THERE is a “stench” around the Holyrood parliament and it is the obnoxious stench of hypocrisy emanating from the opposition benches.

While the holier-than-thou words of Jackie Bailie and Craig Hoy echo the politically-contrived comments of their superficial leaders, Anas Sarwar and Douglas Ross, both selectively choose to ignore the actions of their own parties.

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If Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP Scottish Government had been intent on hiding information relating to decisions around combatting the Covid pandemic from the people of Scotland, they would have adopted the same approach as the Labour Party in Wales and would not have set up a separate public inquiry in addition to the UK Covid Inquiry.

If Scotland had been an independent country, it would not have been compelled to act within a structure and policies dictated by a grossly negligent Tory UK Government that had run down the NHS in the ideological pursuit of privatisation. This folly alone robbed NHS hospitals of thousands of beds (25,000 since 2010) and diminished emergency supplies to an unacceptable level (made even worse by awarding contracts worth billions of pounds to cronies who produced unusable PPE that had to be bonfired) while Brexit substantially cut already critical staffing levels.

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When Anas Sarwar finally decided to speak out against the Sunak-Starmer political axis in calling for an Israel-Palestine ceasefire, it was only after he made the opportunist calculation that sufficient numbers of activists, councillors and mayors (including Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham) had either resigned, or spoken out, to avoid direct confrontation with his boss. This cynical politics, which sees the party in Scotland overwhelmingly back Gender Recognition Reform one minute then turn mute the next minute, undermines faith in the democratic process, which is not progressed when the self-proclaimed “people’s party” refuses to back the democratic legitimacy of the Scottish Parliament to conduct a referendum in accordance with the right of the people of Scotland to self-determination.

We all want justice for bereaved families whether in Scotland, Israel or Palestine, but duplicitous politicians who quickly abandon their principles when faced with seemingly popular opposition, or with the disapproval of their bosses (perhaps devoid of sincere principles themselves), will eventually betray all of us if we don’t look beyond their words and misleading media headlines.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

IT has just been announced that the Bank of England will hold the base interest rate steady at 5.25%. This is no surprise since mini-me UK follows the US Fed’s lead.

But hold off on the champagne. The Bank’s successive interest rate hikes haven’t cooled inflation as Andrew Bailey claimed they would. That’s because inflation wasn’t ignited by excess consumer demand, but by energy, food and commodity price volatility which is outside the influence of monetary policy.

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Instead, the Bank’s interest-rate policies have engineered a recession. Credit has become costlier and harder to get, businesses and consumers are spending less, demand for goods and services has tanked, investment has shrivelled and joblessness has risen.

What the Bank should have announced is a rate cut as well as an end to its policy of quantitative tightening, which is only making matters worse by raising market rates further, compounding the misery for households and businesses.

And the UK Government should increase public-sector pay to compensate for inflation losses and increase taxes on wealth, currently undertaxed by £170 billion per year. A government that taxes income at 33% but increases in wealth at just 4.1% shows where its priorities lie.

The impoverishment of the UK is proceeding as planned, as the wealthy establishment elites become ever richer. When will Scotland, Westminster’s cash cow, summon the nerve to walk away from this disastrous union?

Leah Gunn Barrett

FOR once in my life I agree with Gordon Brown, who appears to set out a great case for independence for Scotland. Yes, Scotland does have too much politics, the Tories have created that with their UKGOV office in Scotland interfering in devolved matters, creating division.

READ MORE: Gordon Brown think tank says Scotland has had ‘too much politics’

The Labour Party have indicated they will continue this assault on devolution should they win the next General Election and I am pretty confident we will not hear Gordon Brown arguing the case for the end of this unwanted carbuncle of right-wing government in Scotland, set up to restrict the ability of the duly elected government of Scotland to represent the wishes of her citizens.

We could be rid of MPs entirely with independence, instantly resolving his dilemma without the need for all his research papers trying to find ways to hold Scotland back from prosperity and democracy that has given his life meaning since his hasty exit from his role as leader of a failed political party and shortlived role as Prime Minister.

Christine Smith

I MUST comment on the following sentence in Hamish’s otherwise excellent piece on Halloween (Oct 31): “Trick or treat, for instance, is a relatively recent newcomer to Scotland, where its predecessor was the centuries-old practice of guising.”

I am most surprised by this ipso facto acceptance of this gross Americanisation of our culture. Guisers who come to our door and utter that alien phrase are kept there till they ken whit they are there for, that is when they realise they are there for their Halloween.

I wish all Scots were more rigorous about resisting Americanisms.

Willie Oswald