IT’S a sad reflection in this enlightened age that with child poverty increasing and food banks labouring under austerity, the charity Shelter has launched an urgent appeal as homelessness in Scotland has affected a staggering 28,297 households.

New research has revealed that nearly one in five Scots in the working population are still earning below the real living wage in this richly endowed nation. In stark contrast, the £120 billion lost to the UK exchequer in tax avoidance and evasion is utterly obscene.

The shocking revelations about the UK’s tax avoidance schemes for the rich and powerful – through offshore bank accounts, none of which are apparently illegal – are fully compliant with this Tory Government. And since the majority of press and media are owned by the UK establishment, the hegemony of the corrupt ruling classes is assured irrespective of austerity, Westminster sleaze, tax avoidance, low wages and the rest.

When it comes to tax dodging on a grand scale, contrary to Gordon Brown’s recent utterances, both Labour and Conservative administrations have been complicit in looking the other way – a political system that punishes honesty and innocence and rewards greed and avarice must not survive.

As this leaderless minority Tory Government disintegrates, it is vital that democracy is rescued and a firm stance taken against moral corruption. Since Scotland is being dragged out of Europe against the express democratic will of its people by a disastrous British far-right Brexit ideology, its only logical option is to vote for complete independence, leaving proud England to find its own way in a post-imperial world.
Grant Frazer
Cruachan, Newtonmore

AS someone who has grown tired of the British state broadcaster’s quaint London-centric British establishment view on world events, I welcome Alex Salmond’s new talk show on Russia Today.

For many decades I regarded the British state broadcaster’s news offering as part of the normal teatime ritual, however as a result of their behaviour pre 2014, having genuinely persevered for two or three years, I now find that I can no longer bring myself to watch any of their news or political output.

Nowadays when I watch broadcast media it will tend to be RT or Al Jazeera, who both provide a refreshing alternative view on world affairs. Indeed, Al Jazeera impressively appear to have journalists reporting from every corner of the globe. Channel 4 can offer in-depth analysis although their range is less broad.

I can understand the British nationalist’s annoyance at Alex’s production company being offered a slot on a major broadcaster, as they feel threatened by anything which deviates from the British establishment take on the world. With so many alternative forms of broadcast media now available out there, I for one feel liberated from the daily grind of British royalty “non stories” and English cricket.
Alan L Calder
East Ayrshire

WHY should anyone be criticised for wearing a kilt at the Cenotaph (Blackford hits back at Cenotaph kilt critics, The National, November 14)?

Kilted Scottish soldiers fought in a war to end all wars and ensure a better future for their families, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who are remembering them this week.

What would they think of the situation we have inherited today where the rich are richer, the poor are poorer and Scots are still fighting in wars all over the globe ? We should all be ashamed by how little has been achieved since they fought for us and a fairer and better future.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

THE British homogenisation project, spearheaded in Scotland by the deceptively comical Murdo Fraser, is still in full swing.

If a public figure used Scots instead of Queen’s English, Murdo brands it a disgrace; if a politician wears a kilt at the Cenotaph, Murdo finds a way to be outraged by it. Along with our whisky, haggis, meat and veg, everything distinctively Scottish is being put into the British blender and coming out branded with a Union Jack.
Derek Ball

ON Sunday I spoke to a delightful 96- year-old lady who told me proudly of her war effort, how sad she was she had ended up posted to Notting Hill not Rosyth, and how her father wore his kilt in WW1 and how when in the trenches it was wet the kilt almost took the skin off the backs of their knees, and was in a regiment like many others where Scots fought and fell for the cause they believed in. He survived and I feel sure would applaud Ian for his attire at the remembrance, as would my grandfather and many many more who were actually there.

Murdo Fraser is an empty vessel who, like all empty vessels, makes lots of loud, discordant noise and no sense.
Isobel MacRae Wilson

THERE is no hope ever of Scotland becoming independent as long as the bulk of the population of our citizens succumb to the Oliver Twist begging bowl mentality.

We never seem to be able to learn lessons from the past. No matter who leads the independence movement this attitude will never change. A bird in the hand is better than two Scottish politicians’ promises.
RH Davidson
Address supplied