" as much as our diets and digestions allow, and instead continue to rely on the traditional “sweat of the brow" approach. This would both maintain the self-esteem of the workforce and build the economy, all gained by contributing honest toil rather than the eventually boring inactivity of lying somewhere baking and farting under the sun.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Read more: Yousaf missed a golden chance to be bold, honest and brave

We need new and better ideas

EVERY so often politicians declare that they are going to tackle or even end poverty and every so often researchers rediscover poverty (“First Minister pledges to ‘tackle scourge of poverty’”, The Herald September 6). In the event nothing very much changes.

In his recent epic study of capitalism over the centuries and around the world the French economic historian Thomas Piketty provided clear evidence that everywhere and always over 25 per cent of the population exists in poverty and over 50 per cent live with disturbingly high levels of economic insecurity.

Piketty, as have others, went on to develop a comprehensive, clear and detailed set of proposed changes to our economy, society and culture at the scale required to make a real difference to the poverty, inequality, alienation and global warming embedded in the varieties of capitalism currently dominant and arguably in all forms of capitalism.

It is, therefore, no surprise that do-little centrism, hopeful nationalism, corrupt authoritarianism, defensive conservatism or any of the other current crop of political choices fail to deal with poverty or much else besides.

We await new and better ideas, leadership and policies that are based on a realistic understanding of capitalism, its history and its limits.

Stewart Sweeney, Glasgow.

The dire threat that faces us

THERE seems to be a consensus that the UK only causes one per cent of global warming so our efforts to minimise carbon have little effect on the climate. But we need to protect ourselves from the impact of the damage the big culprits are causing.

A recent OECD report entitled "Strengthening resilience for a changing climate" discusses issues such as coastal erosion, floods, wind, fire, water supply, loss of arable land in the south, famine and the inevitable mass migration to temperate countries, including the UK.

A recent BBC Radio 4 programme entitled "How will climate change affect where we can live?" talked about "managed retreat", where whole populations will have to move to safer locations. It described communities of 30,000 people moving from islands to mainland, and the Indonesian capital being moved from Djakarta to Borneo due to current and future flooding. Work started in 2022 and is 14% completed.

The UK faces similar threats to our infrastructure such as coastal roads, rail and power stations and there is serious concern for outlying cities like Cardiff and Newport.

Politicians or the media rarely discuss this. But serious academics and meteorologists do, and so, crucially, does the insurance industry whose profit is driven by assessing risk, forecasting and setting premiums accordingly.

So when these domestic and commercial bills arrive we might get some serious action on just what the UK can and must do to protect ourselves from climate change.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.