RE Kathleen Nutt's piece on the upcoming Rutherglen by-election ("Rutherglen by-election: Key issues that will determine the outcome", heraldscotland, September 25), there is only one issue: who can we trust to listen to us and speak up for us and work for us and be accountable to us?

We need someone who puts the people before their party. Someone who puts the people's interests and views before their own. Someone who understands and appreciates the great honour they have been given by our people, who knows they have no power other than what we give them and can easily take away.

I am so tired of being bombarded by their views, telling us what they will do. They should be listening to our views and us telling them what we want them to do.

That is the reality here. All the political pundits in the country all having views on what is best for us while our people in this proud town - the oldest Royal Burgh in Scotland where we always, rightly, had a good conceit of ourselves - are now queueing up at food banks who are giving out warm clothing and washing powder, nappies and baby food, where our primary school children are going to school in winter without warm clothing or proper shoes.

The first party that guarantees to put a price cap on the energy giants and brings back retail price maintenance on essential foodstuffs and raises the basic benefits to a liveable level and ensures all workers get a decent wage, taxes the rich and funds local government adequately, will get our votes.

I am not a member of any political party and I have lived in Rutherglen all my life, my parents and grandparents before me. When I grew up here in the 1950s we had never heard of charity shops or food banks.

Brexit? Global warming? Transgender rights? Get real.

Real people. Real issues.

Dorothy Connor, Rutherglen.

Read more: There’s still a long way to go on immigration

A dearth of brave politicians

IT’S not clear from Joe Berry’s letter (September 25) what form of taxation he advocates to replace council tax, but he does come perilously close to arguing for a poll tax. That’s been tried in the UK before, by none other than the Iron Lady herself, Maggie Thatcher; it didn’t end well.

I was sorry to hear the leader of the LibDems, Sir Ed Davey, defending his party’s decision to drop its support for a penny on income tax to help fund the NHS and social care. So that’s all three main UK-wide parties insisting that tax rates should stay as they are, even for the very wealthy. They’re living in cloud cuckoo land: we can’t have decent public services and we won’t grow the economy if the Government doesn’t invest, and its principal source of funds for investment is taxation.

It's a lazy lie that now dominates our politics: that we can have first-class public services without spending appropriate amounts of money. Much of modern medicine is high-tech, complex and expensive. If we don’t invest in staff and equipment, then patients suffer and we end up with later diagnoses and higher treatment costs at a later date; and, of course, premature and avoidable deaths.

It takes a brave and honest politician to tell electors that some of them will have to pay more tax so that everyone can have access to good healthcare, education and local services. Sadly, there appears to be an acute shortage of those personal qualities in our current crop of politicians, and that shortage is most acute on the benches in Westminster.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

Why we need regulation

ANGUS MacEachran’s contentions about regulation (Letters, September 26) are by no means new. In 1980, Margaret Thatcher’s Government contended that employment law, including the right to claim unfair dismissal, was a deterrent to taking on new employees, and legislated to limit access (for example, increasing the qualifying period). However rather embarrassingly the Department of Employment at about the same time published research showing that employers were more concerned about being able to recruit good, reliable staff than legal issues. In a highly integrated and complex society like our own, regulation isn’t really optional.

Mr MacEachran is certainly right that if regulation causes landlords to make a loss there will be fewer properties to rent, but no regulations set out to cause loss. More often it is to address property market failure such as addressing abuses by rogue landlords or enforcing safety standards.

Your recent finding of the difference in duration of GP consultations (“Scots patients from deprived areas ‘get less time with GPs’”, The Herald, September 25) illustrates the difference between equality of provision and of outcome, and the need for regulation.

There is more ill health in poorer areas creating a higher level of demand for their GP’s time. Thus, if there is equality of provision of GPs (ie the same ratio of GPs to patients) those working in more deprived areas will see patients more frequently, often for more complex issues, so consultations are shorter. Thus, given the uneven distribution of health problems, equality of provision is unlikely to achieve equality of outcome. Regulation is necessary to ensure enough GPs that health outcomes in deprived areas are improved to the same level as elsewhere, or at least raised in that direction.

The fundamental weakness of Mr MacEachran’s argument is most apparent in his conclusion that “ideally, all parties in Scottish society should make and live with their own decisions”, which sounds fine, liberating even, until it is appreciated that some of us are better at doing this, not only for reasons of ability but systemic advantage. Is it accidental that university access is dominated by the children of the more advantaged? If we value equality, not just of provision, but, of outcome as well, then the regulation which Mr MacEachran condemns is not only essential but desirable.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Read more: Conservatives must stand up and fight for their principles

Indy case is far from dead

AS a black grandmother born in the Shire counties of England in the 1960s now living in Scotland, I keep being told by friends and family in England that the whole momentum for Scottish independence has fizzled since Nicola Sturgeon went.

In the area of Warwickshire where I was born I find I'm scared to put my feet into the river in case of raw sewage, my elderly relatives seem to be at the mercy of a failed social care sector, prescriptions and dentistry, even on the NHS, are prohibitively expensive, the Brexit cult is madder than ever, the attitude to asylum seekers and the desperate generally is cruel and inhumane.

I cannot think of one single reason why anyone living in Scotland would not want to cut from England and rejoin the EU given the chance.

Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.

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SNP must ditch the Greens

SOME might welcome Patrick Harvie putting his principles before respect for the law (“I’m with Patrick Harvie. Perhaps the planet needs law breakers”, The Herald, September 26). Yet the two Scottish Greens ministers have developed a reputation for prioritising their own dogma over the concerns of the people of Scotland. With his support for environmental protestors, seemingly without care for what laws they might break, Mr Harvie proves the point and demonstrates how unsuited he is for the often-complex and finely balanced judgements needed of those in government.

The tragedy for Scotland is that it is not the core ambition of the policies that they are promoting that are the problem. Whether in regard to the environment in general, or the specifics of everything from heat pumps to the Deposit Return Scheme, or in social policy the reform of the approach to trans identity, the Scottish Greens have demonstrated a knowing disregard for majority opinion.

Those who wear their support for lawbreakers like a badge of honour misunderstand the responsibilities of good governance. It is time for the SNP leadership to recognise that the partnership with the Scottish Greens is failing Scotland. While dissolving the pact with the Scottish Greens will be politically awkward for the SNP, it is nevertheless essential if this current Scottish Government is to retain any credibility.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

Judging Unison

OF course trade union bosses should be exempt from having their motives questioned: how very dare these concerned parents! But why doesn’t Unison consult its membership over an offer which might satisfy workers (on lower wages on average) in other unions? A basic journalistic task for Neil Mackay ("Online attacks on unions shame the Yes movement", The Herald, September 26) would be to compare what Unison has settled for in negotiations for its comparable workforces in Tory England and Labour Wales. Then perhaps we can judge if this has become a “political” strike.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.