SATURDAY’S National headline regarding the latest complaint from the Scottish Tories about the tax rise for high earners just confirms again where their priorities lie, with the state of their precious Union gaining precedence over the need to try and improve the Scottish NHS as much as possible within the confines of the Scottish Government’s taxation remit (Tories moan about tax rise for NHS, Dec 17).

I’ve previously called for a change to their official party title to a more accurate one that exposes their true colours: the selfish greedy bastards party! That is exactly what they are following their shameless request to emulate the suicidal fiscal policy of a failed short-term PM named Liz Truss.

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From their leader downwards, they are so “full of it” to the point where they don’t even hide their shameless behaviour and lack of any moral fibre any more, as well as U-turning at the drop of a hat as soon as their London paymasters force them to embarrass themselves even further.

There is no way back for this horrible political party up here, and recent opinion polls appear to bear this out as more and more people in Scotland are becoming fed up to the back teeth listening to their juvenile, ill-conceived comments in the chamber of the Holyrood parliament while their anti-indy Unionist collaborators in the Scottish Labour Party are willing partners.

Will their unimpressive leader, Anas Sarwar, ever ask a non-NHS-themed question in the debating chamber? It is abundantly clear he is politicising the NHS as part of what he and his boss Starmer perceive to be a cunning plan in exposing the “15 years of Scottish Government mismanagement of the NHS” – the mantra Sarwar occasionally utters and a shameless piece of political skullduggery!

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I’d like to listen to, or read, the opinions of lots of qualified people within that institution to comment on such an extreme general insinuation that the NHS has failed in Scotland. And I’d also like to hear all the good stories of what the NHS has achieved during such a long period of change and continuing evolution of the service. I’m guessing these stories would overwhelm the negative snapshots that Sarwar regularly refers to at FM’s Questions.

It’s all part of the ridiculous wrecking-ball politics applied by both Scottish Labour and the Tories that will be stopped by a savvy Scottish electorate that has lost patience and will eventually hammer them at the ballot box.

Bernie Japs

IT is always amusing to note the claims from certain quarters that higher rates of income tax, as announced in the recent Budget, will make Scotland a less attractive place to live and work.

There will be an apparent “exodus” of middle-class earners, a “brain drain” of those heading to the brighter uplands south of the Border where those earning more than £27,580 will pay less income tax than in Scotland.

What this neglects to highlight, of course, is that income tax is only one element of taxation. Scottish council taxpayers, for example, are on average paying £590 a year less than they would in England and £423 less than in Wales. Average water charges are also lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

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Those parties also neglect to mention the free tuition enjoyed by Scottish students, with those south of the Border having to pay more than £9000 a year. Prescription fees in England are also more than £9 per item, while in Scotland they are free.

Let us also not also forget that better-funded public services are a key element that make somewhere an attractive place to live.

Most Scottish taxpayers pay less income tax than their English neighbours, but for those with the broadest shoulders who pay more, let us not forget the likes of lower council tax, lower water charges, free university fees and free bus travel for pensioners and young people.

Alex Orr

IN his Sunday letter Charlie Kerr mentions austerity being “introduced by Maggie Thatcher”.

I recently became aware of a book by Clara Mattei, The Capital Order, and have watched a YouTube video in which she explains some of her ideas. In essence, she traces austerity back to the 1920s.

Soldiers coming home from war were promised “a land fit for heroes”, and many actually expected to find one. Before the war, the capitalist order just seemed to be the way things were, but to get through the war governments took control of many aspects of the economy, and people could see that other ways of organising the economy were possible.

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There was revolution in Russia, not to mention Hungary and Bavaria. To maintain the necessary order of unobstructed capital accumulation and obedient workforce, governments engineered a squeeze on people’s living standards so they were too occupied with simple survival to cause trouble to the established authorities. I think it may have been Hannah Arendt who remarked that utterly downtrodden people don’t revolt – it’s when they glimpse the possibility of improvement that they rise up to fight for it.

It’s often been pointed out that austerity just doesn’t achieve its stated aims of balancing the books and paying down public debt. On this analysis the actual aim is not the stated one, it is to discipline the working population. Over the last century it would seem to have achieved that quite successfully.

On the separate issue of John Swinney’s Budget, I think a Tory MSP complained that it was unfairly penalising “middle earners”. Only higher-rate and top-rate income tax is rising. To pay higher-rate tax you have to be making not far short of twice the median earnings. In what universe is that “middle earnings”? It just shows that our Tory “representatives” are completely insulated from reality, as the vast majority of us know.

Robert Moffat