THE New York Times this week reported that poverty among children more than doubled in the United States last year, as living costs rose and many federal pandemic aid programmes ended. Things are not going much better here in the US mini-me, the UK.

The Tories plan to compel up to a million people who currently can’t work due to disability or mental health problems to find jobs, requiring them to work from home. Doing what, exactly? Telesales or admin in which cases a computer, computer skills and a phone are required? The end result will be more people stripped of their benefits and a rise in an already obscene level of poverty in a nation that considers itself wealthy.

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The latest ONS data shows unemployment among men has risen sharply. That’s just what the Bank of England wanted to achieve with its purely arbitrary 2% inflation target. What does Andrew Bailey, raking in more than £500k a year, care that hundreds of thousands of people – Wilco’s 12,000 employees are the latest casualties – are left not only without work but without hope?

The underfunding of the NHS has impacted millions more who are not getting the care they need to be healthy enough to work.

The Guardian reported that just half the required number of secondary teachers have been recruited in England and that a third of medical students intend to quit the NHS after two years because of low pay and lousy conditions. The neoliberal plan to lay waste to public services and the remnants of the UK welfare state is going to plan.

Wake up, Scotland, and get out before it’s too late.

Leah Gunn Barrett

RECENTLY there was a series of tweets attacking Sara Salyers, Salvo and Why or how it began I don’t know, but it seemed to me unprovoked and pointless.

Unless of course the point was to discourage the Scottish people from the process of decolonising their minds!

The absolutely critical issue for those of us who are serious about independence is to build and strengthen our unity.

There are those among us just now who argue that the SNP have been completely compromised by the behaviour of their leadership and cannot be persuaded onto a different path.

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I disagree, because I know many fine people who have built up SNP branches and who perhaps feel that leaving would be to abandon ship.

There are others arguing that approaches to the UN or International Court of Justice about breaches to the Treaty of Union would be fruitless. Again I disagree, because I believe that any form of international highlighting of our independence struggle is valuable. It is not, as some claim, leading people up the garden path.

The work that has been done by Sara Salyers and Alf Baird in highlighting Scotland’s colonial status has been invaluable.

We need all independence strategies to be respected and to be brought alongside in unity.

As a lifelong communist I have never been in a political party that envisaged the electoral route as the only way. As an Alba member I struggle to find unity with those who disparage liberation movements. But unity must be built and developed, and we all learn from each other’s thinking.

As someone who was part of the anti-apartheid struggle and closely allied to the ANC and South African family activists in the struggle internally, I know the efforts there were to build unity between the African, Indian, mixed-origin and white communities. It was a mammoth task while the South African reactionaries and their European and US mates were doing everything to keep people apart.

We need to learn from these struggles.

As Uncle Joe said, “Guard your unity like the apple of your eye!”

Maggie Chetty

WE had the return of some form of normality at Westminster on Wednesday with the first “Scottish Questions” of the new session of parliament. With this return, I realised how much I had missed

the monthly shenanigans – shenanigans that continue to hear the Conservatives at Westminster try to defend the indefensible. But for me, it was staggering to see the Labour front-bench MP Gerald Jones taking the floor to challenge the Conservatives’ record on child poverty!

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Quite staggering from Labour’s front bench, considering we have a commitment from Labour, should they win the next Westminster election, to continue the cruel Conservative “third-child cap” on benefits. But as usual with Labour, it did not stop there. Labour MP Mary Glindon had the audacity to suggest that Scotland deserved a change of government at Holyrood and Westminster.

It would do Ms Glindon well to remember that Scotland’s SNP government has been democratically returned since 2007. Regarding a change of government at Westminster, with the policies being portrayed by the Labour Party, it will certainly be more of the same should Labour win the next election. But let us not forget, Scotland has never voted Conservative since the mid-1950s and is unlikely to do so any time soon.

Catriona C Clark

MY Tuesday night was spoiled before a ball was kicked, first by the maudlin, dirge-like pub howl which is NOT our national anthem, then when the Scottish team ran out in Union red, white and navy blue, and the English – shortly to prove themselves the much better team – in sky blue and white top and royal blue shorts. What the **** is the SFA playing at?!

As we expect Scotland to qualify for Europe, the SFA have time to come up with a decent strip in our national colours – sky blue/azure and white.

David Roche