Brown is wrong when he denounces our precious Social Security system

His claim that the abolition of Scottish Social Security would save money is absolutely correct. Money would be saved, but for what: tax cuts to create “wealth”? And how? Through economies of scale or something evil? We know how. Since Brown, Tory governments have saved at least £20bn through Universal Credit caps and sanctions; the replacement of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payment (PIP); the bedroom tax and the elimination of child support for a third child unless the father is a rapist.

The cost of these savings was also calculated. A team from the University of Glasgow estimated Tory/DWP austerity measures resulted in an additional 335,000 deaths between 2012 and 2017. What is unpredictable is the immoral cost of misery, fear, debt, ill health, and hopelessness.

The devolved 15% of Scottish Social Security could hardly work more differently than the DWP. It is based on the humane principles of “dignity, fairness and respect”. The legislation is based on the conclusions of the Scottish Government’s extensive experience panels. A social security charter makes social security a legal right. One of the biggest legislative reforms was the elimination of hostile labor reviews by incentivising private foreign companies like Atos.

Any doubt will be dispelled by watching Scottish Government Minister Jeane Freeman present her Bill on Social Security in Scotland in December 2017. A clip can be found on Facebook.

Jimmy Reid wrote: “Without Social Security, society is a jungle. But those two words have become dirty in Britain; equated with good-for-nothings and scroungers. For me, social security means security at home, on the street, in the community, in and out of work, in old age, in the event of illness and health. This means, for example, that parents of disabled children live with the certainty that society will take care of their children with tender respect after their death. Such social security is a beautiful thing. Priceless instead of expensive. They really make us civilized.”

Fraser McAllister, Musselburgh.

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Holyrood is a trap

ELECTIONS and referendums in the UK have always been won by 50%+1 with one exception (letters of 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th August). The exception was Scotland (1979), but I’m sure you guessed it. It is claimed that it would be wrong if 49% of Scots were discounted, but only on one side; When you’re 49% pro-independence, that’s tough.

But all of that is irrelevant as the leaders of the Westminster parties (all English) have had an unsurpassable veto on Scotland being allowed to have a say over its own future. Power transferred is power retained. I hope Scots will begin to see through the constitutional trap that Holyrood represents: it has no political or fiscal autonomy whatsoever and the Commander-in-Chief of the Scottish Office can overrule any Holyrood Act that is passed with a lazy stroke of the pen.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Footnote to the SNP accounts

It is gratifying that the SNP financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2022 correctly describe the RV in the notes as a motor vehicle and not as “office/computer equipment” as was the case in the 2021 financial statements (“SNP accused Cost of living as finances suck,” The Herald, August 25). What is worrying, however, is the fact that the new auditors found it necessary to prepare a qualified report on the 2022 financial statements, as they could not be satisfied that all income from memberships, raffles and donations for both 2022 and 2021 were properly accounted for were due to improper record keeping. The question arises as to why the previous auditors did not take this up in previous years.

Alan McGibbon, paisley

exchange insults

IAN McConnell (“Things just don’t add up, Ms. Badenoch. Do you need a calculator?”, The Herald, 25 August) misunderstood Michael Gove’s oft-quoted statement that “the people of this country are fed up with experts” . . What Mr Gove actually meant was: “The people of this country are fed up with exports.”

andy mitchell, Prestwick.

Primary care physicians are responsible for prostate testing

I notice a lovely article by Rosemary Goring on prostate cancer (“The 15-Minute Test That Could Save So Many Men’s Lives,” The Herald, August 24). I am sorry to hear that Mrs Goering’s husband is one of the 52,000 men in the UK diagnosed with this insidious disease last year.

I was struck by her comment that “a friend in his early 60s who worked up the courage to ask his GP for a PSA test was turned down.” This is exactly what happened to my son when he asked his GP in Edinburgh for a PSA test. This is despite the fact that his uncle and I both have prostate cancer and my counselor at Forth Valley Hospital advised me to tell my son to get tested when he was 40.

Does this happen often with primary care physicians? I understand the dangers of excessive testing where false positives can induce a period of anxiety pending further testing. However, it is better to worry for a few months than to find out years later that it is indeed cancer and that it has already passed the treatable stage. My own GP was shocked that my son’s GP would not approve this simple blood test despite the recommendation of an experienced consultant.

The survival rate for prostate cancer is very good. It would be even higher if more early-stage cases were caught and this was only possible through testing. So I hope Ms Goering’s vision of a 15-minute test becomes a reality, and I hope that the recalcitrant few GPs realize their role in early detection.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

HeraldScotland: Are GPs too reticent about PSA testing for prostate cancer?Are GPs too reluctant to do PSA testing for prostate cancer? (Image: Getty)

Why aren’t there Baby Nessies?

ST. Columba’s encounter with the Loch Ness Monster occurred on August 22, AD 565, according to the first recorded history. Since then, such sightings have entertained visitors and made a living for some who capitalize on this myth.

Investigations occasionally take place, generally uncovering nothing more substantial than inexplicable movements through the waters of this fabled lake, while more scientific observations never seem to confirm its existence. Another recent discovery about the lake says that it has an underwater network of caves that may well be home to creatures responsible for the sightings claimed by tourists and others, but no tangible evidence has ever been provided.

This mysterious phenomenon enshrouds the lake in an air of romance, stimulating the imagination and attracting tourists from far and wide.

I hate being a spoilsport and I’d love for the stories to be true so the lake can enjoy the ensuing splendor, but I must throw cold water on what is now little more than mere myth. If there were a colony of mysterious mammals in the lake, surely there would have been many more distinct sightings of more than one creature frolicking in the waters of this vast expanse of water.

All we ever hear of is a single living creature generally considered to be an adult. Reproduction is the cycle of life and with no sign of a colony to sustain the continued existence of our lovable Loch Ness Monster, we can dismiss its existence but continue to enjoy the attraction it holds in people’s imaginations.

Dennis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: Britain’s heartless politics are at the root of our drug problem

Spooky Memories

“Life is a hoot,” writes Neil Mackay of Scotland being the natural home of horror (“Life is a hoot: Scotland is the natural home of horror,” The Herald, August 22). My childhood scare was getting a phone call from my Welsh Nain (grandmother) every Sunday when my sister and I were eating our meals with her. This horrible whatever it was would enter the house via the rediffusion cable through a hole drilled in the window frame above the dining table and do all the nasty things it did to naughty little kids who left some of their food behind. The “thing” was known to us as the Bran. But Bran seems to have been a pretty nice mix of Welsh folk tales. Did my Nain tell Whoppers?

I thought I saw the spirit of the previous owner of our second home who died in 1973. She was standing at the top of the stairs by the beautiful lead-lighted window. Rhoda was her name and the sight of her made me drop my laundry basket to iron. My new neighbor had told me that Rhoda was a lovely person, so I forgave her for having to do the ironing again.

Having lived on Skye for 30 years I would sometimes come to a point on the very winding Waternish Road where, at the sight of the headlights of oncoming cars in the distance, I would stop at a passing spot and wait for the oncoming vehicle to approach. That was never the case. So what caused the spotlight effect? There was nowhere for a vehicle to leave the single-lane road. I had heard a strange tale or two about events at the Fairy Bridge in the past, but ignored them. In one of the stories, a cat was involved.

Ah… forget it… and all the old wives tales like the one about that Welsh horror bran; Luckily, redifusion cables no longer run through my window frames these days.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

Unsung Hero of Taggart

STEWART Daniels (Letters, August 24) was spot on. Strathclyde Police stopped us on Taggart Street and looked after us too. Herr made no mention of our mentor, the late Angus Kennedy, whose communication skills were clearly demonstrated at the time of the Lockerbie horror, and who said “no” to certain procedural aspects of our scripts, but could always gauge when to allow us dramatic license .

It was an honor to attend Angus’ retirement party on behalf of the show. We all have fond memories of how Strathclyde Police helped us to make the series as authentic as possible.

robert love, Glasgow.

whiskey sour

SHOCK, horror. I have just discovered that a liter of my ‘fire water’ now costs £25 which is a 25% increase. How can Westminster impose this additional tax when the Scottish Government has its own pricing policy of a floor price of 50p per unit? It is also rumored that the reserve price could rise to 80p per unit, equivalent to £32 a liter. Gosh, it would make you drink (if you could afford it).

Derek B Petrie, Milngavie.

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