LAST week was quite a week exemplifying our divided society! We have the Dartford Tories gleefully opening a food bank, and graciously providing themselves and all present with a buffet. Lee Anderson offered the “folk can’t cook” excuse for food bank need; apparently 30p can provide a cooked meal if only those in need could cook. Yes, if only they could, and I’m sure we’d all like to know how he lives on hot and nutritious homemade 30p meals when an egg at less than 30p is like hen’s teeth to find, never mind the cost to boil it.

Those who devised the demise of home cooking and food growing skills in education curriculums have much to answer for regarding the basis of Anderson’s assertion, or is there a more alarming reason?

READ MORE: Lee Anderson doubles down on 'disgraceful' food bank comments

Cast your eye over the political map of England and it can be readily seen that there is Conservative leafy green rural England, where ever-expanding agribusinesses thrive and ever-decreasing rural opportunity results in relentless city-bound migration, and its reverse, as rural house prices reach the stratosphere.

Land is key! Agribusiness is the killer, as the countryside is depleted of rural opportunity. Farming is sold as a world apart from the life of most, and opportunity is available only for a fortunate few, the likes of the BBC’s Adam Henson of generational farming stock giving his “all’s good and hunky-dory, busy, busy” take on farming over his vast and varied empire – the Jeremy Clarkson of act-the-clown entertainment wealth and multinational agribusinesses.

READ MORE: Who is Lee Anderson? Meet the Tory MP who hit headlines with his food bank claims

Scotland is the same but different in that the political map is different but the underlying political ownership of our countryside is becoming ever more similar. Traditional food-producing long gardens in rural towns and villages are largely built upon by the quest for a tempting bonanza from a development plot sale, while housing development gardens are invariably given over to amenity. Small farms are generally swallowed by the large simply because support mechanisms allow, agribusiness thrives and east coast seagulls must travel ever-further west to find a plough turning up a worm as arable crops become ever more dependent on artificial fertilisers.

So folk need food banks! Well, no wonder when we all believe or know that Lee Anderson’s Tories are traditionally supported by large-scale landowners, large-scale farmers, agribusinesses, ready food superstores and property developers, though I’m damned if I can see the case for the buffet celebration.

Tom Gray

WITH the UK Government’s “Jubilee Book”, the attempt to distort history to suit present political purposes continues. The book repeats the erroneous assertion, first contained in the government’s Internal Market White Paper, that the Union in 1707 was between Scotland and England and Wales. It was, in fact, between Scotland and England, as the Treaty clearly states. It might be an inconvenient truth to the UK Government that Wales was so little regarded, but to pretend otherwise is to indulge in historical fantasy.

The “Union” into which Wales was brought was the result of an Act passed by the English Parliament in 1536, which had no Welsh representatives; it simply formalised the earlier conquest.

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The article describes the book’s timelines of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It is not clear from the article whether the book contains a parallel timeline for England. If it does not, then it will, as did the Internal Market White Paper, reflect the underlying Anglo-centric assumption that, in becoming party to the Union, other nations are somehow joining an English and not a supposedly joint enterprise.

We might not be surprised at such attitudes and distortions but we must be ready to challenge them.

Gavin Brown

ABSOLUTELY brilliant, Ruth Wishart! I refer to the splendid comment, “What in the name of the wee man is a Highness?” (Pageantry just a reminder of the social ills afflicting this benighted isle, May 15). Indeed, the full article was a thoroughly positive exercise in republican writing.

I became a socialist and atheist more than 50 years ago, much influenced by a book called Sailor on Horseback by Irving Stone, but seldom think of myself as a republican, though no doubt I certainly am one.

There is no doubt that the writing of Jack London contributed much to my life-long political views, though I didn’t really regard him as being much of a true socialist himself. His study of Darwin and Nietzsche certainly proved him a genuine atheist. Many regarded Nietzsche as being a bad influence on him, but Jack maintained that “Nietzsche and I stand in opposite intellectual corners, but no man on my own side has excited me near as much as he did.”

Norrie Paton

THE winning Eurovision entry sung in the Ukrainian language should count as a very valuable encouragement to all “satellite” nations whose cultures have been sidelined or even suffocated under foreign domination. (Not just in music!) In recent years singing in American/English has become almost the norm.

Hopefully in future we can look forward to richer diversity to the benefit of us all.

Douglas Hunter
Ancrum, Scottish Borders

I’M the Duke of Wellington statue
And to prove I’ve no heart of stone
From now on I’ll wear gold & blue
Not my usual red & white cones.

This is to show to everyone
I defy Putin’s acid reign
And will until the war is won
And Ukraine is free again.

Stephen McCarthy