ON hearing the latest Brexit negotiations, many seem to be concluding that our future is being decided by forces outwith our control. Truth be told though, that is true of far more than just Brexit deals.

This Christmas season, millions of us will see our wages held down behind inflation; or see our rents pushed up; or see our gas and electric bills pulled higher and higher. Maybe all three.

All these changes will shape our present and our futures. Yet we haven’t a say in any one of those decisions. Economic cabals behind locked boardroom doors will see tiny numbers dictate huge aspects of our futures here. Time and again, these decisions made to for the exclusive self-benefit of those wealthy elites, at the expense of the rest of us.

If there’s anything we fundamentally need to take back control of, it’s our economy. We need more than just a voice for Scotland at the Brexit table - we need a real voice for us, the people of Scotland in getting the real Living Wage we all need, in providing and pricing the electricity and heating we all need, in making sure we have enough housing to provide the homes we all need.

Realistically these can only be achieved by writing the real Living Wage, now at some £10 per hour, into Law; by ultimately returning energy back into public hands; and by investing in a proper housing building programme.

Again and again polls have further proved how much how many of us know these things are necessary. Sadly though, I doubt Santa Claus will be delivering any of these, regardless of how many of have asked. It’s going to be up to all of us to work to see that by next Christmas, we’re a little bit closer to taking our future into our own hands.

Calum Martin, National Co-chair Scottish Socialist Party, ​Edinburgh

I’M not quite sure why there is so much excitement about these “trade talks”. They can only be very limited in scope. My understanding is that the EU will only formalise any deal once the UK is a “third country”. Which means that nothing will be finalised until after March 29, 2019. Any discussions that have taken place before then could be rendered meaningless depending on whether the UK qualifies as a third country. So why the frantic focus on trade talks?

The suspicion must be that, as well as being desperate to draw a line under (or a veil over?) the issues of the Irish border, the divorce bill and citizens’ rights – the British Government is eager to get on with spinning the line that a future trading relationship has been secured that is as was promised by Brexiteers. As I recall,the idea was that the UK was going to shed all the obligations, responsibilities and costs of EU membership whilst retaining most, if not all, of the advantages and benefits.

The British political elite will be anxious to divert attention from the intractable problems, and the fact that they had totally failed to consider these problems, and start promoting the notion of successful negotiations winning a great deal for Britain. They won’t be so keen on questions which expose the tenuousness of that “great deal”. They won’t welcome any suggestion that their “trade deal” might be no more real than the agreement that was supposed to settle the Irish border issue.

The good news, from the British Government’s perspective, is that they can be fairly confident they won’t be subjected to any rigorous questioning by the media. They can be reasonably sure there will be no awkward questions about the substance or the solidity of the trade deal. They fully expect that the media British media will collude in the deception. And why should they not? Was it not ever thus?

Peter A Bell, via thenational.scot