LESLEY Riddoch’s latest piece seems to me to be a description of what English and Scottish Labour are all about (Labour may have the UK election in the bag but Scotland is still up for grabs, Jun 6). An attempt to honestly describe what Scottish voters who choose to vote Labour are actually letting themselves in for.

Voters in Scotland who support Scotland’s independence should know by now that that ain’t going to happen any time soon. However, we still need a Holyrood government will a majority to pass its policies, which are more socialist than anything Starmer can come up with. Sarwar has to obey the party leader, regardless of what he might personally object to.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour silent as Welsh FM loses no confidence vote

So Lesley’s enlightenment is all about what, and who, NOT to vote for. She talks about Faiza Shaheen being ousted from her English constituency and the Labour Party. She, her constituency’s apparent favourite, is taking on Starmer’s replacement candidate by standing as an independent.

We now have a Scottish Labour councillor, Julie MacDougall, resigning from the Labour Party because of what she calls the “autocratic leadership” of Starmer, and his installation of election candidates from places miles away from his selected constituencies. Shaheen’s ousting being a perfect example of Starmer’s newfound autocracy.

Who in Scotland would want a Labour Party in government in Holyrood representing that, or any kind of autocracy? Some might, while being led up the garden path and over the cliff. But not if Lesley Riddoch has anything to say about it.

So let’s remain positive and give support to the SNP to gain at least the most seats, if not a majority, in Holyrood in 2026. At least their socialist policies to date have done more good for Scotland through the mitigation of Westminster government’s total austerity policies, and despite a Barnett fiscal system that is decreasing year on year.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

DURING Tuesday night’s “leaders’ debate” neither man mentioned Scotland, underscoring how we are viewed within this faux Union.

Yet all three English parties are desperate to hold onto us and will do everything in their power to keep us imprisoned – lie, steak and politicise.

Remember Michael Gove’s Cabinet paper where he said the UK’s primary concern other than Covid-19 was the risk of Scottish independence? He recommended the UK Government should politicise its pandemic response in Scotland by strengthening the case for the Union.

READ MORE: Richard Murphy: This one question should dominate the General Election in Scotland

Because without Scotland’s wealth and resources, this Union is toast. Scotland has buttressed the UK economy not only since the discovery of North Sea oil, but for well over 120 years.

From 1900-1921, the UK Government produced accounts, Revenue and Expenditure for England (including Wales), Scotland and Ireland (available at the National Library of Scotland). During this period, Scotland provided the UK Treasury with £762.3 million and received back just £211m, or 27.7%. Converted from 1911 prices, this is equivalent to £2.5 billion a year, more than the £1.5bn oil-rich Scotland sent to Westminster from 1979-97.

The UK Government ceased publication when Ireland became independent, not wanting Scotland to get any ideas.

The UK establishment, including Starmer’s English Labour, are keen to keep Scots in the dark about their wealth and how it’s keeping a sinking UK above the water line. It’s time we opened our eyes. We’re being robbed blind.

Leah Gunn Barrett

£110,000 paid by the taxpayer to a TV debate coach by the Tories (UK Government gives £110,000 contract to TV debate coach ahead of General Election, thenational.scot, June 4). Graham Davies has been used by Michael Gove, Kemi Badenoch and probably other Tories – can anyone explain why we are funding it?

And the result is a bad-tempered, aggressive Sunak hectoring and interrupting Starmer, who is meek and mild and expecting the chair to create the space for him to speak.

The TV debates have become anything but a debate – the chair has no authority. Have we reached the stage, as in the American debates, where the they think the mic has to be switched off when the other person is speaking?

READ MORE: Kate Forbes rips into Douglas Ross over 'betrayal' of Tory colleague

The head-to-head debates idea came from America and is not really doing anything to let us find out about the various parties’ ideas and plans. The rules would have to be changed and the chair would have to be firmer and make the speakers stick to the rules by either shutting off their mic or taking time away from them.

In the meantime we have questions not being answered. Would GB Energy be an energy-producing business or not? Starmer said on Scottish radio that it would not, it would be an investment company putting money into businesses producing energy. He then said on Monday night that it would produce energy, and Sawar has also said it would produce energy. What is the correct purpose of GB Energy and is anyone in the BBC willing to ask the question, or is Labour to have a free ride from the BBC?

The two “debates” so far have been bad-tempered, aggressive affairs with neither chairperson clearly setting the rules or making the debaters stick to the rules.

The whole idea of these debates should be brought into question. Do prospective prime ministers have to be photogenic, charismatic and fantastic aggressive speakers ready with put-downs and prepared to say anything, true or not? If this is the case then surely they are no longer fit for purpose. Getting an audience to ask questions is not ideal either, since they can be too easily weighted in favour of one or the other. Remember “orange jaiket – on Question Time multiple times, and funnily enough allowed to speak.

Winifred McCartney