Readers' letters: Labour right to worry about Scotland

Ian Murray admits Labour is nervous to talk about Scotland (News, 27 September). For good reason.

Not only does Starmer oppose ditching first past the post with a more democratic proportional voting system, but he also stubbornly won’t concede that Scots have a right to choose whether to govern themselves or continue with the current failing union.

The UK’s biggest trade union, Unison, together with Unite, ASLEF, CWU, TSSA and over 80 per cent of local party delegates support a proportional voting system.

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The UK and Belarus are the only two European countries using the undemocratic first past the post system, and Starmer sees nothing wrong with this.

Sir Keir and Murray distrust democracy. How else to explain their condemnation of RMT leader Mick Lynch, who has led an enormously effective campaign for a living wage for his members?

The RMT has opposed the Labour Party for the last 20 years because it has failed to stand with and advocate for working people.

Labour has become a deeply conventional British establishment party, where delegates at the conference were forced to sing “God Save the King” instead of the traditional working-class anthem, “The Red Flag.”

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The sixth verse of the former reads: "Lord grant that Marshal Wade, May by thy mighty aid, Victory bring. May he sedition hush, And like a torrent rush, Rebellious Scots to crush, God Save the King."

We have been crushed in this disastrous political union, which is why we must end it.

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Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

EU citizens deserve a proper democracy

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It is surely a tragedy for the West that the EU Parliament does not have the decision-making powers of a real parliament. It is merely a scrutinising chamber like the House of Lords.

The decision-making body for the EU is the Commission, which is a small group of appointees, including its President, Mrs von der Leyen, a former German politician and an old friend of Angela Merkel.

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If the Parliament had been in charge, perhaps the sluggish response of the EU to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014 and of Ukraine itself this year would have been quite different, perhaps even determined and forceful instead of compromised and compliant.

Poland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic warned Germany that it was becoming too reliant on Russian gas years ago. Likewise, the US objected to the Nord Stream gas pipelines from the very start.

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The US was ignored too. Wikipedia has the whole sorry tale in its entry for Nord Stream.

The invasion of Crimea in 2014 followed the completion of Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The EU response was weak - a lot of rhetoric, but the sanctions imposed had little impact and soon faded.

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Putin was clearly emboldened, because shortly after Nord Stream 2 was completed in 2021, his army invaded Ukraine.

It is thanks to the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian Government and soldiers that Putin's attack has been halted and in places driven back.

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Now Putin has cut off gas supplies to Europe and has caused an energy crisis, inflicting soaring prices and fuel shortages on every country in Europe, including the UK.

Some of the mistakes which landed us where we are can be put right even now. Germany has said that it will end its reliance on Russian gas. Good.

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But the powerless state of the EU Parliament must also be addressed and rectified. The citizens of the EU deserve a proper democracy.

Les Reid, Edinburgh.

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