I HAVE to confess I have been very shocked by the failure of most mainstream media to address the question of the Conservative Party’s alleged election expenses misdemeanours (I am being rather cautious as I cannot afford an costly legal challenge!) There have been many complaints about the BBC’s reporting of current events, especially in Scotland, but this takes the proverbial biscuit.

Channel Four and Michael Crick have done a sterling job in tracking the leading Conservative officials and politicians.

It can’t have been much fun running down the road after Tory grandees who refuse to say anything, but their persistence and coverage does them great credit.

What I find puzzling in terms of popular consciousness is that people are not out on the streets demanding that the Tory Party force all those named to exclude themselves from election activity. But no, we have a shameless display by the Prime Minister at Westminster, saying she will “pay the fine” and “stand by” all her prospective candidates.

Now we are in election mode led by a government that might have gained its mandate through less than salubrious campaigning strategies!

What can we take from this?

The majority of English MPs appear to be not very bothered by this extraordinary constitutional debacle. The Tories seem to think it is a huge joke to be enjoyed because of their illicit (?) majority. I guess if I belonged to a party that had grabbed the swag and run away unhindered then I would be laughing too.

Meanwhile, the next collection of battle buses line-up for the bookings for the next few weeks.

On a more serious note, it does suggest we need a much more rigorous application of rules about the election process and behaviour.

We also need a written constitution to bring the UK into the modern age.
Radha Chetty

ON her first visit to pay homage to Donald Trump, Theresa May suggested the NHS could be part of any future “free trade” deal.

As the agreement would be with the whole of the UK, Scotland would not be exempt.

The Tories have a deliberate policy of running down the NHS in England in order to sell it off to Tory donors.

The English “Health Secretary”, Jeremy Hunt, co-authored a policy pamphlet that called for the NHS to be replaced by an insurance system.

To this end this end, Hunt set up a system called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP).

The aim of STPs is to exacerbate the crisis in health care to the point of collapse in order to justify wholesale privatisation.

Health professionals warn the implementation of the STPs can only accelerate the ongoing loss of beds and closures of accident and emergency departments.

Under the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, the Westminster Government’s duty to provide health care was reduced to that of merely commissioning care. This has opened up NHS England to further privatisation. STPs will accelerate this process.

Last year, it was announced that Virgin Care had won a £700 million, seven-year contract to provide adult social care, continuing healthcare and children’s community health services for the Bath and North East Somerset NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. It will oversee 200 social service and health care facilities.

The company was awarded a £126m contract to run hospitals in Kent earlier this year.

This is another warning that if Scotland does not leave the UK, and soon, we will end up with a US style “health care” system.
Alan Hinnrichs


Let the Tory bigots fight for council seats ... and lose

IT is depressing indeed to read the catalogue of awful behaviour by Tory candidates for the forthcoming local elections (Probe call as Tory bigotry is exposed, The National, April 24).

Of course Ruth Davidson will ignore Humza Yousaf’s call for an investigation – publicly, at least – but I wonder if the best approach is simply to let the party get on with it. Is anyone truly surprised to learn of Conservative candidates making racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic comments, sharing Britain First posts, or using violent language about our First Minister?

The comment from Moray candidate Donald Gatt that poor people shouldn’t have kids is merely paraphrasing the official Tory line and is perfectly compatible with the aims of “welfare reform”.

I hope all those exposed are retained as candidates, so voters can send them a message.
Joan Brown

IAN Stewart’s letter, which underestimates the battle we face in the printed media, addresses the puzzle about the circulation of The National (Letters, April 24). The National continues to improve and should be an invaluable weapon in our march to independence.

I think the fact that our younger generation generally doesn’t buy newspapers doesn’t help us but, perhaps more significantly, most people do not buy newspapers for political content but because they get comfortable with the format and general content of a newspaper they have taken for years.

The Scottish Sun and the Daily Record both of which allow some limited decent coverage of the SNP from time to time are by a considerable way the two biggest-selling daily newspapers in Scotland – not the Mail and the Express which are by some distance in third and fourth place – but the Mail and the Express are in a different league altogether when it comes to distressing, dishonest and quite frankly infantile anti-Scottish ranting. They should be called out and pilloried for this.

But what we face is The National as our only army against a combined circulation of about 400,000 by the big four plus a huge circulation in the north by the Press & Journal.

It is very important, therefore, that The National survives because a huge amount of its copy gets redistributed on many, many sites but it would indeed be very helpful if more people bought it and allowed it the comfort to expand its operation.

In the meantime, with very little time available in a General Election gamble by the Tories, identification is the most important and useful thing we can aim for and this is best done by an explosion in the use of car and window stickers.
Dave McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

THE SNP has 100,000-plus members. Daily print sales of The National are 10,000. What daily newspapers are 90,000-plus members buying?
Andrew Inglis

JOHN McHarg’s piece (Yes2 relaunches as aYe Scotland ahead of ScotRef, The National, April 22) was well-meaning but far from convincing. A logo must be clear and simple and the proposed design is, in my opinion, far from clear.

In our house we had to peer at it trying to work out what all the bits signified.

The golden rule should be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Talk of “rebranding” may be trendy but it’s an instant turn-off in these parts.

The independence logo is not a can of beans, independence is beyond a marketable commodity. The 2014 campaign was largely a grass-roots affair – that’s what made it memorable and why it made such an impact.

All we need for the next round is the simple Yes2, already widely in use in many places. “No” voters are not going to be persuaded by a logo that leaves us scratching our heads – and what’s this “seeds of change”?

Did someone mis-remember the expression “wind of change”? “Seeds of Change” is, I’m afraid, nonsense and will inevitably result in a deluge of satirical comments.

It’s true that Aye is common in Scotland – so is Yes. And Yes will be the answer to the question on the ballot, not Aye.

Please, Mr McHarg, think again before more time and money is wasted trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.
Nigel Ings
Isle of Luing