THE most striking of the issues last year which were “allowed” to slip off the BBC’s radar, and indeed all the mainstream media, was the vote by the UN General Assembly’s First Committee to negotiate on a ground-breaking treaty to prohibit all nuclear weapons.
The resolution was adopted with a landslide of 123 votes in favour and a mere 38 against.
The UK, to its everlasting shame, was among those who voted against. Scotland, of course, doesn’t have a vote.
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As we all know only too well, the UK’s nuclear deterrent is based a few miles from Scotland’s most densely populated conurbation, under what seems to be totally inadequate security.
Isn’t strange that it is not based in London, which seems to be a magnet for just about everything else?
Compared to this obscenity, which could wipe humanity off the planet, and under the trigger of personages who appear to fancy themselves as Wyatt Earp and Annie Oakley, even Brexit fades into total insignificance.
We can only hope that the Rip van Winkles among the Scottish electorate will wake up in time.
Joseph G Miller
I GATHER from the Scottish Labour Party spokesperson’s response to the warning that Labour have almost no chance of winning a General Election unless they form an alliance with the SNP or Liberal Democrats, that they have learnt nothing from the last five years (Labour must form an alliance with SNP to stop Tories, The National, January 3).
Labour cannot now call themselves the people’s socialist party. How, for example, does “helping people get on in life no matter their background” fit with voting with a Conservative Government or, even worse, abstaining from votes on matters such as cuts to incapacity benefits that they must know will cause severe hardship to the people most likely to vote for their party?
Tory austerity is indeed being passed on by the SNP, but as the Wee Ginger Dug so succinctly put it, it’s because devolved powers are like giving you a car but only letting you use the indicators.
The SNP Government does not have the funds to negate all the Tory collateral damage, but remember that this could have been avoided if Labour would only put the country ahead of their pathetic party-political squabbling. They would rather bankrupt Scotland than see it progress, just so as they could blame the SNP. It is this attitude that will see the other parties wipe the floor with Labour in the coming council elections, and deservedly so.
THE Fabian Society is either woefully ignorant about the toxicity of political alliances or blissfully unaware that Labour are the most strident critics of the SNP. Although the UK Labour and Tory parties enjoyed a political alliance before the referendum in 2014, Labour’s Scottish branch has never recovered its credibility.
At Holyrood, the Labour Party have sided with and voted with the Tories more often than they have with the SNP. If anything, the Scottish branch of the Labour are in an even worse state than the party in the rest of the UK.
Any alliance with the SNP would doom Labour in England. Remember the last General Election where the Tories shamelessly played on the fears of middle England that a vote for Labour would result in the imposition of a Labour/SNP coalition Government, heralding the arrival of a new batch of Scottish Cabinet ministers to rule over them. Who would the SNP have to negotiate with in Scotland? Kezia Dugdale, Anas Sarwar, Alex Rowley, to name but a few? Finally, why would anyone want to form a political alliance with what is left of the Labour Party?
THE National’s story about the continuing demise of Labour brought powerful reminders for me of the 1983 General Election when I stood for the SNP against the unassailable Labour monolith in the then Greenock and Port Glasgow constituency.
When canvassing, door after door would bring the one-word response of “Labour” and it became increasingly difficult to maintain the morale and motivation of activists in such a situation. Judging by some of the recent “SNP bad” responses of the Labour leadership, a similar crisis of morale has occurred within Labour today. It is a sad shadow of the once great party of such as John Wheatley, who championed the rights of the most deprived in Scottish society. The reservoir of goodwill created by such people has now been well and truly exhausted.
Alan Clayton Strachur, Argyll UK Chancellor Philip Hammond MP has recently been quoted as predicting that after 2020 it will no longer be possible to maintain the “triple lock” on state pensions. This is the commitment that annual pension increases will be determined by the highest figure among price inflation, earnings growth and 2.5 per cent. It is easy to understand this prediction when we consider the obscene amounts of our money being spent by the UK Government on vanity projects such as renewing nuclear weapons that can never be used and on pursuing military adventures around the world in an attempt to pretend we are still a global power.
Contrast this with the SNP’s commitment that in an independent Scotland the triple lock will be maintained indefinitely. Before anyone asks “how could they afford that?”, after independence, we would no longer be paying our share of the enormous costs of Trident renewal and upgrading the Houses of Parliament. Tax receipts from North Sea oil, although currently less than a few years ago, would be retained in Scotland instead of, as at present, disappearing into the black hole that is the London Treasury without touching the sides. Voting for independence next time is the only way Scots can protect the value of their state pensions. Anyone wishing to be kept informed about pensions and the case for independence can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dunbar, East Lothian
THERESA May declared that “Brexit means Brexit”. But, does it? The fundamental doctrine of Government at Westminster is sovereignty of Parliament. This surely means referenda are consultative and it is Parliament that has the last word. In Scotland, the fundamental doctrine of government is sovereignty of the people, therefore, referenda are mandatory. The question I am asking myself is – who has the final say, the questioner or the respondents?