THE hopelessness of the position that so many of us are in under decades of a Westminster government with no signs of change. Twenty privileged, out of touch from the real world, PM’s all from Eton! Rich getting richer, no additional taxes for them, reminded of my favourite TV children’s programme. “Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen, Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men, feared by the bad, loved by the good, Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood”. Robin would take on Prince John (say Boris) and the Sheriff of Nottingham say (Scottish secretary for state) and after he sent his tax collectors to the villages, Robin and his merry men, would take the money back and return it to the people.

Clearly Nicola will have to do the same, as she has done in the past, trying to mitigate the damage Boris has done. This only maintains the cycle of course. How every fair minded soul can’t see our only option is to break away surprises me. Staying in the Union trying to change from within will never work.

The privileged, those with off shore accounts, peers of the unelected House of Lords (the only old day centre that pays you to attend!) remain untouched by the Government. And no sign of imminent change. There were alternatives to raising the money to protect the NHS and Social Care, Cancel the fast rail link, Trident, tax those with broader shoulders,. But no !! Independence is our only hope for real change and for those behind us. Nicola (ie.Robin) and the SNP MP’S and MSP’s ( her merry men and women) ,feared by the bad(Westminster) loved by the good (Scotland) is our only hope... We must make it happen! Soon!

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

IN a “tax and don’t spend” double whammy, Boris Johnson has attacked pensioners and the ordinary working man and woman to pay for disastrous Westminster policies.

The suspension of the state pension triple lock is a betrayal of pensioners who are among the world’s poorest.

The triple lock was introduced in 2010 to ensure that pension increases were guaranteed to rise by at least the rate of inflation, average wage increases, or 2.5%. But not, apparently, when it doesn’t fit the ever-fluid Westminster agenda.

Not satisfied with attacking pensioners’ incomes, he also now wants to (disproportionately) increase tax on the lowest earners.

National Insurance is to rise by 1.25% to raise £12 billion. Because National Insurance kicks in at a notably lower level than income tax, this hike will disproportionately affect the young and lower paid - who start to pay N.I. at a level of earnings about £3000 less than the income tax “personal allowance”.

I’d write to my MP, Alister Jack, to ask how he feels about these attacks on the incomes of the least well off but – having seen how he excuses the effects of Westminster Brexit on our local farming, fishing, hospitality and other sectors – it just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

Ian Waugh

SO where are we going with this new National Insurance and Health Tax? Is this yet another step towards private health care ? Ring-fenced entry on one’s payslip –Health and Social Care Tax! The rise in National Insurance (NI) contributions is effectively a tax rise for lower earners as it will disproportionately affect them worst.

But what does this broken manifesto commitment on NI mean on the bigger picture? Is this move by the Conservatives, private health care slipping under the back door?

Health and Social Care is devolved to Scotland, but National Insurance is reserved to Westminster with the Scottish Government having no say. So, what is the UK Government’s long term plan and commitment to health and care services at the point of need. In 2012 the Conservative’s legislated for a new approach to workplace pensions with the introduction of ‘automatic enrolment’. This move brought into question the long-term future of the state pension, and still does today, has it got a future ? The ring-fenced Health and Social Care deduction on ones pay slip, really brings into question, are we going down the road of employment brings with it your health and social care cover ?

Thankfully in Scotland the SNP have no such intentions, and have been administering ‘free personal care’ with enhanced benefits introduced in 2019 to allow all who require free personal care to have access regardless of age or status.

Catriona C Clark

IN recent days with the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation (JCVI ) decision on the vaccination of 12-18 years old’s has created a right stooshie.

The JVCI did not, “not recommend” vaccines for these age groups as has been reported several times by the BBC and others in Main Stream Media.

The JCVI also did not “advocate vaccinations” for this group, barring an additional 200,000 at risk group.

There are many commentators on radio today and social media, making hay for the next five or so days plying the anti-vaccine messaging due to this “neutral” guidance message by the JCVI.

It is the equivalent of a nil-nil draw and the CMO’s from each of the devolved nations are going into extra time with the macro data, which will analyse the full societal benefits or otherwise to these age groups, which the JCVI did not.

This football analogy trivialises this decision making process, it is extremely complex but it sums up where we are right now.

The important reason for vaccination and the simple message is “More Virus means More disease”.

Studies show that vaccinated people may become re-infected and asymptomatic (infected but don’t know it) but at a lower virus level, and less likely to pass the virus on.

Since Covid-19 started the WHO have Identified four Variants of Concern (VOC) Alpha; Beta; Gamma and Delta, with Delta being the most transmissible. It doesn’t end there however, WHO also has two other categories, Variant of Interest (VOI) with five variants and Variant Under Monitoring (VUM ) with three variants.

The risks are that any future variant that is created by the virus evolutionary processes, which we cannot control other than by external actions, like Vaccination, Physical Distancing, Good basic hygiene Face coverings, can evade the vaccines that we have, resulting a new wave of severe injury and or death.

Yes, we are all in this together, so let the 12-18 year old’s get the jag unless they have a doctor’s line.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus

CLIFF Purvis hit all the nails squarely on their heads (Letters, September 5). Independence is all there is, or should be. A plague on all the houses of the nit-pickers!

I have wanted to live in an independent, republican Scotland as long as I have been aware of what Scotland is, and that is a long time. I am 80 years old and only last week I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My prognosis is not all that bad and I am being looked after by our brilliant NHS.

But it is clear that the chances of my receiving a telegram from Nicola or her successor are rather more than somewhat reduced.

My ambition of living in a free, republican Scotland is in no way diminished and now I hope, at least, I shall die in that blessed land. But I’d like to live there for a spell.

Richard Douglas

FITBA linesman D Ross berates Nicola for prioritising independence while Covid rages on. The poor numpty seems to forget that his hero THE BORIS prioritised independence from the EU while the Covid raged on. What a silly billy.

M Ross

THE Cabinet spokesman is quite right that “stealing someone’s vote is stealing their voice”. So presumably it is agreed that excluding from voting the two million plus who have no photographic ID is stealing the voice of two million plus.

This is not just “dismantling democracy”, but rejecting it altogether out of hand.

P Davidson

IS it no time fur ae SNP MP tae bring in ae Private Memmers Bill tae mak tax evasion ae criminal offence an that onywan wi an offshore Baunk Accoont shuid be illegible fur staunin fur parliament.

It wuidnae pass occours, but michty me, wuid it nae hae the front bench slochterin an snitcherin in thair snotterdichters, an juist mibbie, the English public wuid tak heed an

stairt tae speir fit are thay tap Tories up tae.

George T Watt

I ENJOYED the delicious story of Spanish Bishop Xavier Novell who was told by the Pope to undergo an exorcism after he began a relationship with author of satanic-themed erotic fiction Silvia Caballol.

Having previously himself wallowed in exorcism and similar Catholic excesses such as so-called LGBT conversion therapy, Novell has resigned due no longer to being able to submit to his vows of celibacy.

Church colleagues told Spanish media that he had been possessed by demons, saying this was “not a problem of celibacy but rather of infestation”.

I’m going with the satanic possession explanation myself.

The notion that someone would voluntarily quit the rigours of Catholicism simply for a regular lifestyle with a healthy sexuality seems way too far-fetched.

Neil Barber