NICOLA Sturgeon is determined to proceed with May’s election, although she did not feel able to hold the 10-yearly census scheduled for 2021 ("Call to axe political campaigning", The Herald, January 6). No doubt she is anxious to try to improve on her party’s current position as forming a minority government. And if she gets her way, she will agitate for a referendum that she doesn’t really want but has promised her supporters.

Will Scots really support a leader whose priority is to create much more upheaval than Brexit at a time when we have not begun to recover from the Covid crisis? Will they forget so easily the billions of pounds showered on them by the UK Treasury, and the fact that Scotland has not produced its own vaccine?

We depend on vaccines from Oxford, England, and from overseas. There is nothing about Scotland leaving the UK that would help it to recover from Covid or help to repair the dire economic position we will be in this year and for several years to come. Quite the reverse: Scottish independence would add countless problems to the burdens we shall already have to bear. There is no point in believing pie in the sky SNP promises, nor is there any point in believing, as some people say, that "it couldn’t be any worse". Oh yes, it could – and would be if Scotland tried to go it alone, outside both the UK and the EU. Which is where it would be.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh EH14.


THE most recent strain of coronavirus is having even more consequences on the movement of people, socialising and businesses remaining open. It is going to be some considerable time before any form of normality returns to the UK; or for that matter globally.

Any thought of staging an election for the Holyrood Parliament should be postponed until further notice. It would be totally irresponsible of politicians to even consider such an event in May, as scheduled. As the decision as to whether or not to hold elections, especially under the present circumstances relating to the pandemic, rests with the Presiding Officer, Ken McIntosh, he ought to make it clear that the May election is cancelled until further notice.

Robert I G Scott, Ceres, Fife.


SIR Tom Hunter’s letter (January 5) demands a response from at least one resident of Gartocharn.

He criticises the “loud voices” objecting to his “world class” development of the Hunter Global Leadership Centre at Ross Priory, but his grandiose claims are every bit as vague and questionable as they are vainglorious.

Another leadership centre is of course what the managerialist world desperately needs now, and indeed it must be nice to leave a gloriously located monument to yourself when you depart this earthly realm. These facetious and ubiquitous institutions and courses now flourish like knotweed, darlings of the MBA culture under which we all suffer. We are entitled to ask why leadership is so desperately lacking in these plague times of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.

Sir Tom’s development is another attack on the sanctity and the environment of Loch Lomond, which is currently beleaguered by other wedge-driving projects in Tarbet and Balloch. Fifty-five thousand loud voices objected to the Flamingo Land project in the latter village, the largest-ever protest of its kind, but the wishes of ordinary people seem to mean nothing in Sir Tom’s executive world of shiny glass boxes on a genuinely world-class shoreline. Did I mention that there is also a bijou nine-hole golf course on the site?

Similarly the various environmental studies claimed are no doubt world-class as well, but the Scottish Government has correctly called in the project as it was passed by the national park authority without a proper environmental impact assessment. Our national park operates more like a development agency than a protector of our environment, of which natural beauty is an essential dimension.

Sit Tom makes much of his claim that proper consultation has been at the heart of this proposal. This is nonsense, as like many locals I was unaware of it until it was a fait accompli, rubber-stamped by the national park planning committee with unseemly haste, and never brought to the proper attention of the community. What consultation actually means in cases like these is a major issue that demands urgent governmental scrutiny, as it seldom if ever involves the folk who live where the developers have targeted.

Major schemes need to be presented to the communities concerned in full detail at a point well before planning approval. It is all snuck under the wire as things stand, and the big boys go on their smiling way unobstructed by local objection.

The organisations mentioned as having been consulted do not have clean hands here. Sepa’s record in recent times give cause for great concern, and fish farming is not the only area in which it has been deficient. The Friends of Loch Lomond who were consulted are a self-appointed, unelected and non-diverse grouping with questionable justification for the public and private funding its receive. This body also supported the Flamingoland development, a measure of its distance from strong popular opinion on these crucial issues.

Post-Covid regulations will no doubt be relaxed everywhere to achieve economic catch-up. We must fight against that process now with all our might.

Peter Broughan, Gartocharn.


TORY MP David Duguid should know better than to promise 250,000 green jobs ("Britain leads the way in the green industrial revolution", The Herald, January 5). In 2010 the Offshore Wind Group, which consisted mainly of Scottish Government departments and wind energy companies, published a document titled Scotland's Offshore Wind Route Map” which estimated that 28,377 Scottish jobs in offshore wind would be created by 2020. According to bodies like the Office for National Statistics, the outcome was only between 1,700 and 1,900 jobs.

Geoff Moore, Alness.