ON the inauguration of President Trump on January 20, 2017 I recall a discussion with a friend wherein I said that this type of populist leadership cult could never happen in the UK. Amongst my lofty assertions were points such as the British people are too grounded and sensible and that they would easily see through such a charlatan who lies on an industrial scale and who has no perceptible moral compass.

Sadly, I was wrong. So far in this election week alone our Prime Minister has played the race card (again) by criticising EU migrants, seen his abhorrent views on gun control post-Dunblane being highlighted, maliciously contradicted his own ministers and the Irish Government regarding the terms of his Brexit deal and demonstrated his breathtaking lack of compassion and empathy in an interview with ITV regarding four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr who was left lying for hours on a hospital floor.

There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that Boris Johnson, as the President himself modestly noted, is Britain's Trump, with all the disingenuousness and unprincipled unscrupulousness that this entails. As testified by so many people he has worked and socialised with, Mr Johnson is, as Eddie Mair observed during a past interview, a nasty piece of work who lacks a sense of genuine decency or care for anyone outside of his privileged group.

A vote for Mr Johnson and the Conservatives is a vote for an amoral state, offering increased power to a pernicious government and for economic and social paralysis for the next generation. If you value parliamentary democracy and the equity of the welfare state, there has to be a better choice and a better way.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

BORIS Johnson has been branded a " disgrace" as the election battle continues ("Boris branded a ‘disgrace’ as election week fight begins", The Herald, December 10). The real "disgrace" is the constant manoeuvring of the SNP, which originally put its indyref2 message front and centre and now, having realised it is a vote loser, is switching off its "essential" 2020 vote position.

This was its key message at the start of the campaign. If this is the right way forward for Scotland in its opinion then why abandon it? The obvious conclusion is that the SNP realises the game is up, independence is still not wanted and it fears an electoral drubbing. The hyperbole from the SNP leadership that only it represents the "voice of Scotland" is about to get a rather nasty sore throat. You can only fool some of the people some of the time.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

GUY Stenhouse – formerly Pinstripe – claims that the SNP is irrelevant; he states that there are 650 Westminster seats and the SNP is contesting 59 of them – they cannot possibly win ("Why Boris is the only option if we want to avoid ruin", Herald Business, December 9). Mr Stenhouse has just stated the case for independence; and if the SNP is so irrelevant why are the three Unionist parties so opposed to it?

I would urge every voter in Scotland to vote SNP, because we might have a hung Westminster Parliament and be able to force an independence referendum out of that state of affairs.

Jim Lynch, Edinburgh EH12.

ONE of the most depressing aspects of the current election campaign has been the repeated assertion that the current leader of the UK Labour Party is not fit for office, with another addition in the form of the letter today (December 10) from RB Pillar. Like your correspondent I have no affiliation to any political party, but I do have my eyes and ears open to what is happening in the communities and the country around me.

Figures provided by the Trussell Trust, for example, indicate that in the period between April and September of this year nearly 825,000 three-day emergency food parcels were provided to people in crisis in the UK, with more than one-third of this number going to children. Figures provided by the homeless charity Shelter in 2018 conservatively estimate that there are upward of 320,000 homeless people in the UK, with an average increase of approximately 13,000 per annum, while CentrePoint reported that more than100,00 young people asked for help from their local authorities as a result of being either homeless or at risk of homelessness in 2018. At the same time, the Office of National Statistics reported that the number of people working on zero hours contracts in the UK had risen by more than 100,000 to a staggering 1.8 million between 2016-17. Earlier this year Nobel Prize-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton suggested that rising inequality in Britain is now approaching the levels experienced in the United States and puts the country at risk of being one of the most unequal nations on earth.

As I say, I have no particular political affiliation, but it is certainly not the Leader of the Opposition who is unfit for office.

David Gray, Glasgow G11.

IT is astonishing that Nicola Sturgeon is planning to support a Labour/Corbyn government when current polling suggests that Labour may only secure one seat in Scotland. Despite its claims, the SNP does not speak for the people of Scotland.

Gordon Keir, Bridge of Weir.

SOON it will all be over, bar the shouting, and we will be able to return to our more normal routines. However, if Jeremy Corbyn wins, then I suppose that we will just be drawing our breath, since we in Scotland may be summoned to the polls twice in 2020.

I wonder how long it will be before readers start complaining about the gulf between the electors, and those we voted to legislate on our behalf? Serving elected politicians seldom rank highly in public esteem, but the distance between the two groups appears to be wide, and getting wider.

I have often wondered why this might be so, but it has suddenly struck me that this might be because the disenchantment has been arising at a increasingly earlier stages of the political process.

For me, this was highlighted by the election literature that has come through my letterbox during the current campaign from three of the four candidates standing in the East Renfrewshire constituency (nothing from the LibDems). The fliers are all very similar – party colours, party logo, a photograph of the candidate (either head and shoulders, or more of the candidate posing against a recognisable location in the constituency. Then a series of shouty statements/ bullet points/ tick boxes/press cuttings, and so on.

What is missing is any mention whatsoever of their prior life (other than that one is the most recent incumbent, and another was a previous one. Both enjoyed the experience.)

I presume that this is omitted because, in most cases, the leaflet will receive desultory scrutiny before being placed in the recycling bin.

Perhaps it's just an age thing. While I would not expect a detailed biography, I feel that it would be helpful to know a little about each of the candidates. life experience, and how they felt that this uniquely qualified them to represent the constituency. At least it would enable me to establish some sort of common ground as a fellow human being, rather than just someone who has possibly just been parachuted in as a hired gun for their party.

Christopher W Ide, Waterfoot.

TRUST in politicians and their integrity is top of the current agenda. What they claim to stand for is contradicted by their actions.

This is illustrated across the whole spectrum of politics.

We have to start somewhere, so what better than the EU referendum? It’s about the successful and the unsuccessful. The latter, resenting their loss, claim that such major constitutional issues should be subject to a two-thirds majority. So it is disingenuous for them, when they demand a re-run of the vote, to call it a People's Vote, or a Confirmatory Vote – no mention of the threshold; after all it is not a referendum.

Elections involving many parties, with a minority vote winning through, lead to demands for proportional representation, yet no major party accedes to that, because their turn to win comes round again. It would lead to coalition goverments. We can recall Channel Foiur’s Krishnan Guru Murthy standing in front of the results board in 2010, saying “This is what you voted for”. Ten days later he displayed the so-called Coalition Agreement between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, saying: “This is not what you voted for”. Coalitions generally are a bad experience. Scant minorities should not be able to wag the majority dog.

The UK vote for Brexit was represented by factions in England as them having won their independence from the EU – they rallied round the flag, but it was St George’s Cross, not the Union Flag.

The case for Brexit in the EU context matched perfectly the case for Scottish independence in the UK case, yet that causes virtual apoplexy among English politicians who use, even in Parliament, the most unparliamentary language to lambast the 35 SNP MPs, particularly by the 13 Scottish Conservative MPs, so much so that the Speaker was forced to call them to order.

The Conservative Government has been blamed for what is erroneously referred to as “austerity” – that applies when an economy malfunctions, but the cuts in spending were required to repay the accumulated £160 billion of profligate Labour borrowing up to 2010. It may have been out of Unionist loyalty, but they could not bring themselves to mention “Labour deficit” every time they mentioned “cuts”.

There is no easy fix to all that, but it might help were the deposit for standing for parliament to be raised from the £500 set in 1991, by inflation to, say, £10,000, with that being returned if 10 per cent of the turnout vote were achieved. That could reduce the number of parties – currently we have seven, although we have had a ballot paper with as many as 19 names on it. And it would keep faith with the principle set in 1991.

Also, we could have a system of a rolling programme of three-year stints in parliament. That could cut out the frivolities and result in more wrapped attention to the day job.

Douglas R Mayer, Currie.

WE are indeed living in very strange times. Self-proclaimed lifelong Labour voters boast that they will vote Tory at the forthcoming election. “There’s nowt queerer than fowk,” as they might say in Yorkshire.

David Clark, Tarbolton.

Read more: It is Corbyn, not Johnson, who is unsuitable to be PM