OUR apparent inability to see through the propaganda that encourages us to pigeon-hole groups and stigmatise them to further the policies of politicians drives me to despair. So far we have had the Unionists moaning about the Yes side not respecting the 2014 result, though they did not implement the promises that gave them victory. Then they ignored local issues in the recent election to keep nagging on about another independence referendum, which “nobody wants”, as a means of attacking the SNP at all costs. If they truly believe that, let’s have it and they will win and all those who keep voting by a large majority for the SNP will swap sides!

Today I heard yet again about “generational injustice” highlighting so-called well-off pensioners benefitting to the detriment of the poor, hard-done-by young! Why this constant setting of one age group against another? While I fully recognise the struggle young folk are having nowadays, it is nothing to do with the wealth or otherwise of current pensioners, and ignores the long years of struggle most of them suffered before their contribution to society more recently began to be better rewarded.

Many of those pensioners now being demonised will remember living though many years of post war poverty, with rationing of even basic foods and coupons requiring to be saved even to buy a towel or sheet, let alone new clothes. No holidays, not even “staycations”, certainly no thoughts of foreign travel, cars only for the rich, children’s clothes all handed down until no longer fit to wear and often home-made and weddings with one’s “Sunday best” worn even by the bride and gifts of things like a hand sewn teacloth or cushion cover.

Care of the elderly was taking granny into your home and one of the family giving up work to look after her, or taking in washing, ironing or dressmaking at home to earn a little.

Yet no-one moaned or stopped to consider themselves poor. They worked as best they could for a better future, paid their taxes and then saved every penny possible for their old age from what was left, and with the welfare state, paid National Insurance to guarantee a small pension. As things improved, they were able to save for a deposit – it took ten years in our case – and then pay a mortgage at rates up to 15 per cent, to ensure a secure home for themselves in old age. Eventually, these long years of struggle were rewarded with better homes, more disposable income, foreign holidays etc, all earned by their own efforts, while until recently, the state return on the NI investment remained a mere pittance.

Now pensioners are not asking for sympathy or special consideration, just recognition that they are simply getting their just reward for their struggles in their youth and have paid their full dues to society to earn it. I suspect that it is the fate of every generation to face some times of hardship and we all have a moral duty to help where we can, but that does not mean we should demonise or victimise those who have passed though that stage. Will the current young folk be happy to suffer this kind of attack when they inevitably become old?

But here we are again. The Tory manifesto proposes looking to pensioners again to save a little bit of money and regards the independence and enjoyment of the fruits of their efforts as an “injustice”, while no mention is made of closing tax-evasion loopholes, even though the Cayman Islands and other havens are technically British. It infuriates me beyond belief and fills me with frustration. It seems to me that we have heard so much ridiculous, biased and self-serving propaganda recently that, to save ourselves from sinking in the mire, we are now blindly accepting much of it.

L McGregor


Socialism could win Labour a Scottish election

I ATTENDED a meeting at Edinburgh’s Liberton High School last night to hear Gordon Brown endorse Labour candidate Ian Murray for a return to Westminster. Brown was eloquent in his defence of Labour’s achievements in office, strident in his condemnation of Tories and SNP alike, and entertaining, with amusing anecdotes on Albert Einstein and Ronald Reagan.

However, his talk focused largely on issues within the remit of the Scottish Parliament, rather than those of Westminster, and what he left out of his talk was probably more significant than what he included. There was no reference to the Labour election manifesto, and no mention of the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Approaching a UK General Election, such omissions suggest a disregard for both.

I suspect that Mr Brown is well aware that while much of his party’s manifesto will be welcomed north of the Border, it will not be so well received in the more conservative south, and will be a factor, as the polls suggest, in returning Theresa May to Westminster with an increased majority.

Even if Scotland returned 59 Labour MPs to the UK Parliament, we would not see Labour’s “radical and responsible” policies enacted.

When the applause died down, last night’s meeting merely confirmed my belief that the only way I’ll see a Labour government elected on, dare I say it, a socialist manifesto, will be within an independent Scotland. And for that to happen, I’ll have to vote SNP. Thanks, Mr Brown.

Graeme Forbes

LISTENING to the launch of the Labour Party manifesto left me somewhat bewildered as I listened to the words of the Labour leader in Scotland, Keiza Dugdale. Bewildered, because Dugdale in endorsing her party manifesto could not resist taking a pop at the SNP policies in Scotland, suggesting the SNP have failed Scotland and the Labour Party would make the rich and powerful pay their fair share.

In those words, Dugdale merely exposed her and the Labour party’s hypocrisy. Hypocrisy in as much as this manifesto included commitments to: abolishing tuition fees, abolishing car park charges in NHS hospitals, and putting more police on the streets – all policies the SNP government have already put in place.

Regarding the rich and powerful paying their fair share Dugdale has some explaining to do as this year Labour opposed SNP proposals (new devolved tax powers) to reduce the threshold for the higher rate of income tax from £45,000 (UK) to £43,000 in Scotland.

Catriona C Clark

MRS May and her Tory party have published a manifesto in which they say they will use any election-winning mandate to block an independence referendum in Scotland. That a Tory government in Westminster can overrule the wishes of a government that holds a mandate from the Scottish Parliament and electorate is indefensible.

If such a mandate is being sought in this election by a Westminster Tory government to crush any dissent in Scotland, then so also can Scotland use the same election for the purpose of upholding democracy.

The SNP should now place in its manifesto that, should the Tory party not agree to an independence referendum before May 8 then, should the SNP win the majority of seats in the coming Scottish election, they will consider this a mandate for independence.

Should the SNP win a majority of more than 30 seats then the Scottish Government should declare independence. This then would be a matter for courts, not Westminster.

Bob Cotton

VISITING our town last week our First Minister was mobbed by an enthusiastic crowd. By contrast, the PM’s tightly controlled appearances in public suggest a reluctance to engage with the populace.

Clearly, that’s not her strongest suit. Not naturally responsive and open, she prefers to play her hand close to her chest. Nicola, with charisma in spades, trumps all-comers. In the game of Brexit, where the stakes could not be higher, May has very few cards left to play. Perhaps she should stick to Solitaire – which looks like the only game in town for an isolated GB.

James Stevenson