ALL I have to say to everyone horrified at what the government is currently doing to the country and its citizens is: welcome to our world of the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

Lives, families and our realities were destroyed, twisted, ripped-up and thrown back at us as we watched the Tories’ alternative reality broadcast on the TV screens every night, in which WE were branded the Enemies of the State. Not the soldier boys dressed up in fake uniforms and not the coppers arresting and beating up miners.

In doing so these (in many cases) recruits from the Met couldn’t have cared less about depriving long-serving miners of their livelihoods and hard-earned pensions and being falsely charged with rioting.

This in turn, at times, led to the destruction of marriages and entire family relationships. The massive year-long overtime these officers of “law and order” earned made them quite comfortable for the rest of their lives I’m sure.

Being on a picket line and witnessing state-sanctioned abuse of power then returning home battered and bruised from neck to foot and watching the same day’s faked and carefully-edited footage and propaganda aimed at horrifying the middle-class and the rest of the watching public (who trusted the BBC and other news outlets) instilled in you how weak and disposable we actually were.

Any reinforcements from other unions or Labour party politicians who might have thought about supporting the miners was then flushed down the toilet. These were the days before Facebook Live or YouTube or even mobile phones so Thatcher’s mainstream media had it all their own way.

We learnt that in order to keep their grip on power the state was and is now capable of absolutely any atrocity. As long as most of the population are divided into tribes bickering for scraps it will continue to take advantage.

Maybe some will now begin to understand what we were fighting for back then. Welcome to UK 2017. Welcome to 1984.

Francis Lopez

ANYONE familiar with the situations faced by households who rely on benefits should not be surprised by the scale of the welfare cuts highlighted by the Scottish Government report (Vulnerable will be hit under cuts of £4bn per year, The National, June 30).

By 2020-21, cumulative cuts brought in by the coalition and Conservative governments will result in £3.9 billion a year less for welfare spending in Scotland — at the same time as we have seen major cuts to the Scottish block grant.

But that doesn’t mean that the Scottish Government shouldn’t attempt to mitigate the cuts. In fact it can’t afford not to. There is no point in a Scottish government that doesn’t do all it can to better the chances for its least well-off citizens.

Mitigating the cuts is the right thing to do; but it is also good economics. As Alison Johnstone observed in her column, the long-term costs of poverty hugely outweigh any short-term savings (Welfare cuts report shows why we must do things differently, The National, June 30).

We can expect to see different lobby groups calling for help to mitigate different benefits, with different needs competing against each other and much political talk about “difficult choices”. We should be calling, instead, for a commitment to fund welfare properly. We need to see serious, practical and transparent discussion (not political point-scoring) on how the Scottish Government can use its powers to top up benefits; and how it can use tax powers, including a local Land Value Tax, to ensure that Scotland really does have a social security system worth the name.
Sarah Glynn
Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network


Assad had nothing to gain from using gas in April attack

YOUR “world in brief” page on Saturday reported that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had confirmed use of sarin gas at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4.

This reporting is in line with the mainstream media narrative that it is the Syrian Government that bears responsibility for any such poison gas attack. Yet there is in fact no proof that sarin was used.

As discovered by investigative reporter (and Pulitzer-prize winner) Seymour Hersh, not only does reliable evidence for such use not exist, but there is a far more likely scenario.

And according to ex-weapons inspector Scott Ritter, there is no safe evidential trail from the locus in Syria to the laboratory — i.e. no physical evidence that would stand up in court; in fact the entire fabrication relies on the White Helmets, a group financed by the US/UK/Western NGOs, ostensibly neutral, but always allied with those seeking “regime-change”.

In purely practical terms, since the Syrian army, supported perfectly legally by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have been making such headway on the ground in eliminating ISIS strongholds, there is absolutely no need to use such weapons. Ask the question “cui bono?” for any use of poison gas. Certainly not the Syrian government, which is winning, and for whom it can only harm.

The answer is obvious — those who want to topple the legal government of the state: a bunch of Jihadist groups, the USA (and therefore the UK, etc.) and Israel.

Now that the White House has issued threats of retaliation in the event of a gas attack, rebel groups have added incentive to use their chemical weapons as an indirect way of getting at Assad — make it look like the Syrians are at it again, and then get the US to resume bombing.

But this alternative, and more likely, narrative is not one to be found in the UK media. On the contrary, Western media reporting on the last few years in Syria has certainly confirmed the old adage that truth is the first casualty of war.

Gordon Gallacher

YOUR article, “Cashing in your ginger bottles may well return” (The National, July 1), is a small and faltering step towards a solution.

I presented a treatise, brought into legislation in Germany in the 90s, to a Borough Council in England. They ignored it.

Those documents are available to the Scottish Government today, improved by twenty years of operational experience. Let us not reinvent the wheel!

There is a remarkable template there laid out for the Scottish Government to cherry pick.

One of the most exciting things about the legislation is the transfer of responsibility from the householder to the manufacturers for the wrappings that we fill our tips with.

Manufacturers surround their goods with multiple layers of advertising which we then have to throw away and councils have to contend with. For them it’s parts of a penny for each item, for councils and the country its millions of pounds.

The concept is simple. The manufacturers ship products to the stores. We buy them. Then the innovation. Next time we go to the store, we take the discarded wrapping and give it to the store.

The store gives it back to the company that supplied it. Domestic waste is reduced by at least 50 per cent. All containers have a refundable deposit.

In time, the manufacturers turn from disposable wrapping to reusable products. They know it makes sense.

Bruce Taynuilt

IT looks likely that the Prime Minister will walk away from Brexit talks. In the end, she has ignored Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Queen about talking to the devolved governments.

Is it possible world trade rules are a way to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). no matter the cost to us all?

Glen Peters

THE confusion over the Queen’s numeral is entirely excusable. After all her Scots-born mother was a widely popular queen consort.

Unfortunately the Queen Mum wasn’t actually a monarch so she didn’t qualify as Queen Elizabeth I.

Douglas Hunter
Harestanes, Roxburghshire