I’VE never been a trade unionist, but I know that it was trade union actions that forced wages up for everyone over the years. Therefore, I was delighted by the comment from Jim Malone of the Dundee Trade Union Group recently when he stated that Labour leader Keir Starmer is “part of a shady conspiracy” (Starmer ‘working in shadows against Scottish democracy’, The National, April 20).

The reality is finally sinking in that UK Labour will do anything to keep Scotland and its workers down. Even by supporting Tory policies.

That first 2000-strong Scotland United rally in George Square in the early 1990s to demand a Scottish parliament was under the auspices of the STUC and had (if I remember correctly) general secretary Campbell Christie and deputy Bill Spiers as speakers (with a young Tommy Sheridan around the corner addressing a few score from some office steps). They were instrumental in bringing me and many others into the heart of politics from the inert sidelines for the first time.

While it is an admirable quality to express solidarity with English “comrades” – as many in Scottish Labour do by wishing to remain in the UK – the fickle English workers of the so-called “red wall” who en masse voted Tory and gave Boris Johnson a huge majority might temper that solidarity somewhat.

Those “red wallers” demonstrate that while Scotland is subservient to England, we will never be free of the unenlightened, grasping entitlement of successive Tory governments. Attlee, Wilson/Callaghan, Blair/Brown, all were deposed when England deserted democratic socialism for feudal forelock-tugging.

So why do some in the Scottish Labour movement still support the Union and empire when they have given us only de-industrialisation, exploitation and grief? Do they expect a different outcome the next time history shows us our inevitable fate if we stay in the Union? Why do they expect Starmer and his North British placeholder Sarwar (who can be fired in an instant like so many other Scottish leaders when they fail to toe the English line) to be different “next time”?

Like England’s Mick Lynch, might a leader like the RMT’s Scottish organiser, Gordon Martin (who commented in an article in the same edition of the National) be prepared to step up and lead the trade unionists of Scotland? He’s a Yesser, member of no political party, and sounds like he’s up for a fight.

Because the only way for a Scotland that hasn’t voted Tory at a General Election since 1959, to be free of treacherous Westminster Tory governments (are Labour now all that different?) is to be independent and fully free of the UK.

For the workers. For the people. For Scotland.

Alan Laird


RECENT commentators have noted that given the UK’s appalling growth figures we are the economic “sick man” of Europe, hurtling back to the 1970s. While we can indeed appropriately boast this label, with the UK predicted to be one of the worst-performing economies this year, it is rather an insult to the 1970s to describe this current financial situation as heading back to those days.

The 1970s were an economic golden age when compared with the economic mire we are currently in, with economic growth eclipsing the situation currently. Our economic woes are set to worsen further as the EU and US pump trillions of pounds into green technologies.

The US is spending more than £310 billion on subsidies and tax incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act, and the EU is pledging to looking at following suit. In contrast, the UK’s response to this has been derisory, and several British manufacturers are now considering investing in the US given the billions on offer to support electric vehicles and green energy companies.

The UK equivalent of an Inflation Reduction Act is desperately required, allowing the UK to compete with the US and the EU. If we fail to achieve that, we will continue to fall even further behind as companies look to more appealing overseas investment opportunities.

Alex Orr