At last, we are getting to the root causes of Britain’s current political turmoil. Iain Macwhirter (Herald on Sunday, March 17) is spot on to highlight the UK Parliament’s broken electoral system as a key factor in how we got here.

For years, the public have rightly wanted more choice and a stronger voice in politics. Yet – unlike in Scotland – Westminster’s adversarial, winner-takes-all politics has consistently tried to force people into making impossible choices: to opt for a single candidate, from a single party, which may not even be their first choice.

People have been told by two-party politics that their choice "can’t win here", while 68% of votes cast in 2017 made no difference to the local (and therefore national) result.

The result of this is a parliament warped beyond belief: one built on division rather than cooperation. This ancient system of politics is fundamentally damaging people’s faith in democracy.

It is no surprise that a broken voting system has translated into a broken politics. Unlike most modern democracies, the UK’s centralised Westminster system is based on huge swings between governments – one seeking to lock out the main opposition party from power. That has led to a fundamental failure among politicians to reach out and seek a positive solution – until the very last minute.

The Brexit crisis has drawn back the curtain on Westminster’s flaws – exposing the corroded pipes behind. It’s time to rebuild our politics. Moving to a modern, democratic electoral system would be a good start.

Dr Jess Garland

Director of Policy and Research

Electoral Reform Society

Finally someone has put their finger on the root cause of the political crisis caused by Brexit – "our antiquated two-party system" (Iain Macwhirter, March 17). If we can recognise that we do not live in a properly functioning democracy and replace it with a more representative and fairer system, then some good may come out of this shambles.

I say this as someone who has experience of living and voting in the Netherlands, a country where every vote counts and in UK constituencies where my vote was usually of no consequence

Jonathan Sheldrick

Kilberry, Argyll

How intriguing. Jeremy Corbyn demands a no-holds-barred, no-red-lines, meeting with the Prime Minister after PMQs this week. Ms May concurs. At the emergency meeting he demanded, Jeremy Corbyn walks out because, among all the other factions and parties attending the meeting, there were representatives of the Labour MPs who had left his party.

You could not make this up. It is symptomatic of the whole Brexit paralysis. Factional politics, obsessive, one-issue nationalism, huffs and grudges against others on your own side, they all far outweigh what is best for the country as a whole.

Alexander McKay


Nicola Sturgeon frequently informs us Westminster is ignoring Scotland's views re Brexit. Really?

The big picture reason behind the UK constitutional crisis regarding Brexit is that the House of Commons is at odds with public opinion across the UK. The majority of the British public narrowly voted Leave in June 2016 whereas a definite majority of MPs support our staying in the EU.

The majority will in the Commons is for us to remain in the EU, meaning free movement of goods, services and people - the very position the majority in Scotland voted for and the SNP claim to support.

So Ms Sturgeon is entirely wrong to state Scotland's opinion is being ignored - in fact, quite the contrary. The issue the majority in the Commons are wrestling with is how best to respect the democratic will of the people, while minimising the economic damage it fears Brexit will cause.

Martin Redfern


It's time for Scotland to make a choice

I am an octogenarian, right-of-centre socialist. I voted Labour for decades, until the advent of the Kinnock/Blair period, when I switched to SNP. Not because I'm a nationalist, but, being a socialist, I could not continue voting for a party which strayed from its origins.

We are now entering a period where the right wing (worldwide) are rattling their proverbial sabres. I listen to people denigrating fellow Europeans and boasting of how the British Empire once ruled the world, conveniently forgetting darker side of that philosophy – exploitation, subjugation, engaging in foreign battles ... the list goes on.

Apart from removing ourselves from the biggest, richest market in the world, there is a real risk that Brexit could nullify years of peace in Europe. Having worked in many parts of the world, in the oil and gas industry, I grieve at the thought that Scotland, with our traditional money spinning industries (tourism/whisky/space technology etc) and our wealth created from oil and gas, should be one of the richest countries in the world.

Surely it's time to consider (seriously) independence.

Now the British nationalists among us say our English cousins relish our British relationship, and that independence will threaten that Britishness. But while I have relatives and many friends in England and have travelled there often, I have never met a native of that country who, when asked "what is your nationality", has replied British. They are proud to proclaim "I am English".

So here's the crux of the matter – in a forthcoming independence vote, will our Scottish Brits choose Scotland, or the UK? If they choose the latter, then let's end this charade of Scottishness and abandon the Scottish Parliament; close down its institutions; withdraw our Scottish representatives in Westminster, and have the guts to call ourselves British, whilst fading into obscurity and irrelevance.

D B McNally


Harsh lessons

No wonder 70 Aberdeenshire parents want to educate their children at home. The rising tide of bad behaviour, physical attacks on staff (16,000 across Scotland in the last three years, 5,000 in Aberdeenshire), teacher shortages, failed inclusion strategies and practice, plummeting literacy and numeracy and the failure of CfE would make many think twice of entrusting their kids' education to this crumbling system.

Aberdeenshire Council staff do their level best in trying circumstances and councillors should spend precious debating time seriously and honestly discussing and finding solutions to the real problems in our schools.

Supporting the petition, Cllr Alison Evison invoked the hapless GIRFEC virtue signalling mantra (Getting It Right For Every Child) which spatters most Scottish Government education reports and strategy documents.

Perhaps they should change it to GIRFLOP: Getting It Rong For Lots Of Pupils. Please excuse my spelling.

Allan Sutherland


An inconvenient truth indeed ...

The Al Gore 2006 film "An Inconvenient Truth" was, many believe, the start of the Climate Change hysteria. However, a judge ruled that there were nine major errors in this film and were "alarmist".

One of the scaremongering predictions was that sea levels would rise by 20 feet in the "very near future". After 12 years when will the other 19 feet 11.7 inches occur? Another was that the iconic polar bear was endangered.

Well, sorry climate change fanatics – the polar bear population is thriving.

Dr Susan Crockford, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Victoria British Columbia, reports that from a low point of less than 10,000 in the 1960s polar bears numbers now exceed 40,000.

She reveals that climate scientists have tried to smear her in an attempt to silence her to protect the myth of a polar bear catastrophe, and the colossal taxpayers' funding they get.

Her book "The Polar Bear Catastrophe that Never Happened" will send shockwaves through the well-paid climate scientists' ranks and the climate change fraudsters.

Clark Cross