MARGARET Thatcher may have shuffled off her mortal coil but the legacy of Thatcherism lives on. Both candidates for the Tory party leadership, the uninspiring Mr Sunak and the vacuous Ms Truss, have sought to gain favour with their party membership by associating themselves strongly with the Iron Lady in recent days.

The former Chancellor launched his leadership bid in Grantham, the place of Mrs Thatcher’s birth, and spoke of commonsense Thatcherite policies, whilst the Foreign Secretary has spoken of a return to Thatcherite values (whatever they may be) and paid guileless homage to Maggie by dressing in Thatcher-like attire, hoping no doubt that she will miraculously acquire some political gravitas by osmosis.

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However, it is interesting to note how Thatcherism is interpreted across political and national lines. To right-wing Tories it embodies all the apparent advantages of unbridled, libertarian capitalism and economic deregulation, coupled with an aggressive English nationalism. It signifies a possible revision of hard-won social changes such as LGBT and abortion rights and, post-Brexit, the tearing up of accepted adherence to human rights and the dilution of workers’ rights and trade unionism.

Mrs Thatcher’s former Secretary of State for Scotland, Ian Lang, proudly stated that eradicating the blight of socialism in the UK was her finest achievement. Philosophically, she believed in small state government and the careful dismantling of parts of the welfare state.

Opponents would argue that Thatcherism is not interested in social equality, distribution of wealth or a compassionate society and that she customised a crude and xenophobic form of English nationalism to allow Britain to pose, fraudulently, as a major player on the international stage. Much like the disingenuous Ms Truss is currently doing with regards the Ukrainian crisis.

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Of course Maggie was never popular in Scotland and the performance of her party in Scotland mirrored this during her premiership. It was said that she never understood the Scots and it is clear that the next successor to her title as Conservative party leader neither understands nor cares about the politics of Scotland, except to continually deny the wishes of the majority of the people of Scotland for another referendum. Like successive Roman governors of Britannia, Tory leaders view Scotland as a dark, hostile and burdensome territory though they have avaricious designs on its natural resources.

In short, evoking Thatcherism as a political, economic and social creed may well be marketable amongst many people south of the Border but in Scotland, even more than 30 years after her political demise, the term brings forth a dread, a bitter legacy of a pitiless ideology that is devoid of solicitude and humanity. That the next Tory leader wishes to be associated with this callous Weltanschauung is all you need to know for the future of the UK. The party is indeed over in more ways than one.

Owen Kelly

IT appears good for democracy in Scotland and the whole of the UK that the best arguments against holding a second independence referendum that the combined brains of the Tory leadership contenders and their scheming advisers could come up with are that Scotland had its “once-in-a-generation opportunity” and “now is not the time”.

The UK Government enabled Northern Ireland, through the Belfast Agreement, to hold a “border poll” every seven years and nothing was stipulated in the Edinburgh Agreement to prevent Scotland from effectively doing likewise.

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Even the staunchest Better Together supporters who still irrationally attempt to argue that The Vow has been honoured accept that they did not expect that the UK would have left the European Union only six years after the 2014 referendum. Therefore, given the democratic mandate of the current Scottish Government to hold another referendum, the only question that remains is exactly when that mandate should be enacted.

With the associated deaths and disruptions of Covid-19 in decline and the Westminster government having lost control of the UK economy, October 19 2023 appears to be a logical and sensible date for the citizens of Scotland to take their common destiny into their own hands rather than trust their future to another arrogant, self-serving child of Margaret Thatcher.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

DON’T panic. This dreadful mess will only result in Scotland’s independence becoming inevitable. Truss will likely be appointed by the right-wing, white Tory voters. That will lead to an increased abandonment here of the Unionist position. In today's Guardian there’s a cartoon by Ben Jennings which depicts Truss and Sunak beating up refugees in a dinghy. You can be sure they will be at it again in tonight’s debate.

I am always amazed at the reluctance of English voters to let go of the neighbour who always, it seems to them, is sponging off them. At the last General Election it was reported that a group of young Londoners expressed a wish to vote for the SNP. It had to be pointed out that, sadly, there was no candidate for them to vote for. So there is hope. Don’t panic.

Tony Kime

I REFER to your reports on the Tory leadership duel and the right-wing threat to our democracy. The only way to rid ourselves of this disaster is to demolish the Palace of Westminster, brick by brick, stone by stone. Otherwise we are all up you-know-what creek without a paddle.

Margaret Forbes