SIR John Major's apposite and biting criticism of the Johnson Government at the weekend is both welcome and in contrast to the near invisibility of Sir Keir Starmer, a decent man, but out of his depth in politics. It's past time where those elected as legislators were banned from second jobs/incomes, as their remuneration is already a three or four-times multiple of the average wage.

The going rate for MPs' outside work is apparently £500 per hour; no wonder they are blasé about truckers getting £20 an hour. Small beer for them, inflation for the rest of us.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

* FORMER Prime Minister Sir John Major says that the current Government in Westminster is behaving in a very "un-Conservative" way. I disagree. It’s behaving exactly as I would expect of a Tory government: arrogant and sleazy, with a firm belief that laws and regulations are only for the little people.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


AS parliamentarians are only human, all parties have miscreants but it is how they deal with it that matters, and Richard Allison (Letters, November 6) fails to acknowledge that Holyrood is vastly superior to Westminster in this regard.

Scotland’s standards are higher and much more transparent under the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016. In the Scottish Parliament paid advocacy as undertaken by Owen Paterson is a criminal offence and would be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

In the case of Derek Mackay, Mr Allison doesn’t seem to know that political parties have no control over what individuals claim and Mr Mackay left the SNP before being expelled, whereas recently the Tory MP Rob Roberts was allowed back into the Conservatives after sexually harassing a member of staff.

Apart from the numerous examples of Tory sleaze and cronyism, we have lost count of the number of times Boris Johnson and co have misled Parliament. The UK Government lied to the Queen to prorogue Parliament, was willing to break international law in a “limited and specific” way, forced the PM’s own standards chief to quit by overruling him and breached Covid lockdown rules while expecting others to follow them.

Outnumbered 11 to one, Scottish MPs have little or no influence at Westminster and the sooner we get out of that cesspit, the better.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.


FIRST, can I thank you for publishing two excellent letters on Saturday (November 6), from Bob MacDougall and from Richard Allison. I am aware that letters are often referred to as "excellent" purely because one agrees with every single thought or statement written in them. Well, yes, in this instance I did, and your first contributor mentioned above finished his letter succinctly and encapsulated today's political situation in the UK: "The world of politics would surely be a better place without the shilly-shallying Mr Johnson and the divisive Nicola Sturgeon."

As I have often mentioned in your columns, I have the unfortunate situation to stay within the First Minister's constituency – a constituency which Ms Sturgeon's new bestie, Greta Thunberg, appears to have missed in her tours, and therefore missed the rubbish, the rats, the broken roads and pavements, the tons of litter dropped at random and more.

I grew up in Mount Florida, where we had the wonderful local MP Teddy Taylor representing us, and he was what a true MP should be – looking after his constituents as best he could. I always remember the story he often told against himself, saying that two of his constituents who lived in Castlemilk were interviewed for a local newspaper, and was asked did they vote Conservative? They laughed and said certainly not, they had always voted Labour, and would continue to vote for the wonderful Teddy Taylor.

Sir Teddy, like Sir John Major, would surely dismiss this pathetic apology of a Prime Minister and urge that his toadying party should get rid of him right away. Meanwhile silent SNP ministers sit behind the First Minister every week, and applaud everything she says – and that's a lot.

I doubt very much that anything will happen soon. After all, we are only the voters, wherever we live.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.


IF BORIS Johnson resigns because of the Owen Paterson scandal and Rishi Sunak takes over, the nationalists will have lost their greatest asset and will find it difficult to get personal with Mr Sunak.

On the other hand, Scottish pro-UK politicians should hang their heads in shame if Nicola Sturgeon resigns over one of the many scandals swirling around her and they can't lay a glove on Humza Yousaf, John Swinney, Kate Forbes or Angus Robertson, one of whom is her likely successor.

It should be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


I NOTE that once again Kevin McKenna has chosen to denigrate First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, 48 members of the Westminster Parliament and 64 members of the Scottish Parliament, whom he portrays as money-grubbing individuals who are only interested in their salaries and pension entitlement ("Thatcher would have loved SNP’s contempt for strikers", The Herald November 6). He is of course entitled to his opinion, but as a member of the SNP for more than 50 years along with tens of thousands of others, I have every faith in the SNP members of both parliaments to hold the Tories at Westminster to account for the manner in which they are ruling over Scotland.

Given the current sleaze scandals and dark money swirling around No 10 and Westminster, it is ludicrous to equate Ms Sturgeon and the Scottish Government with the actions of Margaret Thatcher and the Tories in the 1980s.

Ms Sturgeon has worked tirelessly over the past 20 months in dealing with the current Covid pandemic as well as bearing the task of running the country and while no individual is perfect, she has done this to the best of her ability. This has not been an easy task, bearing in mind 10 years of Westminster-contrived austerity and the constraints of the devolution settlement.

I would ask Mr McKenna: why is it the GMB alone which has been holding Glasgow to ransom at this particular time, when COP26 is in town, while every other local authority area in Scotland has refuse collectors working normally?

I write as a past member of two trade unions all my working life and support the refuse collectors in their bid for improved pay and conditions, but there is a whiff of cynicism in the way the GMB and the Anas Sarwar have politicised this industrial dispute.

Alec Oattes, Ayr.


THE contrasting leadership styles of the First Minister and the Prime Minister have again been strikingly apparent around COP26.

During the pandemic the FM’s daily public briefings were commonly regarded as a model of good communication and her willingness to take questions from journalists and others an example of how to handle sometimes-difficult scientific detail and to admit its limitations where appropriate.

The failure of the public to engage fully with the day-to-day affairs of COP has been partly due to the absence of a clear morning briefing of the programme and its hoped-for outcomes and a further briefing at the end of the day of what has actually been achieved. This surely is part of the role of the chair of the conference.

In other walks of life outside politics the FM’s acknowledged communication skills would have been utilised to raise the profile and public understanding of the conference to the benefit of the country and wider world.

Jim Aitchison, Milngavie.


LAST weekend I attended a superb concert by the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra and Dalmellington Brass Band. Catch them if you can. My enjoyment was momentarily lessened by the first bars of a Scottish piece, not because it was not excellent, but with everything "Scottish" now appropriated by the separatists, I realised I have become to dislike my own heritage because of the now-toxic association. So it is "hands off our heritage", Nicola Sturgeon, and come up with an economic argument, if you can. But you can't.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


I READ with disbelief the reported tweet from Kirsty Blackman relating to the tragic death of Owen Paterson’s wife ("Disgraced MP may get peerage despite resigning over lobbying", The Herald, November 8). I do not make a political point – I have voted SNP in recent elections. I do, however, make a plea for decency and humanity within our body politic.

Roddy MacDonald, Ayr.

Read more: Focus on the Scottish nation rather than squabbling over Indy