I WAS incensed by Michael Fry’s piece in Tuesday’s edition: by his claim to be a journalist when he is nothing more than a polemicist for a neo-liberal elite; by you for promoting such drivel; but mostly by its content (Independence is an essential part of the answer to Scotland’s economic inertia, January 29). There is nothing to be celebrated in the lie that is the Tory employment figures.

Firstly they are a lie. Picking up half a day’s work a fortnight is interpreted as being in work. Of course there are people who could support themselves on this. They are the mega-rich, the lords, the oligarchs who exploit the rest of us who would starve on such a deal.

READ MORE: Indy is essential part of answer to Scotland's economic inertia

Secondly, successive governments of the three larger British parties have pulled the biggest con trick on our young people. They have massaged youth unemployment by calling it education. Young people are encouraged into worthless universities to follow useless degree courses which qualify them for nothing. And, yes, the icing on the cake, they have to pay for the privilege and be drawn into a lifetime of debt which profits the money man.

Thirdly, the deliberate destruction of trade unionism has left no protection for people at the lowest end of the pile.

Fourthly, the number of older people in work is not merely an expression of those who wish to carry on working later in life. The retirement age has been increased! Particularly for women. Of course people are working longer. The old age pension is the lowest in the developed world. That’s why people are denied their rightful rest at the end of a working career.

Fifthly, many of those who are keeping the home fires burning in Fry’s wonderfully Victorian patrinomy would love to be in work if we had an education system which accommodated that desire and where childcare was affordable.

Fry lauds the gig economy, the ability of people to adapt to changing circumstances. No such thing. The gig economy is nothing new. It was the norm for dock land industries where half-starved men would queue early in the morning waiting to be picked to abuse their bodies. It has always been the norm for unscrupulous building firms where the lump gives no protection to its labourers.

I am unsure of Mr Fry’s assertion that no government has tried to ban the gig economy, but of course no capitalist government has tried to ban it. Hardly surprising, but I’ll leave it for Michael Fry to work out why governments composed of the wealthy elite, working for the wealthy elite and controlled by big business wouldn’t want to end the exploitation of labour.

Employment can be a glorious thing. It should be the expression of our natural desire to create something by hand or by mind. Journalism could be an honourable profession but not when its name is sullied by propagandists like Michael Fry.

Ian Richmond
Dumfries and Galloway

IN answer to Janet Cunningham’s letter (February 4), the problem with writing to complain about BBC output in Scotland is that they don’t admit there is a problem and if you don’t admit you have a problem you don’t have to listen to people or fix it.

I have written to the BBC about various current affairs programmes and get a stock answer of “we appreciate your letter but we don’t agree with it”. The BBC in Scotland is a large institution with much influence. If you were in their shoes or employed by them it would not be in their or your interest to rock the boat. It is the same with ITV.

More and more people look at the BBC as a Westminster propaganda organisation and are consuming their news from the many other independent media outlets.

Bryan Auchterlonie

READ MORE: Letters, February 4