THE British Retail Consortium’s annual payments survey reveals that, for the first time, plastic cards accounted for more than 50 per cent of all retail transactions by volume (Plastic payments continue to rise, The National, July 12).

In the article on money in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th edition (1929), volume 15, page 698, it is stated that: ‘’Banks lend by creating credit; they create the means of payment out of nothing’’. It is not generally known that banks have a licence to create money ex nihilo. To see how close we are to the situation where the banks usurp completely the state’s exclusive right to create money just consider the year 2014.

That year the total money supply (termed M4) was £2.1 trillion – but 97 per cent of this had been created out of nothing by the banks as loans; only three per cent (£62 billion) had been issued as notes and coins by the Bank of England. We need the exclusive power to create money to be returned to the state as soon as possible. Once our country goes cashless we will pay these private companies for the privilege of using our own coin of the realm. And, of course, they will be able to monitor our every purchase.
Doug Clark
Currie, Midlothian

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SNP have been getting on the with the day job

I WAS disappointed to read Jackie Baillie’s comment that: “The SNP should get on with fixing the mess they have made of our economy”, (Job figures show unemployment at all-time low, The National, July 13).

Such a comment was poor, coming so soon after encouraging GDP and employment figures showed considerable progress continues to be made in Scotland despite the difficult business environment.

Let’s not forget that despite the Unionist parties doing all they can to talk down any success stories, these recent figures are not new indicators of Scotland’s economic success. HMRC data for 2016 showed that Scotland was the only part of the UK with a trading surplus. Every other country and region, including the City of London, was in deficit.

Unlike when Labour was in power, SNP policies have been a reality “for the many, not the few”. Labour’s recent manifesto aspired to introduce policies that have already been in place in Scotland for several years, thanks in large part to the SNP getting on so well “with the day job”.

Isn’t it about time Unionist MSPs and MPs gave some credit to the people of Scotland, even if they can’t bring themselves to pat the SNP on the back?

Scotland has a good economy but it faces terrible uncertainty thanks to Brexit. The hard-right Tories are driving the UK to the hard Brexit they truly desire and Labour are complicit by not standing up when opportunities arise to temper the Brexiteers’ zeal. SNP policies have helped Scotland weather the economic uncertainty since the financial crash in 2008 better than anywhere else in the UK. I’m all for holding governments to account but when they are patently doing a good job, credit where credit’s due.

We should all be proud of Scotland’s economic successes, irrespective of our political affiliation. Now that would be a Unionist cause I could support rather than one that constantly sides with a lame-duck parliament patently not doing a good day job other than for the few, not the many.
Geoff Tompson
Helensburgh

WE lost. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) had its day in the High Court where it accused the British Government of violating international human rights law and being complicit in the war in Yemen by selling arms to Saudi Arabia (High Court rejects bid to stop UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, The National, July 11).

The judgment was as disappointing as it was predictable. The British Government was only doing legitimate trade by such arms sales. So Britain is not responsible for the death of tens of thousands of innocent people in Yemen.

This is despite the destruction of that country’s infrastructure by British planes, flown by British-trained pilots, armed and serviced by British airmen, dropping British bombs on hospitals and wedding parties, killing innocent men women and children.

Neither, it seems, is it responsible for the famine and epidemic of cholera that has followed. When this ethnic cleansing has ended and Yemen reduced to rubble, Britain can now legally walk away, symbolically washing its hands of the misery it has caused and quickly closing its doors to any war refugees who dare to seek sanctuary in this country. Theresa May will stand up in Parliament and, in answer to any challenge, tell us how Saudi Arabia is our ally and friend, and that it is only defending its country against an aggressive enemy.

Charities such as Médecins Sans Frontières will launch their appeal for more money, streaming to our televisions graphic pictures of half-starved children lying on makeshift hospital beds, and running along the bottom of the screen: just text the word SOS to this number, on your new smartphone and your conscience will be clear. Is our moral compass so badly damaged that we chose not even to question our direction of travel, on the foreign policies of our Government?
Walter Hamilton (CAAT member)
St Andrews

THE health costs of tobacco are widely understood but not the economic ones. The tobacco trade is an inefficient use of vast resources manufacturing harmful products.

The manufacturer’s balance sheet and the country’s GDP state it is profitable. Measured in money, the value of adverse production is calculated to be equal to prosperous production.

Arguably, because of the absence of any benefit for the consumer, the manufacturing process is destroying existing wealth and, in so doing, devaluing the money used as the measure.

A problem of economics deeming all production to be of positive value, even when contrary to the individual good. Taxation is another serious aspect. If we accept the above, it is reasonable to conclude that tobacco products are untaxable – there is nothing there of meaningful value to tax.

Governments are using the tax revenue from the sale of tobacco as a means – a currency conduit – to tax the real pool of wealth produced by beneficial activities elsewhere.

Economists do not appear to understand that you cannot get good from bad: cannot fund beneficial public services from the taxation of harmful merchandise; governments do, but it is an illusion.

The tobacco trade is negative value production that adversely impacts on international currencies as well as health and living standards.
Geoff Naylor
Winchester