THE death last week of Mikhail Gorbachev is a reminder to us all in the West of the man that helped hasten the demise of the Soviet Union proving once and for all that good ol’ capitalism is the only system fit for civilised societies. You may have detected a heavy dose of sarcasm there!

Regarding capitalism, I think it would be a fair assessment to say that this Tory government, since 2010, and their predecessors from 1979–1997 have embraced it with much more gusto than most across Europe. So has the capital filtered down to help those with the least?

Online there is a Wikipedia page which has a list of countries throughout the world which shows the percentage of their populations living on less than $5.50 a day. The data was almost all from 2019 and was as per the World Bank, the World Poverty Clock and Our World in Data. The UK figure was 0.86%. Interestingly not that much lower than the famous 1% of the population that are the overwhelming beneficiaries of the policies of the current UK Government.

I thought it would be interesting to list, in order, a selection of mainly European countries with a better figure (ie: less poor) and only four that were worse:

Austria 0.8%, Malta 0.7%, Sweden 0.6%, Germany 0.5%, Denmark 0.4%, Ireland 0.4%, Czech Republic 0.3%, Cyprus 0.3%, Luxembourg 0.3%, Netherlands 0.3%, Norway 0.3%, Belgium 0.2%, Switzerland 0.14%, France 0.11%, Finland 0.1%. Those countries worse than the UK were Greece 3.4%, Italy 3.05%, Spain 2.5%, Portugal 0.9%.

Something tells me now that the effects of Brexit are properly kicking in, the figure for the UK currently would be even worse and given the proposed policies of the woman who will almost certainly be the next UK prime minister, Liz Truss, will plummet even further. Across the board tax cuts and reducing the size of the state means only one thing for those with the least. They will have less.

When the Scottish Government next assess what the income tax rates should be for the 2023/24 tax year I really hope changes are made. Changes to ensure that those with the proverbial broad shoulders are expected to share more of their wealth than they currently do for the benefit of their less fortunate fellow citizens.

I also feel it will be a tangible and powerful signal to those still undecided on the benefits of an independent Scotland. We can do so much better for everybody in Scotland than this grubby, nasty UK Government!

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

Much ink is used to describe the failures of our current relationship within the Union and we spend so much time describing our woes that our citizens can be forgiven for their lack of confidence towards our ability to govern our own affairs.

We are all made aware as children where so many of the world’s inventions and discoveries were made and these are not apocryphal stories. As even Winston Churchill had to admit; “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass Scotland in their contribution to mankind.”

What is less obvious and often hidden in the media’s froth is that our educated population has the same capacity for achievement in future as in the past.

One of Dundee’s universities was the first in the world to develop a computer gaming degree. Glasgow may no longer be famous for shipbuilding but more satellites are currently made there than anywhere outside California.

Scotland had the second or third highest scientific citations per capita in the world.

And all of this is true despite the political shackles which bind us and limit our economic potential.

There was a time when Scottish engineers helped to build the world as we knew it. Our software engineers can build our digital future world just as well. We need to ensure our electorate know this.

Gus McSkimming

North Ayrshire

Goodbye lithium-ion (Li-On) Batteries, Hello aluminium and sulphur batteries at one sixth of the cost of Li-On and taking a few minutes to charge to full capacity and holding is charge for a long time.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Professor Donald Sadoway, announced the breakthrough on 24/8/2022.

Aluminium is plentiful and is the next most plentiful metal to iron, and sulphur can be obtained as a waste product from the oil refining processes. Common salt is the electrolyte, therefore no fire or explosion risk.

Dr Charles Wardrop, Neil J Bryce and Chris Cross will be pleased as this is one of the risks they cited as being so troublesome that EV’s should not be pursued as a technology, preferring existing fossil fuels, that use petroleum which can explode when fuel tank is ruptured.

It can be recharged in one minute to full, so it attacks two other walls built by those resistant to EV’s, namely insufficient charging points which since the charge time is drastically reduced means opportunity to recharge with the existing infrastructure increases also dramatically in a positive way. This reduces the time taken and so longer journey can be reasonably undertaken, whereas before there was a reluctance, due to time-delay due to the recharge.

The new battery developers within the Michelin (MSIP) complex in Dundee, would I hope also benefit from these developments, and maybe they are already.

The aluminium smelter at Fort William was at last I heard having a hard time, I wonder if it could be repurposed, to take advantage of this new opportunity.

This is a good news story I hope that Scotland can take advantage of it somehow to make our country more resilient.

Alistair Ballantyne

Birkhill, Angus

Why has no reporter door-stepped Anas Sarwar and asked him why the strikes are still happening when everything he himself said would solve the strikes was granted.

It seems more to me that there is a deliberate intention by Labour to keep the strikes going – they don’t really care about the workers but only about bad mouthing the SNP. Remember the women of Glasgow who were brought back out on strike over equal pay even though the SNP council was settling – don’t forget Richard Leonard and Labour’s part in taking them through every court to deny them equal pay.

And forget Sarwar gave his shares in the family business to be put in trusts for his sons when it was discovered the company did not pay minimum wages – now he cannot tell us if the business allows unions and of course Kier Starmer now says nationalisation of public utilities not on the cards.

I have to keep asking just what is Labour for!

Winifred McCartney


As average household fuel bills are now predicted to rise beyond £6000 by April 2023 I have began to wonder if wind farms are just a massive financial scam. Possibly they are not connected to the national grid (or to anything else) but are simply constructed for tax avoidance purposes and the capital cost of building and the revenue cost of maintaining them is being used to offset corporation tax liabilities.

Surely they must generate no electricity and have simply been used to create the illusion that the energy supply companies care about the environment and global warming. It must follow that all Scottish electricity is actually generated by gas.

This is the only possible explanation for the massive increase in Scottish electricity bills while energy supply companies claim “100% green electricity made by us for you”. Have these companies suffered a massive rise in the wholesale price of the wind which drives their turbines? If so I think we should at least be told

Brian Lawson


Amid Celtic fans’ euphoria over trouncing Dundee United 9-0, I do hope they realise that this was not a good result. At least not a good result for Scottish football.

Hardly surprising that United supporters vacated their seats in droves embarrassed by the shambles they had to endure. But worse, I wonder how many supporters of other teams quietly reconsidered support of their own team as futile in the context of, what’s the point?

Of course, it’s not Celtic’s fault that their opposition consistently fail to step up to the plate.

Or even the fault of a media driven by profit to sell their newspapers or TV that panders to viewer numbers and promotes the old firm at the expense of other clubs (just check the football pages of every newspaper scripted by lazy reporters, or the TV content to understand the heavy bias towards the Glasgow clubs).

Or a Scottish media sporting bias towards just the two Glasgow clubs that relegates all other sports as irrelevant to their sports reporting and denying the oxygen of publicity so-called minority sports desperately need to promote themselves. Absolutely forget about women’s sports whose occasional half column or so is little more than a media corset they’re destined unlikely to ever free themselves from without a radical revolution of journalistic integrity and equality.

The irony is that I’ve favoured a team for over 50 years that, apart from a few sporadic periods, has perennially failed to deliver. They’ve just suffered another defeat to opposition a club of their stature should be winning against, but they couldn’t score a goal despite yet again having the preponderence of possession – a fact supporters have known for nearly two seasons and the club has singularly failed to address, with little sign they even recognise what the problem is. Easier to shed a manager than give him the tools to get the job done.

“Well done” Celtic for scoring nine goals against hapless United. A chocolate watch for you; another nail in Scottish football’s coffin.

Jim Taylor


In many ways The Sunday National has been a massive breath of fresh air. In bringing a level of serious and considered comment and journalism to Scottish politics you have filled a yawning gap in the nation’s printed press. However, there remains one very solid bastion of conservatism in the weekly coverage – the national game.

The National has stuck to an editorial stance of putting the Old Firm loud and proud on the back page (and often the next two pages inside) even when the story of interest lies elsewhere.

When the real story was about Arbroath’s brave bid for the Premiership it was Celtic and Rangers on the back page. Now that Queen’s Park are climbing the Championship table, or when newcomers like Kelty Hearts or Cove Rangers are showing the success that the pyramid system has brought to them, we have virtual silence on the lower leagues from your sports reporters.

A great disservice is being done to Scottish football here. There is drama and endeavour, excitement, triumph and tragedy aplenty in Leagues One and Two.

Community-based clubs like East Fife provide entertainment on a tiny budget and deserve an occasional feature. Yes, the lower leagues get small attendances – but the media obsession with the Glasgow giants only perpetuates a situation where coach loads of fans leave from all over Scotland headed for Glasgow. Come on National, pull yer socks up!

Alan Reid

Cupar, Fife