MICHAEL Fry always betrays his total commitment to his Tory roots (How to win over conservatives to independence? Stop interfering..., February 4).

As I see it, the over-arching belief of Tories is to appeal to the baser side of human nature. We are a complex species who have evolved from apes (well, SOME of us have), however the Tory philosophy seems to be every man/woman for themselves. What’s in it for me?

Do unto others before they do unto you. Amass as much wealth as you can, irrespective of the harm it may do to others/the planet.

Mrs Thatcher once said “there’s no such thing as society” which pretty much sums up their philosophy. She insisted (a bit like Michael) that the less well-off were attached to the ridiculously well-off by a steel rod, and that when the rich get richer, the poor AUTOMATICALLY get richer too. I think events in my lifetime have disproved this erroneous reasoning. The mega-rich are deliberately trying to turn back the clock to the heady days of the 1940s. Free market economics will REVERSE any small gains made by the working-class majority.

Wake up Scotland!!!

Barry Stewart

AM I missing something in regards to the letters from January 22/23 about the chanting of “Tories out”? To my thinking there is difference between a Tory-thinking person and a conservative-thinking person. I don’t mind a conservative-thinking person, conservative being adverse to change, adverse being having a strong dislike for something.

I do have a strong dislike for the way the Tories are robbing the English people of their wealth by privatising their NHS and by doing so putting our NHS at risk. So aye, Tories out.

Being fiscally conservative myself I think its a good idea to make sure we all have the proper nutrients, warmth, healthcare and a home, ie being looked after from cradle to grave (a tradition that seems to be on the wane). So by doing this we will use less resources and in the process conserve our resources for future generations. Can you say that about the Tories? I think not. So aye, TORY TORY TORY, OUT OUT OUT.

Craig Allison

HAMISH MacPherson does well to draw attention to one of Scotland’s greatest sons, Patrick Geddes (Scots genius who gave new life to our capital, February 4) although he omits to tell us he was born in Ballater and raised on Kinnoull Hill, Perth, that enchanting wooded eminence above the Tay, which surely was the spiritual source of his “Valley Section” theory, which has powerfully influenced planners, artists and writers. The word polymath might have been coined for Geddes (as for the late, great Alasdair Gray).

Although the First World War scuppered Scottish Home Rule, Geddes would surely have seen a liberated Scotland – “small but beautifully formed”– as the perfect test-bed for his revolutionary theories on town planning, conservation, community arts and education, cooperative housing, urban gardening etc etc (although would surely have wept to see how – with only a few honourable exceptions – Britain has almost completely failed to follow his lead in these matters).

Vivendo discimus, he taught – “By living we learn”. Also: “Think Global, Act Local” and – so relevant to Scotland’s current situation – “The best way of aiding great causes – national, European, human ... is to take our share in preparing others to live further”. What a man.

David Roche

THE Westminster Government must comply with their own rules and regulation, so in light of recent announcements, sanctions must follow. Sanctions as a result of late delivery! Late delivery of the Westminster government’s key welfare reforms, the introduction of Universal Credit (UC). But who will the sanctions fall on? Well, it will be you and me the taxpayer who will be meeting the £500 million cost this delay will incur. But this is nothing in comparison to the sanctions imposed on Universal Credit claimants, the vulnerable, who are disproportionately suffering the consequences of the Conservative government’s heartless welfare reforms. Reforms that have seen 1.6 million food parcels given out in the last year, a statistic that should certainly see the government receive some form of sanction.

This cruel benefit is not only impacting on claimants – local authorities are taking a hit, as SNP MP Drew Hendry highlighted in the House of Commons during a debate on this issue. Highland Council has endured £3m in additional administration costs as a result of UC, with rent arrears rising by the day and some local authorities recording their highest ever level of rent arrears. Is there an “appeals” process for those authorities! The Conservative Government continue to ignore the calls from politicians, charities and claimants to abolish this draconian benefit and the Conservatives have clearly demonstrated their failure to treat claimants with dignity and respect, something that is at the heart of the new Social Security Scotland.

Welfare is at the heart of any socially just society, so the sooner welfare powers are fully devolved to Scotland the better for us all.

Catriona C Clark