I JUST watched a video where Carol Vorderman detailed the level of corruption in the current government and especially the “Covid fast track” scam. Ms Vorderman pointed out that fraud against the taxpayer had more than doubled during the time Sunak was chancellor. Fraudulent DWP claims were a drop in the bucket compared to the giveaways as a result of the Covid fast track scam run by Boris Johnson.

We are being stunned senseless as Labour morph into a one-nation “Tory lite” party for whom the only nation is England and whom Chris Law correctly described as one of “two cheeks of the same arse” in Westminster.

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While the top 5% get richer thanks to tax cuts and tax law changes, the rest of us pay the penalty. Scotland is starved of cash via Barnett calculations based on the ever-reducing spend on English welfare, NHS and much else.

The cloth-eared, monotone Labour MP for Scotland whines much about Tory austerity yet blames the situation in Scotland on the SNP. The problem for the SNP is they have no control over the Westminster magic money tree, which can find an estimated £6 billion in giveaways to non-existent companies for PPE and England’s “test and trace” system but has cut the DWP and NHS England budget, in real terms, year on year for the last decade and more.

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It seems the same magic money tree can also chuck billions at the arms industry for a new infantry fighting vehicle which still is not fit for purpose and new ballistic missile submarines which are going to be more than ten years late when or if they are commissioned. In the meantime the current ballistic submarines are now a bit soggy and leaky at the seams and are being given operational life extensions, at a cost of £7 billion, to keep a “UK” deterrent at sea until the mid 2030s.

According to the Tories the “country” is struggling to pay universal pension increases, afford a publicly paid for and provided health service, help 20% of children out of poverty or at least ensure they get one warm meal a day.

Remind me, just how much are the Buckingham and Westminster palace rebuilds going to cost the UK taxpayer and why this Union is so beneficial to Scotland?

Peter Thomson

THANK you David Pratt for the excellent article in Thursday’s National. You have highlighted a concern that I have had for some time about the insularity surrounding much of the independence debate. In the modern world we have to accept that we are part of the greater whole, whether we like it or not. The world is full of dangers for a small independent country and we need alliances in order to cope with these political and economic challenges which Scotland would be bound to face.

Foremost in the thinking of the independence movement is ridding Scotland of the nuclear weapons based on the Clyde. Perhaps in the face of aggressive nations like Russia trying to justify invasion of a peaceful country like Ukraine, we should revisit the wisdom of this policy. Ukraine got rid of nuclear weapons in the belief that it would be protected from invasion. I wonder how many Ukrainians now regret that decision. Would Russia have invaded that country if it too had nuclear arms?

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It is in the face of such international events that Scots must consider their future after independence. Throughout the last century America has had an increasingly important role in maintaining world stability. We may not always like what the USA does, but we have to accept that as a world leader with its involvement in Nato it is an important country to have as an ally. We must also be aware that Washington may well want to relinquish this role in the future and we need to be aware of the power vacuum that would be left and how that would affect us.

It’s all very well relying on EU membership to solve our problems but it too would bring challenges and difficulties. Membership means taking part and bringing something positive to the table in Brussels. Have we thought about what we have to take? Is the EU just going to be nice to us because we have been nice to them, or is there more to joining up and following the dictates of Brussels whether we like them or not?

Yes, independence is essential for Scotland’s future. But it is independence in a very real and harsh world. In order to be ready for the new order we seek for our country, we must be aware of the world we live in and how we must relate to it. Thank you David Pratt for bringing this to our attention, and please don’t stop repeating it until every Scot is aware.

Angus Shaw

I HAVE long considered Jackie Baillie to be a caricature of a proper politician and therefore welcomed Alastair Gordon’s caustic tone regarding the Dame (Website comments, Sep 13).

I found it heartening that I am apparently not the only one annoyed that Sarwar’s Labour Party branch considers her worthy of a high-ranking position.

Either I am missing something regarding Baillie’s abilities, or Sarwar believes there is no-one any better on Labour’s benches. Or, as they say, best of a bad bunch. If so, that is a pretty scathing estimation of the others.

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However, I do have one minor issue with Alastair’s description of Baillie as being “a political opportunist of the lowest standing”. I believe this to be a slur upon political opportunists everywhere, who generally have depths to which even they will not sink.

I say this recalling Baillie’s despicable attempts to draw parallels between the administration of a Scottish NHS hospital and the administration of the hospital where serial baby-killer Lucy Letby was employed.

Equally despicable is the fact that Baillie’s boss Anas Sarwar appears to condone this type of sub-gutter politics, which goes way beyond petty political point-scoring and debases and demeans the status of our parliament.

Malcolm Cordell
Broughty Ferry, Dundee