Readers' letters: Labour party can’t fix a broken Union

Ian Murray is right, we need more than a change of Prime Minister (News, July 9). But he’s wrong that Labour can fix a broken Union.

Under an uninspiring Starmer, Labour has embraced Brexit, too afraid of alienating former Red Wall voters.

Ian doesn’t say how Labour proposes to ‘fix’ Brexit, an epic own goal that is leaving the UK poorer and more isolated than ever.

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Starmer has ruled out changing the anti-democratic first past the post electoral system to a voting system that would give a voice to the disenfranchised majority.

He has walked back his pledge to renationalise natural public goods – water, energy, transport - and will do nothing to stop the relentless privatisation of the NHS.

For years Labour has turned its back on its working class roots, refusing to support striking workers merely trying to survive in an economy in full meltdown.

Labour is virtually indistinguishable from the Conservatives. It’s beholden to the same corporate interests. If elected it will continue to dismantle the post-war welfare system, discard regulations designed to protect citizens and further entrench the hegemony of the super wealthy.

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The UK is irretrievably broken. Scotland must seize this moment to reclaim its sovereignty to forge a fairer and more hopeful future for its people.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

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Why the war on drugs is not working

Chief Inspector Dougal (News, 6 July) points to £65,000 of illegal drugs being seized over the last few months in North East Edinburgh.

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Next month no doubt Police Scotland in this area will report further drug seizures and the same next month and the next. The so-called War on Drugs is not working.

Measures have to change at both user and supplier ends - this is a multi billion pound industry globally, climbing year on year. Drug policy is global too, the police operating in North East Edinburgh are prosecuting the laws that affect our communities based on United Nations conventions, which are applied around the world.

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At this macro level drug gangs, people traffickers and environmental carnage such as coca production in the Amazon forest is rife. Locally the law most affecting users in the UK is The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Superintendent Sam Ainslie (News, 5 January) noted that very quickly during her early policing career many of the incidents reported to police such as anti-social behaviour, acquisitive and drug related offending are committed by the most vulnerable in our communities, with poverty and wider inequalities often the recurring and underlying factors.

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Fifty-year-old drug law won't get anywhere near resolving those problems, indeed it exacerbates them. Superintendent Ainslie seems to be ahead of both Holyrood’s SNP and Westminster's Conservative governments.

Here in Scotland we have an excellent Lord Advocate who has introduced more sensible guidelines around Class A drugs such as opiates and cocaine where these have been found in small quantities for personal use. Labour MSP Paul Sweeney has issued a consultation on establishing overdose prevention facilities in Scotland. Labour MSP Michael Marra led a debate in the Scottish Parliament, “Responding to Drug Use with Kindness, Compassion and Hope’.

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Government figures show that there were 1339 drug related deaths in 2020, National Records of Scotland will publish the avoidable death details for 2021 later this month.

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh.

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