IT is no surprise that the Tories are once again coming in on the side of the multinational alcohol industry that is suffering, like all of us, the combined effect of a dozen years of continuous Tory austerity, the highest-ever tax burden and national debt plus the unprecedented effects of Brexit and the pandemic that changed our way of life, even before internal battles over Tory party leadership finally almost bankrupted the country (Tory wrong to challenge MUP research, Aug 12).

Finding a statistical method that can nullify the influence of this period on our lives, let alone our alcohol consumption, is impossible.

It took eight years of fighting against the giant multinational alcohol-producing industry to bring in minimum unit pricing and the industry has decided that it has an opportunity to take back control under a Tory government that is now openly anti-Scottish.

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Minimum unit pricing was aimed at reducing the damaging level of consumption of cheap high-strength alcohol that was significantly damaging the lives and health of some of the most deprived people in Scotland. The effects of the policy are being closely monitored not only in Scotland but also in many other countries with alcohol-related health problems.

The Scottish Government never claimed that minimum unit pricing was the solution for the problem of excess alcohol consumption in Scotland.

At present there is evidence that the policy is reducing alcohol deaths, so let’s leave it as it is until other factors affecting alcohol consumption have stabilised before risking throwing the baby out with the bath water.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

IN a national emergency I believe it is the duty of any government to protect its citizens and the nation itself from external harm using any measures it can, even extreme measures such as UDI when the situation demands it and democracy is being threatened. This includes harm from food and energy poverty which have been cruelly and artificially manufactured by an ideologically corrupt UK Tory party, apparently mirrored by their understudies, the Labour Party.

It also needs to protect its citizens from themselves, eg minimum unit pricing and, taking that theme to its extreme, dragging the undecided and the brainwashed into an independent nation for their own good, because they have been prevented from seeing the urgency of the situation.

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Our government also has a duty to prevent harm to the environment and by taking control of the oil and gas extraction as an independent nation, the rest of the world also benefits as we transition to renewable energy.

As I believe we are in a state of deepening emergency, now is the time to declare UDI, take Scotland out of the UK, promise if you must a confirmatory referendum within seven years and trust the democratic nations of the UN to see the damage being perpetrated on Scotland and her citizens by Westminster and recognise Scotland’s right under international law to revert to being an independent nation state.

Scotland was undemocratically forced against its will to join the Union by a privileged few bribed and threatened noblemen so now is the time to turn the tables and reverse the decision to the benefit of all Scots, including the ones who will not see it that way for a while.

Now is the time, for all our sakes.

Andy Pearson
via email

ON Thursday I attended a Festival of Politics event in the Scottish Parliament which discussed how it had been 35 years since the inception of Section 28: a hateful and now repealed local government act which sought to ban the “promotion” of homosexuality as a “as a pretended family relationship.” Though I lived through it at the time it was still shocking to be reminded that gay relationships were believed to be “pretended” and of the absurd idea that children would have chosen to be gay simply because they knew about the existence of LGBT people.

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Many battles have been won since those days but we are reminded that outstanding LGBT inequalities are largely religiously based: faith schools are exempt from providing LGBT-inclusive sex and relationships classes should that run counter to their “ethos”; a full ban on so-called gay conversion therapy was met with demands that “pray away the gay” uniquely should be allowed to continue, and unrepentant homophobic views are to be excused even in candidates for First Minister if they are religiously derived.

We cannot prevent that minority of believers who still hold these views from privately doing so, but separation of church and state is absolutely vital to prevent them being deployed from a position of advantage or privilege.

Neil Barber
Edinburgh Secular Society

FOR Sandra Hughes to assert that “all violence in the trans debate comes from one side – that of the trans activists” (Letters, August 11), and for such an assertion to be given prominence in The National, is concerning given that hate crimes against trans people have increased significantly in recent times. A little less castigation, a little more compassion, please.

Peter Alexander