Will independence boost radicalism or nationalists?
I read Vince Mills' article on Scottish independence (Debate, 8 March).
I feel he and others in the Labour Party are deluded if they believe the best way to challenge neoliberalism, inequality and the deficit of democracy is by Scotland staying part of the UK.
Having been born and raised in Lanarkshire I have lived my life with the failings of the Westminster system having a critical impact on my community.
The palace of Westminster, its unelected House of Lords and revelations about MPs’ expenses clearly indicate a political system that is ideologically bankrupt.
It is devoid of socialist values.
Independence will challenge the deficit in democracy by giving the people of Scotland the right of self-determination.
I also firmly believe it will enable us to create a revolution for social change.
It is a real opportunity to build modern democracy and a constitution fit for all citizens of Scotland.
A Labour Party in Scotland free from the influence of right wing politics and the appeasement of Middle England voters could be rejuvenated.
I truly believe that the biggest threat to socialism is not Ukip or the Etonian mafia at Westminster but the Labour Party members and supporters sleepwalking towards a No vote in September.
Stephen Ross, Lanarkshire Forum for Independence
Andy Towle is right (Letters, 15 March).
The prospect of Scottish independence will not actually solve the real problems facing workers.
It also encourages workers to identify with the ideology of nationalism. That’s surely a step backwards?
We must respect the choice of Scottish voters, but I don’t see abolishing the union as benefitting ordinary people.
Graeme Kemp, Shropshire
We can't simply take science on trust
Returning to the Socialist Workers Party after many years’ break, I read John Parrington’s article on genetics with a fresh pair of eyes (Socialist Worker, 8 March).
I was shocked at the half-hearted critique of gene “editing”, a euphemistic term akin to “regime change” or “rendition”.
Possibly the term’s literary reference hit the editorial staff’s blind spot as they trumpeted, “Gene editing offers exciting new ways to manipulate nature”.
John Holloway has put forward the case for uncertainty, critiquing “scientific” Marxism and reminding us that we must question the idea of objectivity. There needs to be stronger dialogue about taking science on trust and I for one do oppose all genetically modified (GM) foodstuffs on principle.
Big decisions are made without consultation and biotechnology is big business.
Genetic engineering promises a “great leap forward”. It will more likely take us limping in the same direction as the military-industrial complex’s investment in nuclear power.
Jenny Jones, South London
Freedom ride planned in protest at pass cuts
Huge anger is sweeping South Yorkshire over cuts to travel passes for elderly and disabled people.
Hundreds have protested against the cuts.
National travel passes helped make up for the greater poverty and higher rates of disabilities in the areas where they were introduced.
Disabled people have been able to use local trains and buses at any time of the day. Older people have used local trains and buses from 9am.
But from 1 April the only free transport will be on buses from 9.30am.
Many disabled people who work will suffer an effective pay cut.
Local councillors voted by seven to five for the cuts. Disgracefully six are Labour councillors.
Protesters plan to turn up at Barnsley train station on Monday 31 March for a mass “Freedom Ride” on the train. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org
George Arthur, Barnsley
A missing treaty in Ukraine?
Ken Olende’s analysis of the complex relations between the Bolsheviks, Ukraine and the imperialist powers (Socialist Worker, 15 March) was excellent.
But he omitted a critical factor which arguably shifted the entire direction of the revolution. This was the Brest-Litovsk “peace” treaty that Trotsky and the Bolsheviks were forced to sign with Germany in early 1918.
The treaty effectively detached Ukraine from the revolution and allowed Germany to occupy it.
Ukraine was a vital source of grain and fuel. Its absence helped destabilise the revolution, contribute to growing hunger and precipitate civil war.
John Rose, East London
Putin won’t stop fascism
It is mistaken to accept Moscow’s cynical claim that it is a bulwark against fascism in Ukraine.
A Russian takeover in Crimea will strengthen Ukrainian nationalism and the fascists.
Vladimir Putin has fed the rise of the far right in Russia and his supporters have used anti-Semitism to attack their opponents.
I am as alarmed as anyone by the rise of fascist party Svoboda. But military intervention in Ukraine will strengthen the far right.
Rob Ferguson, East London
Back strikes over legal aid
There is quite a strong element of altruism in the lawyers’ strike.
A lot of the poorest people in the community are being affected by these cuts.
And a large number of them do not get legal aid for work that lawyers do, but help from people such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Lindy-Lou Nicholson, on Facebook
No to Blair’s blood money
I have heard that the Labour Party may accept a donation from Tony Blair.
Many life-long Labour supporters such as myself and my family will definitely not vote Labour in the next election if it does.
This is blood money gained from the spoils of war.
Zerine Tata, by email
People can save planet
It was with great interest that I read your recent article on climate change (Socialist Worker, 22 February).
But I felt the writer seemed to imply that big businesses are the only ones who should take responsibility for our environment.
It suggests that ordinary people are powerless in the struggle to bring about a cleaner, greener, fairer world.
Zahra Topping, Germany
Tory priorities are rubbish
Sadly it has been reported that Norfolk’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital remains among the poorest performing trusts in the country.
Its funding has been cut by £10.1 million.
Only when it is properly funded can it hope to regain a better outcome.
In the meantime the government has denied hard working nurses a pay rise.
But it thinks it’s acceptable for taxpayers to fund the bonuses of bankers at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Do we really think this is right?
Jo Rust, Norfolk