TWO items in the Sunday National prompted reflection. First, the item on Michael Shanks, Labour candidate for Rutherglen and Hamilton West; and second, John Drummond’s column in Seven Days (Britain – a country with its future firmly behind it, Sep 3).

Shanks admitted he did not vote Labour in 2019. As Labour were led into that election by Jeremy Corbyn, I’m sure that can only stand in his favour in Starmer’s version of the party. Corbyn looked like the only chance for meaningful change in UK politics for at least 40 years, which obviously could not be allowed to happen – hence Starmer, to keep the UK safe for the wealthy 1%.

READ MORE: New Rutherglen by-election candidate pledges to 'only take average worker's salary'

If I remember right, one opinion poll asked the public their opinions on Corbyn’s actual policies, one by one, without mentioning names or parties. Every one of them had popular support. Interestingly, I just saw a report that a poll in the USA asked what people thought of the various policies proposed by the prospective Republican candidates for presidential nomination, and a clear majority were opposed to every one of them! Of course at this stage the Republicans are only talking to themselves.

The USA is another country clinging to a first-past-the-post system, with staggering inequality, like the UK.

I also remember in 1997 a colleague remarked that he had overheard retired miners in a Glenrothes pub saying that whatever Blair and Brown were saying up to the election, “just wait till they’re elected, then we’ll see some socialism.” At the time I was depressingly conscious of everything they were carefully not saying. At least I wasn’t disappointed or disillusioned by what followed, but what sort of politics is it that deliberately allows the electorate no hope?

Robert Moffat

WAS there a need for movement on the famous “green benches”? A question that arises as the new sessions get under way at Westminster and Holyrood.

The three main parties at Westminster (Conservatives, Labour and the SNP) have all undergone changes. First we had some changes to the Conservative benches, albeit forced upon the PM due to yet another resignation. This was followed by Sir Keir Starmer promoting some and demoting others to present what he hopes will be his team for government. This was swiftly followed by a reshuffle of the SNP front bench. All this before a meeting of parliament has even taken place!

READ MORE: Chris Bryant brought onto Labour frontbench by Keir Starmer

What have voters to read into those events? Is there more to it? Do we need to dig deeper? Digging deeper reveals that the PM Rishi Sunak has come under severe attack from within in recent days regarding his leadership, and the same can be said of Sir Keir Starmer. On Monday he got a rather raw message as one of his shadow cabinet resigned (Dr Rosena Allin-Khan).

Regarding the SNP changes, leader Stephen Flynn has only been leader of the SNP at Westminster since December and he has been taking stock, so a reshuffle was on the cards on the SNP benches.

Looking at the bigger picture, it is not only a shift in personnel that is required on the government’s green benches, it is a massive shift in government policy if we are to survive the onslaught of winter that is to follow.

Catriona C Clark

THE SNP do not need the Green Party to deliver on climate change. What the public need is a practical plan for tackling climate change with joined-up collective solutions.

Having two Green Party ministers has created a problem, with many SNP/Green policies not at all popular with the public. The proposed new legislation on Energy Performance Certificates, gender recognition reforms, Highly Protected Marine Areas and the Deposit Return Scheme all have limited public support and are badly thought out or not able to be implemented.

READ MORE: Laughter as MSPs forget Nicola Sturgeon isn't First Minister anymore

The Greens are more focused on imposing massive costs on individual households, and those already struggling with the cost of living who can least afford it. No wonder they are not popular with the public. This is contributing to why some have left the SNP, and the Scottish Government have lost some support due to the Greens’ lack of creditability in the public’s eyes. “If I had wanted to vote Green, I would have” – a lot of people feel this way.

SNP/Greens have fallen into the devolution trap, believing that democracy would mean something to the British government. Our indyref in 2014 was the one and only chance we are ever likely to get, and whenever did democracy mean anything to the British?

Devolution? What has that got to do with our independence? We need to take our independence back like all the other countries have done.

READ MORE: Charity warns MPs of 5000 excess deaths caused by cold homes last year

Whether the Greens like it or not – and for the time being of course, and probably for the next 50 years – Scotland needs the oil and gas revenue, it remains an important part of Scotland’s income. Energy is not devolved to Scotland and for some time there has been a lack of the huge investment required towards achieving that “just transition” of creating as many jobs in the renewables sector as there are currently in oil and gas.

The Greens minister for zero-carbon buildings has said that no form of hydrogen should be used for heat, or cooking, and we must all buy heat pumps. The Greens also believe hydrogen shouldn’t be used in cars. The idea of an all-electric, private, and part-foreign-owned monopoly should ring a loud warning bell!

Where I stay, power cuts are common – just imagine thousands of properties cut off for days with no alternative heating. For the elderly, and disabled, and families with young children, a dangerous prospect. It’s just crazy that any government would even consider such proposals.

Michael Maclennan