IT would be wonderful to be able to believe Neil Mackay's piece on the health of UK democracy ("Brexit proves British democracy is alive and well", The Herald, September 19). Unfortunately, the example he chooses, of the House of Commons voting to prevent Boris Johnson causing the country to crash out of the EU with no deal, probably shows the exact opposite.

Mr Johnson has only to do nothing, making no attempt to secure a deal, or make such outrageous demands of the EU that it cannot accept a deal. The UK then falls out of the Union by default, with Mr Johnson and his cabal claiming that it was EU intransigence that was the cause.

Paradoxically, it has been his unelected bete noir, the House of Lords, that has sometimes been the voice of sanity, protecting the interests of the country as a whole, rather than the political parties. Not having to obey party whips, or pander to an electorate fed a diet of bile and lies by the right-wing press may make it a better protector of our national interests than a Government bent on doing the bidding of its shady financial backers.

Dr RM Morris, Ellon.

TO pick up on Ruth Marr’s horse racing metaphor (Letters, September 20), she is surely indulging in blinkered thinking with her bold statement that the SNP Government “continues to deliver positive policies for Scotland ".

Where to start? What about the both relatively and actually very poor growth figures, the serious problems with the two flagship hospitals, being forced now by popular opinion to abandon its trumpeted nanny-state named person proposal, and pouring huge amounts of taxpayers' funds into ill-thought-out vanity projects such as buying Prestwick Airport and loans to prop up the Ferguson Yard fiasco, all with no realistic likelihood of repayment and all culminating in recent polling figures showing opinion growing against their raison d’etre of independence?

Also ran doesn’t come into it, more like DNF. As to Ms Marr's belief that the winning post is in sight, I think she would be well advised to prepare for a Devon Loch moment.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

YOUR Those Were The Days picture showing a striking worker's placard saying "Out with Dictators, in with democracy ("1966-1979: Workers and unions flex their muscles", The Herald, September 20) could well be applied to contending forces in the current Brexit disputes.

Those forces seeking to dictate all the terms, the UK "elite" including rebel MPs, extra-parliamentary vastly rich individuals, the EU organisation and negotiators themselves represent the forces of dictatorship over Brexit.

These don't hesitate to ignore UK party manifestos and international political propriety set against interference in a sovereign nation's voters' democratic choice.

In contrast, the majority of UK voters, having chosen to leave a corrupt, imperialistic cartel aiming for a United States of Europe which is widely unpopular in the Continent's historic nation states, are the undemocratically-wronged masses.

Seen in that context, for the powerful anti-democratic factions to prevail would be a shameful violation of our political rights.

(Dr) Charles Wardrop, Perth.

THE poet Keats wrote about what he called "the concept of negative capability" and, given what is reportedly happening in the meetings between the UK representatives and those of the European Commission, his words appear to be apposite.

Keats wrote: "One must have negative capability, that is the ability to exist within mystery, uncertainty and doubt without ceaseless reaching after fact and reason".

Our Prime Minister and his advisers seem to have perfected the art.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

BORIS Johnson’s eccentricities and self-driven obsessions have already occasioned the exodus of several high-profile party MPs. Doubtless this will translate to ordinary party members and public support. In the light of his reference to “ending up in a ditch” as a possible personal option, he should resign before the whole nation finds itself becalmed in the same wayside backwater.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

I HAVE just watched episode two of The Rise and Fall of the Nazis on the BBC. I don’t know whether I’m Dominic Cummings or Hermann Goring. The European Union was designed to lessen the likelihood of state sponsored murder. Self-interest, unnatural fear of foreigners, and a cheap labour economy seem pretty grubby goals in comparison.

Duncan Graham, 34 Randolph Road, Stirling.

I WAS shocked to come across the piece by Tom Wills ("Shetlanders are ready for a change and I can deliver it", The Herald, August 29). How appropriate is it on polling day to have an article in your paper by one candidate in an election?

Dougie Wilson, Glasgow G43.

* Editor's note: As stated daily in our print and digital editions, The Herald is committed to providing fair and impartial coverage of Scotland’s affairs and does not endorse any political party. While we publish opinion, comment and analysis pieces by politicians and candidates, our policy is to do so only when and where warranted. This article, by the SNP candidate in the by-election, was published on the day of the poll, giving his views a prominence denied the other candidates. We apologise for the error.”

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