THE reversal of four decades of rainbow Tory austerity, as applied to Scotland, and as applied under UK auspices, is clearly not going to be easy, quick, nor cheap.

If we were to consider that prior to those four decades of Tory austerity, there was really not sufficient public service resilience anyway, then to get to a state of resilience within any public service in the near future, it looks to be on the hard side of difficult.

On the positive side, the reversal of service component austerity generally returns accumulated integrated efficiency, increases morale and creates a momentum to overall service development.

For example, in Tory speak, having 85% of the desirable resilient numbers for consultants, junior doctors, nurses, hospital beds and ambulances means (Tory speak) that the service is running at 85%.

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But, each component deficit impinges upon the others, in knock-on effects, and in the integrated service that is the NHS – the other component deficits duly return the compliment, reducing other component efficiency further.

So, for the five service components outlined as working individually at the 85% austerity level, the overall resilience is actually closer to 44%, with four service components at 52%, with three at 61%, with two at 72%, and with one at 85%.

And there’s the rub, in that the scale of shifting from four decades of Tory austerity to service resilience is clearly closer to reversing a 55% cut than merely requiring a 15% improvement.

Indeed, with the 55% shortfall in service, a near 100% increase is required to achieve the austerity reversal to the desired level of resilience in the future.

The initial discussion therefore requires focus upon the desirable resilient outcome, in some detail, even though somewhat on the extreme horizon, with respect to timeline.

Further to this, the discussions are continuous in assessing the required financial input into the various service components, in a constantly evolving rolling programme.

The service taken as a whole, if to be made resilient within a decade, would require a real terms increase of around 10% every year for a decade, and/or 5% for two decades, which is about £1.8 billion and £3.6bn respectively.

Put simply, that’s around 2p in the £, to be added to income tax as applied to the citizens of Scotland, for a sustainable investment in the Scottish NHS, for the levels of resilience to be achieved within two decades hence. For some, that is both the acceptable cost and desirable dividend of independence.

To state the obvious, privatisation would, if the logic was followed in reverse, negate a need for a 2p tax rise, but further reduce the service from around a 50% of desirable and resilient service for all citizens on average, to around a 25% of desirable and resilient service for all citizens on average.

In essence, that necessarily means little or no NHS service for the least wealthy and least healthy, which would necessarily result from UK Tory privatisation.

So, it’s a ConDemSlab Brexit together, or an independent Scotland as an EU nation state, with NHS Scotland awaiting the decision of the citizens of Scotland, on its very existence as a public universal service.

Stephen Tingle

Greater Glasgow

AFTER a summer and autumn of the UK media’s saturation coverage of the Tory party leadership contests, it got me thinking. David Cameron announced in January 2013 that if the Tories won the next election, they would seek to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU, then give the British people the choice of staying in the EU on those new terms or leaving altogether.

Since then, the mainstream media’s obsession with all things Brexit, all things Tory and all things related to that narcissist demonic clown man has swamped the airwaves. Important matters of holding politicians to account for actually delivering policies for the betterment of the populous became peripheral.

There has been a constant barrage of those of an extreme right-wing persuasion (the swivel-eyed ones!), including these think-tank odd bods, forcing their views on the nation and not being properly challenged by reporters. This has led to the normalisation of extreme right-wing politics in England and given them a wholly undeserved respectability due to their takeover, in plain sight, of the Tory party.

What would have been totally unthinkable around 15 years ago is now the norm. Millions of families relying on food banks (and this winter, warm spaces) at the same time as 10% of the wealthiest families in the UK hold the majority of the wealth. A meek acceptance that via charity, those of modest incomes will help the poorest, while it’s absolutely unthinkable that comfortably off families pay more tax. I deliberately didn’t just mention the super-rich as I think all comfortably off folk, given the dire situation, should help out too.

The media, due to impartiality rules, can’t just state the bleeding obvious and declare this is due to Tory policies since 2010, full stop! Everything has to be debated with the same weight given to those that support this assault on those with the least as to those that say it is wholly unacceptable.

As for us up here in Scotland, Truss kept her word and totally ignored our First Minister. The English media didn’t give a damn, with some of them appearing to think it was a bit of a giggle. I sensed not just anti-Nicola/SNP sentiment but, to be honest, anti-Scottish feeling too!

I look forward to a proper Scottish media in an independent Scotland normalising the view that it’s a government’s duty to put policies in place to benefit everybody, not just cynically pretend to do so a la Johnson!

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

I REALLY should be writing my views on the current chaotic state of British politics and government, but there is something else I want to comment about.

When I read Richard Murphy’s viewpoint on Nicola’s latest paper presentation it disappointed me, as I always considered him to be a great asset to our movement as regards the economic side of it.

My knowledge of economics leaves a lot to be desired but he made my understanding of the GERS matter very clear.

Let me say that remarks by some in our movement of “TRAITOR” towards him should be utterly condemned. Lesley Riddoch’s column of October 22, like so many of hers before, provided me with clarity and insight on the matter.

Lesley says Richard is gold dust for our movement. She is also.

Bobby Brennan


THERE is much debate going on as to a Scottish currency, when to start, on independence or some period thereafter.

Nothing appears certain so it will continue to be a stick with which to beat us.

I feel that we must start to build certainty by knowing what the currency is called. To which end may I suggest that The National runs a vote for people to nominate their choice for the name of our future currency? When the winner is known, then all who voted for that name will have their names in a hat, and one drawn out to receive the first coin or note issued in the currency.

A first step but one needed to further our determination to run our country, not to have it run by a PM whom not one in 5,454,000 cast a vote for. Does “democracy lie dead in some corner of a foreign field”?

M Ross


THE Mother of Parliaments? Of democracy? What a farce.

A couple of hundred Tories are running this show, purely for their own gain, and the only ones who suffer are we – the people supposed to be represented by government.

I personally believe it’s time “the people” turned this situation around.

Perhaps a 24-hour strike by everyone to insist a General Election is called for?

This would bring the country to its knees and attract worldwide media attention to the farce that is Westminster.



I NOTICED the headlines on some of the London papers on TV, with the new Prime Minister quoted as telling the Conservatives to unite or die.

Was he advocating that they join the trade union previously known as the TGWU, now known as Unite?

In view of the economic prospects facing the country, that’s probably good advice – not expected from a Tory PM.

Drew Reid


I AM a retired Merchant Navy officer who worked for a P&O group company in the 1960s. In 1962, the company James Nourse ordered a large, fast, cargo ship, called Jumna, at Charles Connell’s shipyard on the Clyde.

That ship was 13,900 tonnes and was built and handed over in six months.

Compare this with the current state of the ferry contract at Ferguson’s in Port Glasgow, where two little ferries of

1690 tonnes are still languishing in the yard, five years late and probably four times the original contracted price.

As an SNP supporter, I am very annoyed at the utter incompetence of the awarding and non-completion of this contract, which has given the Tories an unarguable case with which to beat the Scottish Government. These small ferries would have been built in less than a year in the past.

There should be admission of fault and a clear-out of the incompetents who drew up, awarded and supervised this contract which has cost us so much financially and politically.

James Duncan


FOR the attention of DRoss, Stephen Kerr and all the other “ferry complainers”. The tube station at Bond Street, London, opened on October 24 – it was £570 million over budget and four years late.

It is part of the Elizabeth Line that went £4 billion over budget.

The ferries overspend and late arrival pales into insignificance when you look at the monies wasted in Westminster where even the newest battleship was unable to get past the Isle of Wight to take part in exercises and is now back into dry dock for the second time.

Winifred McCartney


“PARLIAMENT”: Term applied to a species of corvid. May also refer to a particularly greedy variety, e.g.: a Parliament of Crooks, nesting in Westminster (but also known for feathering their nests in offshore havens).

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In Scotland, we hear the cries emitted by the BritNat Nitwit, or “Vicar of Bray Drossling” – a particularly noisy creature that likes to stay put and seldom migrates to the House of Parliament where flocks of Braying Backbenchers drown out the cries of intrusive incomers.

The Drossling – also known in some areas as the Union Jackdaw or Arctic U-Tern – tends to flit around in ever-decreasing circles to the accompaniment of penetrating cries as it bores for Britain.

The Viewer’s Gallery at Holyrood comes highly recommended. (Westminster is for the birds).

James Stevenson