THE wave of strikes that is currently hitting the UK is an inevitable response to the unprecedented self-harm of Brexit, the economic damage caused by Covid and an increasingly reactionary and seemingly permanently unstable right-wing Tory government.

The proposed industrial action does not constitute a general strike by any means, yet the Conservative government’s tactics mirror those used by Tory prime minister Stanley Baldwin and his 1926 administration.

The government is anxious to portray striking workers as unpatriotic, rebellious and unreasonable in their demands. Members of the Cabinet, including the zealous Home Secretary, have openly discussed banning all health workers and other public servants from striking by law. They are – surprise, surprise – strongly supported in this undemocratic endeavour by the largely right-wing media.

As Cabinet ministers deflect blame for the appalling social inequality that has forced workers to take this drastic action, the government, just as in 1926, is preparing the military by training them to drive ambulances and check passports.

During the General Strike, Baldwin informed the population that it was “a challenge to Parliament and the road to anarchy and ruin”. Fast forward almost a century, and we witness a Conservative administration for whom little has changed.

Those who withdraw their labour as a last resort are still regarded as the enemy, even in the face of runaway libertarian capitalism that makes the rich richer and condemns those who have to choose between heating and eating to more economic pain and distress.

Tory governments are seldom compassionate or even conscious of social equality in their policies and they have historically empowered transparent corruption and greed.

Mr Sunak’s administration, unfettered by EU law, will doubtless find a way to alter UK employment laws to dilute workers’ rights, make strikes illegal in some sectors and bring UK workers to heel. The Labour Party, just as in the General Strike of 1926, will uneasily sit on the political fence in the hope that their electoral chances will not be too badly harmed by any association with socialism.

This current Tory Party does not play by any democratic rules, and it appears increasingly evident that those opposed to them must start to be more proactive and politically aggressive if they wish to achieve their goals.

The SNP representatives in Westminster have traditionally been somewhat passive and compliant under the leadership of Ian Blackford. I sincerely hope that a more confrontational style will be adopted by Stephen Flynn and his colleagues in the immediate future.

Owen Kelly


WE are encouraged to save the planet by buying local, but supermarkets have limited stocks of Scottish produce.

While some Scots meats can be found, there is little evidence of dairy items such as cream, butter, yoghurt and even milk.

Butter, for example, is available from England, Denmark, Ireland, France and even New Zealand, while Scottish butter is nowhere to be seen. I tried four supermarkets looking for Scottish unsalted butter, but was only successful at the fifth.

I try not to purchase anything with a Union flag or labelled British, wherever it is sourced. It is frustrating to have to travel so far to locate local goods.

Lots of festive food displays are piled high with British goods, but again, anything Scottish is hard to find.

Margaret Pennycook