DEAR Mr Kwarteng,

It is a long-standing principle that taxation is only deemed fair if it is based on ability and resources to pay. Cutting taxes, which reduces the exchequer income and produces the inevitable consequences of damage to the infrastructure of society on which all depend, simplistically may appear on the face of it to be fair. But it also has the inevitable consequence of transferring more of the burden to those least able to pay. Cutting taxes has enormous benefits for the wealthy but negligible benefits for those who are not.

Fair taxation takes a proportion of excess income over expenditure and those already wealthy who enjoy that surplus have a much better ability to pay than the least well-off. Therefore they can afford to pay more tax without it having a detrimental effect on their lives.

At the bottom of the income scale, tax cuts amount to little more than pennies, which do nothing towards offsetting the eye-watering increases in infrastructure costs. Having been through a long period of austerity, which itself exacerbated income differentials, and then the consequences of Brexit, there is no resilience in the lower-paid sectors of society, on whom we all depend, as shown during the pandemic.

Borrowing without taxation is a recipe for disaster and sadly it would appear that ill-informed and ill-considered pandering to the egos of the few has

led directly to this position. Jam tomorrow or in a few years’ time does not feed the country today. And the ability to pay current borrowing back is by no means certain. The concept of trickle-down economics and deregulation is fatally flawed and we have directly seen the results of that since 2008.

The only beneficiaries of this blinkered ideology are the already wealthy, who seem to ignore the fact that any benefits of being wealthy are entirely dependent on having an effective social infrastructure and smoothly functioning society.

Economic growth is fuelled by consumer spending, which is the ultimate point of investment. Why should anyone invest in an economy that has restricted spending and hence restricted profit-making opportunities? This is where Brexit, unfortunately, rears its head again. We are now a small nation of around 60 million people, what sort of economy can they become compared to one of around 500 million?

Pandering to your soundbites and trying to appeal to your 160,000 or so party members does not make good economic policy. It is more akin to a group of naughty schoolboys knowing they have a couple of years of freedom in the tuck shop while trying to maximise their own self-interest in the short term with no consideration for the future, or anyone else. Tax and spend – long criticised by Conservatives – at least benefitted most of us. Your proposals of spend today and maybe or not tax tomorrow do not and will not.
Nick Cole

BY removing the top rate of income tax in England, Mr Kwarteng has given us a wonderful social experiment. Now, folk on the highest incomes in Scotland will pay a wee bit more tax than their counterparts in England. The Holyrood Conservative lobby will – inevitably – say that wealthy people will move to England to avoid this tax. The Unionist press will be full of stories about house prices rising in Berwick as the wealthy move their residences south.

A few will. The same thing happened in France, when the ISF (wealth tax) was introduced there. A couple of celebs (the late Johnny Hallyday, and Gerard Depardieu) left, but around 300,000 ISF taxpayers remained at home. Why? Because it’s worth paying a few more centimes in tax to get the benefits that higher tax brings – more security, less poverty, better health services and education.

So let’s see what happens with Kwarteng’s experiment; I’m betting that most people on higher incomes will stay in Scotland, paying the tax difference. And that – I hope – will strengthen the Scottish Government’s resolve to build a fairer tax system.
Christopher Carnie
Via email

AFTER the expensive, taxpayer-funded pomp and pageantry of Queen Elizabeth’s passing, we’re back to the pedantry of Tory-driven politics.

Twelve years of Tory government getting us in the economic mire and Truss comes up with a replay of the same old Thatcherite tripe that got us here.

Largesse for the favoured wealthy, tax cuts for those who could afford to pay, the bankers who screwed the economy get unfettered bonuses to continue doing so and a slap down for the poor who are being held responsible for the Tories’ mess.

And we’re supposed to be grateful the energy bills increase is being held to only more than double what they were last year; and for the rape of fossil fuels despite climate change imperatives and being told in 2014 they wouldn’t exist by now?

Isn’t insanity repeating actions while expecting a different result?

Is it any wonder Scots are striving to break this cycle of selfish greed of the Tory-sponsored privileged, wealthy few through exercising their fundamental right to independent nationhood?
Jim Taylor

“ALL things are quite silent, each mortal at rest, when me and my true love lay snug in one nest, when a bold set of ruffians broke into our cave and they forced my dear jewel to plough the salt wave."

These lines I have on the album Living by Judy Collins, 1971. All Things Are Quite Silent, a folk song which speaks of the “press-ganging” of young men – enforced conscription for the Navy. The practice died out by 1835. Young men were ripped from their families, their beds and even their wedding ceremonies.

This may not be a conventional view of this subject: I remember hearing the Today programme. Broadcaster Brian Redhead interviewed Prince Charles on the royal train. Prince Charles said that if people did not want him to do the job he was doing, he would go and do something else.

My life has been rich and diverse – I have had a full share of disasters and the odd triumph. I did not choose the circumstances of my birth. I would like to argue that all my disasters have been due to other people or extraneous circumstances. I would like to take full credit for any triumph and deny that anyone else had a hand in helping me achieve whatever minor success I think was mine.

Of course, it would be nonsense to make such claims. I had fortune to come across people who filled me with the feeling that I was a worthy human. I count it the greatest accidents of my birth that I was in no way born into the house of Windsor because whatever I have done in my life, whatever has happened to me, it cannot be denied that for good or ill I was in some way or another a part of whatever happened, were it good, bad or ugly. I inherited no wealth – where I live, the clothes I wear and the food I eat have been obtained through my own industry. I have had times when bills could not be met and times when I have had an excess of funds. I was born and have lived my life in what are known as free countries. I have been able to have my own opinions and voice my pleasure and displeasure.

I have been able to mark my cross on ballot papers and although many times the vote has not gone the way I would have wished, I did get my chance to make my voice heard. In a world of so many voices, I suspect I have lived a life that has been as free as it could have been.

I would wish the same for every person born in any part of the world.

However, looking around, one can see that such freedom is unavailable to billions of our fellow humans. People in Afghanistan, China, Russia and Myanmar form an obvious list of those who risk all if they speak out of turn or against those in power.

During this change in the UK where Queen Elizabeth I has passed and King Charles becomes the King of Scotland, there are many who are against the monarchy’s continuation. Many here in Scotland would prefer a republic and that cry is also heard in many outposts of the former British Empire. There are many who say that the Royal Family are overprivileged but this is just to throw a bit of fat on the fire and see if one or two flames ignite. If a judge and jury imprison someone and it is later found that the crime was committed by another, compensation has to be paid to the falsely convicted.

Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward did not choose their parents but they were born into a prison which exists because many in the society support and many wallow in it and wish it to continue – The Monarchy. Every new wean born into that family is incarcerated within the system. The society removes the right of these “royal” persons to be free, to be able to make their own decisions and live their own lives. If you think they can leave you are mistaken, the story of the Duke of Windsor and Prince Harry shows they can check out but never leave, as Hotel California puts it.

Handout photo
issued by UK Parliament of Chancellor of the

In exchange the royals get big houses, cars and servants. Then people moan because there are poor people, homeless people and, and, and … Many people love the idea of celebrity. They get caught up in the pomp and ceremony and the royals are the ultimate in celebrity.

So if you are angry about all the hype and you would prefer a republic to a monarchy, remember both ideas do cost money. Maybe, though, as I, you will be thankful that your every breath is not documented, your every mistake is not recorded, your every misdemeanour not jumped upon and forever remembered. My age being not dissimilar to King Charles, I thank my lucky stars that I am not expected to do what he has done this past fortnight. I thank my stars I will never have to be a monarch.

What would happen to the current royals if the doors were flung open and they were “released”? Who knows? You may have read Sue Townsend’s book The Queen And I. I wonder what the then Prince Charles would have done with his life if he had been able to make other choices when he spoke with Brian Redhead.

Eventually, the people were so fed up that the wall around Berlin came tumbling down. If you are for a republic, then shouting at the new king will not bring that about. The change, if it ever does come, will come because the society at large wishes for something different.

For those who support independence for Scotland, it will come about in similar fashion. I would respectfully suggest to those who want a republic, one step at a time. In the meantime, thank your god for keeping you out of reach of the press-gangers and be happy you were never dragged away from the life you were planning and forced you to plough the salt wave … HMS Bronington, by the way, sank Friday, March 18, 2016 in Birkenhead.

Be careful switching on your TV because you may think the funeral is out of the way – the BBC will be advertising the coronation very soon!
Cher Bonfis
via email