THE letter from Colin Fox of the Scottish Socialist Party in The National (Aug 30) delighted me. The proposal to make free public transport and energy production national services is one single idea, the two matters being closely related.

The continued existence of mass private transport based on fossil fuels and its immense infrastructure is not sustainable. Alternative fuels have other problems. Electric cars create power supply imbalance and battery technology is unsustainable. Hydrogen is under question in several ways. Only these fuels – in combination with each other and with the much more efficient public service vehicles in an integrated system – give us a chance of retaining mobility without harm to the environment.

READ MORE: These two proposals would help us all and benefit our climate

This is illustrated in our village. Every house has cars. The two homes outside the window have three. It is not possible to live here without them. The bus service is very poor and the nearest supermarkets are seven miles away. There is no bank in Kinross-shire at all. So much for private enterprise. When we can no longer drive we must move.

I am pleased to be reminded that there is still a pro-independence party with radical ideas now that the Scottish Greens and the SNP have become the establishment. Can you imagine them informing drivers that they can no longer have a private car? This is what is implicit in all the reforms that we are going to have to make and which we are at present ignoring.

Iain WD Forde

THANK you to Robin MacLean for an excellent letter that highlights the normalisation of food banks in our society in tandem with the imminent cut to Universal Credit payments that will penalise the most vulnerable families in the UK (Aug 31).

Mr MacLean is absolutely correct to emphasise that making the rich considerably more wealthy at a time when apathy abounds amongst too many in our society is the most obvious priority of the Johnson government. In stark contrast, the Scottish Government has introduced measures like the Scottish Child Payment to try and support families from falling further into poverty, demonstrating compassion and a moral compass that marks social justice as a national priority.

WATCH: Nicola Sturgeon calls out 'callous, uncaring' Tories over Universal Credit cut

As Mr MacLean reminds us, the Westminster government’s policy on immigration is based on a xenophobic lack of humanity and prejudice whereas the Scottish Government is currently urging the UK Government to accept as many people seeking refuge from dangerous countries like Afghanistan as is possible. The two governments are simply poles apart on the values of egalitarianism, as the Tory Thatcher-inspired mantra of selfish greed will always guide their social and economic policies.

As Thomas Paine observed of the iniquity he fought against in 18th century Britain: “these are the times that try men’s souls.” We can only hope that our impending independence will allow us to cast off the shackles of rapacious ideologies and launch a new Age of Enlightenment for Scotland.

Owen Kelly

THE very bleak statistics uncovered in the recent report by National Records of Scotland will be shocking to some, but sadly the gap between the wealthy and disadvantaged is something we continue to see impact pn people right up until the end of life (Mortality rate of most deprived Scots almost double most affluent, report finds, Aug 31).

The report highlights that not only do people in the most deprived communities die younger, but they also receive far fewer healthier years, leading to many years with chronic and long-term conditions. The knock-on effect of this is that they are likely to need palliative care earlier, at a younger age, and for longer. We know, however, that people in the most deprived communities are less likely to access the care and support they need at the end of life. For those living in poverty, a terminal illness can bring with it a significant increase in cost of living, but not necessarily the means to meet those costs, further exacerbating their poor health and outcomes.

READ MORE: Mortality rate of most deprived Scots almost double most affluent, report finds

Not only do we need to see the government focusing on the fundamental causes of inequity and poverty and improving health outcomes for all, but we also need to ensure that those living and dying in poverty now get the care and support they need. For those struggling financially when ill, quick access to benefits is essential and it must be at a level sufficient to meet their costs. A good end-of-life experience should not be dependent on where you live, or what money you have in the bank.

Richard Meade
Head of Policy, Scotland
Marie Curie

I WATCHED the Foreign Affairs Committee interrogation of the Foreign Secretary on Wednesday afternoon and concluded that the Prime Minister had missed an opportunity to send Mr Raab to negotiate a deal with the Taliban leaders – he would have bored them into submission. Perhaps Boris Johnson was concerned about Mr Raab’s apparent memory loss.

Mike Underwood