THANK you for some very rich fare in Monday’s edition from Neale Hanvey, George Kerevan, the Scottish Currency Group and Kirsty Strickland, to Dr John O’Dowd and his trenchant criticism of Tommy Sheppard in the letters page.

Much as I would like to comment on the other stories, I’d like to focus on Kirsty Strickland’s piece on the the widespread use of food banks and increasing need for “warm banks” in one of the richest countries in the world. She quotes the Trussell Trust’s ambition that “it doesn’t want its huge network of food banks and army of volunteers to become a permanent fixture … its vision is for a future where there is no need for food banks, where every family has the dignity and security that comes with knowing they can comfortably afford all of life’s essentials.”

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On page five Anas Sarwar is reported to be looking for the opportunity “to show you that change is possible, and that this isn’t as good as it gets … to show you that we can make the UK work for every corner of our country, including here in Scotland.”

To give effect to the Trussell Trust’s ambitions we most certainly need change, but how will that come about with the Scottish branch office of Keir Starmer’s don’t-rock-the-boat Labour Party?

Last year the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that in the UK in 2022 there were an estimated 3.8 million people suffering from destitution, including more than one million children, with destitution defined as the inability of people to afford to meet their basic needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed.

Then, in utter contrast, the Financial Times reported in the same month of October that the Financial Conduct Authority is to remove the ceiling on bankers’ bonuses (imposed when the UK was still a member of the EU) with the opportunity for the gangster bankers to earn bonuses of more than twice their annual salary. And all in an effort to improve the attractiveness of the City post-Brexit. Whatever became of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay? Is this the start of a return to the crazy days of TrussEconomics by stealth? Does this crazy clapped-out country learn nothing?

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Unfortunately Mr Sarwar’s lowly ambition is merely to get rid of this Tory government while most of us in the independence movement are ambitious for a new Scotland able to fulfill its full potential for generations yet to come.

But the Scottish Labour Party won’t help with our grand ambitions. The Red Tories have told us they are a party of the Union and presumably they’ll neither give up their tartan cash cow nor take responsibility for England having to stand on its own feet. Scotland’s democratic right? What’s that?

And they’ll huff and they’ll puff and wrap themselves up in more Union flags and remind us politely or otherwise that our pretendy parliament is a creature of Westminster’s Scotland Act and that the constitution is a reserved matter.

They might even resort to rolling out the Hon Member for Edinburgh South and wannabe Scottish Secretary (should he keep his seat) parading in his Union jaiket to remind us that no lesser beings than the Supreme Court have said so.

Instead of positively responding to the pleas of the branch manager, I respectfully suggest Scottish Labour members need to step up and grab their chance to reinstate the cherished values of Hardie, Maxton and their Red Clydeside heritage to say enough is enough, we want a Labour Party for Scotland, we want to represent common weal values that don’t exist south of the Border, we reject Starmer authoritarianism. We want a party that fights for social equity values, that rediscovers its vision and passion for the under-privileged rather than merely manages the vested interests of the shareholder class.

Richard Leonard MSP – remember him? He identifies as a socialist, democrat and internationalist but just as importantly, he was the main founder of the Keir Hardie Society. Wonder how he’s coping with the stark picture of the brokenness of Britain and its exaggeratedly lopsided society with its destitution v banking-prostitution dilemma?

More importantly, will the ordinary members stand up and be counted?

Iain Bruce