ON Sunday when Gordon Brown launched his book in Edinburgh, I asked him why he had believed the US on weapons of mass destruction when millions of us around the world knew it was a lie! He claimed he hadn’t seen the evidence and after all he was only the chancellor and not centrally involved.

However another Scottish politician, who had been centrally involved, Robin Cook, who had been foreign secretary, resigned. There is no doubt in my mind that if Brown had backed Cook and told Blair he would not support the war he could have stopped Britain and maybe even stopped the US going ahead. Instead, he famously chose to back the war and said: “We would spend whatever it takes to finance the war”.

On Sunday, Brown said that Blair’s reign would always be marked by his – Blair’s – mistake on the war. I can’t help but conclude the same is true of Brown, he could have stopped the war but for him his succession to Blair as prime minister was more important. Ironically when he did become prime minister, he was generally regarded as a failure by the British people and rejected in the 2010 election.

On Sunday, Brown said “all political careers end in failure”. On the day of the publication of his book, which talks of the many good things he did as chancellor and prime minister, I suspect the majority of people will agree that applies to his political career too.
Hugh Kerr

ANOTHER round of leaks naming and shaming the rich and powerful, but I find it difficult to believe HMRC couldn’t already catch those avoiding tax. It has a very powerful “connect” system that takes data from all your credit and debit transactions and various income sources, and if the in doesn’t match the out then you get flagged up.

These people have income that HMRC does see, so they will be known. But it’s only avoidance, which is normal according to some MPs.

Still, I’m sure all these celebrities will be out in force asking us to dig deep at the next televised mass raising of funds for essential services that there isn’t enough tax revenue to pay for!
Kenneth Sutherland

THERE appears to be a presumption that despatching money to tax havens is a passport to happiness. Implicit in this presumption is that material plenty is the be all and end all. There is no question that this lolly could fund much for the greater good of all, in health care, education, public transport, etc, and rightly should be so doing.

But let us not overlook the fact that those who stash loot in island havens are kidding themselves if they believe that their deceit will reward them with extra happiness beyond reach of those who aren’t rich. It is well enough known that wealth has in-built stresses and that winning a lottery jackpot will not automatically eradicate the winner’s miseries.

Nevertheless, a spell in jail for those putting their money in tax havens might be one way of communicating the bigger philosophical truths to such people. Come to think of it, the money they are hiding away could even build a special jail for them one day.
Ian Johnstone

IT occurs to me that if Holyrood and Westminster employed staff on behalf of elected representatives that there would then be an HR system for the support staff to report their grievances to.

At present they would have to report matters to their employer who may be the very person who they need to complain about. Another benefit with this system would be that when an elected representative moves on then there would be the possibility of being redeployed to the incoming person.
Harry Key

LET’S get it straight about Radio Luxembourg. The majority of its 1950s English language programmes were recorded in London at a studio calling itself Luxembourg City. Shows were then sent physically to Luxembourg, where they could be legally broadcast in defiance of UK law. In the 60s, Radio Free Scotland just did it directly from various venues in Glasgow, the broadcasters being quicker on their feet.
Jack Foley