FOLLOWING the UK Government’s disgraceful decision to stop the additional £20 per week to recipients of Universal Credit that had begun during the pandemic, the BBC chose to invite the MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell, to defend the government’s ruling.

Mr Rosindell is well known for his far-right views on issues such as the reintroduction of the death penalty and the continued use of wild animals in circuses. In most previous Tory governments he would have been viewed as an extremist reactionary. However, under the present Conservative administration an MP like Rosindell appears as a spokesperson for a callous and compassionless regime that has normalised crypto- fascist policies into mainstream British politics.

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Mr Rosindell told the BBC that people on Universal Credit “maybe don’t need” an extra £20 a week to live on, demonstrating not only a breathtaking ignorance of the levels of poverty in the UK today but also a Dickensian cold-hearted indifference to the plight of at least 20% of people in Britain who experience privation on a regular basis.

This from the man who, as an MP, claimed the maximum £400 a month for food between 2006 and 2008 and who claimed more than £125,000 in second home expenses for a flat in London. His sanctimonious and complacent rationale for slashing what is literally a monetary lifeline for many reeks of apathetic hypocrisy of the worst kind.

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It speaks volumes of the currently emasculated condition of the BBC and of the dogmatic nature of the Westminster government that a vexatious and fundamentalist right-wing ultra- Conservative such as Rosindell is treated as a representative of conventional Conservative opinion. The erosion of UK democracy continues to hide in plain sight with no endgame on the horizon.

The Scottish Government’s philosophy on supporting those most in need could not be more different from Westminster, with reforms such as the Scottish Child Payment already helping our poorest families. If we are to truly follow a path to social justice and redistribution of wealth then we need our independence. Announcing a proposed date for a second referendum would go a long way to raising our hopes in democracy and galvanising the independence movement.

Over to you, Nicola.

Owen Kelly

I HAVE thought about writing this numerous times. I have watched and listened and read and regurgitated what is in front of my eyes and I am in total disbelief with what surrounds me.

I think of myself as of someone who is educated, at university and of life, as I am 48 after all!

My sister and and I were always told to treat others as you would like to be treated, so I am utterly shocked with all the knee-jerk reactions reaction to the Assisted Dying Bill currently being introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

There is a helluva lot of scaremongering and idle talk going on. If people had just listened to what Amanda Ward, previous CEO of Friends at the End, was saying. Amanda is saying this bill is for the terminally ill and those in severe and acute pain.

I myself have four chronic diseases and in a wheelchair. I am not feart as I do not have a terminal condition so I can’t be coerced into “wanting” this.

If you don’t believe in this, that is totally okay, as we are all entitled to a different opinion, but please don’t force your opinion on me.

I have choice.

Stacey Adam