INSENSITIVE and offensive, my thoughts as I heard the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, defend the records of his government and previous Conservative governments on child poverty.

This defence was in reply to a question by Labour MP Liz Twist, who was highlighting a 7% increase in child poverty in her Blaydon constituency. Mr Rees-Mogg informed the House of Commons that 786,000 fewer children were now living in workless households since 2010, when the Conservatives came into government, a truly insensitive statement considering the crisis the country is currently experiencing.

READ MORE: Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon hits out at Boris Johnson after No-Deal announcement

The current Conservative government are consistently ignoring all calls for the furlough scheme to be extended to allow jobs to be saved, the country is bracing itself for a tsunami of redundancies in a matter of weeks and I am sure the many thousands that are bracing themselves would attribute the word offensive to Mr Rees-Mogg’s sentiments.

The record of the Conservatives in government regarding poverty speaks for itself – continued attacks on the welfare system, 10 years of austerity, benefit freezes and sanctions, the two-child cap, measures and policies that have all contributing to the massive rise in food bank use.

2018-19 saw a rise of more than half a million to 14.5 million people living in poverty in the UK, the worst annual figures since statistics were first collected. You simply can’t defend the un-defendable, Mr Rees-Mogg, and you and the Conservative government should be ashamed.

Catriona C Clark

I WOULD like to strongly endorse Maggie Chetty’s letter of Thursday regarding currency. Thinking back to the debate between Darling and Salmond, when Darling kept shouting “What currency would you use?”, I cringed at Alex’s lacklustre response.

Today, I believe this is such an important item that those campaigning for indy must make a priority of getting it right, having a clearly defined strategy and having their answers ready when the Yoon brick-bats get launched!

READ MORE: SNP politicians and activists should be more informed about currency issues

The Yoons know that if you want to frighten people away from independence, you threaten their pockets. Think back to Archie MacPherson, campaigning for No, and going door-to-door to frighten old folk with the “You’ll lose your pension” threat! The fact that it was – like “What currency would you use?” – total hogwash didn’t matter: it worked!

It’s time now, not tomorrow, for our indy politicians to swot up on the subject of banking and currency and set in train the creation of a Scottish Central Bank and a Scottish currency. This is a game-changer! Most of our politicians live in the enviable position of financial insulation from day-to-day fiscal worries: the bulk of the voting proletariat do not, and they will vote to protect their income! The economist, Tim Rideout, has it right and our politicians need to listen and learn from him.

Ned Larkin

PETER A Bell writes in Thursday’s edition that “you can’t answer a constitutional question with a calculator” (Website comments, October 15). Unfortunately, 75% of the population don’t seem to agree with him, so unless we’re prepared to make a better economic case, especially around the currency question, we’d better be ready to see the 58% Yes vote evaporate once the Unionist scare stories start.

The fact that a majority still believe we need to stick with sterling post-independence indicates a huge gap in popular understanding of what needs to be done to disentangle ourselves from a permanently declining UK. There’s still a long way to go to guarantee that a referendum goes the right way next time, and absolutely no point in rushing headlong into one without getting this issue sorted out.

The various leaders of the movement need to converge on a common stand on currency and then embark on a campaign to educate the electorate on that position. Failure to address this issue effectively risks landing us in a place we don’t want to be, again, and there won’t be a third chance. We need to take heed of the polling figures, even when we don’t like them.

Keith Brown’s statement that polling figures hovering in the fifties represent the “settled will” of the population is either wishful thinking or marketing hype. Either way, it smacks of finality, inevitability and over-confidence. Nothing’s “settled” until the results of the referendum are in.

This lead is extremely fragile, and can be squandered very easily if the voters’ concerns are brushed aside. While the results of this week’s Ipsos/MORI poll for STV are very encouraging, all of the results for the last six months are grouped pretty much within the expected error band around 55%, especially when different polling methodologies are taken into account. Let’s not all get carried away with a vision of a conclusive, ever-rising trajectory. There’s an awful lot of persuasion still to be done to get to a confident prediction of success.

Going into a referendum campaign without a clear view on the economic future would be utter folly. The case for a sovereign currency has to be made, and made conclusively.

Cameron Crawford

IS Boris Johnson becoming more like Donald Trump when he blusters and proposes to make Britain great again and “the greatest place on earth”? He has also hired a £100k-per-year spokeswoman, Allegra Stratton, for White House-style press briefings, thus saving him answering any detailed questions.

Incidentally I was fascinated to learn where the term “Tory” came from, relative to the Conservative Party. Apparently the word came into being in mid 17th century Ireland (at that time part of the UK) and is a derivative of the Irish Gaelic “Toraidh” which means plunderer, robber, thief or barbarian – perfectly in tune with the Johnson/Cummings London orchestra!!

Grant Frazer