‘FROM one seat in 1967 to electoral dominance… how a handful of activists changed the fortunes of the SNP.”

That’s the headline from Hugh Macdonald’s discussion with George Leslie in The National’s Bella Caledonia magazine (May 6).

Is history about to repeat itself? Will Patrick Harvie reflect the ever increasing popularity of the Green Party? Will he, in 2017, emulate Winnie’s triumph in 1967 or Margo’s triumph in 1973?

Loading article content

All I can say is thank goodness I don’t live within the boundaries of the constituency of Glasgow North.

If I did, which Patrick should I vote for?

Patrick Grady, who emphatically won the seat for SNP in 2015 with a majority of 9,295, or Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green co-convener, who impressively represents both his party and Glasgow at Holyrood.

What a dilemma!

But then again perhaps the voters in Glasgow North should consider themselves very fortunate to have two excellent candidates who both fight for a fairer Scotland.

Robin Maclean
Address supplied

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tories the party of the workers? Don't make me laugh

I LAUGHED when I heard the Tories were claiming to be the party of the working class and promising much greater workers' rights. It’s a pity that for the past 50 years they have been doing exactly the opposite!

When I was an MEP from 1994 to 1999 I was on the employment committee of the European Parliament and in charge of important directives such as the acquired rights directive – better known in Britain as TUPE – which protected workers’ rights when their firm was taken over or privatised.

I had to fight the British Government every inch of the way under the Tories who, in the words of the then British ambassador Sir John Kerr, wanted me “to seriously weaken the directive”.

Of course I did exactly the opposite and made it stronger, including protecting pension rights, only to have these removed by the incoming Labour government under Blair. Indeed it’s worth recalling that Labour had 13 years under Blair and Brown to repeal the Tory anti-trade union legislation and guess what, they never did it!

I do believe that Jeremy Corbyn does want to improve workers’ rights and that is one of the reasons he is getting such a hard time from a Tory press owned by offshore tax exiles and a supine BBC run by ex-Tory journalists.

Of course he won’t win the election and will be dumped soon after by the same Blairite MPs who failed to repeal the Tory anti-trade union laws when they were in power.

So don’t believe the Tories when they talk about workers’ rights, they are after all the party of big business and be sceptical of Labour’s commitment to change.

In the end workers can only rely on their trade unions and their own strength to resist attacks on their wages and conditions.

Hugh Kerr
Edinburgh

THERE is a discernible push in some circles of the Unionist media to “detoxify” the Tory brand in Scotland as the General Election campaign unfolds.

We saw it in the reactions to Tory councillors being elected (via the STV voting system) in Shettleston in the east end of Glasgow and Ferguslie in Paisley, when it was cited as a “victory” for the appeal of Ruth Davidson’s No To Independence Party.

Given the voting system used it was highly likely that even a banjo-playing monkey could be elected if it stood in enough wards. It was not an indication of a growing support for Tory policies – which, of course, were never mentioned during the election.

More worrying to those who remember the economic destruction wrought throughout Scotland by the Tories during the Thatcher years are the increasingly virulent attacks on welfare by the present cabal of Brexiteers ensconced in the Cabinet.

Much of what they say and do would have been unthinkable during the reign of the Iron Lady but is deemed perfectly reasonable by her current incarnation Theresa May; a rust-puppet whose strings are becoming more visible by the day.

One would not be surprised to espy a hand working her from behind as she creakily spouts her few learned lines: "Strong and stable" and "coalition of chaos".

And yet, some Labour supporters have openly stated that they will vote Tory, which is surely a contradiction in terms. You cannot be a Labour supporter and vote for a party that should be anathema to any self-respecting Labour voter. This is the political equivalent of Mo Johnston moving from Celtic to Rangers – but without the monetary incentive.

For if you vote Tory and you are not already financially comfortable – then beware!

More welfare cuts are coming, pensions will be reduced, universal benefits will be re-assessed, taxes will rise, living standards will fall, inflation will rise as the pound continues to devalue and food banks will continue to flourish.

They masquerade as the party of financial competence but the Tories have doubled the national debt since 2010. This isn’t to be confused with reducing the deficit, which they have also failed to eradicate despite continuing austerity. But these issues will not be mentioned by most of the Unionist media.

Most people don’t have a very high opinion of politicians, and rightly so – 90 per cent of politicians give the other ten per cent a bad name. But remember, if Dante were alive today he would have created another circle of Hell for this batch of Tory ne’er-do-wells.

James Mills
Johnstone

IF, as the Tories say, Jeremy Corbyn would take the country back to the 1970s, won't Brexit have the same effect? Joining the EU was the good bit but didn’t the 1970s also bring us Thatcher and her handbag? And with her came the miners’ strike where we saw police horses ridden into the same “patriotic and loyal” workers our current Prime Minister is trying to woo into voting Conservative. They were fighting for their livelihood against a background of blatant lies – yes, they told lies then too.

We also had the Falklands war, with 300 killed on the Argentinian vessel General Belgrano. Who made that “strong and stable” decision? And will similar decisions need to be made when we go to war with Spain over Gibraltar as the Tories have already suggested?

And if you would like to know about the treatment of the poor, why not look up Sir Keith Joseph and be horrified.

Be careful what you vote for. You may get it.

Robert Johnston
Airdrie