WELL done the residents of Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, for coming out in numbers to resist the UK Border Force raid on two asylum seekers on, of all days, Eid al-Fitr, the day of celebration to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan ("Police release detained men after hundreds block immigration van", The Herald, May 14). Well done, too, to Police Scotland for having the decency and common sense to defuse the situation by releasing the men.

The raid, and in particular its timing, shows that this Tory UK Government is as intent as ever on playing the tough guy against those who have fled intolerable situations in their home countries and asked for our compassion. Boris Johnson and Priti Patel act not in my name; obviously not in the names of the residents of Kenmure Street; and, I hope, not in Scotland’s name.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

* THE UK Home Office has neatly proved that society in Scotland would prefer to make its own rules about immigration and asylum.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

* SO is it established by precedent now that Police Scotland no longer enforces the law of the land?

John Dunlop, Ayr.


I NOTE contributions from Alasdair Galloway and GR Weir (Letters, May 13). They are keen separatists who don’t like the idea of Scotland having little influence in a large union. They both want to join a larger union where our influence will drop from about 10 per cent to about one per cent.

Mr Weir suggests Scottish exceptionalism about not building nuclear submarines and getting America to arm them, forgetting that the Scottish Government aim of remaining in Nato involves nuclear deterrent and defence. The issue about Russia seems to gloss over our Government’s failed attempts to do a £10 billion business deal with China.

The issue with dodgy money was not exclusively an English, London problem. The unique Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) where names are not needed, were found in 2019 to have used 100 companies and laundered £64 billion of Russian money in four years.

Walking away from treaties describes the Edinburgh Agreement signed by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon and their subsequent actions.

Scotland and England are two similar countries which should not be judged, favourably or otherwise, based on the temporary presence of politicians with multiple fault lines in their parties and themselves.

John Leonard, Falkirk.


IF First Minster Nicola Sturgeon really wants to win over the people in support of the SNP she should consider setting performance targets for her new ministers. Key targets to be considered:

• Getting more than £1 for Prestwick Airport;

• Actually completing some new ferries;

• Reducing Holyrood spending to UK levels;

• Achieving targets for the NHS for the first time;

• Scrapping Curriculum for Excellence;

• Stop the increase in homelessness and poverty that has taken place over the last 14 years.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.


I FOUND it is very interesting that a former Prime Minister, David Cameron, is attempting to justify his actions by claiming "I did not break any rules" – as if that was a defence ("Cameron: I was paid ‘far more’ by Greensill than as PM", The Herald, May 14).

However, if that is indeed true, given he is accused of using his former contacts to lobby on behalf of a commercial company – and being paid handsomely for his services – then surely it is these rules that require to be revisited and tightened. If that does not happen then it is possible that others, perhaps even the current Prime Minister, who is facing an investigation into how he funded renovations, may well be tempted to do likewise.

To those outwith the Westminster bubble, all this simply defies belief.

Alan McKinney, Edinburgh.


STUART Waiton writes that "confusingly for some, the Tories now appear to be turning into the party of the working class" ("How Tories became unlikely working class heroes", The Herald, May 12). It is worth recalling that such a situation is not entirely without precedent. The Scottish Conservatives and Unionists, between the First and Second World Wars and during the 1950s, received much working-class support, particularly from those in the west of Scotland who were Protestant. In fact in the General Election of 1955 they won 50.1 per cent of the vote in Scotland. Moreover, Tory administrations in Scotland in the 1950s and 1960s played a role in what might be regarded as "levelling up" in the form of work on the Forth Road Bridge and the electrification of the railway system in Glasgow and around it.

It is clear from recent election results that many working people in England have now lost faith in Labour. They have felt that they have been taken for granted and, as a result, they have turned to the Tories in hopes of the prospects for their lives being improved. Will these aspirational hopes be realised? Who knows, as yet. Perhaps there may yet be a swing from the SNP in Scotland if and when the benefits of levelling up, as promised by Boris Johnson, who is known to say more than his prayers, become more measurable and visible and the advantages of being a part of the United Kingdom are consistently advanced in a more convincing and effective manner.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I FIND it odd that some MSPs were taking the oath to the Queen in non-English languages ("Most diverse parliament since devolution sworn in with a dozen languages", The Herald, May 14) when almost 100 per cent of Scots speak English as a first (in most cases only) language. Who is this aimed at? Certainly not that vast majority of Scots whom these members are representing. Well, I'm something of a closet Trekkie and demand representation too. Why not go all out and do the oath in Klingon?

David Bone, Girvan.


DAVID Pratt's excellent analysis of the strife in Israel ("Palestinians more cast adrift than ever in the struggle for the soul of East Jerusalem", The Herald, May 12) omits one possibly-significant factor: population growth.

From what I can find on the internet, the population of Israel in 1950 was 1.4 million, whereas in 2019 it was 9.1m. In Palestine the population grew from 0.9m to 5.0m over the same period. Adding the two sets of statistics together, the total population of the area would appear to have grown from 2.3m in 1950 to 14.1m in 2019. Although these figures come from different websites, it nevertheless seems not unreasonable to conclude that the population in the area has increased nearly six-fold in nearly 70 years.

There should therefore be no surprise that pressure on resources will be growing substantially all round in both countries. Evidence of this can be seen in the Israeli government's policy of allowing Jewish settlements in areas which had previously been Palestinian – and Mr Pratt points out that one such expansion appears to have been the flashpoint for the latest round of strife.

Two years after its establishment in 1948 the state of Israel passed its Law of Return, giving Jews, their children and grandchildren automatic rights regarding residency and Israeli citizenship. It is reckoned that since 1948 3.4m immigrants have come to Israel, although there has been some emigration as well.

The total fertility rate per woman in Israel is also high, reckoned to be 3.01, whereas in the UK it is 1.68 – and the Israeli figure has shown little variation over the last 20 years.

The result of this large immigration coupled with the high fertility rate is that Israel is now believed to be the world's 17th most densely populated country with 1,097 people per square mile. This is exactly 50% above the UK figure of 725 per square mile, which puts the UK at number 32 in the list of the top 100.

I am well aware that there are many reasons for the tensions between Israel and Palestine, but nevertheless the population figures force one to wonder whether the tensions might have been less if the population there had not grown so substantially.

Obviously a reduction in population cannot take place overnight and, even if it could, other problems would also require to be solved. At the moment all one can do is hope and pray that the current strife will come to a speedy but not bloody conclusion.

Stewart Noble, Helensburgh.


ONCE again I open my Herald to read of yet more malfunctions at Calmac, with the news that after the breakdown of their phone system yesterday ("Customers left high and dry as ferry ticket lines go down", The Herald, May 13), there is yet more delay to the return from repair of the ferry Loch Seaforth ("New ferry disruption after repair delayed four times", The Herald, May 14). This is on top of the appalling recent history of ferry failure and the resulting island economic distress.

But Calmac struggles with the assets, the ferries and harbours, it is given. The real culprit in this ongoing bourach is Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Scottish Government.

The job of CMAL is to make the case to the Scottish Government for the cash needed to provide Calmac with reliable ferries. This it clearly is failing to do. So why no resignations? Why is the chairman, Eric Ostergaard, still in position? He has been in charge since 2014 so clearly has failed in his job of extracting cash from the Scottish Government. Similarly the non-executive directors have failed in their duty while drawing their comfortable fees. CMAL’s job is to provide reliable ferries and harbours for operators Calmac. And it and its directors have failed miserably. It is time they went.

G Brown, Strathaven.


LIKE James Robertson Letters, May 14) I am surprised at the voting of Scotland's sea-board constituencies in the recent election. I am from the Western Islands and readily concede that we from both the Inner and Outer Hebrides may be naive and not have the high intellectual sophistication of mainland voters, but I did think that the ferry-dependent areas would all have given the SNP and MacBraynes a hammering.

A friend, a former merchant navy deck officer, once summed it up: "The only people in the SNP and MacBraynes who know what they are doing at the moment are sitting on toilets somewhere."

Donald Macaskill, Glasgow.

Read more: Time for the Scottish Tories to play by the rules