WHILE I find much of the Green Party’s principles and aims very much in tune with my own thinking, as a party with the long-term goal of building a cleaner and more sustainable world, I do hope that, in the Theresa May power-grab election, Green Party supporters will be able also to see that in the medium-term the aim of electing as many SNP MPs as possible is very much in their own interests.

In June, by giving every Green vote to the Green Party here in Scotland, they may well be able to demonstrate that their national support has risen, but without any realistic prospect of seating a member at Westminster.

Whereas, by voting so as to aid the return of an overwhelming majority of SNP MPs, they have the real prospect of bringing closer the day when an independent Scotland will have a government very much more in sympathy with their social and environmental philosophies than will ever, ever be the case in Westminster.
Colin Stuart


Pensioners need to send Tories a clear message

THANKS to the SNP’s Angus Robertson for confirming at Prime Minister’s Questions our Prime Minister Theresa May’s clear intent on abolishing the triple lock that protects our state pension levels.

There can be no doubt that one of the reasons for this General Election is to free a Tory Chancellor from the tax restrictions of the last Cameron Tory manifesto.

Asked a clear question, yes or no, Theresa May refused to answer. Faced with the proposition that the Tories intend to ditch the triple lock, Theresa May giggled. Isn’t Angus Robertson quite right? We can not trust this Prime Minister, we can not trust the Tories on our pensions.

And what was May’s riposte? If voters in Scotland believe in the Union then we should vote Tory. For Tories that are poised to restrict our pensions. For Tories that will assault our poor through more unreasonable taxes like the bedroom tax, the two child restriction on child benefit, the iniquitous rape clause that is the ultimate degradation of abused women.

Watching PMQs today simply raised the question of why a talent like Angus Robertson is wasted pandering to the Westminster political games rather than engaging directly with the political process in Scotland to build the nation he could, and which we so desperately need.

Shouldn’t any pensioner in Scotland – reminiscing about a Britain they believe existed many years ago, but doesn’t, and in reality didn’t, and whose pension is now under Tory attack – be saying through their votes, enough is enough?

Don’t we owe it to ourselves to protect our pension now, and our children’s and grandchildren’s future by sending a clear message to Westminster?

Fiona Tomany (Letters, The National, April 25) may have meant well when highlighting how pensioners are the last bastion to take a Tory financial hit, but she makes a common error when aligning the state pension as just another “benefit”.

When I commenced my working life I entered into a contract with the government to make payments from my wages/salary each pay period. I was contributing to the upkeep of the nation, the provision of public services and into a state pension to provide for me on retirement.

I kept my part of the bargain, successive governments have failed to keep theirs. Notwithstanding this, the state pension is therefore not a “benefit” but a contracted arrangement with the government that I have more than paid for.

Over the years I have witnessed the steady erosion of many aspects of the contract I entered into with the government: delayed retirement pension payments, eyecare, dentistry, physiotherapy, free tertiary education, prescription charges are just some examples (Scotland mitigates some of these to the funding detriment of other services).

Now it seems that Tories would pick on vulnerable pensioners to fund the excesses of government and handouts to Britain’s rich and pampered elite.

Isn’t the issue over the coming elections and referendum not whether Scotland wants to be an independent nation organising and deciding the kind of nation we want it to be, but whether in a Tory-dominated UK Union we can afford not to be independent?
Jim Taylor

ARCH-NHS privatiser Jeremy Hunt has said that the Brexit negotiations will be critical to the future of the NHS.

This is code for Tory plans for full-scale privatisation which would be included in any deal. The Tories will happily trade away the free NHS in return for the business interests of the fat cats who subsidise them.

In 2012 it was revealed that more than 62 out of the total of 216 Tory peers had a direct financial interest in the radical re-shaping of the NHS in England.

These unelected cronies and political failures had links to private health insurers and private equity groups. They were able to help push through a bill from which they directly profited. If they had been elected local councillors, such personal interests would have debarred them from voting.

How far the privatisation process has gone in England was confirmed at the end of last month, when the Bournemouth Private Clinic (BPC) ceremoniously opened its ward in the public Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH).

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH) spent £800,000 of public money to turn a normal ward into a luxurious facility with a ward, two consultation rooms and a treatment room in order to attract wealthy patients and patients who have private insurance.

This effectively creates a two-tier health system in the same hospital, with those who have money able to jump queues to access treatment, while ordinary people have to languish on long waiting lists produced by years of funding cuts.

Anyone thinking that the NHS in Scotland is safe from this is sadly misinformed. Scotland is not a sovereign state and will be required by law to follow deals negotiated by the UK Government.

Every Tory vote in the upcoming elections is a vote not against a second referendum but a vote for the carve-up and sell-off of the NHS to Tory peers and donors.
Alan Hinnrichs