ON Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Michael Gove repeated the myth that all government spending comes from taxation, so the UK can’t afford to spend what the nation needs for social welfare, the NHS, schools, decent public-sector pay and helping families facing bankruptcy over soaring energy, mortgage and food costs. The government won’t help the people it’s meant to serve. Sunak and Hunt also cling to the “deficit myth” that government is like a household that must balance its budget. They only break their “fiscal rule” when they need to bomb or arm other nations.

A government “deficit” simply means government spends more into the economy than it collects in taxes. Whether this means more debt depends on how the excess is financed. If financed by borrowing from private investors or foreign governments, it adds to the national debt and will have to some day be repaid or defaulted.

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But if financed by the Bank of England, the government’s own bank, it’s not a debt and won’t ever have to be repaid, just like the £400 billion of new money created during Covid.

On top of government austerity, the Bank of England is increasing interest rates to crush inflation when all it’s doing is crushing people who can’t afford energy, food or mortgages. The result will be business failures, foreclosures, unemployment, hunger and despair.

The rich grow richer on the backs of the ever-increasing poor, as wealth flows upwards. This is not only immoral, it’s madness. It’s also a political choice.

Simply put, Scotland can’t afford to stay in this union.

Leah Gunn Barrett

I AM writing regarding the sad news that the Scottish Government reporter, despite acknowledging its local visual affects, has granted permission for Muirden Energy’s Meall Buidhe wind farm development in the area surrounding the communities Rosehall and Altass. This will now be the fourth such development surrounding our villages and it is so sad that one person can make this decision in a visit of less than three days, and leave the communities having to live with this for the next 30 years.

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I find it impossible that this development can be imposed on our rural community and that the 200-plus objections from residents and local businesses, an objection from the community council and the Highland Council North Area Planning Committee refusing this application can just be ignored and overruled. I also find it amazing that, despite several requests, the reporter point-blank refused to have an evening oral session where residents could raise their concerns or be accompanied on their visit by a representative of the local fisheries to raise their environmental concerns. In fact the reporter stated that she felt this was unnecessary.

We next have to face a public inquiry for a fifth development, Strath Oykel, and know of several others at early stages of scoping. Just when will this tsunami of greedy wind farm developers be stopped, or is our beautiful Highlands and its rural communities destined to be destroyed and turned into an industrial wasteland in another form of Highland Clearance?

We are constantly being told that communities are listened to, that decisions on controversial developments won’t be forced on communities, and yet in reality this is not the case. Is it just that our Highland voices and votes are too few to be considered important.

Tracey Smith
Rosehall, Lairg

FATHER’S Day: fine. Mother’s Day: grand. But when do we get to celebrate our children?

No problem. We now have Bairns Day, which I established on Friday to honour my four wonderful daughters and one son, and remind them how much I love them, and how proud I am of what they have achieved.

For example, my eldest daughter, Yvonne, founded 20 years ago and still runs Naru, a charity for deprived Mayan children whose families escaped nationwide genocide by moving to the Guatemalan mountains, where there is no local employment and where they get no government support whatever. Children, and mothers, died within weeks of birth through lack of nourishment, made worse by a lack of clean water.

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There are hundreds of children alive today who would never have survived without Naru’s help, and who now, for the first time, have schooling, health care and nourishment from garden-produced food. You can find out more about this Edinburgh girl’s amazing achievement at naruguatemala.org.

It may appear my bairns are as far away from their faither as possible. One in Hawaii, one in Guatemala, one near Seattle, one in London and one in Nottingham. But I assure you that, after the pandemic, they are back visiting annually, regardless of distance.

So all we need now is for Scots to decide when and how to celebrate Bairns Day. Perhaps during school holidays? Let’s have your suggestions.

Bill Sinclair