RUTH Wishart recently posed the question: ‘How often do you hear folks saying, “politicians – they’re all the same”? (Is a numbed public partly to blame for the collapse in standards?, Nov 7).

Clearly there is a large constituency of such people who, partly because of the corrupt or incompetent behaviour of their representatives, have become disillusioned with politics. If so, we have to ask whose electoral interests their attitudes best serve. To me, it is undoubtedly those of the Tory/Unionist parties.

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If you think all politicians are the same, why bother to vote? “A plague on all your houses,” you might be inclined to say. The trouble is, if I’m not mistaken, high voting turnouts generally favour the more enlightened parties, in Scotland’s case the SNP. If so, the last thing it needs is to be tarred with the cynicism of “all politicians are the same”.

The latest scandals will have harmed all parties, being grist to the mill of the political cynics. The constituency of the disaffected may be in ruder health than ever. Paradoxically, the scandals might have hurt the Tories less than we think, since we keep hearing that, with Johnson, chicanery was “priced in” when he became PM. Besides, if it is an exercise in cynicism in the first place to vote for a populist, Faragist or Unionist Tory party it seems to follow that, in the long run, it will suffer less from voter apathy.

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It is consequently vital that the SNP avoids the perception that its politicians are “just the same”, that they are “in it for themselves” and so on. Yet if The National’s letters pages are anything to go by, there is mounting evidence that this is the case. Its inexplicable post-Holyrood-election inertia on the independence question seems to have depressed the movement as a whole.

Disillusion with politics in general will not affect the voting intentions of die-hard Unionists, who will attend the ballot box in droves hail, rain or shine. That is one reason why the why the SNP must re-assert itself. The campaign for independence must be permanent. It can never stop for a breather, no matter how well-earned that may be. The constituency of the disillusioned and that of the “don’t knows” can be won over. For the struggle ahead, it is vital the SNP find its voice again.

Alastair Mcleish

YOUR correspondent Cal Waterson (Nov 13) took issue with Donald Anderson (Nov 11) regarding the latter’s belief that the recent strike by GMB members in Glasgow was politically inspired by the Scottish Labour Party as an attempt to embarrass the SNP.

In seeking to defend the decision by the GMB trade union to take strike action against SNP-controlled Glasgow City Council, Cal Waterson cited the example of the action taken by unions in the city against the Labour government of James Callaghan back in the late 1970s.

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While those actions took place well over 40 years ago, one of the main differences in the action of the union and its members back then was that their trade unions had not reached an agreement with the employer’s organisation to postpone any action for 14 days to allow national consultation with members on the pay offer to take place, only to announce just two days later that they were going to ignore that agreement and take strike action. If Cal Waterson does not think that there was a political hand in the action that was taken in Glasgow by the GMB then good luck to him! I and many others share Donald Anderson’s opinion.

On the subject of the GMB and their representation of their members within Glasgow City Council, I also noted that Mr Waterson chose to ignore a particularly massive issue from only a few short years ago where the GMB would most certainly have been entitled to take strike action against Glasgow City Council. That issue was equal pay for female workers. The women concerned were owed many thousands of pounds for many years by the Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council yet the GMB union did everything in their power to attempt to avoid taking action to deliver justice to those women, very many of whom were low-paid workers. Those women had to wait until an SNP council was elected within the city before they received the money that they were long overdue.

During my own working life I too was an active trade unionist and while I have every respect for the opinion of Cal Waterson, I do not think that he should let his loyalty to the GMB cloud his judgement over what Labour were trying to do.

Jim Finlayson

WE all know why Glasgow City Council is strapped for cash. Tory council cash cuts and debts inherited from the former Labour council. Nobody wants to see the binmen get short-changed. They provide a vital service. But the media publicity provided to Chris Mitchell and his giant rat has never been given to any industrial dispute that I can remember. The reverse has always been the case, denying the unions the opportunity to inform the public of their side of the story. The GMB have been used by the Unionists, but like all their plots it has failed miserably. Let’s hope they get a good deal for all that.

James Arthur