AS far as I am aware, it is intended that elections will be held in May 2022 to elect circa 1227 councillors to fill seats in 354 wards throughout 32 council areas of Scotland.

At least 1227 candidates, but more likely double that number (2572 in May 2017), will be campaigning to be elected in May. This implies a huge effort throughout the country by candidates, their parties and local government staff, drawing perhaps around a 46.9% turnout as in 2017.

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Meanwhile, at least half of the electorate would like to put the independence issue to bed, asking one question nationwide with two possible answers: Yes or No. Turnout in 2014 was 85%.

It is already extraordinary that we have MSPs who take their lead from their London-based party and hundreds more throughout our councils.

Council elections in 2022 will perhaps flood our councils again with such representation, yet within a year or so such representation might well be foreign and alien to our interests but with us for five years.

Which should be resolved first, council elections or independence question?

Tom Gray

WHILE the government in London and the monarchy are playing pass the parcel with responsibility for responding to the question of removing Tony Blair’s newly acquired title, an easier solution might be to bring him before an international court to answer charges relating to his wars in the Middle East. I’m sure he would be stripped of his title quickly enough after that.

Alternatively we can just become independent and leave London to its archaic honours system.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews

I READ with great interest the “top ten” in the unelected Scots based House of Lords contenders (Dec 27). The first thing that strikes me are their attendance records. They are expressed in days, ranging from 216 days to 123 days, which delivers them a whopping all-inclusive £64,643 at one end and £33,296 at the other. This exposes to the rest of us, who can only dream about such incomes, that the House of Lords has to be abolished forthwith.

Not only do these elevated individuals enjoy £323 per day plus expenses, they can decide themselves which days they choose to work! Would we not all like that? As we can see, attendance varies. Are we to think that in deciding how many days they will attend, these Lords are enjoying the fruits of their labour, “putting their feet up” at home relaxing? Well of course not. I have little doubt that many are boosting their incomes with other enterprising, income-bearing activities.

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Perhaps alongside their strenuous paid work in the second chamber, the Register of Lords’ Interests would give further insight. Added to this, let’s find out how many of them actually contribute to discussions in this hallowed second chamber. As we enter 2022, one year hopefully before us Scots get the opportunity to vote for independence, then let us all take cognisance of the disaster that is the Westminster parliament that trundles on in the same old way as it has done since it was the English parliament in bygone days. Oblivious – no, indifferent – to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Commons and the Lords remain utterly irrelevant to the needs and aspirations of the Scottish people. They shine a light on the huge democratic deficit from which Scotland suffers daily, starkly shown up by the financial straitjacket so transparently obvious in Scotland’s inability to raise finance during the Covid crisis.

Never before has the need for Scotland to take control of its political, economic and social future been more acute. The House of Lords – its cost and financial burden, what it stands for, its bloated membership and its bygone customs – is the classic example of what Scotland is NOT now, and more importantly NOT in the future. The National should on a regular basis highlight the House of Lords and its cost to Scotland; it is an eye-opener to the reader.

As 2022 begins, let’s look to a Westminster-free future with Scottish independence.

Dan Wood

I NOTICE in the report concerning Karen Adam that the response from Chris McEleny does not offer an apology for the misrepresentation of Karen Adam’s original tweet concerning paedophiles and predators (‘Death threats’ made to MSP over abusers tweet, Jan 4).

In fact, he chooses to go as far as advising her to report those who have posted death threats etc against her to the police. Something she is considering, but I would suggest not on the advice of McEleny.

Chris McEleny has himself now received threats and abuse from others in turn, which should not be of any surprise. Perhaps in his defensive response he might have included an apology to Karen Adam for his own knee-jerk response.

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I think that Karen Adam’s clarification of what she was trying to say is something we should all respect and understand: the simple fact that any friend, or even a member of our family, might fall into the category of predator or paedophile. Such people do walk among us without anyone realising who or what they are beneath the surface of their own personality. I personally can speak from experience of knowing a close person, as a child of school age. Sadly, back in the day such descriptions as paedophile were unheard of, the consequence of which was that it was never recognised as being wrong and so never reported. Naivety was the norm when such people were known to yourself. That same person has since died some years ago.

So! Let’s see Chris McEleny now make a public apology to Karen Adam. If he wants to represent Alba in the forthcoming council elections, that is the least he can do to make good any chance he might possess.

Alan Magnus-Bennett