ANENT the question of whether Queen Elizabeth’s death will strengthen or weaken the Union. She died in Scotland, maybe by choice. Ye canna ding history, she was legitimately Queen of Scots following a line that stretches back before The Act of Union and The Union of the Crowns to James Vl, and the regnal lineage before him, with no attachment to England.

Rather than strengthening the Union, the appurtenances attaching to her death have acted to re-inforce the hard fact that Scotland is an ancient country and cannot and will not be relegated to some Trussian district of Greater England.

When the dust has settled, Scotland will quickly remember, if it had momentarily forgotten, that it is still in a failing state. The “Golden Age” which dawned after the Second World War with the ascension of the glamorous princess has matured, withered and died.

And where are we? All of the hundreds of billions yielded by the North Sea frittered away, with little of it benefitting Scotland, a stark bit of evidence of which being provided by the rail line to Aberdeen, Europe’s oil capital, with little or no investment since Victorian times and still having a section of single track at Montrose! Can you imagine this being the case in Norway, or Denmark for that matter, which has had relatively little of a North Sea bonus?

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In contrast to his mother, Charles accedes to a Grey Age of war, strife, debt and hunger. The 70 years of Queen Elizabeth’s blessed Union has arguably left us in a worse place than before. We have an extreme right-wing government and a hapless Prime Minister chosen by some 100,000 privileged Tories very distant both culturally and geographically from Scotland.

Ms Truss is to cut taxes, spend much more money on Ukraine and defence, sort out the NHS, ban strikes and public protest. She is to fix the energy crisis and in particular, in a statement in defiance of the laws of physics and worthy of Canute, has said that: “There will be no blackouts this winter.”

We Scots are nae daft. When Thatcher’s governments, followed by that of Major’s, ignored Scotland and foisted on us legislation that didn’t fit with Scottish sensibilities, but which was simply tacked on the end of English bills, we responded in 1997 in the General Election by giving every Scottish Tory MP the boot, and then voting overwhelmingly for the reinstatement of the Scottish Parliament. The outrages of Brexit and subsequent toxic right-wing policies are deeply felt by the Scottish public who will respond appropriately in due course.

Ken Gow
Bridge of Canny, Banchory


YOU reported on the Bank of England’s stunning announcement that it believes the UK economy is likely in recession (want to bet it already really knows?), expects GDP to fall over the next quarter and has now hiked interest rates to the highest since 2008 – 2.25% (UK economy likely already in recession as Bank hikes interest rates to 14-year high, Sep 22).

Mustn’t this appear like a BoE uppercut to the chin for mortgage holders already parrying off government-launched body blows from facing more than a doubling of their energy bills (even after Truss’s price cap “largesse”) and an accompanying huge hike in the cost of living, while being asked to exercise pay restraint?

The Tory government’s response is to cut taxes, mainly benefiting those who can most afford to pay the tax, cap the bonuses of wealthy bankers (responsible for the farce our economy has become); cap the energy prices of business that are still in peril because their costs have also more than doubled; refuse to windfall tax the profiteering energy companies (feeding the excessive profits to shareholders that ordinary folk are being forced to fund for decades to come); and maintain the austerity restrictions on pensions and benefits, all of which are the fundamentals of discredited Thatcherite economics, adherence to which has got us into the very mess we’re in.

All while forcing on us against our will the risk of the danger from fracking and the “rape” of the carbon fuel reserves in the North Sea despite the imperative of climate concerns that demand we don’t – clearly the reason Westminster power brokers resist Scotland’s independence right there!

READ MORE: Five key reasons support for independence is at its highest since 1999

Twelve years of Tory government have got us here, 12 years of Tory failure and in the remaining two years of this Westminster parliament we’re being asked to believe that this historically failed economic prospectus Truss is repeating will somehow turn the UK round to persuade us to re-elect another Tory government, to allow them to continue their politics of self-interest and naked greed to massage the egos and wealth of Tory Party donors?

Does the seemingly Stepford electorate really have zips at the back of their heads? Mustn’t we be politically torpid, even insane, to be unable to see over the top of the hole the Tories have dug for us and still accede to their diktat and demand to keep digging?

I accept that few will have the appetite for it at this tumultuous time in our history, but shouldn’t we bite the bullet and demand a General Election to clear the board and allow the best options for containing the economic turmoil we’re in to be debated so the electorate can determine the most sensible way forward? Shouldn’t we be debating fundamental issues such as the renationalisation of the utilities, to restore control of these broken markets and charge them to serve those who fund it?

The Tories are responsible and culpable and we need to hold them to account for 12 years of abject failure to address our needs. Truss is promulgating just the same old failed mantra. Must we give her another two years to make the problems worse and us even poorer?

We don’t need Parliament to go walkabout for the party conferences. Shouldn’t those debates be held at the hustings? And the people decide!

Jim Taylor