FIONA is to be congratulated on putting her personal experience of homelessness to practical use including writing her article on homelessness for The National (Why I Volunteer, September 28). The encouragement she provides is very valuable.

Her message – “Time to embrace change. Too many Scots are still institutionalised” – is salutary. I first encountered (albeit from the outside, and around London) the Victorian “asylums” as institutions for the “mentally ill” and “mentally handicapped” in the 1980s during the Conservative government years of Mrs Thatcher: the time of the woefully inadequately underfunded “Care in the Community”.

READ MORE: Why I volunteer: The answer to homelessness is providing a home

Ignorant of the glacial pace of change over the following decades, I “embraced the change”. We should therefore as a country not risk self-congratulation. According to Fiona’s article, Housing First “for people with the hardest circumstances’’ already has 120 people in their own homes. However, recent publicity of examples of elderly men being separated from those they have learned to live with, to be rehomed separately, is not the real answer.

For them, it must feel like family break-up or breakdown. In passing, may I say that I regret the comparison with “cattle to be shunted around”. Cattle are sentient beings like ourselves.

We still have Universal Credit, food banks, well-known charities and less well-known ones such as Starter Pack Glasgow, Fresh Start in Edinburgh and Fresh Start in Galashiels. They all help to fill the gap but are in no position to initiate the house-building programme (including affordable housing) which is really required. We can, of course be proud in Scotland that we have been able to mitigate the worst excesses of the Conservative government in London. As Scots, we can hope to live in an independent country where we will be able to decide what sort of country we want to live in, and that would presumably include “the answer to homelessness is providing a home’’.

Robert Mac Lachlan

WE are rapidly approaching the All Under One Banner Edinburgh March and Rally on Saturday. We can expect some rather sad attempts at disinformation by those who cannot or will not think for themselves.

Those types who still assume that the sun never sets and everyone is fearful of that rancid house on the Thames.

Why are we doing this? Well, all sensible, level-headed and open-minded peoples of Scotland will no doubt be horrified by the unlawful actions of the junta that occupies the bunker that is Number 10 Downing Street.

READ MORE: Edinburgh AUOB independence march set to be biggest one yet

Never did I think that I would witness such a blatant attempt by a political party in this so-called democracy to stop the quite correct accountability of government as done on the floor of the Commons and in its various select committees.

So the question that requires asking of course is why did he, Mr 0.13% man, and his junta decide this was the correct action to take?

One way we can demonstrate our displeasure at the junta is by visually showing them and the world the true feelings towards their despotic and archaic establishment and that we demand our right to self-determination. With that in mind let us get as many people as possible onto the streets on October 5th.

Let us show the Etonians, those creatures of the past, those that sit in their high castle, let them know that the northern colony wishes no further part of their imperial experiment.

They can build up their walls and draw up their bridges, but be assured that is not the way of Scotland nor the way of her peoples.

For the veterans, please once again let’s get ourselves noticed because we are after all no longer the pawns of the establishment. So many cap badges on show please.

Finally, let’s take our country back.

Cliff Purvis
Veterans for Scottish Independence 2.0

IN the article about recruitment problems for the paediatric department at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, (Delay to 24/7 children’s services return, September 28) I notice that in the comment from Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservatives’ health spokesman, he failed to apologise or accept the Conservative party’s responsibility for the problems of recruitment due to EU citizens leaving the Scottish NHS and the large reduction in applications from EU health workers since the Brexit fiasco started.

Perhaps he could explain how this situation is likely to improve after Brexit, and particularly after a No-Deal Brexit.

Jim Stamper
Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire

READ MORE: Delay to 24/7 children’s services at St John’s Hospital returns

MINIMUM unit price for alcohol has been a success in reducing consumption. So far so good. The increase in profits made by those selling it should be used to fund schemes for reduction of alcohol and other addictions.

Margaret Pennycook