THE SNP sails confidently and complacently towards the election in May. It fully expects to win and assuredly it will because it has absolutely no serious competition. Under Ruth Davidson the Conservatives were for a time really making inroads into the SNP majority; unfortunately the lure of the ermine proved too strong to keep the soon-to-be Baroness Davidson in Scotland. The Labour Party may some day start to be heard again in the land, after the disaster of the Corbynista Richard Leonard, but the new leader has too high a mountain to climb to make a difference in the short term. As for the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, they are probably nice people but they are seriously non-starters.

So after almost 14 years in charge at Hollywood the SNP feels comfortable with its power? Well, it shouldn’t. The abject failure of its current education, business, health, healthcare policies and so on bear witness to that. All have been found seriously wanting. And the disgraceful factional fighting and obfuscation from senior members of the party are disgraceful.

So is the SNP laying out concrete plans in its manifesto for the country after the Covid pandemic is over? Is it suggesting realistic proposals for the repayment of the countless millions of pounds released by the UK Treasury to Scotland to keep businesses and jobs afloat and which will have to be repaid by everyone across the UK at some time? We are about to be plunged into a deeper depression than most of us alive today have witnessed. And what is the SNP’s big plan going forward? What is all it can talk about? Independence.

I’m sorry, Nicola Sturgeon, this is madness. Get the country on an even keel, with full employment, good prospects and a thriving economy and stop waving our Scottish Saltire, that you have so ruthlessly commandeered as your own, and start using the powers already devolved to Scotland and stop whingeing.

You will win in May, but with a crippled economy and mass unemployment it will be a Pyrrhic victory.

Celia Judge, Ayr.


VINCENT McBrearty (Letters, February 18) really needs to revisit his maths. The true “astronomical costs” come from Nicola Sturgeon and her one-trick pony of a regime who have saddled “the people of Scotland” with more than £300 billion of debt on vanity projects which make us a laughing stock.

Police Scotland, BiFab, Prestwick Airport, Calmac, a public energy company, Scottish Stock Exchange, Named Person scheme and on and on, all vanity projects due to the conceit of Nicola Sturgeon fulfilling her emotional dream of breaking up the United Kingdom and making ill-conceived decisions to be popular. And speaking of “consultants”, Mr McBrearty needs to check on the vast army of consultants propping up the SNP regime costing him and me a fortune.

In the next months, Scots will be reminded of the dreadful record of Ms Sturgeon’s administration, currently and conveniently for the SNP forgotten about because of the pandemic and the daily party political broadcast. We have the highest drug deaths in Europe, we have hungry children, homeless families, shortages of doctors and nurses, a hospital lying empty and more, all sacrificed on the altar of separation.

The SNP has been established for more than 80 years and in power for two decades. We are led to believe support is running at about 53 per cent – hardly a success story. A large number of its politicians are giving up at the election – incredible that they are abandoning the ship when apparently success is on the horizon. Establishing a separate country will cost hundreds of billions which will result in massive tax increases and a reduction in public services setting Scotland back decades – incredibly some Scots appear happy with this. Of course, Ms Sturgeon knows the outcome hence her caution, but she and Peter Murrell won’t be around to pick up the pieces.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.


I NOTICED with interest that Dennis Canavan has been corresponding with The Herald (Letters, February 18). I believe that his experience latterly with the Labour Party helps to explain much of why that party has gone through a steady decline in its fortunes.

He had served as an MP, obviously with satisfaction to most of his constituents, in West Stirlingshire and Falkirk West. However, he was rejected as an official Labour candidate for the Scottish Parliament in spite of the support of the majority of the local party members. Following that perverse decision of the party, he stood as an Independent for Falkirk West and was elected with a substantial majority. The response of the party was to expel him. He retained his seat in the Scottish Parliament until he announced his retirement before the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections.

The Labour Party, I believe, needed more parliamentarians like Dennis Canavan and not fewer. Their decision on his candidature in 1999 made many wonder then what the party actually stood for and those doubts continue and profoundly damage the party’s election prospects today.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


ONCE more we have had a one-sided piece by Ian McConnell regarding the state of play with Brexit when he expressed bewilderment as to why there had been no “meaningful” benefits after the UK left the EU on January 1 ("Race against time for business as Raab gazes out to horizon", The Herald, February 19). Really?

It beggars belief he implied that British businesses should not expect disruption nor take direct responsibility to make their own contingency plans nor have to rethink their business models.

Mr McConnell also makes great play of an economic forecast which suggests a slower growth rate from being outside the European bloc but failed to take into account that the EU was not working for the UK and in particular Scotland (only 17 per cent exports) which was the reason why so many people voted to leave in the first place (especially Labour voters) who saw their wages held back due to excessive and uncontrolled immigration. But more importantly, he ignored the imbalance of trade with the EU where we have an unsustainable deficit of £95 billion in manufactured goods only partially offset by a surplus of £35bn in financial services – notwithstanding the net £10bn it cost us to be members of the EU. The fact the UK’s trade is in balance with the rest of the world and the pound has strengthened considerably against the US dollar also appears to have escaped him.

The other key factor he appeared to miss is that Brexit presents a great opportunity to rebalance our economy away from the dominance of the needs of the City and strengthen our manufacturing sector which was found wanting during the Covid crisis.

Ian Lakin, Aberdeen.

* THERE is surely more than a little irony that Lord David Frost has been drafted into the Cabinet to take charge of forging a new relationship with the EU ("PM appoints Brexit ally Frost to Cabinet", The Herald, February 18).

So, the man who negotiated our exit from the EU, ending rule by so-called “unelected bureaucrats”, is now not only an unelected bureaucrat himself but also a member of the Cabinet.

Not elected by anyone in the country, he won’t be accountable in the House of Commons to any of those who have been.

This Government’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.


TAVISH Scott, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, was wrong when he said the Scottish Government had stopped fish farmers taking action to protect the welfare of their fish by banning the shooting of seals at salmon farms ("Salmon farmers issue plea for compensation over seal attacks", The Herald, February 19).

Rather than upset the industry the Scottish Government refused my many requests over the last 20 years to force salmon farmers to spend the money required to protect their fish properly and humanely from the attention of predators. The Scottish Government has only stopped issuing licences allowing salmon farmers to shoot seals because it was forced to do so by the US Government.

Salmon farmers have known for five years that they were going to have to stop killing seals from the end of this month at the latest. By failing to install and maintain tensioned predator exclusion nets to keep seals and other predators at a distance from the net cages holding their stock, salmon farmers have in my view been in breach of the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 since the day it came into force.

John F Robins, Animal Concern, Dumbarton.