THE SNP leadership must know it cannot expect to be taken seriously on its primary ambition while it is so obviously failing to deliver in so many critical areas. After 16 years of the SNP in power, NHS waiting times, the attainment gap in education, the ferry fiasco, and the tragedy of drug deaths are showing no signs of substantial improvement. Indeed, in these and many other aspects under this Scottish Government’s control, the public perception is that we are too often going backwards.

It is no wonder then that First Minister Humza Yousaf is desperate to get us talking about something else, focusing on that at which the SNP and their Scottish Green partners undoubtedly excel, namely generating grievance. For a sequence of current Scottish Government initiatives, the SNP spin doctors are working hard to convince us it is the UK Government which is at fault for not simply rubber-stamping the badly-misjudged plans of the SNP/Green coalition of chaos. Whether it be gender recognition reforms, deposit return schemes, or marine protection areas, this Scottish Government appears determined to ignore the genuine concerns of many directly impacted by their proposals. Instead, they listen to those whose views merely reflect their own. This has resulted in ideas about which broad support could have been forthcoming, instead being converted into matters of controversy.

Scottish Government ministers have knowingly proceeded without seeking early agreement in advance from the UK Government, preferring to pick a fight to hide their own incompetence. Talk of an “attack on devolution” and “muscular unionism” is simply a shoddy attempt to distract from their own appalling track record of shortcomings, scandals and broken promises. This SNP administration has taken cynical political game-playing to a whole new level.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

Tory attacks have intensified

THE UK Tory Government has now intensified attacks on Scotland's democracy and indeed that of the devolution settlement itself, by blocking decisions taken by the elected Scottish Government on devolved matters. This follows senior Tory Brexiters urging Westminster to roll back and in fact reverse Scotland’s existing powers.

With this and all that has happened in the last decade the question is, do the Scots really wish to remain under the thumb of an elite, sleaze-ridden Tory government which they have not voted for since 1955?

Ever since the disaster of Brexit the UK has become a more centralised, unequal and a far-right society, languishing in one of the worst-ever cost of living crises. With old people uncared for and more children going to bed hungry, the growing social divide is the mark of a broken Britain.

It’s clear that independence in Europe is the best future for Scotland. The decisions and control of its many assets and resources is best made by the people who live and work here, rather than remaining trapped in a fractious, post imperial Union.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

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• APPROXIMATELY 700 years after the Declaration of Arbroath, the riff-raff are granted another look at the small print. To many, the brave words have not been supported by reality. Westminster's duckers and divers have more than shaken any respect for the Pope’s judgement.

The Right Honourables might rue the day they refused to lift a glass.

Duncan Graham, Stirling.

Read more: Brexit is doing exactly what the mega-rich wanted it to do

DRS plan is not progress

WHY is a UK-wide DRS bottles and cans proposal considered a good idea with all its extra costs and complications? What problems will it solve which, in my neck of the woods, at present involves me simply putting my empty cans and bottles into separate bins at my home for my local authority to collect each week for them to recycle?

With DRS my present recycling service will be redundant and no doubt withdrawn (without any corresponding reduction in council tax), requiring me instead to pay what amounts to a 20p fine for each can or bottle I buy. Then having enjoyed their contents, I will have to carry them (fortunately I remain reasonably able, can drive and have a low-emissions car) to a distant collection machine for a receipt for my 20 pences, which presumably I can spend by journeying on to an appropriate supermarket. What am I supposed to do in later life when for whatever reason I can no longer do all this?

In both cases the empties go to the local authority for recycling, but with DRS the responsibility for that will shift from the local authority to the residents. In what way is that considered to be progress? It could even increase the likelihood of littering.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Let's cut back on MSP expenses

IT typifies the childish, futile finger-pointing that plagues Holyrood when Tory transport spokesman Graham Simpson bleats about Lorna Slater wasting public funds on a boat trip to Rum ("Slater branded ‘shameless’ for hiring private boat for her and staff to visit Rum", The Herald, June 3).

If he really wants to complain about pointless waste of scarce public funds perhaps he could have a wee look at the £22.241 million he and his fellow MSPs claimed in expenses last year from the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body. That substantial sum was 28.6 % greater than the amount claimed the previous year. It would appear that Holyrood’s inflation rate is even worse than that the general public have experienced. It also means if one divides the total personal expenses claimed by 129 (the number of MSPs) each will have claimed the equivalent of 144 trips on the catamaran Ms Slater used.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

Two-thirds would be reasonable

ALASDAIR Galloway (Letters, June 2) tells us that no country requires a two-thirds majority in order to enact constitutional change. I believe that to alter the constitution of the United States needs two-thirds of the states (33 out of 50, I think) to vote in favour.

I am a supporter of independence, but I do not see this as unreasonable. We have seen with the Brexit referendum that a wafer-thin majority in no way settles the issue. It is up to those of us who support independence to persuade those against to change their minds by making the case for it. Simply saying that 50% +1 will suffice does not do that, and I suspect only entrenches opposition.

Alan Jenkins, Glasgow.

Read more: There is no justification for a two-thirds rule in Indyref2

Stop kicking our health service

DO you ever listen to the news when the NHS is a subject used to beat up the Scottish Government? Between there and the screaming tabloid headlines you would think our Scottish NHS was in meltdown.

During this last year a 78-year-old family member was diagnosed with three major health issues: a failing aortic heart valve which if not treated leads to heart failure; a slow-growing cancer on one of his kidneys; a more aggressive cancer on one of his lungs.

Because of the complexity it was necessary to treat these serious illnesses in order. First, to improve his resilience, his heart valve was successfully replaced by inserting a wire in through an artery and avoiding open heart surgery. Secondly, the lung cancer was successfully treated using a new targeted radiotherapy, again without the need for surgery. Finally the kidney cancer was killed off using a keyhole freezing technique that allowed rapid recovery. All done in this last year.

He is one of very many receiving excellent health care within our Scottish NHS. NHS resources in staff and finance are limited and we have a population that is now peaking in age profile. I'm one of the many baby boomers born just after the Second World War and we are all getting to that age where time catches up with us. The old and infirm are taking up a large proportion of resources as we fail.

If you have a life and death issue that can be treated it will be, but unfortunately less serious issues need to wait. Hopefully their turn will come. Meanwhile, every week, Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar and Alex Cole-Hamilton dig up examples of people waiting and having operations postponed. Great fodder for the news headlines and the tabloid press but really a distraction that is politically motivated.

DS Blackwood, Helensburgh.

Time to cut the Calmac grant

CAN we assume that since Calmac is failing to run a ferry route for a month ("Motorhomes banned from ferry as islanders protest", The Herald, June 5) that the Scottish Government will cut its grant, with immediate effect, for this reduction in tendered service?

James Watson, Dunbar.