THE media are overdosing at the moment on the Nicola Sturgeon/Alex Salmond borefest ("Sturgeon ‘misled’ Holyrood over the Alex Salmond affair", The Herald, March 20).

The build-up over the past weeks has been non-stop as the rhetoric was ramped up, indignant politicians wheeled out with pained expressions to spout even more truths, half-truths and downright lies until it got to the stage where I expected to see a headline such as "Shock, horror: politician caught being truthful" where in fact everyone knows it's part of the job description to be economical with the truth. This dark art is common to all political parties and encompasses the vast majority of politicians, though not all, and there are a few notable exceptions.

The outcome of this SNP spat between two heavyweights will likely be no resignation of the First Minister and no change to the predictions of the forthcoming election result, as the committed nationalists just don't care. A sad indictment indeed.

James Martin, Bearsden.


WHEN the news of the Salmond committee’s leaked findings broke, my first thought as a pro-UK supporter was a quote from a Second World War leader: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’’

I knew the reaction would be "the people will judge me’’ in May. It does not convince as an argument, because past examples of very unsavoury leaders claiming they had 90 or 95 per cent popular backing is not, I think, a peg on which you should hang your coat.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon facing vote of no confidence over Salmond inquiry crisis

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

* IF the committee conclusion reflects the leaked information that the First Minister misled parliament then what is to stop her from misleading the Scottish people? Nicola Sturgeon's early response is to denigrate the committee members and by default challenge their integrity. This is the behaviour of Donald Trump calling any contrary opinion false news. Scotland and its people deserve better, we do not need the Scottish equivalent of Mr Trump and Boris Johnson.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.


IN reply to criticism of all she said under oath when appearing in front of the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints (or as most now call it, the Alex Salmond inquiry), and with reports now that a majority on that committee after deliberation have come to the conclusion that Nicola Sturgeon did indeed mislead the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon continues to state (as she did to Sky News) that she ''stands by all of the evidence she gave to the committee earlier this month". Well maybe so, for who can doubt she told the truth as she wishes it to be seen? However, given that evidence which was repeatedly asked for from the Scottish Government which should have been supplied to the committee by those who might be called her own "cronies" in her own "old boys' club" has never appeared, the whole truth, I would suggest, has yet to be told.

In waiting for the Hamilton report I am reminded of the following: ''All truths are easy to understand once you have discovered them; the point is to discover them'' – Galileo Galilei.

Neil McKinnon, Perth.


IT was entirely predictable that the Holyrood committee members would vote down party lines, and Nicola Sturgeon must have done the sums, as did many of us, and known that everything had been cut and dried before she got there. But I for one would never have imagined that Alex Salmond, someone I used to respect, would have called upon a Tory MP to do his dirty work for him.

I don't believe that there was a conspiracy to "get" Mr Salmond, but it is looking increasingly likely that there is a conspiracy against a decent woman, who throughout this long year has worked tirelessly and shown true leadership throughout a terrible and unprecedented health crisis.

Scotland, stand behind your First Minister. She has stood up for you.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


WHILE reading Neil Mackay’s railing against the deficiencies and lack of performance of today’s politicians and describing his hopes for a process of change in how the workings of democracy could be improved ("Tory or SNP, it’s the politicians who are the real threat to democracy now", The Herald, March 18), I was reminded of the words of Winston Churchill: "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Having said that, as Mr Mackay suggests, why do we not at last take steps to change radically that well-known retirement home for the well-connected, otherwise called the House of Lords?

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon facing vote of no confidence over Salmond inquiry crisis

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


IN a discussion about nuclear weapons on BBC Question Time (March 18), the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald predictably used what I term "the unclear option" to make the separatist cause sound like a moral obligation for Scots. The SNP and many others maintain that Scotland leaving the UK and rejoining the EU will result in the UK having to remove its nuclear weapons and we can then all feel morally superior.

What they conveniently overlook is the fact that those weapons will still exist, but Scots will have no say in whether they are retained or not. Furthermore, in rejoining the EU we would be part of a union with France, which according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has 290 warheads versus the UK’s 215. Scots voters would have no influence on French nuclear policy.

Whether you believe in unilateral nuclear disarmament, or that only by maintaining the nuclear deterrent can we have a voice in negotiating for multilateral disarmament, a vote for the SNP or Scottish Greens would be a cop-out and not a principled stance.

Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen.


I NOTE another resumé from Struan Stevenson of the failed Darien scheme of 300-plus years ago and how it triggered the Act of Union in 1707 (“The best cure for the fool’s gold of Scottish nationalism is the ballot box in May”, The Herald, March 18).

Again the honeyed words and platitudes of "important partner" and "one of the most successful union of nations ever" adorn his article. I would ask what has Mr Stevenson done since 1999 in holding the Westminster Government to account in its "partnership" with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish nations in regard to fairness and equality?

Recently, commentaries in the press from Wales, Northern Ireland and even the north-east and north-west of England have highlighted the inequalities that exist in the UK presided over by Westminster governments of all politics shades.

It is long overdue for Westminster to be less centric in its policy applications, the "we know what is best for you" does not wash well in the 21st century.

Allan Halliday, Paisley.


STRUAN Stevenson does William Paterson a disservice. Although out of favour with the Directors of the Company of Scotland when the first expedition left from Leith, he persuaded them that he should go, but only as an ordinary member with no rank or position. That first expedition failed disastrously for multiple reasons, including disease, an appalling climate, lack of fresh food, and squabbling among the settlers. Any opportunities for trade were not helped by the curious choice of goods they took with them. Less than a year after their arrival the colony was abandoned, three ships sailing out of Darien leaving behind six men and 400 graves, among them that of Paterson’s wife. He came back to Scotland via New York, a very ill man.

The second expedition arrived at the end of the same year, but lasted only four months, surrendering to an overwhelming Spanish force. In fact they lost more men to disease than to the Spanish musketry. Their four ships, crewed by exhausted, starving men were allowed to leave, but none made it back to Scotland. Thirteen hundred had left the Clyde on that second effort to establish a Scottish colony; one thousand of them were dead within the year.

Whatever Paterson’s failures were, he certainly did display courage in embarking personally on what was in those days a highly dangerous venture. He came within an inch of losing his life in a project which was almost certainly doomed from the start.

Dr W Sinclair Scott, Seamill.


I AM an elderly minister of the Church of Scotland who has been reasonably diligent in reading the Bible for 70 years, and I have just read a new translation of the Gospels, which questions many biblical conventions and tired phraseology, challenges my picture of Jesus, and generally delights me. It was published this week by Penguin Random House, in book form and as an e-book.

The translator is Sarah Ruden, a American Quaker who is an acclaimed classical scholar, translator of Virgil and Augustine, not to mention the playwright Aristophanes, the funniest man in Ancient Greece. She has an unrivalled grasp of the words of the common Greek of the Gospels plus great skill in discovering genuine English equivalents. She has no time for the “words that cannot be changed” because they support a particular theology. Hence, here are gospels without “sin” or “repentance” but equally without liberal distortion.

I do not immediately agree with all her innovations – some are American in ways that leave me cold – but I am convinced that this is a watershed translation which rescues the text, and its hero, from the hands of ecclesiastical warders and frees them for the English-speaking public.

I am writing to recommend this book, Gospels by Sarah Ruden, to anyone with an interest in truth and faith.

Rev Michael Mair, Monifieth.


I RECENTLY attended the dermatology department at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. I had excellent treatment with two biopsies carried out. The results were that there was nothing to worry about.

Thank goodness because the diagnoses were daunting. Face, a seborrhoeic keratosis; leg, a poikilodermatous plaque-like haemangioma.

Don’t ask me to pronounce them.

Eric Macdonald, Paisley.

Read more: 'Global Britain' mindset will ensure the nation's decline