IAIN Macwhirter is a journalist I used to respect. His article today ("An SNP landslide – but don’t expect Indyref2 soon", May 9) does nothing to help me regain that respect.

I’m an auld Green who has swollen ankles from my pre-election leafleting. At least a few readers may understand why I’m upset. After considering Alba, Mr Macwhirter pronounces: "If that was 'gaming the system', then surely relying on list votes from the Green Party is similarly cheating?”

There is a huge difference between the Scottish Greens and Alba. The Greens returned the UK’s first ever elected parliamentary Green in 1999 (Lord MacLeod of Fuinary was unelected). That’s only 22 years ago , not a few weeks ago like Alba.

Sure, so far we have only won MSPs on the list. But the Greens do not only contest list seats. The party has a long-term perspective, and is prepared to put in the long hard slog necessary for a small "minority party" (as our German cousins were in the 1970s), to break through the UK’s near-impenetrable first past the post system. Last week we stood in 12 constituency seats across Scotland, from Inverness & Nairn to Galloway & Dumfries West. In one, Glasgow Kelvin, the persistent Patrick Harvie polled more than 9,000 votes and was placed second.

In Edinburgh North and Leith Lorna Slater, standing for the first time, and no doubt in recognition of her fine recent TV showing, won more than 6,000 votes and came third. In one other constituency we won more than 3,000 votes, and in another four we won over 2,000 votes. Hardly an upstart party like the hapless list-only Alba with which Mr Macwhirter compares us.

We don’t have eight MSPs to the LibDems’ four because we were born under cabbages.

Dougie Harrison, Milngavie.


WAS it really a " landslide?" (Front page, May 9.) We are all used to misplaced triumphalism from Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. Taken in total, the nationalist cause received only 31 per cent of the available constituency votes. Even the Union side managed 32%, most of the rest did not even vote. Alex Salmond's Alba Party, completely dedicated to independence right now, hardly registered at all. So much for the "will of the country."

Indyref2 would be lost if held in the foreseeable future whilst Scotland's real problems are ever present and steadily getting more acute. It really is time this "game" being fought out over the constitution was quietly buried. Scotland will never progress if this constant threat, backed up by scant detail, is allowed to fester on.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


MICHAEL Gove can’t count. Parties supporting independence got 2,640,892 constituency and list votes in the Scottish parliamentary election. Parties supporting the United Kingdom got 2,627,758.

Many voices have called that election a referendum on a referendum.

If the election had been a referendum the result would be taken from people’s votes, not from seats obtained in the Parliament of Scotland, where the two parties supporting independence have a much clearer majority. There is a majority of popular votes cast for those two parties, but it’s 13,134, which is a Rizla paper. It’s nevertheless a majority on the Gove scale.

Whatever way they are contemplated, these votes justify a referendum on Scottish independence because of the disaster wished on the British people by Boris Johnson’s mendacious campaign of vandalism against the European Union.

Scotland voted against that folly and many like me who were lifelong Conservatives and Unionists are now Scottish nationalists and want our European citizenship back.

Mr Johnson has been irresponsible and reckless in knifing the United Kingdom through the heart.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.


WHAT is it that makes a politician acceptable to the public?

It would appear that authenticity, exuding an air of authenticity and feeding the public a narrative which is upbeat, positive and optimistic, all go a long way towards achieving that goal.

Machine politicians, programmed to provide glib and robotic responses, do not float the public's boat. Give them a politician who sounds human, appears to share their aspirations and has the ability to voice them and they will be that politician's followers.

Some honest politicians find it hard to make that breakthrough, not being blessed with the common touch or the capacity to strike a chord in the breasts of their audience.

Without digging deep into the annals of history to produce evidence to back this thesis up, we only have to look at the recent election campaign and the results which flowed from it.

Sie Keir Starmer comes across as a capable and decent man but he leaves the electorate with the feeling that he is no more than a Mr Plod, dull and uninspiring, while the charlatan who occupies No 10 puts a bounce into the people's step despite being a rogue whose actions betray his utterances in both public and private matters.

Boris Johnson cuts through to the public and gives them that feel-good factor. So far his bubble has not yet burst while that of Sir Keir looks to be uninflatable.

The Labour leader looks to be on a downward spiral while Mr Johnson's stock is on the up and up .

Let us hope that the people's trust in Boris does not turn out to be a seismic South Sea Bubble.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


THANKS to Jamie Mann for his brilliant article exposing the scandal of the wholesale transfer of assets worth huge amounts of money into private hands by our public bodies ("Scotland for sale: How public land is being sold to luxury developers", May 9)Now that these assets have gone, they’ve gone forever and we can’t get ever get them back. We used to know these things.

This is yet another depressing and disturbing example in the ancient story of the tragedy of the commons right here today, on our doorstep. It’s the institutionalisation of very clever, highly-sophisticated low-cunning methods in business practices, deployed against the community by public bodies.

Without exception the justifications used by the public bodies quoted all show their reference to legal procedures in order to convince us they were in the right and, in this way subtly shift the blame on to communities and systematically deprive us of agency.

There is not a scrap of recognition, far less acknowledgement that what they are doing is in any way wrong. They are either total ignorant or flagrantly disregarding of the social contract that sits between the people and those in power that underpins the law, and it encompasses their activities too.

There is now something rotten at the core of the social contract in Scotland. Inexplicably, at Holyrood the Scottish Government actively enabled these practices when SNP MSPs joined forces with the Conservatives to block the equal right of appeal with developers section of the Planning Bill being brought forward into law. So much for community empowerment and Scotland Loves Local. We all need to waken up and stop this right now.

Its is a bleak outlook, with little hope of a solution unless there is a change of political will. Solutions do exist to these problems (see Nobel Economics Prize winner Elinor Ostrom’s “Governing the Commons”). East Dunbartonshire Council has already undertaken consultations using the fairer methods of Place Standard and Co-Production but for some reason is highly resistant to using them with the more leafy places where land values are higher.

For some time now communities in East Dunbartonshire has been ignored by the council and Government when in calls for review of:

* Re-instatement of equal right of appeal with developers for communities in Scottish Government planning law.

* Communities to be involved in local authority strategic planning at the concept stage.

* Legal stakeholder status for development trusts and residents associations in local authority strategic planning.

* The Place Standard used by local authorities in planning, administered by a community representative organisation.

* Implementation of planning decisions to be undertaken on Co-Production principles.

Margaret Whitelaw, Lenzie.


EVERY time there is an unusual weather event the green brigade rush to say it is climate change.

They say unusual hot weather is global warming and unseasonal cold weather is also global warming. They refuse to accept that the recent April cold spell disproves the global warming theory. One went as far as to say "we can expect much more extreme and erratic weather".

The climate soothsayers have obviously not paid attention to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has repeatedly stated in its annual reports that there is limited scientific evidence to link human-caused climate change to extreme weather. The IPCC stated it had "low confidence" of any impact on the frequency or severity of floods, that hurricanes and tropical cyclones show a decreasing trend and that droughts were less severe.

The climate zealots have been taken in by the lucrative taxpayer-funded climate industry which keeps repeating scaremongering weather myths to ensure that their climate gravy train is not derailed.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.