WHAT transpired in Holyrood over the last week was very reminiscent of what transpired at the second impeachment of Donald Trump in the US Senate.

Neither the vote of no confidence nor the second impeachment was ever likely to succeed. Both Holyrood and the Senate had built-in majorities which ensured the acquittal of Mr Trump and the apparent exoneration of the First Minister.

When you have party members who prize loyalty over principle, clearly you cannot expect the members to vote with their conscience.

What those two occasions have done is to weaken the confidence of the electorate, outside of the fanatical supporters of the persons whose positions were under scrutiny, in the transparency and honesty of the party system.

There were questions to answer and they have been given a body swerve by the votes which took place in both those seats of power.

Liberal democracy has deteriorated into a tribalism which detracts from the pursuit of justice and fairness for all.

Never has the quotation "There may be honour among thieves but none in politicians" rung more true than in those two episodes.

To belong to a political party today demands that you must hold your nose to avoid the rank smell of blind partisanship.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


I AM not an SNP member, but I do feel strongly that Scotland is a country in its own right.

I am ashamed at what has happened in recent days – the besmirching of Scottish democracy by a formal inquiry which had MSPs who were “baying” for our First Minister to resign before evidence was complete; and who spoke to, and allowed a leak of the result to the media, before the inquiry had completed the terms of the remit and reported. Whoever leaked let Scotland down badly by washing their partisan politics in public.

On the question of the behaviour of our FM, over the term of the Alex Salmond issue, I find myself returning to two important questions. Given that Mr Salmond had been the former FM, he should have known that his approach to his successor over the harassment charges was totally inappropriate. He put her in the position that she was damned if she did and “damned if she didn’t”. How appropriate was that behaviour by someone who had been an ex-mentor/ friend? And why did he use an intermediary, ex aide/friend to approach her?

Having watched what I could stomach of the recent inquiry, Nicola Sturgeon seemed to me to be honest about a conflicted situation around the dates in question.

I used to admire Mr Salmond greatly, but two incidents made me review this opinion. Donald Trump the golf course he greatly desired. In particular, the situation of an elderly who suffered at the hands of the Trump organisation was appalling.

The second event that raised a question for me regarding Mr Salmond’s judgment was his decision to go the RT channel for his chat show. Have you ever looked at this channel?

Scotland needs to and can do better. But Scotland cannot compete with the Conservative Government’s record of waste, cronyism, bullying, and downright refusal to tell the truth. I will vote for Nicola Sturgeon in the upcoming election. I will not strengthen the hand of a mediocre Government in Westminster.

Mary Kwiatkowski, Burntisland.


I NOTE that workers in the National Health Service in Scotland are to receive a four per cent pay increase.

I do realise that this is a rise for the invaluable services of people like hospital workers and they do deserve this rise, but why not doctors, and why was this announcement made days after the attempted vote of confidence of Nicolas Sturgeon?

What about the council workers who have worked through the pandemic like refuse workers, care workers and the like whom he SNP has ignored with its poor financial settlement for local government?

You may call me cynical but this is nothing more than point-scoring, using the hard-working people in the NHS as political footballs and trying to outscore the Westminster Government.

This tit for tat behaviour brings the level of the Scottish Government to a new low. It reminds me of the playground antics in my primary school.

Valerie Stewart, East Kilbride.


THE demands placed on Scotland’s health service by the coronavirus pandemic have intensified pleas for an increase in funding for the Scottish NHS. However, although responsibility for the NHS in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, its funding is not and has to be found from the Scottish Parliament’s block grant provided by Westminster.

If huge sums of Scottish taxpayers’ money were not being used to pay Scotland’s share of the cost of renewing and maintaining Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet, there would be funds available to properly support the Scottish NHS. However, this will only be possible when Scotland is independent once more, able to raise and control all its own finances and to decide here in Scotland the priorities of Scots for spending the money.

Susan Swain, Dunbar.


AS a citizen of the United States and a former resident of the United Kingdom, I ask a question of great importance to both nations: As the Scottish National Party promotes Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, the scrapping of the British nuclear deterrent, and continued Scottish membership of NatO, would it expect the United States to retaliate with nuclear weapons in the event of a Russian nuclear attack on Scotland?

Joseph Tipler, Centralia, Washington, USA.


AIR pollution is an issue which has been ignored by governments all over the world ("Something in the air: We need to talk about Scotland’s biggest killer", March 21). The cost is not simply on our physical health, but also our mental health. There is research evidence that children growing up in areas of high pollution are more likely to develop severe depression and other serious mental health illnesses.

There is clearly a need to electrify both private and public transport as quickly as possible. Of course, exhaust fumes are not only the only source of air pollution. Fossil-fuelled power stations, incinerators and factories need to be considered. We should be looking to greatly increase the amount of renewable energy and phasing out these power stations and incinerators.

There is also a need to increase safe cycling and improve internet connection to reduce the need to use cars and public transport. Behaviour change is also required to tackle air pollution, with far too many drivers continuing to leave their engines running when parked. In New York, truck and bus drivers can be fined if they leave their engines idle for three minutes, with citizens able to upload video footage to the authorities.

Whatever the makeup of the next Scottish Parliament, I would hope this could be considered for legislation, if such powers are devolved, so that drivers of vehicles could be fined if they leave their engines running unnecessarily.

Stephen McMurray, Edinburgh.


WHEN discussing "a crescendo of hatred" being generated during the build-up to the forthcoming Scottish election, Ron McKay quoted the oft-repeated words of Ralph Waldo Emmerson when attributing the source of individual grievances (The Diary, March 21): "People do not seem to realise that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character."

True of George Floyd's family? The BME movement? Those who knew Sarah Everard? Patsy Stevenson? The women failed by the Alex Salmond court case?

Overwhelmingly, research has established that a person's experience of the world will significantly determine both their opinion of it, as well as their character. But that is a very big list of problems to solve – not to mention a very expensive one.

An ocean-load of confirmation bias on your part perhaps, Mr McKay?

Archie Beaton, Inverness.


THE murder of Londoner Sarah Everard, where the prime suspect is a white British male, has inspired Peter Ryan to write an absurd letter that generalises that all men are bad (Letters, March 21Mar). He ignores the fact that most men are in fact good.

I applaud all the people who took to the streets to protest about Sarah's tragic death, and the media publicity given. But I wonder if Mr Ryan wrote a letter when multiple Asians in North-West England were convicted of raping teenage girls in 2018, or when the recent murder case came to light of Lorraine Cox of Exeter in which the prime suspect is a failed asylum seeker.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


WITH the number of electric scooters operating in urban areas set to soar by as much as two-thirds in the coming months, more consideration needs to be given to their potential impact on pedestrians with sight loss.

E-scooters are extremely difficult for blind and partially-sighted people, such as myself, to detect and avoid because they operate quietly, which makes them difficult to hear.

Guide Dogs’ research shows that e-scooters are being used in unsafe and anti-social ways, with e-scooters being used more on the pavement than on the road.

Even without a collision, a near-miss can rob someone with sight loss of the confidence to go out independently. The Government and police must do more to prevent e-scooters putting pedestrians at risk.

Pete Osborne, Director of Operations, Guide Dogs, Reading.