THANK you, Neil Mackay for once again hitting the nail on the head regarding the present Scottish Government ("A brutal purge by Sturgeon is the only way to deal with SNP infighting", The Herald, June 3). Without the detail of Mr Mackay, I had reached his conclusion some months ago and for the first time ever did not vote SNP at the recent election. I have been able to vote for more than 50 years.

I sincerely hope that Nicola Sturgeon reads Mr Mackay' s column and does something dramatic as proposed before it is too late and, following Boris Johnson's recent observation that devolution has failed in Scotland, Westminster decides on direct rule. It's been done on a number of occasions in Northern Ireland, so a precedent exists.

Ian Gray, Croftamie.


STEVEN Clark (Letters, June 3) properly criticises the Scottish Government for its ferry contract, given to a private company not up to the job, as it tried to keep manufacturing in Scotland. But where are the attractive political alternatives?

The Tories tossed away more than £100 million for non-existing ferries and have placed an order costing £3.5 billion for tanks which apparently cannot safely travel at speeds above 20mph. Labour purchased for £6-7bn two aircraft carriers that were not required, which we cannot outfit with aircraft or have enough ships to form a protective shield. These are just a tiny fraction of examples of government waste, common to all political parties, and spread out over decades.

We elect people with few particular skills and expect expert governance. There was once a professional civil service to keep an eye on things, but it is being replaced by more malleable “yes men”, more suited to smooth over the misdemeanours of the Westminster political class. Expect to pay more, and receive less, in future.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


FURTHER to recent letters on the unreliability of wind-generated electricity (May 31 and June 1, 2 & 3), following its plaudits by the policy director of Scottish Renewables, Morag Watson, a point seemingly overlooked is their drain of power when they are static.

Thus, they are actually worse than useless when there is no wind. Each individual windmill and its connective wiring has to be kept live by the electricity generated from the currently-shrinking alternative generators. This to enable them to be brought back into generating service when the wind returns.

Perhaps this total power demand from the thousands of propellers could be added to information already requested by other correspondents from Ms Watson.

I won't hold my breath.

John Taylor, Dunlop.


JOHN Palfreyman (Letters, June 3) failed to highlight the data required to assess the problems facing the Scottish economy if the wind fails to blow in a power system largely based on wind farm output. The current annual energy demand of 50TWhours of electricity plus 150TWhours of gas will increase to 350TWhours a year after a four-fold increase in output to charge electric vehicles plus replacing gas as a fuel source are implemented.

That is around 1TWhours per day, which requires 40,000 MW of plant to meet the required energy demand. If the wind fails to blow there is no back-up system that can meet such a demand without a massive capital investment in plant that will sit idle for around 95 per cent of the year and, to put the demand into context, the pump store plant at Cruachan only generates a maximum of 400MW for around six hours, hence hundreds of such units would be required to cover the failure of the wind to keep the lights on in Scotland.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.


YOUR Letters Pages today (June 3) had some very good contributions. I tend to agree with Elizabeth Mueller on marriage and Stuart Neville on cinemas and both have positive things to say.

However, the important letters are about climate change. Unfortunately no one seems to be putting forward any ideas on the way forward. Scotland and the North of England were in the vanguard of the industrial revolution. Robert Stirling patented his "heat engine" in 1816 but James Watt had improved the steam engine so much in the late 18th century that Stirling's engine was not seen to be needed and was not developed to the extent it deserved.

We must put more emphasis on engineering so that Scotland can once again help to change the world. We need more of our smartest people going into engineering. It is up to the Government to incentivise this. It should also pay for research into development of the principles of the Stirling Engine for energy production. It would yield much more than many of the things on which we are spending money.

Jim McAdam, Maidens.


I AM delighted to read that the Scottish Government’s drugs deaths taskforce has acknowledged that those with drug addictions must be given as much help as possible as soon as they need it ("Give drug addicts treatment on the same day they ask for help, says taskforce", The Herald, June 1). Its members also acknowledged that coming off a drug is only part of the problem, as many addicts have undiagnosed and untreated mental health problems, which drive them back into addiction if not addressed.

Sadly, what is on offer might not be very different from the treatment that has has failed to engage with addicts in the past, as many of the services will not engage with addicts whilst they are still using drugs.

Most of the residential rehabilitation services will not take them on. They charge £3-£4,000 per week and usually recommend a 12-week programme, costing between £36-48k per client. Even if an addict decides that this is the best option for them there are only 418 beds in Scotland, some only take alcoholics, some only drug addicts and a few do both. Many of the beds are occupied by people from abroad. The chances of accessing residential rehabilitation are very limited.

The top private addiction clinics offer a menu of up to 20 complementary therapies like art therapy; acupuncture, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, psychotherapists, mental health counselling, full psychological assessment and more. How many of these therapies will be on the menu planned for addicts by the Scottish Government?

It costs £730 a week to keep addicts in prison, with no health benefit.

Surely if it is proven to work, then what is good enough treatment from private clinics for those who can afford to pay should be available to all who need it. But such costs are well beyond current Scottish Government’s budgets.

Perhaps a new and innovative approach could be piloted with a treatment offered and delivered to addicts in the form of a Drug Recovery Passport. It would be like a treatment credit account, that could only be spent on approved therapies. It could be loaded each week with £730 (the cost of prison) for the addict to access the treatments that they believe would support them best in their recovery. This would meet the criteria of being person-centred as it would empower the addicts who are currently so disempowered. A trained support worker would be assigned to each addict to help them to explore what would work best for them. The essence of this scheme would be that addicts would continue to live in their own communities, so would not have to cope with returning from weeks of residential rehabilitation, drug-free, only to fall back into their addiction.

Scotland has 61,5000 drug addicts and 106,500 adults with alcohol problems. Stays in hospitals for drugs are 8,456 and 36,235 for alcohol, Scotland’s biggest drug problem. With such high numbers surely any new proposals that are cost-effective must be taken seriously.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.


IT is not always a good thing to write in a self-confessed state of frustration.

Margaret Forbes blames world governments and the UK for failure to prepare for the Covid-19 pandemic. She then reveals her true colours with the different argument that we are in a chaotic situation because the UK Prime Minister is unfit for the job.

Perhaps Ms Forbes would have preferred Jeremy Corbyn at the helm.

David Miller, Milngavie.


AS we try to be careful to open up from the pandemic, one team from country A plans to play a friendly game with country B so travels to country C for training where a few players are stranded, and then plays the game in country D. Am I missing some logic in the football logistics?

John Spence, Airdrie.

Read more: Who will pay our energy bills if we ever go independent?