KEIR Starmer has been quoted as saying the programme implemented by an incoming Labour government would be like “Blair’s Clause IV on steroids”.

At a time when the performance of privatised services such as water, energy and rail is coming under increasing scrutiny, this seems like a rather peculiar marketing strategy.

Specifically, invoking the prospect of a New-Improved Labour government with the intention of appealing to Conservative-leaning voters, particularly when the current offering doesn’t have the advantage of Blair’s indisputable charisma, completely ignores the reality of politics north of the Border.

Labour voters in England may have little option but to keep putting crosses in their traditional box but it’s not clear why any Labour or potential Labour voter in Scotland would be attracted by the prospect of a Blairite administration.

Bearing in mind Blair’s failure to roll back his predecessor’s labour relations legislation, his commitment to maintaining privatised public services, his enforcement of the financially crippling PFI process on service providers and his over-enthusiasm for deregulation – not to mention participation in an illegal invasion of Iraq and all that resulted from that debacle – it doesn’t sound like a prospect that would attract voters from any party apart from the Conservatives.

All in all not a great help to Anas Sarwar in his quest to recruit disaffected SNP supporters. It will simply demonstrate that what may work for Labour in England may not be such a vote winner here.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay

WITH the UK economy growing by a derisory 0.1% between January and March and still very much the “sick man” of Europe, it is interesting to note what is happening in Ireland. That country has recently announced it is seeking to invest its bumper windfall receipts into a sovereign wealth fund which could be used to shore up public finances in the future, instead for day-to-day spending.

On the back of rocketing corporate tax receipts, the Irish government generated a surplus of more than £7 billion last year, despite spending on energy support packages and other measures.

The government expects this to swell further, with budget surpluses totalling over £57bn over the next four years, which could be used to tackle long-term pressures such as increasing pension demands.

While, without the full levers of independence, the ability to save such levels of funding is a dream for us in Scotland, some one-off monies such as the £700 million recently generated from the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round sale could be put aside.

Following independence, there is, of course, the potential to use oil and gas revenues to set up a sovereign wealth fund, mirroring Norway whose oil fund now stands at more than £1.1 trillion.

READ MORE: Ireland plan for sovereign wealth fund is ‘example for Scotland’

The Irish situation of a small and agile economy in the European Union, which has over the years broadened its focus away from a stagnating UK economy, may, dare I say it, prove an example to those of us north of the Border if we are brave enough to follow it.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

SATURDAY’S National reported that Kenny MacAskill was asking the UK Government to disclose whether missiles for Ukraine are being stockpiled in Scotland. Nuclear submarines and now the possibility of long-range cruise missiles stored in Ayrshire? Putin’s back is to the wall. Scotland, not Westminster, could be a prime target should the standard ploy of a deflection tactic be used in the US and UK’s proxy war against Russia.

An independent Scotland could lead an international campaign for world peace and equality.

The sooner the better.

Iain Thomson, Strathglass

I READ Alistair Ballantyne’s letter on Saturday about the very difficult subject of rape trials without juries which had been discussed on the BBC’s Drivetime programme.

Sadly the whole discussion, and Mr Ballantyne, seem to fail to recognise the true problem. The suggestion that of reported rape cases taken to trial only one in 100 results in a conviction is nonsense. Scottish Government figures for 2020/21, the most recent available, indicate that of the 2176 cases reported, only 152 went to trial. Of these 78 resulted in a conviction, a little over 50%.

Nothing to be particularly proud of, slightly more than for complex fraud cases. The real problem, and a very serious one, is why none of the other 2000 reports led to trials. This is where serious consideration and discussion is needed.

Turning the Scottish criminal justice system upside down is not going to help anyone, least of all the 2000 who have been left in the lurch, or appear to have been.

Branislav Sudjic Moulinarn, Perthshire

I NOTED your photograph on Friday which strikingly captured Labour’s branch office spokesperson Anas Sarwar in the full flow of his oratorial magnificence. Unfortunately, his spellbinding performance was marred when the camera simultaneously caught his colleague Jackie Baillie attempting to stick a finger in one ear. This admittedly tricky manoeuvre appeared to cause Jackie some slight difficulty but never mind, I for one knew what she meant.

Malcolm Cordell, Broughty Ferry

IT is amazing how, under the deluge of epithets for Great Britain, one finds a hidden gem. In The Independent, “Global Britain” was renamed “Globule Britain” by a perceptive writer down south.

When one considers the idiotic trip to Taiwan by Liz Truss, who has no nous whatsoever, where is James Cleverly? Who runs the Foreign Office? Globule indeed!

John Edgar, Kilmaurs