THE current spat between Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson ("Call for ‘full disclosure’ as Truss defends PM in row over flat costs", The Herald, April 26) has some parallels with the recent political psychodrama which engulfed Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Two former colleagues, who had worked together for years to achieve significant political success, now find themselves completely alienated. Accusations and conspiracy theories abound as the aggrieved party decides the time has come for revelation and retribution.

At this point I suspect the two sagas will follow a very different course. The First Minister faced two investigations. The first was a forensic examination of the facts by a senior QC from Ireland followed by an eight-hour interrogation, broadcast on live television, by a Scottish Parliamentary committee.

I will be interested to see what sort of investigation is mounted into the Prime Minister’s behaviour by the Westminster Parliament but I guarantee Boris Johnson will not face an all-day grilling from senior MPs. These serious accusations of cronyism and financial sleaze demand careful evaluation but they are likely to be pushed aside and ignored by the large Tory majority in the Commons.

However, there is perhaps one Westminster Tory who will hold Boris Johnson to account, the fearless Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives. Before either of the Scottish investigations into the First Minister had reported, and even before Ms Sturgeon had given evidence at Holyrood, Mr Ross decided it was time to act. He raised his red flag, cried “foul” and called for her immediate resignation. When this predictably failed he launched a vote of no confidence which also collapsed.

I now look forward to Mr Ross applying his principles to the accusations surrounding the Prime Minister and calling a vote of no confidence at the first opportunity.

Iain Gunn, Elgin.


WHO do you think gave the following descriptions both written and verbal and at whom do you think they were directing their comments: "A liar, duplicitous, manipulative, self serving, unreliable, a car crash, at odds with the truth, untrustworthy, incapable of recognising the truth" and many more phrases of character assassination?

Well of course, it was our newspapers and media companies with perhaps the most vocal and loudest the BBC and the man in their sights was, yes, Dominic Cummings when he was a special advisor to the Prime Minister. Fast forward to now and we find that these same outlets and purveyors of truth seem to have had a divine conversion. They regularly quote him, his emails and opinions in general as gospel and unimpeachable when he makes completely unsubstantiated claims against the Prime Minister, accusing him of personal responsibility for the Covid deaths, using funds illegally to furnish a media room and being generally unfit for office and of course the bags of wind and blandness that are Sir Keir Starmer and Ian Blackford join in the awfulness with their hand-wringing and media bites.

The press and media have been disgraceful in their reporting of this spat and far from even-handed in their handling of what appears to be a personal vendetta by Mr Cummings for his sacking, and it is as distasteful in the extreme as it is pathetic.

James Martin, Bearsden.


AMIDST the hullabaloo surrounding the question of who paid for the refurbishment of the PM’s residence in Downing Street, I note the arrogance of the PM, who clearly expects to be in residence at that address for some considerable time. If indeed he paid for the refurbishment himself he truly, as my late dad would have put it, has more money than wit.

It also demonstrates the divide between the present incumbent of No 10 and the majority of the people he purports to govern. How many could find £200,000 to spend on a temporary home?

There appears to be a lack of common decency and respect at the heart of our current Government. It appears that it gets off with it time after time and sadly this is a reflection on us all.

Willie Towers, Alford.


DURING her performance on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Nicola Sturgeon admitted that she cannot tell us what Scotland’s financial position after leaving the UK would be ("Sturgeon admits independence could lead to Border trade issues", The Herald, April 26). She hasn’t done the necessary modelling, she says. This raises two points.

First, why is Ms Sturgeon campaigning on a policy of holding a referendum if she can’t give us a clue about what we would be voting for? Second, why bother having financial modelling at all when she has already made up her mind that secession would be best for Scotland? Even if she doesn’t know how it would be best.

This pig in a poke, "it’ll be all right on the night" offer from the SNP is simply not good enough. Voters deserve better.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.

* AT long last Nicola Sturgeon admits there would be a hard border with England and the rest of the UK. She is absolutely wrong in saying she would negotiate free trade with rest of the UK as a member of the EU. That would be the task of EU bureaucrats negotiating with a UK Government that wants no truck with the EU.

Scotland's independence would be surrendered to the EU, making the whole exercise and current debate redundant.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.


TOM Webb (Letters, April 26) might like to ponder some basic historical facts regarding ownership of oil and gas reserves of the UK. The oil reserves off the coast of Scotland, albeit undiscovered, used to belong to Scotland, but only up until either 1603 (Union of the Crowns) or perhaps 1707 (Act of Union). Either way, it meant that the resource passed into the ownership of the United Kingdom.

Some time before oil was discovered off the coast of Scotland, large reserves of gas were discovered and produced from the southern North Sea off the English coast of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and in Morecambe Bay during the 1960s. This resource belonged to the UK Crown also and it was piped direct to homes and businesses in England, Wales and Scotland without delay or political posturing. I don’t remember anyone complaining at the time that it was “England’s gas”.

This is one of the positive features of the UK – we get to pool resources of scale for mutual benefit, as demonstrated today by the Barnett formula and the Covid vaccine.

Robin Dyer, Strathaven.


MARK Smith ("What we don’t see will be the decider in this odd election", The Herald, April 26) alludes to a situation of a lack of public debate that many will say is a result of the pandemic.

However, this situation has been capitalised on by the present Scottish Government to further stifle public debate as much as possible in the run-up to the election. Despite all hard evidence and data showing that the hospitality sector could have opened, with appropriate measures, at the beginning of April, Nicola Sturgeon and her cabal have prevented this from happening. The Scottish public have been denied their biggest arena where they would normally meet, socialise and debate especially in the run-up to an election.

Paul Wilson, Prestwick.


MY boss told me last week that for the sake of their own jobs, employees need to give their boss a break by voting for any party that won’t promote a referendum right now. He pointed out that since 2014 bosses have been steering business through two referendums, five elections, divorcing from the EU, a global pandemic and the resilience isn’t there in businesses or public finances to sustain another round in Scotland. More uncertainty would be a disaster.

David Brown, Thorntonhall.


A LOT is made of the charity enshrined in the Barnett formula keeping Scottish finances afloat. Anyone tempted to vote on The basis of this benevolence continuing indefinitely would do well to remember the assertion that a vote for the Union was a guarantee of continuing EU membership.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.

* IF Douglas Ross is expecting to gain my vote, he can think again. I’m not voting for any politician proffering a party slogan stating “The SNP have wasted £4.5 billion”.

Doesn’t Mr Ross know that “SNP” is a collective noun, and thus takes a singular verb?

Either Mr Ross should plough money into an education budget to ensure that future Conservative politicians may differentiate between singulars and plurals, or he should stick to running the line at football matches.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.

Read more: Do not overlook Scotland’s vast contributions to the UK Treasury