Readers' Letters: Angela Rayner's 'scum' jibe - we expect better from politicians

Since 2020 our politics had become more polarised and now even the word "scum” has become an adjective of political discourse.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 7:00 am
Angela Rayner says she stands by calling Boris Johnson 'scum'

Sadly it is not the first time. I have heard Tory voters refer to immigrants as scum – unsurprising given the years of propaganda in the right-wing press which described European immigrants as scroungers, taking our jobs, crowding our surgeries.

Now at last, in the present crisis, we are forced to face reality. The truth is that our economy needed most of these hard-working people.

I hope that all parties come to an agreement that calling opponents “scum”, or “rabble”, and having threats which begin with the 'F' word just dangerously heightens temperatures.

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Politicians on all sides, must be called out for any racist or intemperate statements they make. Kettles must stop calling pots black. The racism of the Corbynistas was as deplorable as the abusive grandstanding of the present Tory leader.

Now that the government is exposed to a winter of discontent which will undermine any claims they have made for political wisdom, politics is back on a level playing field in which Labour will no longer find it so difficult to be heard.

Adjectives which help voters see through the charm of Boris Johnston so that his undeserved halo looks tarnished are certainly useful.

But the word "scum” will rightly rebound on the user, even if it does challenge some perceptions.

We expect better from all our politicians than we have been getting in this era.

Andrew Vass, Edinurgh

Naive stance

Labour's UK deputy leader, Angela Rayner, may feel she looks gutsy in standing by her abusive comments about Boris Johnson but, in so doing, she displays a worrying naivety.

Labour needs to win back disenfranchised floating Scottish voters who've deserted the party for the SNP, Greens and Tories. I'm no fan of Boris Johnson, but unapologetically using gutter language won't help Labour secure the numerous Scottish seats it so desperately needs.

Martin Redfern, Melrose

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Failure to invest

Jill Stephenson (Letters, 27 September) asks readers to compare the state of ferry services in Scandinavia with Scotland but fails to mention that Norway and Denmark invested their oil and gas revenues on infrastructure, modernising their shipyards and invested heavily in renewable energy manufacturing.

Successive UK governments failed to invest the hundreds of billions gained from Scotland’s oil and gas revenues in Scotland, preferring to hand out tax cuts and only invested in infrastructure in the South East of England. No ferries operating from English ports were built in the UK and independent Ireland has 40 weekly direct sailings to Europe whereas Scotland has no car ferry to Europe.

Using Scotland’s oil revenues, Labour had 18 years to nationalise strategic industries or set up a national energy company and Sir Keir Starmer has ruled out nationalisation. Under Ofgem, Scotland’s renewable industries pay the highest grid connection charges in Europe and double that of our nearest competitors in Northern England.

Scotland produces four times the amount of gas we use and exports vast amounts of electricity, oil, food and drink. Scotland has the potential to become Europe’s leader in renewable energy and 22,660 jobs are already supported by our green energy.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh