TODAY'S letters (March 26) from Maureen McGarry-O'Hanlon, Robert IG Scott and Alexander McKay will no doubt be the tip of an abundance of correspondence between now and the days before May 6 all setting out the problems with the current SNP Government, and there are many. However, what these correspondents fail to do is give equally analytical credence to the other parties.

This would allow some critical comparison and enable judgments to be made that may help minds to choose rationally the best team to undo the harm done during the SNP's tenure. Just maybe, the SNP will take stock of its policies that have led to the economic, health and educational failures. The demand from Nicola Sturgeon to be judged on her record (“Sturgeon sells SNP’S ‘experience’ as election starting pistol is fired”, The Herald, March 25) is asking for just that – a judgment that will make her and her party learn humility, apologise for past mistakes and costs and give them a damned good shake so that the blinkers are removed.

I would suggest that Anas Sarwar also has the opportunity to return Scottish Labour to a position of strength by admitting past failures and through the humility of the lessons learned be in a stronger position to enable the government of Scotland in the way that the devolution model was intended.

I wouldn't suggest that the Tories bite the humility bullet; they don't even recognise that such a word exists.

I hope to read letters that will give comparisons and not just the one-sided derision without offering a better alternative, whichever side of the fence they come from.

I have been a supporter of independence for a very long time and will be again, but now is the time to put our house in order. Please, SNP supporters, take the time, get things right and the prize will be there.

Ian Gray, Croftamie.


SO, the politics of Catalonia finally threatens to come to Scotland, courtesy of Alex Salmond and his new party.

We should reject factionalism and polarisation – frankly, the political culture of Barcelona, Catalonia and much of Spain. This is not right for Scotland or England. It's a tragedy looming over all of us.

John Gemmell, Wem, Shropshire.

* NICOLA Sturgeon thought the game was all over, well it isn't now. She has grossly underestimated her control over events and, in fact, has influenced them very negatively against herself. Anything is now possible come May 6. Game on.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


THIS week has clearly illustrated the difference between the governments in London and Edinburgh. While lower-paid NHS Scotland staff receive a four per cent pay rise to complement the minimum Real Living Wage agreed for adult social care workers (“NHS staff in Scotland offered 4% pay rise”, The Herald, March 25), the UK Government has agreed to spend extra billions on nuclear weapons. But the day after the SNP announced an increase to Forces veterans funding by £1 million, the UK Tories cut the Veterans UK budget by 40 per cent from £5 million to £3m.

Like totalitarian regimes throughout the world, Boris Johnson is obsessed with flying flags everywhere and London politicians, including Sir Keir Starmer, try to outdo each other with multiple Union Jacks and larger portraits of the Queen in the laughable belief that this will strengthen the Union. As with similar widespread branding in supermarkets, the product remains tasteless.

Meanwhile, Westminster’s attack on devolution continues with Alister Jack threatening to take the Scottish Government to the Supreme Court for having the audacity to enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law, which was passed unanimously by our Scottish Parliament ("Swinney accuses UK ministers of ‘power grab’ over children’s Bill", The Herald, March 26). The UK Government is also threatening to overrule the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 and the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill which were approved at Holyrood.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.


I AM surprised that Robert IG Scott should think that "the scale of recent events at Holyrood" might have led to Nicola Sturgeon "considering her position". Why on earth should she? She was cleared of any wrongdoing whatsoever by an independent investigation. If anyone should be considering their position, it should be those members responsible for leaks from the harassment committee.

Isobel Hunter (Letters, March 26) expresses herself as "appalled" at what she considers a "reward for votes" from the Scottish Government, which is offering a four per cent pay rise for nurses and other NHS workers, but while I'm sure these very deserving people will welcome their pay rise, as the ballot is secret, how they vote at the Scottish Parliament elections is entirely their own business. What I find appalling is Boris Johnson's miserly offer of one per cent to nurses in England, which Mr Johnson insisted was all he could afford, before announcing that he could, however, find the money to pay for yet more nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Back the nurses, ban the bombs.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


WHAT an excellent, thoughtful and timely article by Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre on European Relations ("What lies ahead for Scotland’s relationship with rest of UK?", The Herald, March 25).

She encourages consideration of the issues and relationships which would arise in the not-inconceivable event of Scotland becoming independent. This is in stark contrast to the unionist parties, whose leaders at both Westminster and Holyrood stubbornly refuse to contemplate the possibility of Scottish independence and offer no indications of how, if at all, their parties would engage in the political life of our independent nation should such circumstances arise.

This head-in-the-sand attitude may be a deliberate tactic to perpetuate the myth that an independent Scotland would be a one-party state over which the wicked witch Nicola Sturgeon, now fatally flawed in their estimation, would rule unopposed forever more. The Scottish electorate deserves a more circumspect and realistic discussion of the future among politicians and media commentators.

How long will I have to hold my breath waiting for such enlightenment?

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


AS one who fondly remembers bridge duties while navigating the Suez Canal (albeit some years ago), I am not too shocked at the current running aground of that massive tower-block of a container vessel ("Ships sitting idle in Suez as efforts continue to free grounded cargo vessel", The Herald, March 26). Though it had two pilots on board, Suez Canal authorities are very clear they are "servants of the ship's master" and the captain is responsible for all events. I well remember as a young cadet having the responsibility of logging every instruction given by the pilot in a dedicated manoeuvres log book. I was told very firmly by my dour Scottish skipper: you write down the commands I give. I was quite grateful, as the pilots at the time were from the Soviet Union and spoke little English.

The current crisis highlights three major issues in ship management. One, the size of these monsters – 400 metres long and almost 100 metres above the water line – creates a wind capture area that is almost unmanageable. The huge container stacks make for difficult close-quarter visibility, while crews are being held on board for months on end due to new pandemic rules. Some crew members are exhausted after eight to 12 months without relief.

When that mighty vessel settles into the soft sand of Suez shipowners will take the long way round Africa.

To quote our Prime Minister, "greed" might be a context for this Suez calamity.

Thom Cross, Carluke.


CATRIONA Stewart poses a simple question: "Is it selfish to be desperate for a foreign holiday ("We’re desperate to travel... summer sun talk isn’t selfish", The Herald, March 26)? Well, I submit an equally simple reply: Yes it is.

Ian Cooper, Bearsden.

* I WAS more than a little surprised to see that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and their staff were allowed to travel to Athens to attend a military parade (Around the World, The Herald, March 26). Was this really essential travel? Surely our ambassador in Greece could have represented the UK, or was this another example of one rule for the royal family and one rule for the rest of us?

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.


YOUR obituary of Ian St John (The Herald, March 25) reminded me of my first encounter with him. That was at Motherwell Bridge where he was an apprentice and I was a young manager. St John was a disaster as an apprentice, always late in the morning, a skiver, lazy and a bad influence on the other apprentices – imagine playing football at the lunch break with Scotland’s centre forward. It got to the point when his indiscipline could no longer be tolerated and he was sacked. It was front page news in the Scottish newspapers: "Scotland's centre forward gets the sack".

I met him many years later when he was manager of Motherwell FC and a celebrated TV pundit. He recollected the incident clearly, particularly when the works manager, an old-fashioned hard nut unaccustomed to modern management practice, got him into his office and said “Ye ken St John, son, ye’ve got a great future in front of you, but it’s no’ here – there’s yer books, yer fired.”

John Moreland, Killearn.

* TONIGHT (March 25) I wanted to watch the Scotland versus Austria football match, thinking it would be on STV. Wrong: STV was televising England versus San Marino. What is going on?

Eric Fleming, Doune.


READING the letter from Alan M Morris this morning (March 26) all three of us laughed out loud. Me, myself and I.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Read more: Holyrood is our best hope of living in a country to be proud of, not ashamed of