ELECTIONS are the sine qua non, if not the ne plus ultra, of democracies. Ratcheting up the hyperbole, all the parties have claimed the current one is the most important in living memory. But it doesn’t feel like that.

For a start, this election should not be happening. It testifies to the shameless refusal of our politicians to respect the results of the 2016 referendum and the 2017 General Election.

Secondly, if we could be ignored then, why should we trust that these same politicians won’t ignore us now? Increasingly, we hear politicians keen to disavow responsibility, predicting that Brexiting will prove to be protracted, endless, in effect impossible.

Thirdly, electioneering has been even more dishonest than usual. Anxious to win power by any means, all the parties in Scotland (bar the Greens) have put out literature which advocates tactical voting (only for them of course) and fails to highlight candidates’ party allegiances. We should vote, we are told, to stop the SNP or stop the Tories, to stop independence or stop Brexit. Scaremongering and demonising opponents are the order of the day. Such tactics may be less politically risky than positive campaigning, but they hollow out our politics.

So it will be with justly heavy hearts that many drag themselves out to exercise their democratic right and duty. There will be applause and celebration for whomever in the current shower “wins” on Friday, but what we should really be lauding and honouring is the faith of these individuals who have voted against all the odds.

Linda Holt, Anstruther.

HAVING witnessed many of the mixed and often dishonest messages emanating from political parties ahead of, in my opinion, the seminal election of my 50 years holding the democratic franchise, I prepare to head to the polling station with a doom-laden sense that democracy is dead.

Three reasons bring me to this profoundly sad conclusion, both encased in the assertion that choosing the next government is very far from a fair fight.

Instead, it’s a game rigged in favour of a tiny percentage of the UK population, who will benefit richly and disproportionately from the probable re-election of a Conservative administration, and they do not include the flock of mainly-English electoral turkeys prepared to vote for Christmas.

First, having examined recent Electoral Commission data on single donations of £7,500 or more to UK political parties, the Conservatives have hoovered up £12.2 million of the £20.3million donated since the election was called last month, twice as much as the rest combined.

So, why on earth, in 21st century Britain, should the £1m donation to Tory coffers by a former Russian finance minister’s wife, and similar amounts gifted by other tycoons (many residing offshore), be able to purchase enhanced and privileged influence than me or the mythical "Workington man?’"

Buying influence, in any other walk of life, can constitute fraud and, in my view, this is part of the same ugly narrative exposed in Neil Mackay’s excellent recent article, "The Prince and the PM – twin symbols of everything that is rotten in Britain" (The Herald, December 5).

Secondly, in addition to an election "war chest" three times bigger than anyone else, the Conservatives have 80 per cent of the national print media in their pocket, relentlessly and enthusiastically pumping out page after page, day after day, of Tory propaganda alongside damaging anti-opposition content, successfully aimed at actively discrediting any and all dissenting voices.

They have the cash to purchase advertising – a significant proportion of it lodged with their loyal media backers – paying for armies of analysts and pulling fast-tricks any political party should be thoroughly ashamed of.

That, combined with slavishly-favourable PR coverage most editors would normally dismiss as "puff" makes the Tories odds-on favourites for this, and any other future expression of so-called "democracy" conducted under the current rules, such as they are.

Until such time as party funding is properly – and fairly – controlled and paid for proportionately from the public purse, and before the print media is regulated as broadcasters are, I ask the question: Is it even worth voting? in a blatantly and cynically rigged system where the deck is stacked so firmly in favour of one participant, and one participant only.

And, thirdly, the UK has not had a government with a majority of the popular vote since 1931, a first past the post system surely and urgently in need of a steward’s inquiry?

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.

ELECTION campaigning has drawn to a close, and by the time you read this letter we may know the result.

But something that has concerned me this time is the sheer number of campaign leaflets coming through the door. There seems to be a correlation between the parties who are spouting the most about saving the planet, and those who are sending the most leaflets. The Lib Dems are easily the worst, closely followed by the SNP.

How many trees have been destroyed?

Geoff Moore, Alness.

I WAS impressed with politicians' empathy with the crisis in our environment, until I watched them all scurrying round the country before Polling Day ... quite a "footprint".

James Watson, Dunbar.

Read more: General Election 2019: weather to make it tough for voters