I WAS dismayed by George Kerevan’s recent piece on Universal Basic Income (UBI) where he appears to associate its introduction with a rise in yet more right-wing ideology. I must strongly disagree. There is absolutely no reason for criticising UBI on these ground as a quick look at relevant current literature shows.

A good example is in Geoff Crocker’s recent book Basic Income And Sovereign Money [Palgrave, Macmillan, 2020] where he argues its importance in helping to deal with terrible mess current monetary policies have left us in. In a detailed statistical account going back to the 1940s he shows how and why growing levels of indebtedness, poverty, low pay, income inequality and ecological damage – all combined with dysfunctional austerity policies – have hollowed out increasing large proportions of populations in most countries.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Why there are dangers of Scottish UBI ending up in the wrong hands

The introduction of UBI could well act as a first reform step to be followed by more broadly based recommendations from heterodox economists like Ann Pettifor and Geoff Tily. Policies of this kind would illustrate how a confident devolved Scottish Government could continue what it has been doing for some time now; viz. showing the UK Government why and how to introduce progressive public policies.

Norman Clark
Emeritus Professor, Strathclyde and Open Universities

AFTER reading Jim Fairlie’s article (This is why a UK-US food trade deal will be awful for Scotland, The National, May 19), I have to agree that the six Scottish Tory MP’s with rural constituencies that all voted down Neil Parish’s amendment to protect food standards for the UK is a total dereliction of duty to their constituents – quite baffling, and certainly very hurtful to us all in the a Scottish Borders.

It is the Government’s duty to protect its citizens’ air, water and food quality.

Here in the Scottish Borders we have excellent farming enterprises that have invested great amounts of time, hard work and cash to develop and hone there grass-fed herds of high-quality cattle, and also the infrastructure to house, handle and care for them to the highest standards, with total traceability.

These industry-leading farmers have worked very closely with the Scottish Government colleges and research centres to obtain as much education for themselves and their staff since the Second World War, to keep them at the fore of the industry and to know what produce the market place requires home and export.

You have to ask yourself why these six individuals from rural Scotland, who had been backed by the farmers, acted so recklessly and without conscious for there constituents? Other English Tory MP’s voted for the amendment, so it could not have been a political-whipping issue.

I am sure that MPs like John Lamont will be very glad that the 2020 Agricultural Show season has been cancelled due to the pandemic, as I am sure there would have been a very big line of beef, lamb, pork and chicken-producers with time on there hands who want to discuss face to face his actions and thought process... or if there was one?

Ian Thomson

I WAS delighted to see a variety of charities call for pipers across the country to pay tribute to the thousands of Scottish soldiers and others killed or captured during the battle of Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, on June 12, 1940 – 80 years ago.

Just days after the successful mass evacuations at Dunkirk, thousands of troops remained on continental Europe. Winston Churchill ordered the 20,000 men of the 51st Highland Division to stay in France and defend Britain’s ally against advancing German troops at all costs.

Largely comprised of men from the 51st Highland Division, they fought almost continuously for 10 days against overwhelming odds until surrounded at St Valéry.

A combination of fog and the proximity of German artillery above the town prevented the awaiting flotilla of ships from reaching shore. Those who were not killed in the fighting or fell to their deaths from the cliffs trying to escape, were captured and marched hundreds of miles to prisoner of war camps in Eastern Europe, where they endured appalling conditions for five years.

However, at the time the event was covered up and little talked about since.

While the heroism of the 51st may have gone unnoticed in Britain, they were thanked for their efforts in France. Following the Allied victory, the French government presented surviving members of the division with the yellow and blue-striped Somme medal.

In addition to the proposed fitting tribute by pipers, the UK Government should similarly be awarding a special medal to herald these valiant fighters.

While events such as Dunkirk, D-Day and VE Day are rightly commemorated, it is highly appropriate that the memory of those who fought and fell at St Valéry are remembered.

Alex Orr