THE efforts of Marcus Rashford to alleviate child food poverty are inspiring and humbling. Also inspiring is his measured response to quite disgraceful criticism of him and his efforts and his determination not to be deterred. I suspect his MBE was intended to buy him off, so it is to his immense credit that he is persisting.

I would like to understand what objections Tory MPs can reasonably make to helping parents in distress to feed their children during school holidays. The accusations appear to include that these parents are choosing to let their children go hungry, that they have options to earn more money but choose not to, and that Universal Credit is instant and sufficient for a family’s needs.

READ MORE: Bernard Jenkin claims Tories 'misunderstood' mood of country on free school meals

All of which is demonstrably not true, so why would almost all of Scotland’s Tory MPs vote against providing hungry children with food? I will be writing to these Tory MPs to ask them to help me understand their position.

We can see people losing their livelihoods because of the pandemic and insufficient support available to keep food on the table for all. Surely at this time we can demonstrate compassion and care for others less fortunate. It may well be a sticking plaster, since no meaningful attempts are being made to reduce structural child poverty, but a sticking plaster is a better solution than letting the wound bleed.

Scotland’s children may be in a better situation, but while we remain in the UK we should demand the UK Government look after those in greatest need. I note that MPs, earning three times the average wage, can dine on ribeye steak at a subsidised cost of £9 – it would be a good start if that subsidy was re-directed immediately.

Sandy Slater

SOME of the comments from Tory MPs as a justification for not extending free school meals for children in England have been so morally repugnant and venal they make Victorians seem reasonable.

Tory MP Selaine Saxby said in a Facebook post she hoped firms that had stepped in to offer free school meals would not seek any extra financial help from the government.

Tory business minister Paul Scully said that children had gone hungry for years. He defended his comments with whataboutery, saying Labour had done nothing when they were in power.

READ MORE: Andrew Tickell: Why Tory response to Marcus Rashford's campaign is bizarre

Another Tory MP, Ben Bradley, said that free school meal vouchers would be sold or traded for crack and brothels. Psychological projection was going on with him.

Fellow Tory MP Mark Jenkinson agreed with Bradley’s assertions.

Jacob Rees-Mogg (the very caricature of a 19th-century Dickensian factory owner) thought starving children was OK.

In 2016 Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond agreed to spend £7.6 million restoring Wentworth Woodhouse. This is the largest private home in England. It happens to belong to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s wife. So clearly Tories like public money for themselves.

This was demonstrated by the fact that after the Tories had voted to starve working-class children they then gorged themselves on subsidised meals in the House of Commons restaurant.

None of this is new. Tory greed is rational. They want those at the bottom to be in perpetual fear of destitution. Tories want: no pensions, no paid holidays, no NHS, no maternity or sick pay, no trade unions, no free education. They want a low-wage, low-skill Asiatic sweat shop economy, with jobs that are transitory and fleeting.

The aim of this is to have a population unorganised, cowed and fearful. That way they wont make demands that will cut in on the profits of Tory donors.

Alan Hinnrichs

I WHOLLY support Joanna Cherry’s proposal for a game plan for indyref2 (Don’t just label us as Salmondites or Sturgeonites ... we must work as one, October 23).

One element employed by most successful independence movements has been mobilisation of support and funds from their respective diasporas. That is to say to say, in our case, Scottish emigrants, and descendants of emigrants living in the likes of Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Continental Europe and of course England.

Note the influence of the Irish with the America body politic in warning of the consequences of Johnson’s meddling with the Good Friday Agreement.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry: Salmondites? Sturgeonites? It doesn't matter when we work as one

We in the Scottish independence movement do not seem to have been very active in wooing the vast potential of those many many millions of Scots descent, living abroad, who have a soft spot for the old country. While their sympathies may perhaps tend to be more romantic and nostalgic than is the case here in Scotland, as demonstrated by the huge success of the Outlander series, that is no reason not to welcome it.

I suggest that as a matter of urgency, we set up a task force to mobilise our potential supporters overseas to undertake two tasks. The first is to disseminate understanding and support for Scottish independence within their respective territories. The second is to raise funds for the purposes of establishing important institutions, such as a Scottish Reserve Bank, that may currently be outwith the powers of the Scottish Parliament. This of course requires organisation and the deployment of high-profile individuals to publicise the message. Who’s up for it?

Roy Pedersen

MY wife and I were saddened to hear that the Wee Ginger Dug had to be put to sleep, and that coming on top of Paul suffering a stroke. We met them both at two roadshows here in Lochgilphead, which were well attended and most enjoyable. I had done a portrait of the WGD and Paul showed it to him for approval. As was widely said at the time, it was a surprise to see that the dog was not wee at all! Here is a copy of the portrait for your amusement.

John McCall
via email