IN the latest of his regular diatribes against Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, Martin Redfern (Letters, May 20) asks why COP26 is a priority for her, when this forthcoming event is a UK conference, led by the Prime Minister.

On his view, given that Ms Sturgeon "daily disparaged Boris Johnson during the election campaign, she should count herself lucky to get an invitation".

Mr Redfern clearly knows a thing or two about derogatory and denigrating remarks, but I would suggest that Nicola Sturgeon would have much more to offer a conference on climate change than Boris Johnson. Let us recall the words of Claire O’Neill, sacked as head of COP26 last year: "My advice to anybody to whom Boris Johnson is making promises – whether it is voters, world leaders, ministers, employees or indeed, family members – is to get it in writing, get a lawyer to look at it and make sure the money is in the bank." This is the Boris Johnson who has put the con into Conservatism, as the voters from behind the former "red wall" in England will find out.

The neatest exposition of this con-trick is contained in a Turkish proverb: "The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe, for the axe was clever, and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood, he was one of them.’

Dr Angus Macmillan, Dumfries.

* JILL Stephenson and Bob McDougall (Letters, May 21) bemoan the lack of talent in the SNP's new Government.

If only we had Douglas Ross, Ruth Davidson or Willie Rennie to help out and lead us. Perhaps we could even give Boris Johnson the reins in Edinburgh and make him First Minister.

Then Holyrood would be a world-class parliament. We can only dream.

Kevin Orr, Bishopbriggs.

* JILL Stephenson asks "is there no-one better than..."? There is, Ms Stephenson: you. It is a terrible failing of our culture that we criticise from the sidelines those people who have presented themselves for public service only to fall short of armchair critics.

Ken Mackay, Glasgow.


WE have had the Brexit disaster for fishing; a national election in Scotland; the sell-out of our farmers, the ludicrous hyping-up of “Great British Rail” which even loyalist BBC Scotland struggled to promote, and through all that (and more), Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland has been absent from the public arena. While the role of SoS (Secretary of State) for Scotland has been greatly diminished, Mr Jack is paid to supposedly represent Scottish interests in our “other Government”. So, why is Mr Jack in hiding? And why are the media not “doorstepping” him, to ask serious questions?

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


YOU have no idea just how relieved I am that Nicola Sturgeon is not going to bludgeon me, and a divided Scotland, into independence ("Sturgeon promises ‘humility’ on new independence referendum", The Herald, May 19). Ms Sturgeon then adds that the views of those who do not support independence must not be ignored, and also not feel they are being pushed into an outcome they have not been persuaded of.

I voted SNP to speed up the process of a properly formulated referendum, to be followed up with a compelling and convincing argument with all the facts and figures, from various sources, about how we could survive as an independent country. I will need much more than Yes flag-waving, tacky tartan "oor own wee hame", and rhetoric with no substance, to convince me to vote Yes. So get Covid and the economy sorted and then find our due democratic route to hold a referendum.

George Dale, Beith.

* SANDY Gemmill (Letters, May 21) questions my grasp of geography, based on my reference to Great Britain as consisting only of England and Wales. He should have read my letter more carefully; I was referring not to the geographical island of Great Britain but to the territorial constituents of the Kingdom of Great Britain as established by a political Act of Union.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


THE BBC is in trouble and not just because of the Diana interview. BBC Scotland is not fit for purpose either. Having waited for days to receive an update about Coronavirus, BBC 1 cut its programme short on Friday just as questions from the journalists were being asked. Switching to BBC Scotland only revealed more of the endless loop features that seems to be its most prolific output. There was a time when at least this channel continued the coverage where BBC1 left off.

There is no point in having a BBC Scotland channel if important news is not fully covered. Nicola Sturgeon used her TV appearances to great political effect prior to the election. It seems now that she is back in power there is no need to continue, particularly where more awkward questions might be asked. The licence payers are being short-changed, again.

Dr Gerald Edward, Glasgow.


FOLLOWING the shameful scenes involving Rangers fans the weekend before last, sections of the media and opposing fan groups are yet again pointing the finger of blame at Rangers Football Club instead of taking a long hard look at the societal sectarian problems we in Scotland have shamefully allowed to cultivate for the last 100 years or so.

Neither Rangers nor Celtic are to blame for the hatred spouted by their respective fans on a weekly basis within the confines of their stadia, albeit they both turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the 300-year-old political bile contained within the lyrics of their respective football anthems.

Unfortunately the religious divisions in Scotland run much deeper than these two footballing giants, who are just the sporting wing of the sectarianism, which is our national embarrassment.

At what point in our history did political leaders think it was a good idea to allow sectarian marches to parade through our streets and to segregate our children by sending them to separate schools? Is it any wonder religious division has become a part of our everyday life?

The Scottish Government needs to seriously address the issues before it's too late, however I fear the SNP now has become complicit in widening the religious chasm by apparently actively targeting the Catholic vote in its pursuit of independence, which has ultimately prompted many non-Catholic voters to choose to vote to remain in the Union.

Quite frankly, Scotland is currently worryingly divided by education, sport and now, most alarmingly, by politics.

An independent Scotland may be a reality in the near future but under the current landscape are we setting ourselves up to recreate the troubles of Northern Ireland of the 1970s?

Solution? It will take a generation but if we ban sectarian marches, send all our kids to non-denominational schools and – this would the icing on the cake – Rangers and Celtic amalgamate and enter a unified Glasgow team into the European Super League, which is sure to become a reality in the near future.

It will take a monumental unified approach and a political leader who is prepared to stick their head above the parapet and then maybe we will have a country ready for independence that we can all be proud of.

Brian Thompson, West Calder.


WHEN Scottish local government was reorganised in the mid-1990s, it was very clear that the boundaries drawn between councils at that time were not fit for purpose.

This is even more so the case now that these are being used for public health and pandemic control purposes. For instance, as I write, the Public Health Scotland website shows that in the previous seven days there were between zero and two cases of Covid in any of the wards that make up Drumchapel, and yet their 13,000 residents are in lockdown in Level 3. Conversely, there are people who live in South Lanarkshire who live less than two miles from Glasgow Cross who will enjoy the freedoms of Level 2 while their Glasgow neighbours are under much stricter regimes.

This treatment of Glasgow residents is a double failure. First was that of the Tories in the 1990s. The second is that of the imagination and intelligence of Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government, who could so easily use postcodes or city wards to make better sense and create more liberty for most Glaswegians, while concentrating attention on specific areas which require special attention.

We also have to wonder just quite where Susan Aitken and Glasgow City Council are in all this. I can hardly imagine past Labour leaders like my old bosses Jean McFadden and Pat Lally being silent in these circumstances. The same applies local MSPs and MPs.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.