ALLOWING for my advancing years, although, happily with all my faculties, intact (so far anyway) I trust you may forgive my confusion. I really did believe the forthcoming election was for the Scottish Parliament, and for a new Scottish Government, not a General Election. However, according to the STV leaders debate ("FM: We took our eye off the ball on drug deaths", The Herald, April 14) it appeared Scotland is to elect a UK Prime Minister, not a Scottish First Minister. Boris Johnson's name appeared so frequently, I unhappily lost count.

Scotland has its own Government, with sufficient devolved powers to govern, including the ability to borrow, absent of any constraints from Westminster, and yet only one leader made any effort to hold the First Minister to account. It is one thing to hold respect for your opponent, another to be subservient, which is how the opposition leaders, apart from Douglas Ross appeared.

The SNP Government under Nicola Sturgeon has proved to be far more incompetent than any other previous Scottish government, or UK government for that matter, having failed in every area – education, health, attainment gap, child poverty, deprivation, drug abuse. All these failings and many more Nicola Sturgeon, ably supported by the opposition (apart from Mr Ross) has blamed on Mr Johnson and the UK Government. Yet this is a UK Government that has done more for Scotland in the last 14 months than the SNP has in 14 years.

It is a shocking testament to what Scotland has become, divisive, insular and authoritarian.

Martin Ramwell, Newburgh.

* NICOLA Sturgeon attacked the flawed 1998 Scotland Act in the STV leaders debate, apparently forgetting it was legislated by Tony Blair’s Labour Government. She blamed the present Conservative Government for wanting to make amendments to allow improved procedures which would benefit all parties.

The same Scotland Act fatally failed to separate political from legal powers. Consequently none in the SNP Ministry of Justice, Crown Office or police has ever been held to account for an ongoing compensation bill of tens of millions of pounds to taxpayers for the victims of malicious prosecutions and unlawful procedures occurring during Ms Sturgeon's time in office.

Ms Sturgeon further attacked Boris Johnson’s Conservatives for taking Scotland out of the EU, conveniently forgetting that the EU’s impossible bureaucratic dalliance provoked the scandal of undelivered Covid vaccines and inadequate Covid support policies to all its member states. She appeared to ignore the UK Government’s successful vaccination roll-out to Scotland, alongside Treasury Covid financial support and Barnett formula funding. Instead she stressed her own crucial role in "Covid management" – which left the viewer bemused. Whatever did she mean? Perhaps her daily press briefings?

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh.

* IF anyone was ever in any doubt about what is wrong in Scotland they should have watched the STV leaders debate.

Never in the field of human discourse has so much been said about so little by our waffling filibustering First Minister under cross-examination.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.


MARK Smith ("I totally understand why so many people are voting SNP", The Herald, April 12) repeats the line about how the younger generation don't remember Margaret Thatcher and therefore lack the instinctive revulsion from the Conservatives that Scots over 40 feel. Obviously it's true that they won't remember Thatcher, but they might reasonably be expected to recall the Conservative governments of the last decade, when civil servants were pressurised into sanctioning as many benefit claimants as possible, when disabled people were subjected to a hostile review process that found dying men and women fit to work and hounded many people to their graves and when members of the Windrush generation were subjected to Theresa May's hostile environment. The list could go on, but to be attracted to the Conservatives you'd have to be comfortable with all this and more.

Where does it come from, this notion that the Conservatives being the nasty party was something that happened in the 1980s and that today's Conservatives are a cosy, empathetic bunch? I remember the Thatcher government very well and didn't like it, but in my opinion if you examine the actual record then David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson, for all their smiling faces, have been worse than Thatcher ever was.

David Clinton Jr, Hamilton.


THERE is no doubt about it, The Herald is a wonderful paper. I have been reading it since my teens when my father gave up Beachcomber and took The Herald instead. I devour it with my breakfast and my dear wife complains that I spend so much time reading it. I explain that it is so full of cogent articles and brilliant letters that I cannot easily tear myself away.

Today Brian Wilson really stirred me ("Braveheart politicians have given us five long years of lost opportunity", The Herald, April 14). He describes how the SNP supporters have had their votes wasted by their Government spending their time on independence and a few other vote-getting fiascos. He overrates them as politicians – which they are not. The SNP is a movement of emotional rebels against Great Britain, acting like devoted football supporters when always fanatical for their team despite its failings and always near the bottom of the league.

It is time we had a government that acted for the benefit of all the people of Scotland instead of selfishly for its own party.

Donald Cameron, Fochabers.

* BRIAN Wilson's column was most accurately scripted and straight to the point. Common sense decisions on finance and management ability are needed, clearly lacking in the under-talented incumbents' performance in the last five years.

The article should be adopted into the manifesto for Anas Sarwar. It was honest and factual; rare to find.

James D Mitchell, Glasgow.


OH, how the unionists are running scared of the forthcoming elections, judging by your Letters Pages (April 14).

Jill Stephenson asks where Scotland would raise the money for our massive drug, education and industrial problems, and once again scolds us ungrateful Scots for not appreciating the generosity of Westminster. We pay tax, and we will spend it independently of Westminster; that is, no more Trident, illegal wars and tax exemptions for the filthy rich.

William Durward suggests that independence supporters "create anger" and that Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond are guilty of directing that anger upon the "English". If Scotland becomes independent of the UK, it has to do with wishing a future of social justice, equality and diversity in a country free of the corrupt and immoral shackles of the tax-evading billionaires who call the shots at Westminster.

If you are not angry at the current Tory Government, then you may have to take a closer look at the current state of "Great" Britain to understand why there is, indeed, "anger".

Kevin Orr, Bishopbriggs.


IN his letter in support of Guy Stenhouse's analysis of Scotland's alleged dependence on English subsidies James Millar (Letters, April 14) describes questions such as the cost to Scotland of nuclear weapons we don't want, the success of small independent countries such as Finland and Denmark, and the debatable accuracy of GERS figures as "obfuscation".

Finland and Denmark are undeniably small countries with no obvious advantages over Scotland in any economic area, neither has nuclear weapons and both have a standard of living and quality of life which is well ahead of Scotland's – and neither "benefits" from Westminster's "subsidy".

Don't get me started on Norway.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


I HAVE just received a letter from the Conservative Party in which they assure me that if the SNP gains a majority in the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections there will be a second independence referendum. I trust the UK Government will stand by this commitment given in its name.

The letter recommends that I do not “experiment with new, untested parties”, so I will duly cast both of my votes in the Highlands and Islands region for the SNP, safe in the knowledge that if I help it to a parliamentary majority the Conservative Party will deliver the promised referendum.

My belief in democracy is restored.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.

* MY local SNP candidate makes barely any mention of independence, far less another referendum. in his election leaflets. I wonder why not ? Mandate for an independence referendum? I don't think there will be a mandate given this strange lacuna .

Gus Logan, North Berwick.

Read more: Sturgeon's deeds have shown that she is the one to lead us