IT is with despair that I look at what's going on in the SNP both over the weekend and today ("Allies outraged as Cherry sacked from SNP front bench position", The Herald, February 2). I ask myself: does the current leadership really want to win the May election and do they still want independence? Recent behaviour casts great doubt on either of these aims.

I have to think that I appear to have wasted more than 40 years campaigning for independence when it reaches the current state of affairs.

Boris Johnson and the rest of the unionist parties can rest easy as the SNP, as currently run, has little intention of achieving the party's avowed aim. It looks as though all it wants is to string along supporters and collect their subs.

Back in time, Labour had problems with the so-called Militant Tendency and it took a while so sort out. It looks like it'll take time to rid the SNP of the coterie currently in charge. The "glorious union" will be safe for another generation, by which time, I and many others shall be feeding the worms.

Drew Reid, Falkirk.


AS the vaccination programme proceeds, I am astounded at the volume of disapproval directed by unionist politicians at the Scottish Government, based on comparison of Scottish and English statistics. Are we expected to conclude that this in some way has a bearing on the case for or against independence? Is the implication that Scots, as a nation, are intellectually deficient compared to their southern neighbours and would be incapable, regardless of their political allegiances, of electing a competent Government in an independent nation? Or is it another example of the myth peddled by unionists that an independent Scotland would be a one-party state governed in perpetuity by the SNP?

The competence or otherwise of individual politicians or political parties has no bearing on the democratic deficit so clearly summed up on these pages by Ruth Marr (Letters, February 1) who described Scotland as a nation held prisoner; the overwhelming numerical facts mean that the cell key will always be held by voters south of the Border.

Finally, as an aside and as a member of the over-75 cohort, I would add that very few acquaintances of my generation have expressed any dissatisfaction with their own vaccination experience.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


WHILE I understand the concerns of John Dunlop (Letters, February 2) regarding the need for constitutional change during a pandemic, I also have concerns. In spite of the pandemic, the UK Government pursued Brexit. This was the greatest change to the UK constitution in 48 years. It was not prepared to extend negotiations until such time as the pandemic was over. The UK Government demonstrated perfectly to the SNP that it is possible to carry out constitutional change during a pandemic.

Duncan Stirling, Cardross.

* SOMEONE called Alister Jack has been popping up in The Herald in recent days. Perhaps you could advise us who he is, what he does and whether you have spelt his name correctly.

Jim Crawford, Wemyss Bay.


IAN GRAY (Letters, January 29) advises Douglas Cowe, who was looking for impartial facts and advice on independence, that he should simply read Business for Scotland's book Scotland the Brief to get all the information he needs; in it he would find "surprising, interesting, enjoyable, credible, informed opinion that would open his eyes and educate him".

What Mr Gray did not tell Mr Cowe was that Business for Scotland was founded by six business people who support Scottish independence and that Business for Scotland was registered with the Electoral Commission as a "permitted participant " on the Yes side in the Scottish 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Business for Scotland also received a £100,000 donation from Stagecoach founder Sir Brian Souter.

Very often it's what you're not told that is most revealing.

It's maybe not the "impartial advice" Mr Cowe was after.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.


IT seems that Peter Murrell, the SNP’s CEO and husband of Nicola Sturgeon, has refused to make a further appearance in front of the Salmond inquiry at Holyrood, in spite of having been requested by the inquiry's committee to return to clarify apparent inconsistencies in his previous testimony ("Sturgeon husband accused of showing ‘complete contempt’ to Salmond inquiry", The Herald, February 2). Is this to be tolerated? Can a witness simply pick and choose whether he will attend?

There is something very rotten at the heart of this matter, and it is time that either the committee was given full powers to compel witnesses to attend and provide answers to questions or else the entire shebang was handed over to a properly-constituted judicial inquiry, with full judicial powers to compel witnesses to attend and to answer questions, on pain of judicial sanctions. The way this affair has been conducted suggests that the people in charge of its constitution are treating us all as if we button up the back.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh EH13.


CHRISTOPHER H Jones (Letters, February 1) seems to believe that the Scottish Government's proposal to freeze council tax for a year is politically motivated, while at the same time persuading himself that the sole purpose of Boris Johnson's visit to Scotland last week was to "support our wonderful scientists, NHS workers and the Army".

Instead, during a day when he ignored his own oft-repeated injunction to "stay at home", Mr Johnson spent time keeping key staff off their work, travelling 500 miles from his home and, quite possibly, risking spreading the virus. The real reason for the visit, I am convinced, was the onset of panic at the string of Scottish poll results showing a majority for independence.

As for Mr Jones's advice to pensioners to "squirrel plenty of money away" to pay for future council tax rises, I would ask Mr. Jones: what with?

Alison Lambie, Stirling.


JANE Lax (Letters, February 2) has fallen for the UK Government’s spin over Covid jags, as England has similar problems over supplies.

On January 13, NHS England advised that all care home residents and staff would receive their first jag by 24 January “at the latest” but letters only went out last week. At the weekend several leading care home operators in England complained that only around a half of residents had been vaccinated due to a shortage of supplies.

England also experienced the same problems over Sunday vaccinations, as the UK administered 492,000 doses on Saturday, January 23 but only managed around half as many the following day.

Extrapolating from the Scottish data that the UK Government tried to suppress, the UK may be administering vaccines at around half the pace it receives supply, yet the same UK Government and the unionist parties are spinning and politicising the vaccine roll-out in Scotland.

This of course has been taken up by the media, including the BBC, yet they steadfastly refuse to publish the easily-available comparable number of cases and mortality rates in the four home nations as this shows Scotland in a much better light thanks to the tireless efforts of our NHS staff and Nicola Sturgeon’s clear leadership.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh EH11.


MY wife and I are both 73 and I must confess I am bemused by the logic behind the vaccination programme in our health board area.

The 75s and 80s have been vaccinated by our hard-working GPs in a local centre set up within the village a few minutes' walk away. My wife and several of our friends/neighbours of a similar age received their letters on January 20 inviting them for vaccination on February 8 at the town hall of the adjacent town some three miles away, not a problem. Being previously placed in the shielding category and thus considered "extremely clinically vulnerable", I received my vaccination invitation on February 1 for an appointment on February 16 at a centre set up in another town eight miles distant. Therefore being placed in the vulnerable group has resulted in my having to wait longer and travel further than would have been the case had I been left in my age group cohort.

I am in the fortunate position of being able to drive. If this were not the case I would have to have left the house before 7am taking a total of three buses to arrive for my 8:20 appointment. I’m fairly certain that the appointment time could be rescheduled but the three-bus journey would remain. I don’t expect that I am alone in experiencing such bizarre arrangements that incidentally already fall outwith the Scottish Government’s mid-February target for this group.

Kenneth Campbell, Houston.

Read more: Letters: There is no excuse for us being in this Covid mess