LIZ Truss is certainly off the starting blocks – but unfortunately for the country, she has made a disappointing start.

The current cost of living crisis needs intervention on a massive scale and the cap of £2500 per annum for energy bills per households is not going far enough. Exactly who will benefit from the new PM’s announcement? Perhaps those earning well in excess of average earnings? Be assured, it certainly won’t be the average pensioner on a basic state pension, because this cap will eat up 25% of a basic state pension.

This announcement to Parliament by the new PM could have gone so much further, reaching out and adopting some of the tried and tested measurers the Scottish Government have introduced in an effort to tackle this cost of living crisis and tackle child poverty. In 2020, the Scottish Government as a result of limited devolved welfare powers introduced the Child Winter Heating Assistance (£214.10 per annum) for families with disabled children and young people who are in receipt of the highest rate of care component and who incur increased heating costs over winter.

Only this week, the First Minister announced a doubling of the Fuel Insecurity Fund from £10 million to £20m this year. Here in many parts of rural Scotland, it is Heating Oil, a source of heating that is not regulated, and a source of heating whose cost is soaring; jumping sky high no words of comfort from the PM for this sector. Truss may want to reflect on her price cap of £2500, because that is double what the cap was last winter £1277 and begs the question, exactly who can cope with a doubling of energy costs? Why did we not hear Truss taking a led from the Scottish Government and freezing rents for those in England?

READ MORE: The National wants to hear from people in Scotland struggling

In her new role as PM, Truss certainly missed an opportunity to get off the starting blocks and give the country the assurance and security it needs right now, in the midst of this awful crisis.

Catriona C Clark


SO the energy cap is to be set at £2500 not £3500. Am I alone in thinking that the higher figure was never to be implemented but to be abandoned by the incoming PM so that the Tories could get brownie points for helping the people? The funding to meet this will be by borrowing (something Rishi Sunak said we cannot carry on doing), therefore the bill will ultimately be paid by the UK population, not from the mega profits of the energy providing companies.

M Ross


THE BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg showed Liz Truss a graph outlining that the impact of her plan to reverse Sunak’s National Insurance rise in April was that the poorest workers would benefit by £7.66 a year (equivalent to 2p a day) but the richest by £1801 a year.

Kuenssberg asked her, “Is it fair to give the wealthiest people more money back?” Truss replied, “It is fair. We promised in our manifesto we would not raise national insurance.She went on to say, The people at the top of the income distribution pay more tax so inevitably when you pay more taxes you tend to benefit people who are likely to pay more tax.”

That takes being tone deaf to astronomical new levels. It way surpasses the likes of David Brent from The Office or Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge. I could even imagine that being part of a Monty Python sketch but unfortunately this is real life, the Liz Truss way!

Victoria Derbyshire on Newsnight this week spoke to three people about the effects of the horrific rise in energy bills. One of them and the one most personally affected was Dallas Lucas from Oldham. She is looking for a job, receives Universal Credit and is studying to become a counsellor.

Dallas said her gas bills suddenly rose from £30 a week to £180. She therefore couldn’t afford food and got into further debt with her bills, resorting to selling her furniture to get more money. She now only has a mattress, a tiny television and a second hand fridge with a broken door seal. She no longer has a cooker or washing machine.

Dallas said after she had paid just her rent and gas bill she was left with £12.75 towards other bills and food for a week. She stressed that even an energy price freeze wouldn’t help as she can’t even pay her current energy bills and is already behind with them. She added, “I feel a prisoner to debt”.

The other two participants outlined how primary school children’s education would be affected and how a Leicester clothing firm had to close making its 250 employees redundant. We couldn’t, however, see these children or the poor souls made redundant. They were not there in the Newsnight studio, whereas Dallas most certainly was.

Those surrounding her, including the Tory MP Mel Stride and Labour’s Anneliese Dodds, sitting a few yards away within earshot of what she had to say, were all sharing the same studio space and breathing the same air as Dallas. However they might as well have been in a different solar system, given how drastically different their lived experiences are from her own.

This really was a moment for me. In my mind, Dallas represented the ultimate outcome of all the cruel and callous policies of the current UK Tory government and their predecessors. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. Wee Johnny in his low paid job is already dreaming about how he is going to spend that extra 2p a day.

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay

NOW that the English Conservative Party presumably admit that we have the [legal] right to hold a referendum on independence, and win, they want to change the rules and winning margin. I well remember some 60 years ago as a small boy playing football and a bigger boy would grab the ball and tell everyone that it was their ball and as such they made up the rules of the game. Even then, we knew what constituted fair play and the bullies never won.

The Conservative Party seem to have forgotten the old adage that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. the mistakes of the past. The failure of various Unionist politicians resulted in a bloody civil war in Ireland that lasted nearly 80 years – and we’re still seeing the political fallout a century one hundred years later. So I have to ask on behalf of everybody wanting a democratic solution, does the Conservative Party in England want another Irish situation to develop on the UK mainland? I sincerely hope not.

Since Brexit, we’ve been increasingly subjected to an extreme form of right-wing xenophobic English nationalism. A certain coterie of English Conservatives seem to think that they are born to rule. When you research their family history, you discover that they are MPs, their fathers were MPs and their grandfathers were MPs, ad infinitum and of course members of the unelected House of Lords. It isn’t any wonder that change doesn’t happen and they make up very undemocratic rules to prevent change as in the proposed 60% rule for independence.

By the time this letter is published, we will have a new Prime Minister. However, nobody is predicting any real change, so it will be very much the same situation until we force a change hopefully by democratic means. But we must ask ourselves, what is liable to happen if the oligarchs in the English Conservative Party force through their 60% rule for independence? How much can we take before the Unionists force another bloody conflict that nobody wants as that’s the way a number of countries left Westminster colonial rule.

The only way we can win is by showing force of numbers and the willingness to continue (by democratic means) until independence is achieved. See you all at the march in Falkirk on Saturday.

Alexander Potts


SO, whenever the Tories appear likely to win a constitutional plebiscite, via a referendum or conventional democratic process, 50% plus one vote is sufficient to determine the outcome. When Scottish independence was apparently only desired by around 25% of the population, the Edinburgh Agreement was drafted and agreed to by all parties.

Even Brexit, which committed all four nations of the United Kingdom to a single outcome determined independently by a UK Government, was advanced on this basis, although the arrogance of David Cameron the Tory Prime Minister did not produce the outcome he had naively had anticipated.

But typically ofwhat we have learned about dictatorial Tory government regimes over the years, is that when defeat looks likely they are not concerned in the least with democratic principles, past conventions (e.g. Sewel), or even international laws to which they have recently signed-up, they imperiously seek to change the rules. While the UK Government continues to refuse to comply with legal judgements that the pre-2019 taxpayer funded research on public attitudes to the Union should be published, the polls are clear that around 50% of the electorate (and perhaps significantly more) now support the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future. Disingenuously simplistic comparisons with the current internal machinations of political parties are not only desperate but are further attempts to trivialize discussion around the constitution and the fundamental rights of Scotland’s people, as endorsed by the United Nations, to independently determine their own future.

The past scurrilous attempts to frustrate devolution and the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament by rigging the democratic process failed, as will duplicitous attempts to prevent the people of Scotland claiming their historic and enduring right to self-determination.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian

THE Prime Minister once believed that the monarchy should be abolished. That’s not news. What was more interesting is that, in the same speech, she said the referenda should be used for major constitutional issues. To use her own odd phraseology, she doesn’t agree with herself now.

Roddie Macpherson


WHAT is the status of the UK government’s refusal to allow an indyref? According to many in the independence movement, very high indeed. Carol Wood (We must look outside the UK for our route to win independence, Letters, September 5) categorises it as “interference in the rights of Scots to determine their own future”, while we are treated as a colony and “plundered”. In that case, why have we not taken to the streets in rebellious outrage?

In addition to the error of handing London a veto by mistakenly regarding a referendum as the sole route to independence, Ms Wood is far from alone in her failure to grasp that the referendum is a lower-rank issue. If the Supreme Court decides that Holyrood lacks the legal competence (which it may, or it may not), the policy of the Scottish Government, the SNP, the Greens, Alba etc. is that the plebiscite on independence will occur at the next General Election, which is something London can do nothing about.

So there will be a vote, and one which is legal, constitutional and democratic, even without a referendum. What the new PM or anybody else says about putting obstacles in the way of a Holyrood Indyref is totally beside the point. Ms Wood and those who share her exasperation should catch up with the First Minister, who herself had extolled a referendum as the only way until her long-overdue Damascene conversion back to the SNP’s venerable plebiscitary election route, in her statement to the Scottish Parliament on June 28 .

Since the vote is coming, provided that the Scottish Government maintains its resolve, what Ms Wood and all the rest of us now need to do is campaign like blazes to convince the Scottish electorate to opt for independence. That is, and always has been, the only obstacle to overcome.

The power is not in London, the UN or any international legal forum, but in our hands alone.

Alan Crocket


I HOPE and trust that we in Scotland vote to keep the not proven verdict. It is the common sense verdict which in some difficult and complex cases is the only honest conclusion facing a jury.

For a system to say otherwise and force that jury to commit to guilty or not guilty is a retrograde step and tantamount to the system bullying a jury of otherwise fair-minded people into making an unfair decision. Thus this demand for that unfair commitment became a wrong decision and sent many a man to be executed. One man, when asked about Scotland having the not proven verdict, said its a safety valve to stop the system becoming the lynching party – and don’t forget, if new evidence comes to light long after a not proven verdict, that the suspect in question, will be retried according to, (in my opinion) our much superior, Scottish legal system.

Last week, 1957 movie was shown again on TV. It’s about an American jury at a murder trial, called 12 Angry Men. It’s masterpiece of acting and was a blatant case of where it was eventually a not proven situation, This American jury however, didn’t have that safety valve and although they had firstly voted him guilty, had the only alternative choice, to find the young man not guilty.

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In Scotland, our jury has 14 persons as opposed to 12 and if four or more disagree, that is when the not proven is applicable. I can understand that there is a great deal of frustration and even anger at a non proven verdict.

However until new evidence comes to light, let’s avoid becoming a self appointed lynch party, or forcing our jury into yea or nae, when there is reasonable doubt. Keep our law fair, and free. Keep that important safety valve of not proven.

Iain Ramsay

Greenock & Inverclyde

NICOLA Sturgeon and I have different nationalities. As she prepares to take an international job after she quits as First Minister, she has declared herself to be British.

A strange declaration for the leader of a party created to get Scotland out of Britain, but, in the unlikely case that she is sincere, it might explain her recent hagiographic fawning over the late Queen. of England, who died today.

Unlike Nicola Sturgeon, I am Scottish, not British. So the death of the 96-year-old monarch of a foreign country means exactly the same to me as the death of, say, Emperor Hirohito.

Greum Maol Stevenson