WHILE the country and the media are focusing all their attention on “parties in Downing Street” and the PM’s position, the country is going to hell in a handbag. The issue of parties in Downing Street is indeed a very serious issue, demanding answers. But alongside this issue lies so many others that deserve headlines and demand answers, yet they have slipped off the radar.

Families struggling with massive cost-of-living rises, fuel poverty, food bank use increasing at alarming rates, businesses collapsing, a loneliness pandemic, labour shortages in our NHS and care sector, all happening under the PM’s watch, all happening while the focus is on who attended which party and who brought their own food and drink!

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Whether the PM remains in office or not, his household need not stress themselves with the debate many households are having: heating or eating today or tomorrow, or for the foreseeable future. Oh yes, we need answers about the parties, but we should be holding the PM and his Conservative government to account on those other issues affecting households, hard-working families and our frontline workers daily. Unfortunately they are not making the headlines, out of focus, while the country are fixated with the PM’s future.

Should the PM resign or be pushed, justice must be done. However, where does that leave the country? Hard-working families will continue to struggle, child poverty levels increasing – after all it will be the same old, same old, a Conservative government. And for us in Scotland, it will indeed be same old, same old, a Conservative government Scotland did not vote for, all be it with a new leader.

Catriona C Clark
Falkirk

2018 figures from Energy Action Scotland show that 619,000 households were living in fuel poverty while 279,000 were living in extreme fuel poverty – in an energy-rich country like Scotland?

Citizens Advice Scotland reported recently that one in three Scots is worried about rising energy bills with the “triple whammy” of soaring fuel prices, falling incomes and poor insulation of their homes. Worse still, a report by the late John Hills at the LSE estimated that 27000 people a year in the UK died from cold-related illnesses – so you can only wonder how much worse things were in 2021 and how bad they’re going to be when fuel prices rise again in spring 2022!

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In 2011, the Scottish Government promised to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland once and for all – 10 long, cold winters later, the above figures show that their efforts have been a spectacular failure.

Scottish Socialist Party activists are campaigning on the streets and in workplaces for the following measures (as part of a wider-ranging Socialist Green New Deal) to eradicate fuel poverty to make sure that Scotland’s working class don’t have to make the grotesque choice between “heating or eating”:

• Cold weather allowances paid to all who need them

• Statutory protection against fuel poverty

• The return of our energy industry to public hands to ensure any profits made are reinvested in energy-efficiency measures instead of being paid to the energy company bosses in inflated salaries and bonuses

• The building of 100,000 energy-efficient council houses for affordable rent (Scotland has some the worst quality housing in Europe).

Readers may also be interested in the excellent “Socialist Change, not Climate Change – Poverty, Pollution and Working Class Solutions”, available here.

Dougie Grant
Scottish Socialist Party

IN these troubled times of empty shelves in supermarkets and hold-ups of food at the borders, Waitrose announces that it is now importing “tearless” onions from the USA. It seems that it has taken 30 years of development to achieve this culinary delight, which is so sweet that one could eat it like popcorn.

Does one greatly need such a horticultural product when people are suffering hunger and malnutrition worldwide?

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As many families are facing reduced incomes, excessive heating bills and Universal Credit tyranny and pressure on food banks, all Waitrose can crow about are tearless onions.

As crops grown here are being left to rot in the fields and planting for 2022 is being reduced, meaning rewilding will reduce crop land, we must wonder the strategic idiocy displayed by Waitrose.

It is also a crass example of insensitivity in these times of Westminster-driven austerity while the elites hoard it all!

John Edgar
Kilmaurs

WHY, why, why is the English flag emblazoned on the sleeves of naval personnel along with the Union flag, and is also seen as the White Ensign at the stern of navel vessels?

Is it that it has already been decided by the English establishment that the Royal Navy is the English Navy, which it has always predominantly been?

I think the term Royal Navy is purely a cover.

Stuart Farquharson
Glasgow