I AM sure that over the next few days we will be advised of the aspirations of the various parties in the forthcoming election ("General Election on December 12 bids to break the Brexit deadlock", The Herald, October 30).

The Conservative Party is however unique in having already set out its manifesto prior to the election being called. This has been done in what in what is normally referred to as the Queen’s Speech. It is in studying the contents we have to realise that the author, the Prime Minister, is someone not normally associated with either in-depth scrutiny or attention to detail. To put it another way the manifesto’s headlines do not represent the contents.

Nothing is more evident than the claim to recruit 20,000 more police officers. Although this does not relate to Scotland nevertheless it is a prime example of double talk. In stating 20,000 more police in three years there is a suggestion being made that in the three-year period England and Wales will have this number of additional officers. However even the slightest amount of scrutiny lies bare the nonsense of this claim.

To recruit this number in three years would require a Herculean task of actually interviewing sufficient, capable people to take up these vacancies. The interviewing process is long and arduous and with preference being given to graduates will present the police forces with a huge logistical nightmare. The normal fallout from the interview process can be up to 90 per cent so maybe 200,000 interviews would have to be carried out to arrive at the headline number.

However, let us assume, in a spirit of charity, that somehow this task can be accomplished and the interviews completed and in three years 20,000 new officers will have been recruited. The average working life of an officer is 30 years so in three years ten per cent of the present force of 122,000 will have retired. Or to put it another way 12,000 officers will have left the force. So even recruiting 20,000 more officers had been accomplished, this would result in only a net gain of 8,000 additional cops. The headline and the detail simply do not add up. If Boris Johnson were looking to improve the service, then the solution would lie in increasing the budget appropriately. This he will not do.

This is merely one example. However similar forensic investigation of all the contents of the Queen's Speech will show that Mr Johnson is selling nothing other than fairy tales.

George Kay, Burntisland.

THE Herald poll which shows overwhelming support for the SNP at the upcoming General Election ("Herald readers back SNP, the EU and Indy", The Herald, October 30) is a mark of the trust voters have in the party which has been in power in Scotland for 12 years, and a growing realisation that Scotland will thrive as an independent European nation.

While the SNP Government calmly carries on, the UK is into its third Tory Prime Minister in about as many years; David Cameron didn't hang around after losing the EU referendum he'd instigated, Theresa May soon found that Brexit didn't mean Brexit and we weren't going to make a success of it and Boris Johnson eclipsed the pair of them by insisting that do or die, we were leaving the EU on October 31 and he'd rather be dead in a ditch than ask for an extension. Neither Mr Johnson nor anyone else is leaving on October 31 and while he may not be in a ditch, Mr Johnson is certainly busy digging himself and his party into a hole.

While a General Election may have been inevitable, the timing could hardly have been much worse, with the Christmas season getting into full swing and just over a week before the shortest day; even holding it a few days earlier would have been helpful, particularly to the student population. And it is a huge blow that the amendment was not taken which, as is the case at Scottish elections, would have given voting rights to EU nationals living in the UK and enfranchised 16 and 17-year-olds, who will have to live with the consequences of Brexit without being given any say in the matter.

I fear that we can expect Mr Johnson's General Election campaign to emulate the notorious Vote Leave campaign with pledges on the side of a bus et al, so it is encouraging that your poll indicates that Scottish voters won't be duped by this guiser of a Prime Minister and his Halloween tricks and no treats.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

AS we gear up to a December election, the first economic assessment of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has indicated the incredibly damaging impact it will have on the UK economy.

Research by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has revealed that GDP would be 3.5 per cent lower in 10 years’ time under the deal, leaving the UK a staggering £70 billion worse off than we had remained in the EU.

This is not quite the “sunny uplands” the Brexiters have repeatedly promised.

NIESR said approval of the Prime Minister’s deal “would reduce the risk of a disorderly outcome but eliminate the possibility of a closer trading relationship with the EU”. However, despite the agreement between the EU and the UK removing uncertainty, customs and regulatory barriers would “hinder goods and services trade with the continent leaving all regions of the United Kingdom worse off than they would be if the UK stayed in the EU”.

The report also found the proposed free trade deal with the EU was slightly worse for the economy than Theresa May’s deal of last year.

When voters mark their X in the box, these figures lay bare the economic future that faces the nation and the major impact that their choice will have.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh EH9.

NICOLA Sturgeon has agreed to a General Election to further her own political aims. Has she miscalculated? The SNP is standing on a platform to cancel Brexit and allow indyref2 but the two are mutually exclusive. If Brexit does not take place, the foremost "material change in circumstances" that triggered the need for indyref2 disappears. Many SNP supporters who still want Brexit to happen will be in the position of having to vote for a pro-Brexit party. Those wanting to remain in both the Union and the EU can find security with the Liberal Democrats. The pro-independence position is therefore weakened and even more so as the SNP's warnings on a climate emergency might boost those voting Green.

The SNP hype, up until now, is for almost a total victory in all Scottish seats to be in the bag. The expectation is being ramped up, therefore disappointment is almost inevitable. Perhaps Ms Sturgeon ought to have declined Boris Johnson's invitation after all.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

AS they say, politicians campaign in poetry but have to govern in prose. Flamboyant promises fill the airwaves, restraint only coming into play when the serious business of taking office hits home.

The starting pistol for a Christmas election has been fired.

This is no ordinary election where policies are put on display, allowing the electorate to vote for the party most trusted by voters. The waters have been muddied by the inclusion of Brexit on the normal agenda in the hope that the result will finally define the direction demanded by the choice of the winning party.

We have two contrasting personalities leading the two main parties.

Both are pale imitations of the two giants of their parties, Boris Johnson representing a Churchillian figure, Jeremy Corbyn approximating to Attlee.

What cannot be denied is that this election is a battle for the soul of Britain, one side the champion of neo-liberal economics, the other verging on responsible capitalism under the guise of socialism.

That is the stark choice facing the voters, who will have to wade through the murky rhetoric to work out which campaign they should choose to ensure viability for their families and personal welfare.

That will mean looking beyond narrow self-interest and focusing on the broader perspective of what is better for the national interest.

They will have to ignore the caricatures painted for them by the wild words of politicians hoping to depict their opponents in the worst possible light.

This is a generation-defining election.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

I REFER to the ongoing furore about the career of Ruth Davidson, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives ("Job row Davidson drops £50k a year second role", The Herald, October 30).

I recall from a comment that one writer made that she was resigning to spend more time with her family; he also pointed out that she was actually resigning to spend more time with her constituents, which she had not actually done heretofore.

As the story developed, she was really to be spending more time with her consultants, Tulchan and her own consultancy company.

Ms Davidson has now agreed not to accept the role with Tulchan; what she will do with her own company is not known as she omitted to properly register it, and someone else has registered the domain name. Her failure to register her own company shows a distinct lack of business sense, where the Tulchan episode just shows her lack of common sense.

On a related matter the Scottish Tories are producing election leaflets with her picture ("Scottish Tories accused of duplicity for using Davidson on election leaflet", the Herald, October 30); she actually stood down because she fundamentally disagreed with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnston – she did launch “Operation Arse” about his candidacy, did she not? Strange indeed that she and the Tory Party are now punting him as hard as they can.

Jim Lynch, Edinburgh EH12.

FOLLOWING on from your article re Ruth Davidson's pamphlet to the East Renfrewshire electorate: today I received one from our local Conservative MP, well I think it was. The SNP got four mentions, Nicola Sturgeon three and the Conservatives two. Regarding the impact of Brexit or our esteemed PM, nary a word.

Jim McSheffrey, Giffnock.

Read more: Scottish Tories promise 'referendum-free period ahead' in pitch to voters