Letters: We need a sophisticated approach to the economic crisis

·9-min read
The Bank of England this week announced a historic half-point rate rise
The Bank of England this week announced a historic half-point rate rise

I LOVE an analogy and the immediate one that springs to mind regarding the Bank of England and its control over our economy is “lunatics in charge of the asylum”.

When I was studying economics at university in the bygone days of my mis-spent youth, I was taught that you used interest rates to dampen demand in an overheating economy fuelled by cheap money which had fed a consumer boom. In other words, you used this crude tool to influence factors over which you had control.

However, our current inflationary pressures are coming from factors over which we have no control.

The main ones – which everyone, including the Bank of England, accepts – are increased food and fuel prices, mainly caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its fall-out. Raising interest rates will not make President Putin think again and make peace in Ukraine.

In fact, he is probably laughing into his vodka seeing these economic illiterates taking action which will actually fuel inflation and plunge us into a year-long recession.

For once, economic forecasts will be correct because they are creating the conditions to make their dire predictions come true.

Can the Bank of England tell us which part of raising interest rates will encourage us to eat less or stop heating our homes? Can they tell us how rising mortgage rates (included in the basket of goods by which we measure inflation) will not push inflation up further?

Additionally, raising interest rates may strengthen the pound which makes imported goods cheaper which means that we will see UK companies go under as people have to vote with their feet and buy the less expensive option in the shops. So yes, we will probably have a recession.

We need a sophisticated approach to this crisis. The Bank of England is not up to the job so perhaps we can undo Gordon Brown’s folly and it could be taken back under Government control so that we have a sensible monetary policy.

We have to stop this economic madness and it needs to be done soon – otherwise, millions will face unnecessary misery.

William Thomson, Denny, Stirlingshire.

NHS RED TAPE NEEDS TO BE CUT

MY mother has been on a waiting list since December last year for a cataract assessment. She got a letter yesterday asking her to call about an appointment.

Living in the NHS Lothian region, she was told that she could either wait at least 18 months to go to the eye clinic there or get an earlier appointment at the Golden Jubilee Hospital, west of Glasgow.

She is in the fortunate position that I can take her to appointments such as this – but what about all those older people needing cataract operations where they have no-one who can drive them over to the other side of the country?

Back in 2016, the SNP promised us five new elective and diagnostic treatment centres which were due to be completed by last year. Covid may well have played its part, but not for the first four years when we’d never heard of the virus.

To alleviate the growing waiting-lists, the SNP Scottish Government announced their NHS recovery plan last August which included 10 national treatment centres (NTC). As with all SNP announcements, a lot more was promised than will ever be delivered.

It would be perfectly understandable for one or two of the planned NTCs to be behind schedule but it is at least five of them that will now not open by the completion date of 2026.

Part of the delay is apparently down to having to make the buildings more environmentally friendly. You couldn’t make it up. We have people desperate for life-saving or life-enhancing surgery or waiting to just be assessed.

We may perhaps even have people dying while on that waiting list, all because the Government wants to be seen as “green”. The priority for all governments should be saving lives and doing all they can to build these centres quickly, and get staff trained up to work in them. Sturgeon needs to cut the red tape, ditch the virtue-signalling, and get these centres up and running.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

OIL AND GAS PROFITS ‘ARE IMMORAL’

GIVEN that The Herald is so ready to publish the dangerous nonsense preached by the promoters of the interests of the fossil fuel industry, the most recent being Charles Wardrop (Letters, August 5), I am surprised that the paper did not report this week’s assertion by António Guterres, the UN Secretary General.

His words were to the effect that it is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from the energy crisis.

He went on to point out that these profits are generated on the backs of the poorest people and communities, such profits being unacceptable, as many around the world faced not only financial ruin but starvation.

I must ask the likes of Mr Wardrop the nature of their professional expertise which justifies their expectations that your readers pay any attention whatsoever to their opinions.

They would, of course, be justified in asking me the same question – to which I would reply that I rely entirely on the overwhelming majority opinion of the global scientific communities.

John Milne, Uddingston.

THATCHER WAS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT

READER A Duncan (Letters, August 4) asks whether we learned nothing “from the long and radical reign of Margaret Thatcher, who certainly knew her own mind”.

Well, “long and radical” is certainly one way of putting it.

Granted, she knew what she wanted to achieve, and how to (as has often been observed) create the conditions that made it possible for her policies to be put into practice. She displayed the tough characteristics of leadership.

But it is also worth noting that her belief that she was always right, and her increasing inability to tolerate dissent, led to various mis-judgments on her part, and to her becoming an electoral liability for her own party.

It is also worth pointing out the lasting damage she caused to many Scottish communities in the name of progress.

S Campbell, Glasgow.

KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN

OUR democracy has arranged it that a maximum of 0.23 per cent of the entire UK population will elect our next Prime Minister.

Experience underlines to us that this is not a good way to do it. Keep your heads down – I’m buying a tin helmet!

Dr Lindsay Neil, Selkirk.

CAPED CRUSADER FOILED BY STUDIO

AMATEUR movie critics like me (film buffs, if you will), ever eager to be overheard at the GFT bar loudly dropping William Goldmanisms and Spinal Tap references alike, have a beard-stroking fondness for the Hollywood concept of creative development hell.

The kind of release purgatory Glasgow’s darkly benighted Batgirl film has found itself in seems a duller affair of interest principally to accountants.

I’m grateful then to Nicola Love (“Tight belts, tax write-offs and streaming service snubs: Why Warner Bros decided to kill off Batgirl movie”, August 4) for her cogent summation that a further budget for distribution and publicity of this film was simply deemed to be throwing good money after bad.

It has almost disabused me of the cynical fancy that such dependable headline coverage of the film’s withdrawal might be part of a sleekit marketing strategy to irresistibly position it as a “so-bad-it’s-good” prospect with its inevitable audience, in the campest traditions of the franchise.

James Macleod, Cardonald.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

IF only the Batgirl cancellation would lead to studios reconsidering the execrable (but, admittedly, hugely lucrative) trend of superhero/science-fiction movies in favour of the intelligent, thoughtful, character-driven movies that so many adult filmgoers sorely miss.

D Stewart, Glasgow.

MIND GAMES IN SPACE? NO THANKS

THE formidable Uri Geller may be a dab hand at altering cutlery and spoiling a Scotland penalty kick in 1966, so why am I not impressed by his generous offer to harness mind power and create a “golden shield in the sky” to deflect and turn back any nuclear weapons targeted at the west of Scotland by President Putin? (Issue of the day: Uri Geller’s ‘mind power’ warning to Russia, August 5).

Some years ago, I was privileged to visit the nuclear submarine base at Faslane with my Rotary Club. To say that the security in operation and the professionalism of the two young naval officers who conducted our tour was impressive is an understatement.

Good luck to Mr Geller. Thanks, but no thanks. A pie in the sky, golden or otherwise, ain’t on my menu. I’ll stick with the professionals.

Meantime, if it all goes belly up, my clean white sheet and location of the nearest cemetery is at hand.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

REMEMBERING THE 1937 CORONATION

NI HOLMES is rather perturbed about the possibility of schoolchildren each being given a Jubilee book and wishes rather that “quality textbooks on modern history be available in

our schools” instead (letters, August 3).

For the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, myself and friends each received a Coronation mug and a card from our local Prescot Town Council. The most royal indoctrination I remember was on visiting the display of her wedding frock in St Georges’ Hall in Liverpool and I made a note that when I grew up and got married, I would like something similar. Of course, Hardy Amies would not be making it for me.

In my hand just now I have the book given to my late husband to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

It says on the inside cover that it was presented to Ieuan Edwards, (my late husband, known as Jim) by Prescot Town Council on May 12, 1937.

It is full of details of the king’s life and photographs of important occasions in those days. My husband said he didn’t really look at it, but his mother did.

I have to aver that neither of us were bothered at the time of the events as the war was looming for Jim – and I was happy that sweets were more available, off the black market, I was told.

Will modern children be at all bothered by a new Jubilee book when they are busy on their digital devices? Probably not. So maybe Mr Holmes is concerning himself too much?

I have to admit that I am enjoying reading Jim’s Coronation book all these years after the event. I still have my card but the mug disappeared years ago.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

AABSENT-MINDED?

IN an AA advert on TV the patrolman leaves his vehicle engrossed in operating his tablet, then returns to his vehicle, waving to his presumably satisfied client but minus the aforesaid tablet. Perhaps an error by the patrolman actor but certainly a major gaffe.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.