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Readers’ letters: Parallels between present day and the 70s strikes, energy bills and indyref2

Image: SIPA PRESS/REX Shutterstock
Image: SIPA PRESS/REX Shutterstock

Sir, – The present run of strikes, (an idleness of strikes?) reminds those who lived through the late 1970s of that chaotic period. Inflation-busting pay rises led to increasing costs of goods and services fuelling ever-higher inflation.

The aftermath was Thatcherism and three million unemployed followed by boom and bust for several years. There is a simple relationship between high pay rises and jobs – one man’s pay rise results in another man’s redundancy.

The problem then arose out of several increases in the price of Middle East oil and stimulated the North Sea exploration and production business.

The problem this time is not dissimilar in that huge rises in energy costs have disrupted the economies of the whole world, causing famine, escalating food costs, energy poverty, and an impoverishment of almost everyone.

The root cause of all this can be laid at the door of one selfish power-mad man.

Joseph Stalin is reputed to have said “if you have a problem with a person, you remove the person, you remove the problem”.

Right now the whole world has a problem.

Jean de Luge, Mannofield.

Labour’s tinkering at the edges won’t cure the UK’s problems

Sir, – Keir Starmer may think he’s pulled a political blinder with his proposals for the Lords, but, as ever, his idea is missing the mark by a substantial margin.

To dramatically increase the equality and fairness so desperately needed in the so-called United Kingdom, which has always been notional at best, some wit and intelligence is required.

A purpose-built circular debating chamber in a new UK Parliament with equal numbers of representatives from each nation would cull issues of biased “controllers” from political parties.

It would give greater clarity and efficiency to genuine political debate.

Then apply the same principle to the Lords.

This could remove the hostile history from the Sassenach’s (English MPs) towards all three devolved nations too.

And there’s the potential to turn the current shambolic den of iniquity known as the Houses of Parliament for English only, Brexit-mad nonsense as they debate their own self-made downfall and dwindling world.

What that may mean for all three devolved nations, their funding, and their future – as well as how such a change would be created and funded – remains to be seen.

However, it may have potential to cure so many injustices and ills suffered by many with the system as it currently stands.

Ian Beattie, Baker Street, Aberdeen.

Give ministers a dose of reality

Sir, – To resolve all the strikes, put the health minister, transport minister and the one in charge of security into separate houses with their families and give them an average week’s pay for the workers they represent.

They must pay the rent, energy bills, food shopping, tax and insurance, transport and any other incidental costs they would incur when drawing their normal salary.

They would have no credit cards, and no access to savings in the bank.

Every person reading this already knows how that would work out.

Don McKay, Provost Hogg Court, Torry.

Beware the nanny state

energy bills
Image: Jacob King/PA Wire.

Sir, – Thanks Norrie Brand (Evening Express, December 21) for pointing out direct debit savings on energy bills.

My moan is the standing charge “is a daily rate, which pays for getting the energy from the generators into your home”(Scottish Gas). Why can’t I choose where the energy bills support scheme is paid to?

I have gas central heating but my one goes to the electric company?

Signs of a nanny state.

T. Shirron, Davidson Drive, Aberdeen.

Absurd logic of nationalist cause

Sir, – The recent piece by Frances McKie (Letters, December 7) was desperate stuff and must have hit a new low for the nationalist cause in their absurd and twisted logic to break up our 300-year-old union.

Nothing of substance but a list of historical grievances against Westminster with stupid claims that somehow Scotland is a colony and has been subjected to “300 years of military occupation and abuse of its native population”.

Really? It is a very strange “colony” in which every Scottish man, woman and child receives in excess of £2,000 more each year for public services than their alleged “oppressors” in the south and held a democratic independence referendum a few short years ago which they lost.

Fortunately, this nonsense was debunked once and for all by the Supreme Court when it made its case to squash Nicola Sturgeon’s bid for another referendum vote.

Furthermore, the letter writer should know that the 1998 Scotland Act, which created the Scottish parliament and devolved substantial powers from Westminster, all matters relating to the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England are reserved to the UK parliament – the “mother of all parliaments”.

Indeed the court concluded any referendum, even advisory, would be a reserved matter.

The whole world now knows the legal situation – a very bad strategic blunder by Ms Sturgeon and for the nationalist cause.

So no, Frances McKie, with your extreme views you should take a long hard look in the mirror and realise that you need to try harder and produce some convincing arguments (rather than thinly veiled threats of violence against democracy) to break up our union before people will take you seriously.

In other words, having no answers to currency, hard border outside the UK internal market, unfunded state pensions, little or no backup of power (when the wind doesn’t blow), a bloated public service and so on, needs to be addressed first.

Surely it’s time for a grown-up discussion rather than peddling endless non-existent grievances, pitching Scots against Scots and creating a divisiveness which did not exist before nationalism spread the big independence lie which has travelled halfway round the world before the truth has finally puts its boots on.

The Scots cannot be described as a people oppressed by Westminster, but they can definitely be described as a people neglected by their own government.

In conclusion, Scotland needs to rid itself of the negativism of nationalism and embrace the new opportunities which will undoubtedly come with new trade deals with the Commonwealth (India, in particular), the US and with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which will dwarf the EU once it has been ratified.

Ian Lakin, Murtle Den Road, Milltimber.

Simplistic stories are unconvincing

Sir, – The whimsical anecdotes from Herbert Petrie on his triumphant encounters (Letters, December 23) with a strong supporter of the Union, who was ranting the usual SNP “bad” nonsense was immediately silenced by a reasoned response although all Unionists are apparently pretty pathetic. I must confess I am not convinced it seems much less obvious.

While his assessment of the privatisation of NHS Scotland and the grand Tory master plan verges on the totally ridiculous.

It will doubtless have amused and entertained some.

David Philip, Knockhall Way, Newburgh.

SNP still lack real plan for our future


Sir, – We now have the Scottish Government’s Budget from Mr Swinney which sets out the finances for the year with a headline increase in personal taxes for the 530,000 higher-paid Scots.

He has said the IndyRef2 £20 million will be used elsewhere but does not mention what all the staff employed at a cost of £1.5 million will be expected to do now?

He did not mention the annual deficit for this year.

And councils can now increase council taxes as they see fit.

Now 400,000 children will get the benefit of £25 per week to help them while living in poverty.

That is in addition to the other freebies and the SNP/Green administration acting as a charity in order to buy votes from the young and their parents as they reach 16.

Meanwhile, a million people who are aged over 65 get no additional help.

How many of the 530,000 higher-paid Scots are MSPs, MPs, government advisers, in quangos and council staff?

Also in the press is a report that Scotland is losing out on about £3 billion in tax income because Westminster does not stop the tax avoidance that goes on.

So how many of our 530,000 higher earners are involved in this in Scotland?

When is the Scottish Government going to be honest and admit the fact that they have worked out the finances after separation from Westminster and have found that the deficit is in fact not financially viable?

With a finite number of Scots as our top earners and 400,000 children living in poverty what is their vision of the future?

Sandy Neish, Cobbans Lane, Inverurie.