IT was with great relish that I watched Ian Blackford deliver his post-Budget speech at Westminster. I have been more than critical recently on the failure of our Westminster MPs in “taking on” Johnson and his supporters at every opportunity. On this occasion Ian Blackford was a “tour de force” of the highest order.

Not only was his delivery calm yet passionate, but he took the opportunity to silence everyone in that outdated chamber. No interruptions allowed.

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His was a well-crafted speech – no, an oration – that had a beginning, a middle and an end. The speech was clearly crafted to deliver immediate maximum impact. It covered everything that is wrong with Tory policies, it contrasted the chasm between the poor in our society and the rich who suck our country dry. It highlighted the injustices that permeate this broken so-called United Kingdom.

Anyone listening to this oratory could not fail to be moved by its sincerity and passion for those who suffer on a daily basis under this right-wing reactionary government. It transcended party politics and his was a passionate plea directed to the heartless, uncaring, cynical Tories who run this government and broken, pointless Westminster parliament. Of course he made the case for Scotland, of course he indicated the damage the Budget would do to Scotland’s pensioners, our struggling families, our businesses, our environment and our farming and fishing industries.

Most of all our devolution!

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Were the Tory leaders listening? Of course not! With the few opportunities to see the reactions of other MPs including Johnson the PM, Sunak the Chancellor and Jack the Secretary of State for Scotland, what did we get? The three of them huddled together talking furtively, with “we are not listening” body language on the front bench, ignoring Ian Blackford, eyes to the heavens hidden behind masks! Except Jack with no mask, sitting, embarrassingly shifting in his seat hoping that Ian Blackford’s delivery would end soon.

Our Westminster leader would not let them off the hook, chastising Jack for not only not wearing a mask but for being ineffectual, and challenging the other two to listen. Any dispassionate observer would see a teacher chastising his pupils.

These three Tories just sat through, I believe, the most excruciating, embarrassing lecture on the devastating consequences of a Budget seen in Westminster delivered by an opposition leader.

They will say different, the Tory press will say different. All who watched it know the truth. Will it change anything? Of course not. Do we want more of this? Of course we do.

Dan Wood

I’M wondering how Rishi Sunak arrived at his notion that the first 1001 days are the most important in a child’s life. That comes to two years and eight-and-a-bit months. A very odd figure to use as a measuring stick for his newborn child.

In my view, the early years before school age would be better, as being down to establishing the family recognition and connection relationships and early learning processes and behaviour in the family home.

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Different children have different levels of all these perceptions and the grasping of necessary communication skills. Some might achieve most in Sunak’s time period, whereas others need a longer period of time. Mebby several years even.

So again, I ask the question, what is so special about a thousand and one days?

Alan Magnus-Bennett