Letters: Labour has given up on fight for social justice

Scotland's only Labour MP Ian Murray 'sided with the Tories'. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Scotland's only Labour MP Ian Murray 'sided with the Tories'. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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It is beyond comprehension that Labour’s last MP from Scotland, Ian Murray, abstained on July 20 rather than vote against the latest round of Tory welfare cuts, particularly as 67,000 disabled people in Scotland will lose up to £1500 a year.

The Resolution Foundation says that more than two-thirds of the families affected by the welfare cuts will be in work and that families with two children will lose up to £1690 a year.

In addition, almost two-thirds of the Tory cuts will be borne by the poorest 30 per cent of households and almost none of the cuts would fall upon the richest 40 per cent of households.

Ian Murray’s ‘green’ credentials are also in tatters as he failed to vote on July 14 against George Osborne’s climate change levy cuts to the renewables sector, which will disproportionately hit Scottish businesses.

During the election campaign Ian Murray made a big thing about his ‘anti-Trident’ stance, but it turns out he’s never voted on that either.

Labour used to fight for social justice and the poorest in society and we didn’t elect MPs just to abstain on big issues.

Mrs Janice Thompson, Walter Scott Avenue, Edinburgh

SNP are all mouth and no trousers

Martin Hannan’s column (News, July 21) sets out a perfectly plausible set of circumstances regarding dual nationality in the event of the neverendum wearing us down into separation.

It set me thinking, though – what defines nationality? I think four major areas.

First – language. We all speak English (though the SNP foist Gaelic on us on their documents despite it (a) never having been spoken in most of the population centres and (b) is only spoken by 40-odd thousand people).

Second – culture. I have more in common with my mate from Bolton than with a crofter in Skye or a Peterhead fisherman. Go to any town from Stirling down to Luton and you find the same shops, pubs, clubs, sports as here.

Third – customs. Well, here we do have a distinct difference – though again, the tartan and bagpipes thing is, if one is honest, alien to most of the population’s background and only prevalent at weddings etc (I include myself in that).

Finally – history. Scotland has been inextricably linked to the rest of Britain, not since 1707 but since 1603. The royal family is as Scottish as it is English Welsh or Irish. Bruce had estates all over Britain – as did the Comyns.

I could produce a blank map of the British Isles and draw various borders between Scotland and England over many hundreds of years.

Mr Hannan, your SNP party is currently on the crest of a wave, though I fail to see why. The state of teaching, hospitals and the single police farce (sorry, force), all the responsibility of Holyrood, leave a lot to be desired and their silence on the issues that Labour’s manifesto highlighted – zero hours contracts, upper band income tax, mansion tax coupled with the continuing fable that the council tax freeze does good to all equally when millionaires have saved many thousands of pounds through it, is deafening.

The SNP contingent at Westminster is in a no-lose comfort zone. They can make Scotland’s voice heard loud and long, knowing damn fine that the Tories’ majority will leave their rhetoric precisely what it is – hot air aimed at appearing to be the voice of Scotland.

Where they can change things for the better – at Holyrood – I’m afraid they are all mouth and no trousers.

Ian Hunter, Penicuik

Westminster should rethink over Syria

The UK government is under fire for allowing British armed forces to take part in military operation in Syria.

It will be remembered that a vote by MPs in August 2013 refused to allow military action there.

Now matters have changed dramatically and President Assad of Syria needs help in halting the advance of the terrorist group Isis.

Some MPs are making political capital by demanding explanations in parliament, but politicians are now on holiday and do not return until September 7 and then it is conference time from September 17 to October 12 – a total of 75 days.

Is it too much to expect politicians to demand an immediate recall of parliament to discuss Syria and the elimination of Isis or is this crisis not serious enough to spoil their taxpayer-funded holidays?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Trams look better without advertising

When I read about the proposed plan to put advertising on trams I had to look at the calender to check the date because I was sure it was an April fool’s joke.

I honestly can’t believe that anyone would propose such a thing. The trams look very smart and to plaster adverts over them will make them look cheap and nasty.

Your artist’s impression shows the adverts not only covering the tram but also the windows, which is utterly ridiculous.

I was once on a bus which had an advert on it, including the window, and it was impossible to look out the window because of the strain on the eyes caused by the black dots covering the window.

A partially sighted person complained that she couldn’t make out where she was because it was impossible for her to see out.

Needless to say, the people coming up with this stupid idea don’t travel by public transport.

Charmaine Lamont, Magdalene Avenue, Edinburgh