THE Scottish election will surely go down in history as one of the most extraordinary results for a sitting government.

A clear litany of failures, amongst them a once world-renowned education system in disarray. Add into the mix the two most prominent politicians in recent Scottish political history fighting like ferrets in a sack where one faced criminal charges and the other, the current First Minister, found by a parliamentary committee of having misled parliament.

Therefore and unsurprisingly perhaps, the SNP put independence front and centre of its campaign rather than its failed domestic policies which simply do not stand up to the slightest level of scrutiny. Further, the eternal promise of independence and the land of milk and honey galvanised SNP support and made it a one-issue election.

It has become clear that the supposed unionist parties, Conservative, Labour and the LibDems, were taken in hook, line and sinker by the SNP tactics and got continually dragged into the constitutional question rather than providing any focus on the SNP domestic record and the solutions that an alternative government might provide. Nicola Sturgeon must have a huge smile on her face at the lack of any real and meaningful interrogation of her record.

Therefore the opposition’s other opportunity to rein back the SNP was to adopt some sort of agreement around tactical voting, but even with that opportunity, personal party politics triumphed and yet again they looked inwards rather than working together for the benefit of the Scottish people.

There was a little evidence of tactical voting where the Dumbarton constituency was held by Jackie Baillie for Labour benefitting from Tory votes and Galloway and West Dumfries was held by Finlay Carson benefitting from Labour votes. However the real question and indeed the failure of the three unionist parties is why they did not do more to blunt the SNP? It is worth looking at just a small number of constituency results to evidence this point.

In Ayr, the sitting Tory MSP John Scott lost to the SNP by 170 votes. Labour and the LibDems could not even finish second here but polled 5,574 votes. Angus Robertson won Edinburgh Central by 4,732 votes. Labour and the LibDems polled 9,394 votes with no chance of winning. The SNP won Banffshire and Buchan by 772 votes whilst yet again Labour and the LibDems, with no chance of winning polled 3,240 votes. East Lothian went to the SNP by 1,179 votes with the Tories and Lib Dems polling 11,026 votes. Aberdeen South goes to the SNP by 1,671 votes with Labour and the Lib Dems polling 7,394 votes with no chance of winning.

Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar and Willie Rennie have simply and contemptibly denied the supporters of the Union any chance to hold the SNP’s feet to the fire in sorting out the domestic issues, of which there are many, facing the Scottish people. They should be ashamed of themselves for their feeble and inept campaigns and their defence of the Union.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.


SINCE the turn of the year I have received six election statements from the Conservative Party, all of them assuring me that the only way to stop indyref2 was to vote Conservative. These were all in the name of Douglas Ross and, sometimes Ruth Davidson. At the same time I occasionally heard the UK leader of that party assuring me that, under no circumstances, would he agree to a second referendum.

I could not decide if Mr Ross and Ms Davidson did not believe that their leader was telling the truth or if they were just wilfully misinforming the electorate. I concluded that I could not entrust them with my vote.

Ken MacVicar, Lesmahagow.


IRONIC, is it not, that the SNP has a landslide victory when it cannot stop landslides on to the A83? I find the post-election triumphalist display by the SNP, of an increasingly-defeatist attitude to the duty of maintaining our Treaty of Union, is demoralising on many levels.

The unceasing lack of thankfulness to the UK Government for organising both Covid vaccine sourcing and the emergency job-saving furlough scheme are just two instances of what I see as the insipid nature of the SNP belligerence and misappropriation of praiseworthy responsibility.

As a unionist I can forgive the SNP nothing, for I have now witnessed everything from its fiscal incompetence to an education policy which Victorians would endorse. Those who would shatter the UK seem to forgive it everything, for I believe they have selective blindness like a fawning lover.

I consider that the SNP has promoted stress, anxiety and ill health among those of us who again fear we may loose our citizenship of the UK with its embracing family of nations.

The possible loss of Scotland’s security which is implicitly underwritten and assured by the Act of Union has only one international trade effect – it puts investors off. However, if the separatists are successful in destroying our Union, one thing history has taught us is clear; those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

ARE the nationalists simply trying to wear us down? They are charged with responsibility for running that which has been devolved. Nothing else. Yet once again we are hit with talk of a referendum which is not in their gift. They don’t have the powers. And they have yet to prove that they are capable of running what they have. Enough already.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


ALEXANDER McKay’s letter today (May 8) makes me think of Corporal Jones – “We’re all doomed!”. Rather than thinking we are on the verge of catastrophe in considering independence, he should take comfort from all the other small countries who seem to do very well as independent nations.

Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, Jamaica, Slovakia, Croatia, tiny Malta, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, Austria, the list is long. Like these, Scotland has lots to offer the world – in our case food and drink, tourism, renewable energy sources, financial services, the games industry to name a few plus a talented people who have provided many of the world’s important inventions and developments. I simply do not understand why some people think Scotland could not be a successful independent country. You have no need to fear anything, Mr McKay, have confidence.

Sandy Slater, Stirling.


KEVIN McKenna’s opinion piece on Saturday (“English Tory triumph means independence is only hope”, The Herald, May 8) was an accurate analysis of the reasons for the Labour Party’s decline. The cracks in Labour’s foundations were there even at its electoral high-water mark in 1997. Soon after Tony Blair’s landslide that year, there was a by-election in Paisley South and three of us from Stirling Labour went through to help Douglas Alexander’s campaign.

We teamed up with a minibus-full of students from St Andrews University to canvas Foxbar. From a distance, the housing reminded me of the area where I grew up, Mastrick in Aberdeen, but close up it was clear that it had been allowed to deteriorate very badly; some of the students were visibly shocked to see such conditions in the UK. There were no Labour posters in windows in Foxbar, but there were for the SNP.

Over the next decade, I campaigned for Labour in some of its other strongholds. I was struck by the number of housing estates, managed by Labour councils for decades, that were run-down and depressed. I hoped that Labour governments at Westminster and Holyrood would launch a housing programme to provide decent, warm homes for families and to create jobs; but Labour was more interested in playing Cool Britannia and building white elephant aircraft carriers.

Sir Keir Starmer, a London lawyer and knight of the realm, talks about Labour being the party of “working people”, which doesn’t wash any more. “Working people”, or the working class, is no longer one relatively homogenous group. There aren’t great hordes of men rushing out of shipyard, mine or factory gates at the end of their shift, and few private sector workplaces remain unionised.

Labour’s difficulties are largely self-inflicted. After decades of dominance in its strongholds, Labour assumed that people would continue voting for them even when it demonstrated that, in power, it really didn’t care about their priorities. Eventually people tired of being ignored, their welfare overlooked, and decided that they might as well take their vote elsewhere.

New Labour was a fantastic concept: with a solid working-class core, all it needed was support from a relatively small number of centrist and middle-class voters to win a landslide. But in moving to the centre it lost its core voters, who expected rather more than crumbs from the table, drifted away and aren’t inclined to return. RIP Labour.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

* SIR Keir Starmer stated he would take responsibility for the outcome of the elections in England so the first thing he does is sack the nearest working-class woman. Inspiring.

Brian Dempsey, Dundee.