AS much as it is commendable for Nicola Sturgeon to say she will end the public pay cap, I fear it will have no bearing on what happens to pay in the public sector.

In the fire service we are continually told there is no money for a pay rise. It will only be achieved through “transformation” – for transformation, please read “more cuts to frontline staff, and for those left an evermore unachievable workload”.

In 2002 firefighters went on strike to try and reach £30k a year – 15 years on and they still have not reached that mark. Worse than that, in the years since a pay cap was imposed our real-terms living has dropped 18 per cent. We know public sympathy will be scarce, because as always mainstream, right-wing press is led by Westminster. These puppets will continue to peddle the same old myths, ie firefighters sitting about all day waiting for a call, then sleeping all night. Please ask a firefighter what they are expected to do on a daily basis, but be prepared for a long answer.

That same public should be made aware of the lengths this government will go to save money. Rather than spend money on the ambulance service, guess what, let’s get the fire service to do it. So those same firefighters you thought were doing nothing have actually been teaching themselves casualty care. Yes, teaching themselves via computer packages. So in future and even now, if you or a family member has a medical emergency and call 999, you may get the fire service instead of a paramedic.

Westminster can find billions to keep themselves in power but think nothing of gambling with people’s lives to spend less. Lives will be lost and everyone is complicit. Including the Scottish Parliament who are standing by watching this unfold.

Angry Firefighter
Address supplied

WELL, that’s the vision thing sorted! The First Minister laid it out yesterday in a way that we have not previously seen: the beliefs, hopes and aspirations of our nation couched in such a legislative programme.

It appears to be an agenda that should speak to us all, no matter our individual priorities. If we believe in an independent nation that attempts to provide the social-economic environment in which we can thrive and contribute, then yesterday’s speech and its contents have to be a vital component.

We can’t get carried away however. The naysayers will tell us how it can’t be financed, can’t be achieved. But look at the alternatives. A Labour Party in disarray south of the Border - what is their current EU stance and how long will that be maintained? The branch office here is leaderless, again, with two candidates lacking experience, vision, and poles apart. Sound familiar? Then the Tory party has survived a very strange summer: dodgy councillors and a missing leader. How was that possible? Ah, a benevolent media perhaps?

And set all of that within the wider context of the Brexit trauma, it’s almost as if rUK is in a “handcart” at the moment, and we all know where that hand cart is heading! We’ve been told today by Sturgeon that our MPs will not support the Great Repeal Bill, but the inevitability of Tory infighting and the fragility of May will continue to ensure a weak attempt at negotiating with disastrous results for us.

There is no way we should believe Damien Green when he tells us Brexit isn’t a power grab. We have to be prepared to take the initiative to design an independent Scotland that we believe in. Yesterday helped show us the way.

Selma Rahman

SOMETIMES I despair at the level of intelligence displayed by my fellow countrymen.

Surely they can see as well as me, that being part of the UK means continued support for the mainly English establishment, seldom getting the government you voted for (the English vote in numbers for the Tories, hence we get a Tory government), nuclear submarines (soon to be 11) with their supporting arsenal 30 miles from Glasgow and, of course, the House of Lords – the last refuge for failed Labour Party politicians.

I just hope before the next referendum sufficient numbers wake up and realise we are fortunate here in Scotland, we have a viable alternative: independence.

Bob Neeson