ALEXANDER Potts (Letters, Sep 21) claims that there is some kind of misconception of the SNP conference motion proposed by Humza Yousaf and seconded by Stephen Flynn. This is not the case. It is crystal clear that they intend to assume a majority of Westminster seats in 2024 as a mandate to negotiate for Scottish independence – even if a majority of Scottish voters have voted against the idea and the number of SNP MPs has actually reduced from the number elected in 2019.

There is no substantive evidence that Albert Einstein ever wrote or spoke the statement often attributed to him, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, however it nonetheless remains true.

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The SNP already have the vast majority of Westminster seats. They gained them in 2015, 2017 and again in 2019. An independence referendum has been rejected by five UK Prime Ministers and to suggest that we ask for the same again at the 2024 election is worse than pointless.

Only 50%+1 votes for the combined independence parties gives us the credibility to open negotiations to withdraw from the UK. If we do not achieve this, a potential 1.5 million Unionist voters cannot simply be ignored – much as we might like to. Many of them are our family, friends, workmates and neighbours.

A more cynical person than me might begin to suspect the real SNP strategy is to remain at Westminster for the foreseeable future, perhaps seeking representation in the House of Lords, while hoping and praying for a better result of some sort at the 2026 Scottish Parliament elections.

Brian Lawson

ARE we really supposed to be gullible enough to believe the reasons given by PM Sunak for his disastrous U-turns on the route to net zero? He wants us to believe that it is his concern for those suffering from the Tory-induced cost-of-living crisis.

It is no such thing. For every person suffering from the iniquitous interest-rate rises, there are almost certainly several in the Westminster government, including Sunak himself, who are benefitting from them through much increased dividends on their shares in oil, gas and other energy companies. Of course, it is likely not the ministers and MPs but their wives who hold the shares, so they are squeaky clean, just like the Aberdeenshire Tory whose wife apparently “earned” dividends of £2000!

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Therefore, when Sunak recently issued multiple new drilling licences, he would have been well aware that the extended production will continue to provide these higher dividends for several extra years while interest rates remain high – a windfall bonus in fact. Wisely, he then left his next self-serving U-turn for a few weeks, in the hope that we will have forgotten the first. Of course, the final target of 2050 will still be met, just as my bus will still get to Edinburgh at the planned time, even if the driver suddenly decides to stop for half an hour for a coffee and a fag on the way!

This naturally has nothing to do with personal enrichment or appeasing cronies and donors, it is altruism pure and simple, for which we ungrateful Scots should be thanking him. Aye right, and we came up the Clyde on bikes!

L McGregor

THE Scottish Child Payment could take some 400,000 children out of poverty. However, some parents will not investigate the possibility of taking advantage of the support being offered by the Scottish Government. Those children will miss out.

Danny Dorling, a professor at Oxford University, has analysed the effect of the this payment, and advises that it could mean Scots children not going hungry at Christmas, based on the £25 per week per child up to the age of 16.

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The readers of this publication may not need to apply for this benefit, but perhaps they may know someone who does, perhaps a younger family member.

If we, readers, can help just a few of these families that miss out, by contacting our families and broadcasting the offer by Social Security Scotland or the Child Protection Action Group (both have websites which can help guide the applicant through the process), this surely would be of benefit to our society as a whole.

Winter approaches and this will help.

Alistair Ballantyne

GRANT Shapps claims inheritance tax is “punitive and deeply unfair” as the Tories float plans to cut it. They’ve even copied the US Republicans in branding it a “death tax”.

Of course, he doesn’t say to whom this tax that raises more than £7 billion a year is deeply unfair. Fewer than 4% of estates pay it, so he’s saying it’s unfair to the wealthiest when they are already taxed at less than half the tax rate of the least well-off – 21.5% vs 44% (according to Richard Murphy's Tax Wealth Report 2024).

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Nor does he mention that £7 billion would fund an inflation-matching increase for 12.5 million UK pensioners or a full pay rise for all of the UK’s doctors.

And he doesn’t remind us that King Charles, one of the wealthiest people in England, paid no inheritance tax on his private wealth after his mother’s death, thanks to Tory PM John Major, who thought it was important to protect the “independence of the monarchy”.

The Tories always side with the wealthy against the workers, which is why they’ve been destroying the post-war welfare state. And Starmer’s Labour Party sides with the Tories, insisting there’s no money left so we’ll just have to accept more austerity, poverty, inequality and crumbling public services.

When is Scotland going to wake up and extricate itself from this unholy mess?

Leah Gunn Barrett