“WITH my [sic] changed Labour Party, national security will always come first” – so says Keir Starmer.

Do we get this? Starmer is telling us it is his party, somehow he has been allowed to claim ownership – 100 years of the tradition that some will believe they are voting Labour for, abandoned at his whim alone.

Labour is now a party with little more than a dictator at its head. The party’s democratic processes are now subsumed by Starmer’s fascist-like control of the party.

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Do we really want a government led by a power-absorbed individual who excludes all but his diktat?

It seems if Starmer does gain power then we are going to have to toe the line with what he demands, no opposition allowed.

We’ve just come out of 14 years of blue tory elected dictatorship which has trashed the UK and impacted severely detrimentally on our lives and living standards; now the polls suggest we may be jumping out of the blue tory frying pan into the red tory Labour fire.

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UK Westminster politics is a cesspit of scurrilous power plays, with the interests of ordinary folks – left to suffer austerity, a depreciating standard of living, high taxation and increased health, energy and food poverty – lost in the mire of the egos of those like Starmer, Sarwar, Ross and Cole-Hamilton.

Surely the only way forward for the needs and ambitions of Scots is for all communication between Holyrood and Westminster to be at FM/PM and Scottish foreign office level as an independent country.

Salvation is leaving Starmer to peddle his power fantasies in England, and for us to leave rUK to deal with it on their own.

Jim Taylor

I AM really not sure of what to make of Stephen Flynn’s proposed law to try to protect the National Health Service from what he claims are Labour’s attempts to privatise it (SNP promise legislation to ‘protect NHS’ within 100 days of the election, Jun 4). If he ever manages to present the legislation in the House of Commons, presumably only SNP MPs will support it and it will fall at the first hurdle.

I suppose it has to be seen for just what it really is – an attempt to get potential Labour voters to support the SNP. Elections have a habit of encouraging politicians to do this kind of thing. The problem I can see with this tactic is the rather obvious one, in that control of the Scottish National Health Service is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

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No doubt Mr Flynn will be quick to point out that it is almost entirely financially dependent on the block grant and Barnett formula decided by Westminster. The Unionist parties will be equally quick to point out that per capita health and some other public spending is higher in Scotland because of their apparent generosity. I would have thought that a better SNP line of attack would be to contrast UK health spending in general against Labour’s nuclear-based defence plans.

The Scottish NHS is in danger of privatising itself as increasing number of its patients seek diagnosis and treatment in the private sector. No amount of legislation, even if passed, will stop this drift.

In the end, this legislation would do nothing to reduce waiting lists in Scotland. Years of underfunding, Brexit and a failure to recruit train and retain enough doctors and nurses needs to be reversed. Unless there is a late and massive surge in SNP and Alba support in the next few weeks, the prospect of an independent Scotland able to tackle our waiting list and lots of other basic problems lies at some point in the future beyond 2026.

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I suspect the average voter will sadly see Mr Flynn’s proposal as an election ploy that will only serve to shine more light on the fundamental problems impacting daily on the Scottish NHS. Voters might well be tempted to apportion most of the blame for these problems to the SNP Scottish Government despite similar challenges existing in the rest of the UK.

Brian Lawson

NOW that Nigel Farage has taken over the leadership of Reform UK, will the party pursue the agenda it “says on the tin”?

It is clear that even with a “Hard Brexit”, Farage and his followers are still not content. In spite of UK politics having veered so far to the right that even the Labour Party now seems like a right-of-centre party and the UK Government now has “full control over immigration”, the UK is still not the right-wing state that Farage and many in England desire. The truth – which Farage is still apparently not prepared to openly admit, in spite of the name of his latest adopted party – is that he and his followers will not be content until England is free to pursue the right-wing nationalism that the SNP and the general public in Scotland reject.

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Reform UK are not aiming to end the undemocratic first-past-the-post voting system for Westminster or to abolish the House of Lords, nor are they seeking federalism. The ultimate aim of Nigel Farage through Reform UK is to dictate an English right-wing agenda without the interference of democratic socialists in Scotland and Wales, while retaining access to their resources for as long as he can continue to deceive the populations of both countries that the UK Government is also serving their best interests.

Brexit Britain is already broken but unless Scotland takes control of its own destiny, things could get much worse. Not only would we initially be subjected to more austerity as even a Labour Party at Westminster would continue to pursue a Thatcher agenda to appease

“Middle England”, the cost-of-living crisis could be exacerbated for many and Brexit could become even “harder” if we were to be taken out of ECHR jurisdiction.

Hopefully the rest of Scotland will soon wake up and realise that although challenging, a better path lies ahead when the people of Scotland are free to determine their own future.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian