WE in Scotland may not be “living in a one-party state” as many assert, but there is one aspect of the SNP’s structure which is not even debated very much, let alone criticised, despite questions over Nicola Sturgeon’s integrity and Peter Murrell’s convolutions over the Salmond affair investigation.

For years I have found it extraordinary that most SNP MPs, MSPs, councillors and members seem to accept that it is perfectly in order, and raises no questions of potential party/government conflict or concentration of power, that the SNP’s chief executive is Mr Murrell, Ms Sturgeon’s husband.

He became CEO in 1999; they became an “item” in 2003. She became SNP deputy leader in 2004, then leader and First Minister in 2014.

I gather that when Alex Salmond handed over to Ms Sturgeon, he wisely advised them that Mr Murrell should not remain as CEO. That annoyed them, apparently, and may well have led to the current Salmond/Sturgeon estrangement.

Last year former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said Mr Murrell should “move on”, and that such a husband/wife situation in the top positions in media, business or the public sector would not be tolerated. Exactly – the SNP should not appear to be a family fiefdom – shades of the White House? And if another party allowed that, what a meal the SNP and FM would make of it.

John Birkett, St Andrews.

As missing information in the Salmond affair gradually oozes out of Holyrood, it is of paramount importance that the cause of independence for Scotland does not become conflated with the performance of the Scottish National Party as a government nor the extracurricular activities of some of its weel-kent faces.

Many Scots support the SNP as it is the only realistic vehicle that can bring about the overdue restoration of Scotland as a self-governing autonomous country and that’s as far as our allegiance goes. I personally have no doubt that the SNP as a political organisation is no different from any other UK party and it will have its share of predators, incompetents, egotists and self-interested carpetbaggers, but until another party espousing home rule for Scotland turns up with a realistic chance of attaining that goal I and many others will continue to vote for it. After independence is achieved, well that’s a completely different ball-game; however, just finding a completely “snow-white” political party may be harder than gaining independence itself.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

YOU report that the Scottish Government has allocated £20 million to be spent to redevelop the Cairngorms funicular railway, a transportation system which has been out of action for more than three years ("Cairngorm given £20m to repair railway and boost tourist resort", The Herald, October 10). The same Scottish Government, which has closed down the Scottish hospitality sector for the next two weeks, says it has identified a £40 million support package for the sector, albeit there is no clarity whatsoever as to how this would be spent.

This allocation of expenditure towards a defunct mountain railway transportation system, against the backdrop of the massive and far-reaching negative economic impact on the food and beverage sector directly and indirectly, simply beggars belief and is yet a further illustration of the total incompetence of this SNP administration. Forget the funicular, it is not a priority and is frankly unimportant in today's Covid environment.This funicular £20m should be redrectedto help the tens of thousands of hard-working people and hundreds businesses the wholly misguided closure of the hospitality sector will impact.

Paul McPhail, Glasgow G43.