DOUG Marr tells us very correctly that Holyrood is not perfect, but complains that the alternatives are much worse ("Holyrood is far from perfect but the alternatives would be much worse", The Herald, April 12).

In fact, its biggest flaw is that it is not being used for its original intentions, namely to make Scottish politics more accountable to Scottish voters. Current proof of this failure is the admission by the Health Secretary and the First Minister of a fatal blunder leading to the deaths of thousands of elderly people with their policy of transferring Covid carriers into care homes. In any functioning democracy such a scandal would lead to severe punishment at the ballot box – but the First Minister mumbles an apology and remains on track to record a big election victory. If this is not proof positive that Holyrood is not working, what is?

I would suggest that Holyrood has failed and Scotland now needs a policy of double devolution to the regional level. For example, we could have a Greater Glasgow Council responsible for nearly everything the Scottish Government does at the moment, with a further level of devolution to local burgh councils below for local services. The region could have full-time members and be funded by a regional income tax, and burghs could be run by councillors working for expenses only and be funded by property taxes and service charges.

And Holyrood need not be abolished: it could assume powers for national policies, for example those relating to infrastructure, national parks and human and civil rights, as well as determining the distribution of national resources. It could also continue to have a prominent ceremonial role, which would keep Nicola Sturgeon happy.

The Scottish Parliament has taken power out of the hands of one unaccountable elite and put it into those of another. It is time to give that power back to the people.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


UNLIKE your correspondents Ian W Thomson and Bob Macdougall (Letters, April 10) I feel Jeane Freeman should be complimented on her open and honest statement on Covid and in particular the challenges it brought to the care home sector.

Blissfully ignoring any suggestion of rank hypocrisy, the opposition parties at Holyrood have used her statement for cheap electioneering purposes, knowing full well the situation UK-wide was exactly the same (well documented on both NHS and BMA websites). Indeed it is now clear that this particular aspect of fighting the pandemic has been a worldwide one.

Your correspondents should be reminded that within the UK it is the Scottish Government alone that has committed itself to a full inquiry into its handling of the pandemic, this year, with not a cheep heard from Westminster, which is currently hiding all its crimes and misdemeanours of the last 12 months behind the facade of the successful vaccine roll-out.

Open and honest government? I know which I would trust.

Gordon Robinson, Perth.


NO ONE could accuse your contributor Guy Stenhouse of inconsistency, although I would accuse him of repetitiveness ("It’s time to stop blaming England and tell the truth", The Herald, April 12).

The principal tenets of all his articles are what a waste of money/space the Holyrood Government is, and how grateful we Scots should be to Westminster for our handout through the Barnett formula.

His consistency extends to applauding the actions of Westminster such as giving a one per cent pay rise to NHS employees, justified as being all that can be afforded.

Presumably, the four per cent offer in Scotland is simply a pre-election bribe, not an attempt to stem an outflow of burnt-out staff from the NHS.

Sadly, Westminster’s empty coffers haven’t prevented spending a few billion on a 40% increase in our nuclear arsenal, not to mention a mere few million in refurbishing the Whitehall situation room and buying and repainting two planes to match Air Force One.

Sam Craig, Glasgow G11.

* GUY Stenhouse’s column to my mind does little to enhance your Business section. Rather than pay attention to the discredited GERS figures we would probably benefit from his business analysis of what choices Finland and Denmark have made to make them happy and successful countries compared with the much better-resourced Scotland of whose potential he has such a low opinion.

John C Hutchison, Fort William.


I RECEIVED in the post this morning “A message from Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson in support of Alexander Stewart”. Reading the letter, I found the SNP name-checked five times before there was a brief mention that Mr Stewart is a candidate for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

It’s bizarre for a political party to base its election campaign entirely on its obsession with one opponent. Though I suppose if you’re Theresa May’s “nasty party”, anything to keep the spotlight off yourselves.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


I COMMEND Dr Robin Taylor on his excellent article regarding the unspoken end of life options ("Do Not Resuscitate: Can saving a life do more harm to the patient than good?", The Herald, April 10) and, like the doctor, I too consider it an irony that CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is the only medical treatment that the patient requires to authorise.

Whilst it is not generally spoken about, everyone accepts we will all eventually die.

Having been widowed some three and a half years ago, I now have no real wish to live and have recorded in my medical records, were I to collapse, that I do not wish to be resuscitated or subjected to any modern life-saving techniques. But given such a situation, I am concerned that some first responders, not necessarily aware of my identity or having time to secure these records, will indeed act in a way contrary to my wishes and try to "save me".

I recognise that is indeed their training but, given there would be no other option, I would consider such actions as a physical assault, and whilst not intending to sue anyone would seek to highlight the right of the individual to have some ability to determine the treatment to which they are subjected.

Indeed, I go further as I believe I should have the right, were I struck down with some end-of-life condition for which there is no medical cure, to determine the time of my own demise. In other words – get my affairs in order, see all those I wished to see and then simply say thank you and goodnight.

Alan McKinney, Edinburgh.


YET again, the Culloden story is misrepresented ("Battle with virus means Culloden’s 275th anniversary to be marked online", The Herald, April 10). If it was such a comfortable victory for Cumberland, then why did he turn overnight from an affable young commander into the monster we remember today? The answer may be found in the letter which he wrote to the Secretary of State, saying there were some aspects of the battle he could not commit to writing, but would be passed on verbally when they met. One aspect would be the fact that he only won by a hair's breadth. My ancestor, who was with Keppoch, said that nobody fought like the Chisholms and if only they had been a bigger clan, Charlie would have won the day.

Jacobite casualty figures were based on the number of muskets recovered, but the Jacobites always discarded their muskets after firing. Another myth is that the Jacobites were wiped out by cannon fire. Check the weather records for the day and you will see that the strong wind was from the east, meaning that the thick black gunsmoke was blowing down in front of the gunners, preventing them from seeing where their shells were landing and thus getting the range. Does it not occur to anyone that this is exactly why the Jacobites stood still for so long? Why should they move while the enemy were wasting their ammo?

These are just a few issues, but there are tons more, including the fact that, until Forfar, the Jacobite army never put a foot wrong, yet, after Forfar, it never put a foot right. I have the eyewitness account which thus explains why, at Ruthven three days after Culloden, some 3,000 Jacobites were supremely confident they could finish off Cumberland.

Finally, has nobody noticed that the great Lord George Murray had no record as a professional soldier? Like a lay magistrate in the district courts, he was, as a figurehead, always accompanied by an assessor, in his case MacDonnell of Keppoch, the only civilian in the war cabinet and one with 10 years' experience as an officer in the French army. Charlie's crooked advisor made sure that, for Culloden, Murray would be posted to the right wing and Keppoch to the left.

George F Campbell, Glasgow.

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