IT may be precipitous for Theresa May to think she has resolved the matter of her party’s majority by signing a deal with the DUP.

To quote a journalist, “all that’s needed is a taxi full of disgruntled Tories to upset the balance”, and the general impression I get is that Tory party loyalty is particularly fragile just now, so Mrs May may well find any laurels she sits on contain a few thorns.

Will there be a leadership challenge? I take the view that the next fortnight will be telling.

On the upside the retention of the triple lock and winter fuel payments are a positive, however I got the impression those U-turns preceded the Queen’s Speech?

Is the £1.2 billion an incentive to tempt Sinn Fein back to the power-sharing table, or a further betrayal of the peace process?

Of course, the £1.2bn must be seen against the scandal of renewable heat incentive, costing the NI taxpayer £490m according to the Department for the Economy, so could there be an argument that the £1.2bn simply puts the DUP £700 ahead? As best as I can gather, the next fortnight at most will see this deal either condoned or condemned and my money is on the latter.
Piers Doughty-Brown


Our economic terms are often misinterpreted

MICHAEL Fry’s article (The best way to inspire confidence in our economy? Balance the books, The National, June 27) follows the “sound money” theory so loved by the neo-liberal thinker. Government deficit bad, government surplus good — what simplistic macro-economic nonsense this is.

Firstly, we have to note that mainstream economics uses language that is often misleading and contradictory, almost as if they don’t want the public to know what’s actually going on. In this case, the terms “government surplus” and “government deficit” have been chosen to give the opposite impression to what is happening.

The economy of the UK can be split into two parts, the private sector and the government sector. The government sector can spend money into the private sector by paying wages, pensions, building infrastructure, and so on. It can also remove money from the private sector by taxing it in various ways.

If the government taxes less than it spends, this is called a “deficit”. If it taxes more than it spends it is called a “surplus”. Therefore Michael Fry is urging us to strive for an economy in which the government always sucks money out of the private sector. Does this really sound like a good idea?

If your only point of reference is your household budget, rather than the complex economy of a country with its own sovereign currency that can create at least £500 billion out of thin air to essentially prop up its banks, then yes, it might sound like the government is “saving” money. The concept is jejune.

The only way the private sector can support a constant government surplus is by people constantly increasing their borrowing from banks (unsustainable in the long run) or by selling more products than we buy from the rest of the world, giving us a trade surplus. Germany is one of the few countries that can do this, mostly due to its single-minded support of industry and technology since the Second World War. We got Thatcher instead.

Unfortunately, the only way every country in the world can have a trade surplus is if we start to trade with another planet — hopefully Scottish independence will happen before that.

I could say a lot more on why government “deficits” should be called government “national investments”, but you can learn more by googling the terms “Functional finance” and “Sectoral balances”.
Brian Stobie
via email

MICHAEL Fry chides Carolyn Leckie that “reality is the great enemy of socialism”.

Presumably Mr Fry shuts his eyes and puts his fingers in his ears when he hears stories about Grenfell, austerity and food banks, and the utter devastation his brand of unrestricted free-market capitalism has wrought to the poor of these islands. Or perhaps like most other Tories he simply doesn’t care?
Donnie Fraser

SO there we have it, after several weeks of negotiation a £1 billion political bribe, yes £1bn, is to be paid to Northern Ireland via the DUP to keep this minority Tory UK Government in power (Davidson defends zero influence jibe as DUP bag £1bn, The National, June 27). Although nothing for Scotland, perhaps a similar amount should be paid as a thank you to the clutch of Tory MPs who made this possible!

Furthermore after a year of posturing over Brexit Theresa May’s negotiating skills are certainly suspect following her first discordant talks in Europe. The delusion of the Brexiters with their post-imperial mindset is becoming evident. Is it any wonder that around Europe these British nationalists are the butt of the joke about Brexit being “British Empire 2”.

However on the first anniversary of the EU referendum there is hope when three party leaders are in concord with their visions of the UK’s future with Europe. Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn have agreed that Scotland should have a direct say in the Brexit talks, while Ruth Davidson has said “we must make it clear to Europeans who have made Britain their home that they aren’t just needed here — they’re welcome too”.

The obvious danger is with the drastic downturn of qualified EU citizens seeking work in the UK, along with many now returning to Europe, chaos may result in the public sector to the economic detriment of a wilting Britain.

Following the ecstasy and agony of the snap General Election Nicola Sturgeon has called for all the UK’s devolved administrations to be consulted before further July negotiations take place in Europe. The FM added: “The UK Government must now recognise the reality of devolution and meet its constitutional obligations.”

Incidentally the silence from Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale has been deafening since her victorious leader Jeremy Corbyn announced the right of Scotland to hold indyref2, but adding, “I think the referendum should take place, if there is to be one, after the Brexit negotiations are concluded”, which has always been the present Scottish government’s view point.

Finally with the death of Gordon Wilson the tributes have been many and generous from both sides of the political divide — a man of principal and conviction whose dedication to an independent Scotland was second to none.

He brought the party from the fringes into the mainstream and will be remembered as a passionate patriotic Scot as well as a truly international citizen.
Grant Frazer
Cruachan, Newtonmore