THE Labour Party representatives in Scotland seem to have sunk to a depressing level of negativity in their responses to any economic news, good or bad.

Every concern, every thought of new policy initiatives expressed by the Scottish Government is promptly seized on as failure. Every snippet of good news is hailed as a triumph of Unionism or where that is too fanciful, simply ignored.

I cannot remember them being trapped in such a stultifying lack of intellectual integrity since the days of George Middleton as general secretary of the STUC, when he famously announced that there was no such thing as the Scottish economy.

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It is sad to see a party, once so prominent in the Scottish home rule movement, reduced to such irrelevance. Though of course there are also the Liberals to consider!
Peter Craigie


Tory government is in meltdown due to infighting

FROM self-proclaimed “strong and stable” the Tory Cabinet has quickly descended in a matter of weeks to being “weak and wobbly”, as Cabinet ministers ferociously brief against each other (Failed leadership candidate Gove denies he is behind Hammond smear campaign, The National, July 18).

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, is now firmly in the firing line, claiming that public sector workers are overpaid as he rebuffs advances to end the one per cent pay cap. This is even though the incomes of five million of them have fallen since the Tories came to power. Well, as the Chancellor said, “driving a train is so easy a woman could do it”. This from a man who has to endure a salary of a mere £143,000 per annum, plus a free house and chauffeur-driven limousine.

In the year since Mr Hammond has been Chancellor, so well has he performed that the UK has slumped to the bottom of the league of G7 industrial countries in terms of economic growth.

North of the Border the news is a little rosier, with growth in the first quarter of 2017 at 0.8 per cent, four times that of the UK as a whole – confounding those gleefully awaiting a Scottish recession and to be able to criticise the “failing” Scottish Government. As this was not the case, it was the “broad shoulders of the UK”, according to the doomsayers, that led to this growth.

The Tory government is in total meltdown, at one of the crucial moments in the UK’s political history, as we negotiate Brexit. Our public sector, indeed all of us, deserve better than being caught in the middle of a Tory civil war, reinforcing their already woeful performance.
Alex Orr

ABOUT one-third of the electorate voted for David Cameron and he won a majority, formed a government and called a referendum. In that referendum about one-third of the electorate voted to Leave causing David Cameron to resign. We then got Theresa May as Prime Minister without a contest.

Mrs May decided to call an election hoping to bolster her majority, despite the fact that we now have a five-year fixed term parliament rule.

About one-third voted for May and she lost her majority. But by giving £1 billion to the DUP to gain a working majority, she is now again in charge of the Brexit negotiations.

She says that it is “the will of the people” to leave the EU so there is no turning back. She refuses to countenance a final vote in parliament on the terms of the leaving deal. As things stand the UK could leave the EU simply because the Tory party are in hock to a group of right-wing politicians.

Democracy UK style.
Nick Dekker

THE General Election of 2017 was full of manifestos, many of them coming from the same parties. Labour had at least three, as did the Tories, and it would have been four had it not been for the special political relationship between Northern Ireland and Westminster. The Electoral Commission says that political parties can have as many manifestos as they like providing their costs are dutifully submitted.

Why is that a nonsense? It’s because the only manifesto that counts is the one issued by head office and that is the only one that will be implemented if elected ... hopefully. When you have a Tory party and a Labour Party in Scotland knowingly making promises that they can’t keep it is dishonest and deliberately misleading. The sham was illustrated in the starkest terms when the Scottish Tories who hold the balance of power in Westminster and can hold the government to account disappear out of sight except for voting for their London party in Westminster. Every single elected member of the Scottish Tory and Labour parties including councillors, MSPs, MEPs and especially MPs should be thoroughly ashamed that the manifestos they sold to the people of Scotland were entirely irrelevant.
Mike Herd

DEMOCRACY, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! That’s if the EU/Westminster pact impose their will to bring about the cancellation of Brexit, which they are determined to do.

I reach out to the “EU Remainers” and ask them to view this as an attack on all of our rights to democratic representation without molestation. This movement to cancel Brexit may be initially welcomed by those who would want to stay part of the EU, but what might have the scent of sweet-smelling roses to them for the moment will quickly turn to a rancid stink when it becomes the turns of the Remainers to be shafted at the ballot box. To tacitly agree to “halting” Brexit is to set a dangerous precedence that will come back to leave a permanent scar on all of our bahookies, don’t you think?

If Brexit dies then democracy dies, or at the very least our illusions of democracy will be dead. Then we’ll know exactly where we stand in relation to our political representatives/masters, and perhaps we may even do something quite positive to challenge these EU/Westminster usurpers?
James Andrew Mills

THE recent comments by Philip Hammond on pay show the contempt this lot has for the working class. Should we means-test and sanction these fools?
Glen Peters