I AM sadly old enough to remember the successful anti-poll tax campaign of the 1990s. Opposition was probably strongest in Scotland. An opinion poll conducted in 1990 indicated that almost 80% of the population opposed the tax. On one day, 50,000 marched in Glasgow. They said as one: “We’re not paying.” The final victory came on Thursday November 22 1990 as Margaret Thatcher left 10 Downing Street and got into a waiting car. It was a fitting end to an individual whose policies had served up misery across the land.

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Now we are facing a new and even more cruel tax – the gas and electricity bill. It will push more families into poverty than Margaret Thatcher could ever have hoped or dreamed about. It will line the pockets of the shareholders of the energy suppliers and help empty the pockets of 100% of the population. It is early days, and the worst of the monster bills have still to land on our doormats or in our email accounts. In 1990 some folk said “can pay, won’t pay”, some said “can’t pay, won’t pay,” but the overall effect brought an end to an unfair tax.

I wonder where is the political will or the political leader who would dare to lead a campaign to force the energy suppliers to think again. What would be the effect of a campaign for everyone to pay only part of their fuel bill? Perhaps leaving their direct debit at its current level or simply paying what you can afford.

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Starved of cash, how long might it take to make the energy companies revise their recent increases? It seems that the effect of large numbers of customers providing their meter reading on the same day was too much for the energy companies’ computers to handle. Perhaps we should all send meter readings each and every day.

At the very very least the the SNP need to make a lot more of this golden opportunity to point out that electricity is being bought, sold and transmitted at differing rates depending on your postcode and much of the renewable electricity generated in Scotland is being consumed south of the Border at cheaper rates. This is an economic and political scandal that touches every home in the land. The story of Scotland’s oil in the 1970s is being repeated in 2022 on a larger scale.

Is there a political leader out there with the guts to lead us? How about it, Nicola? Alex? If not, where is Tommy Sheridan when we need him?

Brian Lawson

THE Chancellor is just like any other Tory in Boris Johnson’s crooked Cabinet – completely tone deaf to the comments he makes and how it impacts on others. He claims to know how Will Smith felt – regarding people insulting his wife – and tries to claim credit by saying at least he didn’t hit anyone!

Sorry Chancellor, but you’ve told everyone else to stop trading with Russia but – yet again – you’re turning a blind eye to your wife’s business activities. Should she be exempt from the sanctions against Russia simply because she’s your wife – in the same way you wrote off billions of pounds worth of dodgy Covid deals? If you were serious about looking after the state’s finances you would have called for the police to investigate thoroughly every dodgy Covid deal and you would be forcing everyone to obey the sanctions against Russia – your wife doesn’t get a free pass simply because she’s rich and married to you! Yet again more corruption from the Tories!

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And as for the comments that “at least you didn’t hit anyone” – well, maybe you didn’t slap anyone but you’ve put a hell of a lot of people in danger of dying from hypothermia with your lack of action on escalating energy prices. As Chancellor you’ve been complicit in the 170,000 dead from Covid and you’re happy to sit back and let the energy companies profiteer at the risk of many people dying through the next winter!

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

THE Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he feels like Will Smith. Regarding his woefully inadequate spring statement in addressing the skyrocketing cost-of-living crisis, I guess the British public feels like Chris Rock.

Sandy Gordon

ISN’T it about time some grown-ups put away personal bones of contention and honoured the main pledge made to the Scottish voting public?

Sturgeon and Salmond must know they are the faces of a wheen of hopes for Scottish independence and their persistent avoidance of dialogue diminishes both of them. Anger and hurt are painful when personal but they are small when compared to the current atrocity of the Tory rule over Scottish affairs.

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Conciliation is not a dirty word ... it is the way forward, and surely their egos (and those of their advisers) are not a good reason for their stand-off! Everyone knows that each will have a “good reason” for his/her silence, but a far better reason for a meeting and discussion is the mutual endeavour of getting us out of this awful mess imposed by Westminster. Come on, lick your wounds in private and do what needs to be done. Your public silences are fodder for the gutter elements of the media, and voters for independence want action.... and don’t care about “sides” to be on! Independence IS the only focus!

E Ahern
East Kilbride

VICTORIA Derbyshire was a breath of fresh air on Question Time on Thursday night. I think that is the first time on Question Time or Marr that an SNP person has been allowed to speak without constantly being interrupted. The Tory representative Maria Caulfield was well out of her depth trying to defend the indefensible, and frankly making a mockery of the pain and suffering of women in the maternity hospital scandal that has gone on for 20 years.

Victoria obviously did not get the memo from BBC to heckle and interrupt SNP no matter what – Fiona, please take note.

Winifred McCartney