THE BBC were this week busy winding us all up for their Red Nose Day while defending their aim of political impartiality, most recently with regard to the comments by Gary Lineker.

The millions raised will of course be very welcome and needed, so great praise must go to everyone who contributes time, expertise or money to this and other charitable events. We are continually encouraged to contribute to various charities by the media and are given honours by our establishment to reinforce the virtue of giving if we can.

Think of Celebrity Pointless with Alexander Armstrong praising the charities chosen by the celebrity contestants. Think of the late Captain Tom, with his efforts – aged 100 – to raise tens of millions for the NHS. Sadly though, still an insignificant amount to fundamentally transform this huge institution. He was knighted for his (magnificent) efforts. “If he can do it, why can’t you?” was the message.

Let me be clear, I have nothing but admiration for all those who give up their time and money to help others. It’s hopefully a basic human instinct. However, charity is not the only way to support the needy and less fortunate members of our society. The method is a political choice.

Charity is, I think, a Dickensian method. I picture the reaction to Oliver Twist asking for more gruel. The establishment of the NHS last century was a prime example of more enlightened thinking: the state, through taxation, supporting everyone, free at the point of need.

It was Thatcher who cut spending at home and abroad so she could cut taxes for the rich and reduce society in favour of individual greed. Charities and their needs have been the only lasting boom development in our ever-polarised society. While there have never been more billionaires, an increasing number in our society are homeless, hungry, cold, waiting for health care etc. All the result of political choices.

If the BBC want to be taken seriously about being impartial, rather than accepting the established cruelty they should at least raise the issue of why charity is required.

Campbell Anderson


WITH an increasingly far-right UK Government prospectus it is surely time for Scotland to leave this voluntary, yet broken union. Since the raison d’etre of the SNP is independence, why has this not been achieved; when corrupt Tory administrations have dragged politics and democracy into the gutter, disappearing in a Brexit mirage?

This question should not only be answered by the retiring SNP inner circle but also by the new leadership contenders. Certainly, Kate Forbes has been honest, articulate, concise and to the point. With her proven policy of financial and economic stability, she appeals to a wider audience and will deliver on independence – like Nicola, she is a winner!

Grant Frazer


LESLEY Riddoch refers to the SNP conference last year at which “a landmark motion was passed supporting a change in the school starting age from four/five to six”.

In fact, it was overwhelmingly approved with the invaluable support of Tony Giuliano, who had been briefed beforehand by Upstart Scotland.

There is no doubt in my mind that eventually a new profession of kindergarten educators will be formed to provide the much-needed play-based opportunities which all children rightly deserve before starting school at six or seven. Hopefully the FM candidates will see the light!

David Ashford

Isleornsay, Isle of Skye

WHO is pulling the strings of Ash Regan? Somebody with a real grudge/score to settle with the high heid yins in the SNP me thinks.

The membership figures are there in plain sight – there really was no need to cast doubt on the running of the election unless you have your own agenda/vendetta.

Scotland, her folks and independence are what matter.

The three candidates need to get over themselves – we are in this together.

Jan Ferrie


“INDEPENDENCE is always better than dependence” – Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, March 15, 2023. A devastating Ides of March Freudian slip with as deep a cut to the heart of the Union as Caesar’s mishap under the statue of Pompey.

Look forward to seeing that on SNP political broadcasts and emblazoned across the land. Makes Forbes’s faux pas little more than like a slip of the tongue whereas hapless Hunt choked on his size nines LOL.

Jim Taylor


LAST year was the worst year recorded for litter in Scotland since 2013 according to Keep Scotland Beautiful. As a member of the amazing Tranent Wombles, I can certainly give evidence that the group has collected more than 2000 pink bags of litter from streets, parks and byways around the town. It is, however, so disappointing is seeing areas carefully cleared then strewn with bottles, cans, plastics, paper and worse after just a few weeks.

Those who throw away these items bring a huge cost to the environment and local councils’ budgets while adding to our global carbon emissions.

I have seen the deposit return scheme work well in Denmark with return points in shops where items have been bought and wonder why there is such reluctance from business and politicians in our own country. It seems to me that the deposit return scheme is crucial for the litter emergency in Scotland.

Meanwhile, we might all take part in the Keep Scotland Beautiful – “take it home” – Spring Clean campaign from March 17 to April 17.

Russell McLarty