TWO major polls in the last week have shown Nigel Farage’s Reform UK in second place, either neck-and-neck with or ahead of the Tories across the UK – but not in Scotland.

After seeing the headline voting intentions in the news, I dug into the data to see whether voters in Scotland had joined in with taking a collective leave of their senses, and were in any way buying what Farage was selling. It turns out I was right to have my doubts, as both YouGov and Redfield & Wilton polls indicated that in Scotland, in contrast to the high-teens to mid-twenties for each party across Wales and the regions of England, neither the Tories nor Reform managed a double-digit percentage share of the vote – with the Tories at 9% and Reform at 7% in both.

READ MORE: Three major polls predict winners of every UK constituency at General Election

Reform UK, which is a party reconstituted from all the gristle and sinews of Farage’s former vehicles for infamy – dumped once they’d served their purpose and something more lucrative had come along – is leeching support from the Conservatives, attracting both fruit loops and fascists at either end of the right-wing spectrum, who are jumping ship, unable to concede that the economic carnage of their Brexit project and the calamitous effects of Trussonomics are in any way their fault – insisting that it just “wasn’t done right” – and a smattering of people disillusioned by the two main parties in England, looking for a party that offers easy but thoroughly dishonest answers to their concerns.

Whilst the demise of the Tories may be something to rejoice in – after 14 years of austerity, declining living standards, and the demonisation of the most vulnerable in society – it’s important to consider what comes next.

We have already seen how Keir Starmer’s “changed Labour Party” has lurched to the right (unnecessarily, in my opinion, as all they needed to do was be “less bad” than the Tories) in order to attract the euphemistically-named “moderate conservatives”. This has left progressive voters in most of England little choice but to hold their nose at the ballot box, because of the undemocratic first-past-the-post voting system. But what does this mean the Tories will have to do in order to differentiate themselves from new, blue, Labour? A drift even further to the right, to appease those lost to Farage’s populist front? Or will they risk being permanently replaced altogether?

READ MORE: SNP launch General Election manifesto with pledge to 'deliver independence'

Either way, with the incoming Labour government thrawnly insisting that Brexit can work (it can’t!) and that poverty-fuelling Tory policies are so baked in to the system that they can’t be undone (they can!) and that inward migration isn’t an absolute necessity, with labour shortages the way they are, we appear to be entering a period of ever-decreasing circles. This, along with the effects of global issues such as conflict, climate breakdown and the after-effects of Covid-19, could fuel resentment in mainstream politics and make way for something far more radical and dangerous, which we must break free from before it’s too late.

Jim Love

NIGEL Farage suggests the upcoming General Election should be the “immigration election”. However, as he was a leading Brexiteer, readers may wish to consider a story from the Telegraph on April 24, which began: “Britain can no longer return Channel migrants to France because of Brexit, Lord Cameron has indicated. The Foreign Secretary said a migrant returns agreement with France to help break up smuggling gangs and stop people making the perilous journey across the Channel was ‘simply not possible’.”

Since 2018, the numbers crossing the Channel in small boats are: 2018 – 299; 2019 – 1843; 2020 – 8,462; 2021 – 28,526; 2022 – 45,755; 2023 – 29,437; 2024 – 11,405 (to date). The United Kingdom formally left the EU on 31 January 2021.

READ MORE: Reform candidate resigns after 'vote BNP' comments unearthed

It would appear that since then, small boat crossings have rocketed. What a marketing tool to the smuggling gangs Brexit is! “If we get you to the UK, the UK can’t send you back to France, according to the UK Foreign Secretary”!

Brexit and Brexiteers created this problem and neither Labour nor the Tories have the ability to resolve it. Neither does Reform UK.

Logically it would appear that the solution is to reverse Brexit, and that is not going to happen. Alternatively, the UK could open up more legal routes for entry.

Finally, why should France accept that it is the solution to a UK problem created by the UK’s insistence on a hard Brexit?

David Howie

LABOUR’S Anas Sarwar, discussing his party’s manifesto, stated: “we’ll look after you from cradle to career.” I was manifestly unimpressed that it’s no longer a cradle-to-the-grave promise, as has always been the case! What’s happened to Labour, are they only interested in business now?

Steve Cunningham

AROUND 20 years ago George Galloway (love him or hate him) appeared before the US Senate and wiped the floor with them. His eloquence and rhetoric had many bemused witnesses running for their dictionaries!

Nowadays George, as eloquent as ever, uses language that everyone understands, eg “two cheeks of the same backside”.

Not try to outdo George, but I too came across some words of Greek derivation that made me rush to investigate their meaning. “Cacocracy” – a government characterised by corruption, nepotism, incompetence, inefficiency, injustice and tyranny. “Kleptocracy” – a government whose corrupt leaders (kleptocrats) use political power to expropriate the wealth of the people and the land they govern.

Now where does that remind you of? I say no more!

Robin McLean
Fort Augustus