IN the wake of Derek Mackay’s disgraceful demise ("Political high-flyer now facing career in ruins", The Herald, February 7), I hope the First Minister appoints someone who has both financial and life experience.

The last incumbent was a purely political appointment with zero attributes in his CV. A lifelong politician is not the right skills for this particular position.

If we are to create an economy that funds our ambitions in the NHS, social care, police, infrastructure and climate change we need someone who has experience of managing the economy, not another political apparatchik.

Ian McNair, Glasgow G12.

THE Scottish Government claims that its reason for demanding details from the Sun was to establish veracity and substance. A reality is that it had a readily accessible source of verification and substantiation in the shape of Derek Mackay.

I might be a bit naïve but, regardless of the name and address of a 16-year-old, the question is whether a minister behaved inappropriately. Prior to the Scottish Government making the demand, Mr Mackay was in a position to verify and substantiate whether such messages had been sent.

The above aside, we don't know yet whether the First Minister asked two obvious questions before it approached the newspaper. The first of those questions is "Did you do it?"

If Mr Mackay denied it and this was why the Scottish Government sought evidence we now know that his denial would have been a lie. If he didn't lie then the FM was obliged to ask the next question, which would have been along the lines of "Is this the only one?"

Yesterday, the FM denied knowledge of any other instance. As a result, one of two things must be true. The first might be that the FM lied at Holyrood. The second is that she didn't ask the question. The first would be a bare-faced lie uttered by someone in high office. If she did not ask Mr Mackay if he had done this sort of thing before, we are left with a First Minister who is unable to bring an obvious question to mind in a crisis. The alternative would be that she chose not to ask in a hopeless effort to claim plausible deniability.

Many of us wonder if this Government's first actions will always be to protect itself and the cause it promotes rather than protect the people of Scotland from the excesses of those who work within it and who are leading lights in that cause.

Kenny Wilson, Greenock.

DEREK Mackay should do the honourable thing now and resign as an MSP. His shameful conduct has no place in any decent society.

The scandal involving Mr MacKay may only be the beginning of an intensely difficult period for the First Minister and for the Scottish Government with the highly publicised trial of Alex Salmond taking place next month and the ongoing debate over Indyref2 causing internal division and doubt. However, followers of Scottish independence must look beyond personalities and media sensationalism during this thorny time to reassure themselves that their quest for self-determination rises above human failings and parochial party politics.

It is important to keep a clear vision of what kind of country we wish to live in at this time when we are creeping towards the Brexit abyss and are ruled from Westminster by a Government that regards Scotland as a colony and those who represent us with a mixture of ambivalence and disdain. The quest for a land where social equality and justice, together with a stable economy wherein fair distribution of wealth is a priority, is eminently achievable within a Scotland, that through the EU or even EFTA, finds itself again part of a European family of nations. The very heart of the UK continues to decay from within thanks to the perpetual class system, self-interest of the economic elite and the archaic political system.

We must look beyond the current travails of the Scottish Government and keep our eyes on the prize. Independence for Scotland is no longer a pipe dream, it is almost within our grasp.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

WHY does Allan Fitzpatrick bother doubting the ability of the SNP to govern competently in an independent Scotland (Letters, February 7)?

Has he not yet realised that the whole point of independence is that we will have the government we choose, which means that he, like everyone else, will have a choice of parties to vote for to run the government? Who is to say that the SNP will still exist, at least in its present form? Many of its current members who want independence will probably revert to parties with which they formerly had affinity and the SNP therefore will either disband or develop into a different party.

What matters is Scotland’s ability to run its own affairs efficiently under a government of our own choice.

P Davidson, Falkirk.

I’M in no way shocked at the behaviour of some senior SNP politicians. But yet at every election the SNP portrays itself as an exemplar of upstanding behaviour, in direct contrast with the den of inequity at Westminster. It seems to think Holyrood is new, post-modern, a gleaming city on the hill. Westminster is colonial, stuck in the 19th century, sleazy, its politicians reflecting this.

The numerous recent and past events demonstrate that SNP politicians are all too human. As prone to stupidity, misconduct, avarice, licentious and pettiness as any other group of people that have ever existed.

Perhaps the SNP and its supporters could stop pretending that their politicians are somehow scandal-free colossi sent down from Arthur’s Seat. Scandals will come and go. Hypocrisy tends to last longer.

David Bone, Girvan.

IAN Thomson (Letters, February 8) invokes McMillan’s “events, dear boy” comment. I think the more appropriate classical reference is Icarus. The SNP and its leaders have sailed too close to the “Sun” for too long as they have stupidly attempted to break away from their Crete.

Just as Icarus before, hubris has got them all in the end. Their dream is over. For that we should all be very grateful.

John Dunlop, Ayr.

Read more: Sturgeon accused of 'lack of leadership'