IAN Murray says the first duty of government is to keep its citizens safe.

But he doesn’t say how a Starmer Labour government can conceivably do so when it is studiously copying its policies from a Tory playbook which has delivered the discredited, incompetent and failed government of the past 13 years.

The UK electorate is being offered more of the same. Starmer is the preferred choice of the British establishment – the ultimate continuity candidate. There is no alternative.

No one mentions what is blindingly obvious. Like the US, the two main UK political parties – both English – have become the UK uni-party. This happened because there is no democracy in the UK – the first-past-the-post electoral system prevents it. If there was, you’d see dissent, debate and political alternatives to the uni-party. You’d have a media that would air divergent viewpoints and encourage public debate. You’d see more people standing for office and new political parties emerging that reflected the issues and concerns of the majority of people.

The National: Ian MurrayIan Murray

The uni-party can’t risk letting in even a chink of democracy because then it would crumble. The oligarchs who control the British establishment and the media and who fund both parties won’t allow it because democracy is an existential threat to their power and control. They’d rather fund foreign wars than keep people here safe.

The fear of democracy is why Labour ditched their manifesto pledge to introduce proportional representation that would give people a real voice. Starmer will do the bidding of the establishment by doubling down on failure. We will end up with him as the next PM and absolutely nothing will change. That’s why Scotland must end this Union.
Leah Gunn Barrett

IN 2022, there was a verdict against Scottish self-determination by that newly invented sub-committee of the ruling class pompously labelled as “The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom”. That verdict was a DISGRACE. History will see it as exposing the UK ruling-class dictatorship. They should never be allowed to forget this.

Some folk saw it as a defeat for Nicola Sturgeon and, in effect, welcomed this because they didn’t like Sturgeon or her party. That’s really petty. So what if this seemed a bit of a setback for her or her party? That’s not the important thing. What matters is that the verdict exposed the UK ruling-class dictatorship.

Some folk, in effect, welcomed it, because they don’t like the idea of referendums anyway. Again, that’s a petty way of looking at things. You don’t like referendums, so you support the UK ruling class behaving as a dictatorship?

Members of the Radical Independence Campaign and some other folks decided there should be protests about this. Not to beg the UK ruling class for a new referendum they were never going to permit, but to CONDEMN them for acting as a dictatorship.

As it turned out, October 19 was a day of red alert weather warnings, traffic disruption and widespread flooding. Some British nationalists actually laughed about this, taunting: “So, how did your referendum go?”

Again, let’s be clear about this: these people are, in effect, supporting ruling-class dictatorship.

There is now talk of a possible protest on November 23, the anniversary of that disgraceful verdict by that sub-committee of the ruling class. Yes, we’re still struggling with the after-effects of flooding and so on. That particular protest may or may not happen. But this issue of UK ruling-class dictatorship is not going to go away.
Dave Coull
Findowrie, near Brechin

WHEN anyone from this extreme right-wing Israeli government (which is vigorously opposed by many throughout Israel) speaks about the current conflict in the Middle East, I just totally tune out. Likewise with the right-wing government in Westminster and the US government.

One person’s words on the matter are a totally different kettle of fish, though. This highly respected man throughout the world always, in my view, speaks so well on matters about the Middle East and other global conflicts too, as well as massive issues such as climate change. That guy is, of course, the impressive UN secretary-general, António Guterres.

Channel 4 News’s excellent international editor Lindsey Hilsum said that Guterres had received a lot of flak from the Israelis because he had said the attack by Hamas on October 7 had not happened in a vacuum. The Israelis felt he was justifying the attack which was clearly a shocking deliberate misrepresentation of his words, in my view and his.

In her customary passionate way, Lindsey said: “He wasn’t [justifying the attack]. What he said was the grievances of the Palestinian people because of occupation did not justify the Hamas attack, but nor did the Hamas attack justify collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

“Of course, that is what a lot of people are feeling around the world.

We are hearing it from Arab governments calling for a ceasefire and we may be hearing it from the EU as well, wanting some kind of humanitarian pause because the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza said they are going to run out of fuel tomorrow night (October 25). We may see people in Gaza dying not just from bombs but of hunger and thirst.”

The many demonstrations in Scotland, throughout the UK and across the world in support of the Palestinians are a reflection of the deep concern those attending have for the fate of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Those attending aren’t daft. They know the way Palestinian people have been portrayed by much of the West – and definitely in the UK – for years now has been, in my opinion, a damned abomination. Their lives clearly don’t count for some reason!

They know that prior to the disgusting Hamas attack of October 7, for some considerable period of time, the current Israeli government has blatantly encouraged their fanatical supporters to humiliate, dehumanise and attack innocent Palestinian civilians and their property and illegally grab even more of their land. This has been followed by a deafening silence in much of the West and definitely within the UK Government and from Starmer and his cronies.

For me, one of the best ways to epitomise the situation of Israel and Gaza for many years now is as follows: From a purely quality of life point of view, where would an outsider prefer to live between the two? Aye, that says it all!
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay, Fife

I AGREE 100% with the long letter by Bernie Japs in Wednesday’s National (“If we cannot criticise Israel’s actions this is not a free society”). Western media bias towards the state of Israel and the perpetual ignoring of the plight of the Palestinian people makes a solution to the horrendous situation virtually impossible. Apparently, 65% of Americans support Israel’s current actions, 8% are opposed and the rest “don’t know”. Also, Palestinian children have taken to writing their names on their hands so they can be identified after death.
Jane Bullock

I REFER to your article of October 9 “Complaint rejected over last ‘British’ king to die in battle museum panel” and wish to add my support to the complaint about the response of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) to reject the complaint made by Professor Allan Beveridge over the “British” king label in the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh.

I am sure the lead curator of the museum will agree that all good museums are founded on the principles of research, transparency and collaboration. The Museums Association has a rather illuminating code of ethics, and a set of guidance, which may support it to reconsider how it engages with the communities it serves. Two sections stand out as relevant to the complaint: “Representation of source communities” and “Avoiding bias”.

From the first of these: “Develop procedures and interpretation that allows people to define, and seek recognition of, their own cultural identity and intangible heritage within the museum.”

From the second: “Be transparent in interpretation. Recognise the assumptions on which narratives can be based and consider the competing historical or cultural narratives that can be represented by an object.”

Making public the advice that informed their conclusions would support museums’ commitment to transparency and to advancing discussions around this critical topic. Museums across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdoms serve as the custodians of history from many different cultures around the world, including the history of Scotland.

RCS Surgeons’ Hall Museum should honour its founder and the demands for accuracy with great sensitivity to the often-complicated contexts that surround works in a museum. Every fact has a history that deserves to be told – and RCS Surgeons’ Hall Museum should include itself in this pursuit of public engagement, benefit and merit.
James Blair
East Lothian

AS the Scottish Parliament makes a return from recess, it was comforting to hear a statement from the Health Secretary Michael Matheson MSP on the Scottish Government’s Health and Winter Preparedness Plan 2023-24 and ongoing resilience across health and social care. Health and social care is a vital public service we all depend on – it is a service that is always in demand and should always be there at the point of need and free of charge.

Amid all the reported doom and gloom in our NHS, it was encouraging to learn from the statement on Tuesday that due to a £15 million recruitment programme by the Scottish Government, more than 1000 midwives, nurses and allied health professionals from overseas have joined our NHS in the past two years. There is also an ongoing recruitment programme for our social services, which are in need of additional resources and staff.

The minister went on to announce additional support for the frontline Ambulance Service, with an additional £50m – a clear recognition of the emergency response the Ambulance Service provides – and it was heartening to learn that 1388 have joined this service in the past three years.

Most who are unfortunate enough to end up in hospital always long to return home and the Scottish Government recognises this desire by patients, as the Health Secretary announced an additional £12m this year to expand and improve the “Hospital at Home Service”, ultimately reducing pressure on A&E and hospitals. The country all appreciates the services provided by our NHS and social care and applaud the fact that NHS Scotland has experienced no strikes this year and has the highest-paid NHS workers in the UK.
Catriona C Clark