Readers' letters: Lack of moral fibre over Afghanistan

"The joker in the pack is Boris Johnson, who is happy with very low standards in his cabinet”

Afghan people gather as they wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave the country, at a military airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 days after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Afghan people gather as they wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave the country, at a military airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 days after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Lack of moral fibre over Afghanistan

Apparently Tory ministers are working their backsides to get interpreters and guards who loyally worked for us out of Kabul and out of harm's way. But some ministerial backsides look tanned rather than ruffled with hard work.

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We are assured that guards of our embassy are in the process of leaving. But apparently many have not been informed they are already on their way out. And a phone call to aid interpreters' removal has apparently not been made, even though the government was certain it had been by a junior minister in Dominic Raab's unfortunate absence.

It could all have been so different. This debacle has 'made in Washington' all over it, but once again it seems that the joker in the pack is Boris Johnson, who is happy with very low standards in his cabinet.

But it is not just competence that is the issue, it is perhaps a moral failing of a high order. We have ditched our responsibility for so many decent Afghans.

This lack of moral fibre is a warning bell to those who assume honesty of purpose in Tory claims to level up, pursue green policies and ensure farmers are protected from loss of EU subsidies over the next few years. The words: 'Oh sorry' can sometimes sound very hollow.

Andrew Vass, Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh.

Backseat drivers of Scottish economy

The old adage that relying solely on last year’s accounts to plan ahead is like trying to drive the car from the back seat while looking out the back-window comes to mind every August when GERS is published.

It applies even more to an independent Scotland in which about 70 per cent of voters support the SNP, Greens or Labour, ensuring that decisions in Holyrood about tax and spend and just about every other matter will be, from day one, significantly different from the Conser-vative government at Westminster.

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We also know that the Conservatives are very likely to retain power and their fundamental desire to reduce government spending will ensure years of austerity for the UK.

When the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts austerity for an independent Scotland, it assumes two things: Scotland has the same sluggish economic growth that is endemic to the UK and there is a rushed government drive to reach a three per cent current account deficit.

Neither is certain to be the case - higher growth and a slower reduction can avoid austerity as we have known it, whereas another 10 years or more of Conservative austerity looks odds-on.A pro-union argument of “Vote No to avoid austerity” has the same credibility as “Vote No to stay in the EU.”

Robert Farquharson, Lee Crescent, Edinburgh.

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Scotland can create its own money

Jill Stephenson claims Scotland needs UK funding (letters, 20 August).

She doesn’t understand that a sovereign currency-issuing government can create the money needed to support the economy in times of crisis, which is what the Bank of England has done during the pandemic.

The Scottish Central Bank in a newly indepen-dent Scotland will have the ability to finance public spending and infrastructure to build the nation’s wealth, something the Tories have signally failed to do.

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The GERS accounts, whose flaws are too numerous to list, only reveal what it costs us to be in the UK. The Scottish government should scrap it, establish the long-promised Scottish Statistics Agency, publish its own accounts and get on with the job they were elected to do – extricate us from this failing Union.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.