IAIN Macwhirter is certainly correct when he writes that the Westminster Brexit vote has left opposition parties with a dilemma ("We should bite the bullet and hail Boris, the history-maker", The Herald, December 30), but nonetheless when the dust settles history will remember who took us out of Europe and caused the UK such economic and political damage.

It's important that the Tories are made to own the consequences, even if Boris Johnson gets a short-term boost from it, so from that point of view the opposition parties who voted against the deal are right to do so. I don't agree with Mr Macwhirter on this though: "Many in the commentariat suspected that Mr Johnson had decided to go for a no-deal Brexit – or what he called an 'Australian-style deal' on ruinous WTO terms." Quite so, but many others in the commentariat thought he was bluffing, and so it turned out. In the end, he backed down on fishing (at best he's kicked it into the long grass for six years). And industry is in a worse position than when Mr Johnson led us out of Europe. As Mr Macwhirter says, "Britain will undoubtedly lose by no longer being part of the 'frictionless' European single market".

He goes on: "They believed the opposition parties when they said they would move heaven and earth (and the Supreme Court) to prevent Britain leaving the EU without a trade deal." The Supreme Court ruling was about Mr Johnson illegally proroguing Parliament, which will hardly be a positive when historians study Brexit, and as for this: "But neither of them made as massive a dent in the British constitutional timeline as the politician universally known as 'Boris'. No one is laughing at him any more" –they didn't laugh at Neville Chamberlain when he returned from Munich either, but they're laughing now, even if only in a rueful way.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


IAIN Macwhirter forgets Brexit exists because David Cameron was fearful of Nigel Farage and the right wing of the Tory Party. The two subsequent Tory prime ministers were quite happy to risk economic prosperity and stir up race hatred and national division to keep that party united. Why he therefore thinks Mr Johnson (could we stop the "Boris – everybody's mate", nonsense?) is to be admired, is beyond my comprehension.

Am I one of these "refuse to face up to reality" Remainers? Indeed. And will continue to be so until Jacob Rees-Mogg, an enthusiastic Brexit supporter, brings his financial business back from Dublin whence he removed it to retain the benefits of full access to the EU. I wonder how many others have, or will, follow him?

Ewan Henderson, Haddington.


IAIN Macwhirter has a problem; his sycophantic article about Boris Johnson will almost certainly have lost him the respect of the vast majority of independence supporters, and while it has no doubt pleased Mr Johnson's two fans in Scotland, they and other unionists must be taking Mr Macwhirter's fulsome compliments with a large pinch of salt. Trying to keep a foot in both camps doesn't work, and may see him booted out of both.

Mr Macwhirter appears, if not to have lost the plot, at least to have mislaid it. May I suggest that while he's looking for it he should read his colleague Ian McConnell's superb article, "We are now all bedevilled by bitter fruits of Tory division" (The Herald, December 30)". And that's the truth.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

* IAIN Macwhirter seems to have been beguiled by the sham that is Mr Johnson. Perhaps he should have read Ian McConnell's detailed, informative and wise column before putting pen to paper.

Eileen Michael, Ralston.


IN his excellent speech approving the Brexit Bill, Sir Keir Starmer summed up the hypocrisy of those voting against it. He said: "They are voting for a no deal. They actually want to vote yes but they want others to vote yes and save them from the consequences of their own vote." We expect no less from the SNP, but what on earth was Scottish Labour playing at?

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


I WAS thankful that my father, who worked very hard voluntarily for the Labour Party in Scotland, was long dead and did not live to see the craven compliance with nationalism over the EU as has now happened at Holyrood. That Richard Leonard could cave in and see fit to join the SNP in the Holyrood no-deal lobby is shattering. At UK level, Labour was taking the exact opposite course and supporting a deal with the EU. Would Mr Leonard have dared to oppose the previous UK leader and his mentor, Jeremy Corbyn, in such a way? I doubt it.

Unless Labour in Scotland gets Jackie Baillie at the wheel it will disappear as an irrelevance as once did the Whigs.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

* ALEC Oattes (Letters, December 30) cites the SNP regard for democracy. Is this the same SNP which has never accepted the Scottish vote of 2014 against independence, and the UK vote for Brexit? Surely not.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


TWO markedly different takes on the Brexit deal today from Ian McConnell and Iain Macwhirter.

Mr McConnell's articles, mostly on business matters, can generally be interpreted as pretty much of the glass half-empty variety; he would never be mistaken for a ray of sunshine. Mr Macwhirter on the other hand writes on a variety of political and general interest topics and does so from mainly a neutral, nuanced viewpoint, though sometimes with a leaning towards independence and the SNP. With this in mind his article today more or less giving Boris Johnson the credit he is due for pulling off a remarkable good deal within a very tight timescale and against all the odds is most welcome and is to his credit.

I accept that the devil is in the detail and the deal is not perfect, but compared to the no deal scenario which was being widely touted, it should be embraced. Alas and to their shame the SNP condemn it as expected. As Mr Macwhirter points out, the hypocrisy of our First Minister in instructing her MPs to vote against ratification of the deal is beyond the pale and hopefully will come back to bite her in May.

It has been a tough, unprecedented year what with Covid and Brexit, but with the latter resolved and vaccines for the former being rolled out I wish all Herald readers and letter writers of all opinions the best of luck for 2021.

James Martin, Bearsden.


JOHN NE Rankin (Letters, December 30) nicely sums up The Herald’s Letters Pages and the wide range of emotions which can arise from reading them and I admit I felt more than a few of them today (December 30), although not just confined to the letters.

Mr Rankin singles out Jill Stephenson and Gerald Edwards for entertainment value,with which I wholly concur as their contributions are always good for a laugh. Joining in the fun we have William Loneskie and Alex Gallagher, respectively stretching credibility by asking us to believe economic predictions as far ahead as 2035 and the joke that is GERS as a predictor of the finances of Scotland should the people decide to return to being a sovereign state once again, something the Brexit separatists have achieved for the UK. David Bone, not wishing to be outdone, takes issue with Scottish Government advertisements saying “we are Scotland” but ignores Conservative “one nation” slogans.

Iain Macwhirter makes some interesting points in his new found love-in with Boris Johnson and it is fair to say the Prime Minister has notched up a few achievements since becoming London Mayor in 2008, although I do not see how Mr Macwhirter can say of the Brexit deal “it is not a bad deal” when the ink is barely dry. One thing is certain, the fact that a deal has been struck is undoubtedly a political masterstroke and has taken the feet from under the opposition parties and however they voted at Westminster will be used against them in the future. How it all works out is still within the sphere of the crystal ball, which remains very cloudy.

Even if we laugh together or disagree together, The Herald’s Letters Pages bring much-needed relief in these pandemic times and I wish all your correspondents, readers and everyone at The Herald a happy and healthy New Year.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.