THE other day, unasked for and unwanted, through my letterbox dropped a shiny pamphlet. On closer inspection this turned out to be the latest glossy puff piece of self-aggrandisement and unjustified complaint by Mr David Mundell MP.

On the front page we are told “MP concern as NHS pressures mount”. This headline is followed by a series of complaints by Mr Mundell about how badly the NHS is being run in Scotland. Sadly, but not in the least surprisingly, he fails to provide any facts by way of context.

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For instance, on a variety of measures – for example A&E waiting times – Mr Mundell could have mentioned that the Scottish NHS is doing far better than its English counterpart. He could have acknowledged that junior doctors in England have gone on strike because Mr Mundell’s Tory party won’t negotiate with them whereas in Scotland there has been a settlement, and so on. He also fails to mention that, in essence, the Scottish Government can only spend on the NHS the funding that it gets from Mr Mundell’s Tory government via the dreadful Barnett Formula. Since the Westminster government seems intent on starving the English NHS (and other public services) of investment, the Barnett Formula means that there is correspondingly less money available to spend in Scotland. Why did Mr Mundell not mention these facts in his pamphlet? I wonder.

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And on the back page of the pamphlet we have Mr Mundell pledging “to work for a modern, reliable Lockerbie rail service”. Since Mr Mundell has, I suspect, virtually no influence in the Westminster corridors of power, I wonder what he thinks he can do to bring this about? In any event the truly dreadful “service” through Lockerbie provided by Transpennine Express is, along with that of other failing rail companies, merely a symptom of years of under-investment in the railway system by – you’ve guessed it – Mr Mundell’s Tory party.

The Tory party of which Mr Mundell is a long-serving member prefers not to invest in essential public services such as the NHS, the rail and road infrastructure, and in England the water and sewage infrastructure. Instead they prefer to see taxpayers’ money siphoned off to pay shareholders. And then Mr Mundell has the gall to complain when public services are less than perfect in Scotland. Don’t make me laugh!

David Howdle

ALISTER Jack is right (Drug decriminalisation calls a bid to 'manufacture grievance', Alister Jack claims, Jul 15). The call for a humanitarian approach to drug use does manufacture grievance: his own grievance. The whole grievance business associated with Scottish Parliament decisions is indeed manufactured by Alister Jack and the Scotland Office by their actions in non-engagement with the elected government of Scotland.

Further, in this particular instance Mr Jack has ignored the fact that Article XIX of the Treaty of Union preserved Scotland’s legal system and therefore we can deviate from English law under the terms of the founding treaty.

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I am sure there are many Acts of Parliament passed in Westminster over the last 300-plus years that have sought to diminish this particular aspect of the Union, but the fact remains we may differ from England in matters legal both in law and in practice as set out in the founding document.

The assumption that the UK parliament may impinge upon Scots law with total impunity was not the meaning of the original text although I am sure that there are those, from then till now, on both sides of the Border, that do not care one whit whether the treaty is honoured as long as power and privilege accrue to them personally.

We would do well to ignore the manufacture of grievance by Mr Jack and his ilk and concentrate on building Scots society and meeting the needs of the vulnerable in our midst, whether it offends UK petty and vindictive sentiments or not.

David Neilson

SOMETIMES I wonder if I’m the only one who looks at the incredible amounts of money handed to sportsmen and women, in this country and worldwide, and thinks “this can’t be right”. I don’t see much comment in the media, or from friends and family on this topic.

I believe the wealthy and powerful elites, who own the media and call the shots politically, are constantly thinking of ways to ensure that the massive inequality which exists is unthinkingly accepted by a docile public. They don’t want us to wake up, look at the news and see footage of starving children alongside pictures of golden royal carriages or billionaire sportsmen and think “surely this can’t be right”.

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Sport, in particular football, is a good example of how the rich manipulators in society somehow manage to normalise this gulf between the rich and the rest of us.

Handing sports “stars” obscene amounts of money, they then encourage us to buy into that world, where knocking a ball around or aiming a wee golf ball at a hole in the distance is somehow worth the money.

As ever, it’s an ongoing test of public credulity and docility. If we accept this state of affairs without question, we are complicit in this disgusting inequality. Look at the Wimbledon crowds, then look at flooding in Bangladesh or drought in the Sudan. Or child poverty in the deliberately created sink estates in our own country. We are being conned on a daily basis.

Jim Butchart
via email