I’M so fed up of hearing the term “the cost-of-living crisis”. It’s almost as if this “crisis” has just come out of the blue from the heavens above. Let’s face it who knew there was going to be a Covid pandemic that affected the economy for around two years and who could have foreseen Putin’s invasion of Ukraine which has made the situation ten times worse? Brexit? Wheesht! Haud yer tongue man!

Well, that’s what the UK Government constantly tell us, backed up, in the main, by a miserably compliant written press and telly news reporting.

Naw, this crisis should be called, “the Conservatives’ adoration of contemptuous, callous, capitalism crisis”. There was a time, pre-May 1979 Thatcherite Britain, when some capitalists felt they had to “play nice” and leave some of the crumbs from their table for the plebs. These crumbs meant nearly all working folk could afford to heat their homes, feed their families properly, treat themselves to a few bevvies at the weekends or whatever other treats they desired and take their families on a summer holiday, etc.

Since David Cameron came to power in 2010 however, each Tory government has consistently hacked away at anything that was previously in place to provide working folk with a reasonable standard of living or to prevent the unemployed from freezing and starving.

This has never been an accident. It was always deliberate.

Having heard many Tories speak in interviews over the years on telly it is so clear to me that loads of them have a contempt – and to be honest almost a hatred – of folk that haven’t been able to play the capitalist game well enough to make them so self-sufficient they no longer need to rely on the state (ie that they can’t afford private health care or education or to afford to buy their own home).

In reality, although they won’t say it in public, they regard tax-payers money being used for the NHS, to educate the masses or to build cooncil hooses for them as “hand-outs”.

What really sticks in my gut though, is that the Tories have almost certainly extended their reign of power purely due to the jingoistic, racist, xenophobic, English nationalism that they sneakily gave another name – yes, Brexit!

You will of course expect me to state the only way out of this abject state of affairs for us Scots is independence. That goes without saying.

However, what I really need to hear prior to any independence referendum, is how the hell are we going to smash the stranglehold over the influence the English right wing “free” press has over almost all of the media that has infiltrated our society since time immemorial?

It’s an absolute disgrace that currently the only independence supporting newspaper in our news stands is The National and its Sunday sister.

Also, the main public broadcaster in Scotland is unashamedly biased towards the status quo although in true Johnsonian/Trumpian fashion, deny this at every turn.

In April 1992 after the Tories unexpectedly won the UK election, The Sun’s famous headline was, “It’s the Sun wot won it!”.

In the autumn of 2023, or later if that is the case, wouldn’t it be just so dead brilliant if the front page of The National following an independence referendum proclaimed, “The National helped us break free!” (OK, that’s pretty rubbish by I was pushed for time and couldn’t think of anything better!)

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

Winning the next independence referendum will require overcoming a hostile media

Is anyone else sick to death of the Tories fighting to see who can be more right wing and most far away from the lives of real people.

Most of us have just had our new tariffs for gas and electricity and many will be having sleepless nights wondering how we are going to pay the bills. But of course this is not mentioned by any of them – Westminster is asleep at the wheel, or should I say on the sun lounger. Yet they complain about Nicola Sturgeon and indyref2 – forgetting of course how much is going to the Union Fund to “save” the Union and continue to rob Scotland blind.

The waste in UK/Westminster is staggering. Some £37 Billion on Test and Trace – abysmal failure. £11.8 Billion Covid Fraud written off and £8.7 Billion on PPE which is useless.

But never mind lots of their mates got very rich and might even donate some of their ill-gotten gains to the Tory Party.

When you look at grid connection charges and daily standing charges in Scotland compared to the rest of the country every one of us should be on the street screaming about the unfairness of it.

But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story – the BBC will still blame the Scottish Government and mislead and misinform everyone on their news outlets just as they have today about dentists.

The facts are that 95% of people in Scotland are registered with a dentist and there are far more dentists in Scotland than the rest of the UK just like there are more doctors/nurses and teachers per head of population than anywhere else. But you would never know that by the way the BBC in Scotland reports on this.

Remember too that it is ONLY in Scotland that the BBC makes these issues political – they are reported in England and Wales without the add on of how bad the Government is. Ever wondered why this is? They are running scared, terrified in fact because they know their time is up and Scotland will have freedom.

Winifred McCartney


I am supposed to believe I live in a democracy.

Apparently, roughly 160k plus, members of the Conservative Party, have the democratic right to select the next prime minister.

Who are these people? Are they UK residents? Are they registered on any electoral roll in the UK? Are they House of Lords oligarchs, Putin plants, Mossad or CIA agents?

We simply rely on what Sir Graham Brady of the Tories 1922 Committee tells us, or doesn’t tell us. The good Sir, has so far as I am aware, never given an exact number who can vote. How therefore can press and media say Truss is in the lead if they don’t know the numbers who can vote?

Could there be corruption in the system? Surely not.

I B Archibald


I was disappointed to read some of the Web Comments (August 10) in response the the SNP, and now Green, strategy to declare the next General Election as a defacto indyref2, should the Supreme Court find against the Scottish Government’s petition.

While I fully accept the argument that it will not be binding, it will be robustly evidential.

Last week, as the UK Government submitted its written submission to the court, we were told that the Scottish people don’t want indyref2. What we want (apparently) is the two Governments to work together etc, etc. etc.

We’ve heard that all before ... many times, but this strategy by the SNP/Green coalition (which hopefully will be adopted by other independence supporting parties) will put paid to that narrative once and for all.

A defacto indyref2 is far from ideal, but in the absence of another legal strategy to demonstrate to the world at large that Scotland is being denied its democratic right, it’s better than having no fall back position at all.

Formal internation recognition of a independent Scotland is an imperative if we are to thrive with our new found freedom. This strategy, if successful, will provide even more weight to our legal argument should we need to justify it beyond the UK borders ... and we just might.

I Easton


READ MORE: Scotland about to 'call a day' on UK, Nicola Sturgeon says at Edinburgh Fringe

Recent media reports have indicated that five areas of Scotland are bidding for so-called Green Port status.

The location of these bids is Aberdeen/Peterhead, Cromarty Firth, Orkney, Forth Estuary and the Clyde area.

All these bids are being made by consortiums of private companies and local authorities.

Supporters of so called Green Ports say that they are good news for businesses and communities because they are essentially a special kind of port where normal tax and customs rules do not reply.

However there is evidence that so called Green Ports don’t create new economic activity but rather relocate existing work from other areas with the promise of tax breaks .

There is not much hope that the Westminster government will consider the danger of a Green Port development taking jobs away from areas not within its boundaries.

It is also probably unlikely that the Westminster government will have much concern about the rights of workers employed within so called Green Ports.

It is therefore vital that the Scottish Government scrutinise thoroughly all the bids that are made in relation to Green Ports status.

Arthur West

Trade Justice Coalition Scotland

Reading comments on the intent to raise the age of formal education (7 Aug 22) we could be forgiven for thinking this idea only comes from Finland and other Nordic countries. This is not the case.

Looking at 10 countries where education performance is better than the UK – Singapore, Iceland, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, France, Norway and Finland – we find that seven of them start formal education at age six and the remaining three start at age seven. All have pre-school provision and with the exception of Sweden they have between three and six years of kindergarten of one form or another.

Bringing Scotland into line with what is evidently good practice across a representative range of countries rather than one outlier is in keeling with our intent to emulate the world’s better performing small countries and we should adopt this practice asap.

Gus McSkimming


READ MORE: Scottish adventurer takes epic horseback journey across Europe for Ukrainian refugees

Writing in his church’s in-house magazine, Life And Work, Church of Scotland Moderator the Rev Dr Iain Greenshields says that Scottish society “feels little need for God”.

Citing plunging membership and an aging demographic, he suggests their solution might be “hard work and renewed gospel commitment”.

If this “gospel commitment” means further promoting unscientific beliefs or illiberal attitudes we wish him luck, at least as far as young people are concerned, but for us there is no schadenfreude in this development if the Kirk now gracefully accepts its minority and private status.

A continued insistence on access to schools, local government and a privileged exemption from tax and equality laws will only propagate the public resentment of which Rev Greenshields complains.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society