SIR Jonathan Jones, Treasury solicitor and permanent secretary to the Government Legal Department has now resigned over the conduct of the Government he served; just the latest senior official to quit in the last few months ("SNP in devolution anger at ‘power grab’ cash plan from Westminster", The Herald, September 9). A civil service cajoled and bullied into submission is not a good look for Brexit Britain and, like the ripping up of international agreements, is being noticed abroad, by friends and enemies alike.

This is just another brick removed from the edifice of respect the UK once commanded. A country built on fair play for others, democratic accountability, an impartial civil service, equality under the law, social justice, diplomatic heft. The intermeshing by treaty (not to say common sense), of our nearest neighbours, for trade, defence, travel, work and play is being torn down by this Tory government. To do so, they are willing—no, they are happy, to trash the hard-won reputation of the UK in the process. From the Treaty of Rome, to our Decline and Fall, in a single generation. Roll on indyref2.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

THE interview with UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma on Radio Scotland this morning was more searching than normal, but there are some obvious questions which never seem to be asked.

One, even if powers are coming back to Holyrood from the EU, they are illusory, and useless if Westminster can ignore or overrule them at will, as the Internal Market Bill makes possible.

Two, what is wrong with the present set-up, where trade is not impacted by Scotland having different legislation, such as minimum alcohol pricing, free prescription sand the like?

Three, what is the point of devolution at all, if laws passed in the devolved area are only upheld if Westminster has, or decides to have, the same laws?

Power devolved or retained?

P Davidson, Falkirk.

DOWN through the centuries England has played fast and loose with the fate of the peoples of Ireland and now we learn of the Government’s intention to row back on parts of the Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland. We should not be surprised by anything this Government does.

Lest there be any doubt Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, admitted in the House of Commons that the Government’s intention to amend the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would break the law.

It is a mystery to me that the Scottish Conservatives are either totally unable or totally unaware of the need to develop an effective response to the Prime Minister’s appalling behaviour which is contrary to all standards expected of the governance of a democracy worthy of the name.

It is Boris Johnson and that failure which is at the heart of the unionists’ current problem in Scotland. They cannot appear to go along with him in everything and not expect to suffer a dramatic loss of seats next May.

John Mine, Uddingston.

I SEE much criticism from the SNP and certain commentators in Scotland about the lack of "moderate Tory voices" in the UK and within the Conservative Party.

However, can someone please tell me where the "moderate nationalist voices" have been over the last six years. The sort of voices that actually accepted the result of the independence referendum, thus the notion of democracy? Voices that can see the economic, political, social and cultural consequences of Scottish secession, obviously still agree with it, but are at least honest with the Scottish people?

Voices that did not say in 2014 that the people of Scotland have rejected independence "at this time" or that it transcends every single issue in Scottish society. Perhaps a place where internal voices of descent are listened to within the party rather than the false presentation of bland homogeneity.

Perhaps the SNP and its followers should look inward first before criticising another party.

David Bone, Girvan.

YOUR front page trailer “Moderate Tory voices silent on Brexit” for Ian McConnell's article on the business pages seems to make the assumption that such a thing as a moderate Tory still exists ("Moderate Tory voices absent as UK Brexit crusade at full tilt", The Herald, September 9). The effective purge of moderates prior to the election had all the hallmarks of neo-Stalinism.

Since a misguided, mainly English, electorate (but with a sorry number of Scots fellow travellers) chose to give him an unassailable Parliamentary majority, Boris Johnson has increasingly shown all the other traits of a tinpot dictator. He lies

indiscriminately, makes arbitrary decisions and changes course without warning. His dependence on an unelected advisor, Dominic Cummings, himself in my view a hypocritical megalomaniac, is also typical of dictators the world over.

In the face of the unbridled power now held by this cabal, it would take a very brave, nay foolish, Tory MP to try to stand against it. Given that the pre-election purge removed most of the reasonable potential Tory MPs, the remaining placemen and women are not the sort to take any form of principled stand. This is unlikely to change until the irrevocable damage to the UK from the Tory's preferred form of Brexit becomes apparent even to the “Blue Wall”. By then, it may well be too late for any meaningful return to proper democracy.

Dr RM Morris, Ellon.

NEIL Mackay avers that he is not "dissing" all Tories ("Ruth and Boris are two sides of the same hypocritical Tory coin", The Herald, September 8). However, he remained fairly free and generous with his vituperation in that direction. According to him, the Tories engage in "fork-tongued duplicity". Margaret Thatcher "said one thing and did the other". Boris Johnson does not escape – he is "the most phoney unionist who has ever breathed". The Conservatives constitute an "indecent party". One wonders whether or not he feels the "Tory coin" has been ever thus. That party in Scotland so subject to the criticism in the article referred to, has clearly gone through profound change since the heady days of the 1950s, and 1955 in particular when it secured 50.1 per cent of the Scottish vote.

Much of that earlier success can be attributed to the fact that it was able to appeal as expected to voters within the middle-class element of the electorate, but importantly also to a considerable number of the voters from the skilled and semi-skilled working class. That appeal in the intervening years to the latter group has lost much of its gloss. That trend is unlikely to be stalled or reversed by actions such as that of Ruth Davidson in opening herself up to criticism by joining the well-paid ranks of the unelected in the House of Lords. She only accentuated the damage to her reputation in the eyes of many by complaining about being referred to as "Baroness".

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Read more: Scotland could take legal action over a 'threat to devolution' posed by UK ministers