OBSERVING the state of affairs, it becomes evident that Britain faces a series of challenges. The nation contends with the dirtiest rivers in Europe, the highest energy costs, unreliable train services, overcrowded prisons, and a significant wealth disparity. These are a consequence of Tory austerity and economic incompetence.

The record flooding, high winds and extreme conditions have exposed the decayed condition of the UK infrastructure and the refusal of Westminster to prepare for the impact of extreme weather conditions on the public.

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Meanwhile, the ongoing US-Nato conflict with Russia in Ukraine presents lucrative opportunities for capitalist entities. They exploit human suffering, converting it into financial gains denominated in dollars and euros. Workers, however, remain disinterested in supporting either faction as they squabble over the spoils.

The Tories and their corporate masters are seeking to maximise profits, and impose “economic pain” by accelerating job cuts. Corporations prioritise cost reduction, squeezing more productivity from fewer workers.

Curiously, despite record-breaking profits in the electricity and gas sectors, consumers continue to face exorbitant charges.

The regulator’s decision to price renewable energy on par with fossil-fuel-generated electricity raises eyebrows. Despite renewables being a third cheaper (the wind, after all, is free), the market has been rigged in favour of fossil fuel producers. Yet another way in which Scotland is being failed and ripped off by Westminster.

Failed Tory Foreign Secretary David Cameron visited the Falklands and Westminster Tories staunchly defend the sovereignty of the Falkland Isles – a British imperial colony – while simultaneously denying the people of Scotland their right to self-determination. Scottish independence, however, remains a fundamental right for us to exercise.

Alan Hinnrichs

IT was intriguing to note the visit by Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, to the Falkland Islands, the first by a Cabinet minister since 2016.

Lord Cameron highlighted that the islands’ sovereignty is “non-negotiable” while its residents wish it to remain British.

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This is of course intriguing, as Lord Cameron is quite happy to pontificate that these islands should remain British as long as they want to, and yet that rule does not seem to apply to Scotland, where a majority are in favour of independence.

The blatant hypocrisy of the UK Government knows no bounds.

Alex Orr

NEALE Hanvey criticises the Scottish Government’s current consultation on proposals to ban conversion practices (“conversion therapy”). He writes that “it will be illegal to say the ‘wrong thing’ even if it inflicts no perceivable harm” (First Minister’s ‘la, la, la’ approach won’t cut it, Feb 19).

But that is not at all what the proposals say. The proposed law would ban attempts to change or suppress another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but only where it is proven that coercion has been used, or that the practices are being offered as a service, and also proven that harm has been caused to the person subjected to the practices.

Most of us LGBT people have fortunately escaped such attempts. But a minority have been subjected to them. The research is clear that those practices do not change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but they do cause huge harm through damage to mental health, which can last a lifetime.

That’s why UN and European human rights bodies have called for conversion practices to be banned worldwide. The Scottish Parliament’s cross-party Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee conducted an inquiry into the issue two years ago, and concluded, unanimously, that conversion practices should be banned. Even the current UK Government, no friend to social equality, says it intends to introduce a ban, although there is clearly no prospect of that before the election.

The Scottish Government’s consultation is open for six more weeks, so anyone can respond, and help to ensure that the eventual legislation is effective and equitable.

Tim Hopkins

I WAS a bit disappointed with the article “Decision to cancel away allocation is at odds with needs of women’s game” (Feb 18). Alison McConnell makes a number of good points about promoting the women’s game but completely omitted the actual reason WHY the away allocation was cancelled.

The ticket allocation was withdrawn because “reliable sources” indicated there was going to be a “disrupting protest” which would have necessitated the additional cost of having police present to dispel, prevent or control it, which made the game financially impossible as ticket sales could not have been matched to offset this cost.

A little bit more “truth” in Alison’s article would have been welcome and made everyone aware as to WHY the action had been taken.

By including this reason, Alison would have been “calling out” those bigots who have no interest in football, men’s or women’s, but only the pursuit of their own selfish aims.

Jim Todd