I’M smiling at the UK’s new increased duty on our whisky ... why don’t they just tax it beyond the reach of most Scots? Our country would be a better place if alcohol (another name for the poison ethanol, but they don’t like to talk about that) was indeed a luxury instead of a culture that has so many detrimental effects on our society.

Just imagine a Scotland where we drank less – not so much addiction, not so much needless pressure on our NHS. The benefits are many, the plus points for alcohol consumption are few.

We know the tax hike is complete robbery but if we just drank less of the harmful uisge beatha, the UK Treasury would be out of pocket. Same goes for all alcohol products.

READ MORE: ‘Naive and fanciful’: Scottish pub industry pans Tories' ‘Brexit guarantee’

Anyway, the statement that whisky production is vital to our economy needs to be backed by some evidence. How many jobs exist in its making? Who are the real beneficiaries of a deeply ingrained drinking culture?

The answer is simple: big business and the politicians, whose ends it meets to have a large section of (mostly) working people drugged regularly by alcohol. If you’re sitting in pubs or suffering hangovers, you are less likely to be aware of or interested in the political crimes being committed daily.

Yes Scotland has a long history of whisky manufacture – but it’s not a particularly glorious one. And it certainly isn’t vital.

Jim Butchart

via email

IF Alan Parker’s response to my previous letter shows anything, it is surely that he has swallowed the Government’s propaganda excuses for price hikes (Letters, Aug 1). Alan refers to Ukraine (I’m surprised he didn’t also rely on Covid as is usually the case) but it’s just an excuse for prices being hiked, not the reason.

The excess profits now being reported regularly by energy companies prove this.

Curiously, electricity generated here in Scotland through renewable sources was also price-hiked despite no increase in supply costs. In early 2022, France introduced its energy shield. This limited the rise to 4%.

Here in Britain, the treasure island of capitalism, our bills increased nearly three-fold. Government stepped in with a contribution which restricted the rise to a 100% hike.

Now the Government’s support has diminished with “falling prices” and we’re left with a consolidated 100% hike over last year (Mon dieu! Oh thae were we French). To compound our problems, Ofgem allowed the standing charges to be doubled. This has nothing to do with Ukraine or the broken energy market.

This will not be returned to where it was – a back-door price hike piggy-backed on to the energy “crisis” that will forever mitigate against the poor and those on low and fixed incomes and considerably adding to fuel poverty.

Why, if electricity prices are influenced by the general market, did diesel attract a premium rather than across the whole oil market? Clearly because the oil companies could get away with it for diesel and our Tory government allowed them to – which added to the cost of every movement of goods dependent on it and fuelling inflation.

Government stood back and let the markets wallow in excess profits which have all but destroyed our economy – we’re in the basement of the G7 – and certainly reduced all our living standards. How can Alan possibly sanction this?

The National: The Palace of Westminster in London

We’ve had 13 years of Tory Westminster government. Despite the austerity that has decimated investment in the infrastructure of our public services and restricted wage rises that have caused our living standards to fall, the £1.3 trillion debt level they inherited and claimed would have to be reduced because we were “living beyond our means” has been doubled to a now reckoned £2.5trn.

Taxes have never been higher, and inflation is rampant with mortgages and rents rising dramatically. However, shareholders are having a field day as they are allowed to benefit from Tory government-allowed abuse of the economy perpetrated on us by the energy companies and others.

Forget Ukraine. Forget Covid. They’re just the excuses of capitalists trying to justify enjoying a profits bonanza. Britain is bust. This treasure island for the few has had its day. Sadly the English electorate can’t see it.

But increasingly Scots now can. Alan, independence is just the first rung of the ladder where we can establish a fairer ethos and begin the work to redress the problems Westminster has created, and will continue to do so.

Hopefully Scots really are nae sae daft to swallow the guff our Tory government spews out, and Labour do nothing to refute.

Jim Taylor


SO it’s come to this. Sitting in Aberdeen railway station awaiting my clickity train home to Dyce, I saw a special offer in the only shop in our newly developed upgraded rail terminal. (Still has stalactites on open view from Platform 6 – fossils take a bit longer!)

It was English bottled water, two for £3. English water in Scotland. “Michty,” I thought, “they should have used it to flush their rivers” – which apparently are full of shit.

Obviously Scottish water isn’t good enough even though we have an abundance of it, as every Glaswegian knows.

Kenny Burnett

Dyce, Aberdeen