THE Tories have been in government since 2010.

One academic study estimates that more than 330,000 excess deaths in Great Britain between 2012 and 2019 were the direct consequence of Tory austerity policies in that period.

Over the last 13 years of Tory government there has been a resurgence in maladies common in Victorian England – like tuberculosis, whooping cough and malnutrition. Cases of scurvy in the UK doubled between 2010 and 2020.

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In July, a YouGov poll of more than 2000 people found more that 10% had attempted “DIY dentistry” because they couldn’t afford an NHS dentist or they couldn’t register with an NHS dentist.

So it’s a bit rich for Penny Mordaunt – sword-carrying Leader of the Commons and Royal Navy Reserve cosplayer – to condemn Scottish cities as rat-infested places where “Victorian diseases” flourish.

The vermin which have facilitated the rise of “Victorian diseases” across the UK are called Tories.

Sasha Simic

IT seems that George Osborne’s austerity chickens are coming home to roost. From understaffing in the NHS, the police, and apparently the prison service, to the largest local authority in Europe coming close to bankruptcy, it feels as though this country is akin to somewhere in the third world.

I thought that things were bad enough when we had a serial liar for a Prime Minister, but we now have senior people in the Tory party using industrial language as commonplace. In their arrogance these people seem to think they deserve our respect, but that is something which has to be earned and they really are not going very far along that road. They are incredibly privileged and should really be setting a good example to others.

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Does anyone else see inconsistency in the way that there are repeated government statements about no more money being available to settle pay claims and yet it is proposed that the amount of compensation payable to MPs who lose their seat at an election should be doubled? Is this because the Tory party expects to lose a substantial number of seats at the next election? Snouts and troughs come to mind.

Monica Wells
Deskford, Moray

A GOOD letter from Andy Anderson in Friday’s National. I also would like to see some constitutional crisis – beyond the legal capacity of our governing party’s ability to foment, due to its fealty to Westminster.

Jim Finlayson’s long letter on Friday included a challenge which I think is well worth rising to.

The answer to both lies in the so-called Scottish Constitutional Convention (SCC).

Believe in Scotland propose that a double majority (seats and vote share) is a mandate for negotiations on independence to begin and that, failing Westminster’s acquiescence to that process, a Scottish Constitutional Convention is mandated to progress matters via the UN if necessary.

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I disagree with the sequence.

The last SCC was convened in 1989, towards establishing a devolved parliament in Holyrood. It included political parties except the Tories, and the SNP withdrew when it became clear that independence was not for discussion.

It may be that the construction of a broad-based SCC would be rather contentious. So I would much rather see its creation up front, to get its formulation sorted ahead of the General Election.

For a start, no organisation should be invited to participate unless it is fully headquartered in Scotland (well, we do want a constitutional crisis, don’t we?). That would obviously allow for Scottish-based trade unions, religions, charities, local authorities, educational authorities etc but necessarily bar any political party based outside Scotland.

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The SCC could initially be tasked with agreeing an action plan in the event of a majority of seats and in the event of a majority of votes. Delegates would be aware that they would be called upon to act only in the event of an undemocratic response from Westminster.

What a fillip that would be for the independence vote. Imagine the response from all and sundry, when they know that a vote for a party that favours independence is a meaningful vote – a vote for independence. Imagine how Westminster would react, especially when they see voting intentions for Yes skyrocket. Don’t rule out that Section 30 order yet!

Alan Adair

FIRST there were allegations that Russian money had been influential in the General Election, and now the Chinese are allegedly at the heart of UK Government.

It has, however, been widely reported for years that in China the government is dictatorial, controls elections and is unpopular.

Their parliamentarians are more remote from the population than ours, as the Chinese parliament has about twice as many members as the UK Parliament but the population is 20 times greater than that of the UK.

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The Chinese are probably trying to find out how the Tories manage to maintain massive popular support in the UK, where more than half of the members of parliament are unelected life members and the governing party is usually from about a third of the elected members.

In addition, the Prime Minster is not chosen by either the people or the parliament – whoever happens to be leader of the largest elected party is invited by the monarch to become prime minister and in turn personally chooses a 30-strong Cabinet, from elected and unelected members, with so much power that it can act as it sees fit on all matters.

The UK Government’s ability to suppress information for months or even years is legendary and its ability to release or leak information at a beneficial time is possibly unique. The Chinese have a lot to learn from the UK Government.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry