AS a former adviser Andy Maciver no doubt knows where in the morgue the Scottish Tories' electoral failure bodies lie ("Scotland leads the world in the failure of the centre-right", The Herald, August 4). To the anti-SNP, pro-UK focus I would add a huff with Boris Johnson and Brexit, and an allergy to developing election-winning policies. The fact that they wouldn't copy Alex Salmond and lie about their true political philosophy, or their equivalent of currency and the Queen, is surely to their credit, however.

But he is spot on. In my job, IT sales, moral victories, as in the 2016 and 2017 elections, are failures and too many lead to the sack, so Downing Street poking its nose in is surely a good thing; with an 80-seat majority it obviously knows how to win elections.

Douglas Ross voted Remain but wants Brexit done and supports Boris Johnson. He has already said he'll scrap the Curriculum for Excellence, that the only power grab going on in Scotland is the SNP sucking it into Edinburgh, and, crucially, policies that matter to voters are as important as an anti-independence platform.

I also hope he will recruit talented former MPs such as Stephen Kerr, Luke Graham, Kirstene Hair and Colin Clark to the cause.

Somewhere among Scotland's one million Brexit voters, two million No voters and 750,000 voters receiving UK furlough money must be the million-plus votes he needs to make the Tories at least the biggest party, and if George Galloway Plans A and B are deployed successfully, the SNP will be toast.

My big concern is whether Ruth Davidson still has the stomach for the fight, truly accepts Boris Johnson and Brexit and will do her bit to develop election-winning policies, her biggest weakness as leader.

The Conservatives and Alliance for Unity have acted. Over to you, Labour and the LibDems.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

JOHN Findlay is of course correct that the cult of Nicola Sturgeon, the self-appointed Chief Mammy of the Scottish Nation, is no basis for Scottish independence. Moreover, even if her followers are correct, if she were to be hit by the proverbial bus, who would Scotland be left with?

The hopeless Humza Yousaf, with a conviction that makes him uniquely unfit to be either Transport or Justice Secretary? Or John Swinney, a husk of a man whose judgment is so poor on schools reopening that it had to be over-ruled within days? Likewise, Jeane Freeman, who shares the blame for Scotland’s care home deaths and is apparently deemed incapable of representing her own policies at the daily televised NicolaFest? Or do we go back to sleazy Derek Mackay, the disgraced ex-heir apparent?

Or do we fall back on Alex Salmond, the man promoted and supported for decades by the very same Ms Sturgeon, whose conduct around women led to him being described in court by his own defence counsel as “not a good man”?

The First Minister’s dominance is in fact a mark of how devolution has diminished Scottish politics – there is no doubt that she would have been reduced to a figure of ridicule by John Smith, or that Robin Cook would have torn her playhouse down, room by room by room (as the song would have it.) Furthermore, her threadbare party – the SNP – is symptomatic of the shallow talent pool that is Holyrood. She and they have no blueprint for a better future outside the UK, and we can have no confidence whatsoever that they could or would make an independent Scotland a better place.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow G13.

JOHN Findlay contends that Nicola Sturgeon has no confidence in allowing her Cabinet colleagues to deliver the daily Covid-19 update, but Mr Findlay would appear to have no confidence in the public, when he writes that "convince a gullible public she has performed really well dealing with Covid-19 and that should be sufficient for them to vote for independence". Mr Findlay goes on to state that many of the SNP's policies have failed since taking office. Presumably he also blames the gullible public for returning the SNP to Holyrood three consecutive times, and if the opinion polls are correct it will be back for a fourth term next May. However, I seem to recall that before the SNP came to power I had to pay over the counter for my medical prescriptions and pay to cross a bridge when visiting my friends in Fife. Amongst many other achievements, the SNP has provided baby boxes to help parents give their children a good start in life, extended quality childcare provision, upgraded nearly a thousand schools, provided free university education, built thousands of affordable homes for families, and provided free personal care when required, regardless of age.

As for Mr Findlay's contention that an independent Scotland would have no influence in the world compared to that of the UK, I would suggest that the UK's standing in the world has slumped due to leaving the European Union, a decision which was soundly rejected by Scotland's voters. And as for the influence an independent Scotland could have in Europe, Mr Findlay need look no further than Ireland, and the influence that country had, and the respect shown to it by the EU during the Brexit negotiations.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

GR Weir’s characterisation of Ruth Davidson as “bovver boots” made me laugh (Letters, August 4). This irreverent description of the “tank commander” should not, however, cloud the fact that despite the forthcoming reprise of her cameo role as a stand in/ stand-up in the Scottish Parliament she will soon be tightly ensconced in the House of Lords at considerable taxpayer expense. The reward of image over substance.

Charlie Johnston, Stewarton.

MARIANNE Taylor hits several nails on the head in her article on the Tories' prospects in Scotland ("Unanswerable question for every Scottish Tory leader", The Herald, August 3). She does, however, omit one very important factor – history. The Tories have failed to land a significant electoral blow here since the 1950s. They have proved to be unelectable.

The plan to bring Ruth Davidson in for a few guest appearances at First Minister Questions before she sticks her snout in the noble Lords trough doesn't seem likely to reverse any of the current trends. Check the odds with the bookies.

Stuart Chalmers, East Kilbride.

DAVID Mumford (Letters, August 4) recommends that we give consideration to giving our list vote to the Scottish Green Party rather than seeking alternative independence parties. To a large extent I agree with him, although each region of the country will be different. While he is disappointed that few have given this much attention, my puzzle is why the Scottish Greens have not been more prominent in promoting the case themselves?

John C Hutchison, Fort William.

Read more: Letters: A personality cult is no basis on which to make a decision on the nation’s future

WHILE Jill Stephenson’s proposal (Letters, August 3) for the Unionist parties in a Holyrood election to coalesce so that a single Unionist candidate would stand in each constituency instead of competing against one another, thus splitting the Unionist vote, may have some merit to defeat the SNP, there follows the need first, for the agreement of the deposed candidates to be forthcoming early enough so they are not wasting their time campaigning, and, secondly, for them to produce a manifesto which would appeal to the aspirations of the respective parties’ voters.

So, perhaps Ms Stephenson could give us an idea of what she has in mind by providing a short draft manifesto bringing together a collection of acceptable policy proposals from the various parties, which would automatically highlight for us, by omission, precisely which policies the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and Labour had dropped to satisfy the emerging coalition that would emerge should they be successful in ousting the SNP in the election.

It is my guess that the splits between them en route would make the differences, real or imagined, within the SNP seem like a Sunday school picnic

Douglas R Mayer, Currie.

SINCE lockdown, there has been talk again recently of how the might of the UK Government (with borrowed money) comes to the aid of "poor" Scotland. Can we please end this arrant nonsense?

For example, since 2001, Scotland has raised more than £907 billion in tax receipts for the UK Treasury, of which Westminster has retained £460bn. In fact, every UK government in our lifetimes has knowingly diverted tens of billions of pounds of Scottish revenues to Westminster. This has inevitably led to lower investment in Scotland, higher unemployment, lower economic growth, lower standards of living, economic stagnation and growing inequality and poverty.

Keith Johnston, Moffat.

I CONCUR with Fraser Kelly (Letters, July 27) that an independent Scotland will fracture. I focus upon Orkney and Shetland, which were under Norwegian sovereignty until subsumed by Scotland in 1472. The Declaration of Arbroath, beloved of the SNP, was signed in 1320. Inhabitants of Orkney and Shetland may reasonably claim that the Declaration of Arbroath is nothing to do with them.

Orkney and Shetland do not return SNP MPs or MSPs. If offered a choice between relationship with the Faroe Islands in particular and Scandinavia in general versus relationship with Central Scotland, inhabitants of Orkney and Shetland would opt to depart from Scotland. The SNP is not being pragmatic if it considers that it can fracture the United Kingdom but have Scotland intact.

William Durward, Bearsden.

YOUR Those Were The days picture from 1987 of a photocall of 45 newly elected/re-elected Labour MPs ("1987: Scottish Labour MPS plan their next move", The Herald, August 4) was very telling:

1. Only one woman in the group, a smiling Maria Fyfe in the third row.

2. Where was Gordon Brown? So unlike him not to be standing to the fore.

3. A leader in waiting, the late John Smith, did stand out, however.

George Kirrin, Beckenham, Kent.

I NOTE that Maria Fyfe spoils the male uniformity of the group of Labour MPs.

How things have changed, for the better I would say, in the 30-odd years since the photo was taken. Now you could take the Scottish Labour Party picture in a photo booth or by selfie.

Ivor Matheson, Dumfries.