REBECCA McQuillan gives food for thought on the political shenanigans we are enduring as part of the UK ("Johnson makes even unionists turn to independence", The Herald, April 22)

With the assorted members of the Conservative Government each covering each other’s backs, loyally defending the indefensible, the case for Scottish independence grows daily. Ms McQuillan is right to suggest we deserve better and we also deserve the right to make our own decisions – decisions that impact on the people of Scotland.

She suggests the PM believes he can weather the current storm, recasting himself as a war leader. That scenario just does not bear thinking about: remember, this is a liar we have leading the country. Thankfully, the country is not at war – unlike the Conservative Party. But we are in a cost of living crisis, with people’s disposable incomes shrinking. We still have the pandemic with many facing uncertain economic futures. And we are all witnessing the real horrors of war on our doorstep in Ukraine, the plight of the refugees, those who only have what they are standing up in, having left all their possessions behind. And yet the Government at Westminster, during these uncertain times, is occupied with whether Boris Johnson should stay or go.

Scotland deserves better, and can do better with a clean slate through independence.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


REBECCA McQuillan hit the nail on the head. But will it hit home with Scottish Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat supporters?

Sadly, I fear not, or at least not enough of them. What I fail to understand is why they cannot see that independence for Scotland does not necessarily mean an SNP government.

An election would have to be held if we had a Yes vote and then the other parties could come out of the cupboard with plans for an independent future. The present situation surely provides enough evidence that things can be better, much better.

Maybe then, Labour's Scottish leader Anas Sarwar would be able to push forward traditional Scottish values, lost in London since the death of John Smith, and the short reign of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister (Tony Blair's time in office will forever be scarred with Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction farce), and provide real opposition to the SNP.

The idea of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda would surely not be accepted by an independent Scottish government of whatever political make-up.

Boris Johnson's Partygate is both a scandal and a joke, but we have a Conservative leader in Scotland who flip-flops between support and condemnation of our bumbling buffoon of a Prime Minister. Douglas Ross blows the whistle one minute, then rescinds the red card the next. Maybe being a part-time football referee is his limit.

Margaret Thatcher managed to divide the UK, especially over the poll tax and the miners, and can be credited with highlighting that Westminster Tories couldn't care less about the Scottish people. But they do care about their own "interests" in our country, including land and property, and shareholdings in businesses including oil, and of course taxes.

Are we going to sit back and let this continue? Are we frightened of taking control of our own lives, our future, our country?

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


THERE must be some Tory MPs with decent morals and principles who will do the right thing and eject Boris Johnston for the liar that he has proved to be. Let us hope so. However, let us also have an end to any sanctimonious behaviour from the First Minister and her Government who have equally treated us with contempt.

Two examples are worthy of our scorn; the FM’s mysterious loss of memory during the Alex Salmond affair and Audit Scotland announcing last week that important paperwork pertinent to the ferries fiasco has simply disappeared ("Public finance watchdog warns over ‘lack of ferry transparency’", The Herald, April 22, and Letters, April 23). Do any SNP MSPs have the backbone and moral fibre to eject Ms Sturgeon, who claims the buck stops with her? I think I know the answer.

Duncan Sooman, Milngavie.


THOSE who have recently debated local council budgets on these pages are missing the proverbial pachyderm in the room – the question of how local authorities are funded and their role in Scottish political life.

For Scotland to enjoy truly local government, local authorities need to have access to buoyant and autonomous funding for which they are themselves are accountable. Then they will be able to develop policies which reflect local priorities and address local needs. In the past, Scotland's former regional councils produced people like Geoff Shaw, and others like Charlie Gray, who were responsible for initiatives like the Strathclyde Integrated Partnership which brought large amounts of European funds to communities across the region. Likewise, Glasgow District Council developed community-based approaches to regeneration which led to the 1974 Housing Act, and to arts and culture policies which culminated in the City Of Culture 1990 accolade.

The point about these examples are that they were local and creative – and went against the grain of the governments of the day. In doing so, they not only served local needs and promoted local communities, but stood as checks and balances against overbearing central power.

The Scottish Government has it in its power to restore local government and to recreate strong and creative local councils. It has it in its power to develop a flexible and sustainable system of funding local government, and one that is based on the ability to pay as well as on the value of property assets. The failure of the SNP in its 15 years of power to do so – despite being elected on a mandate to introduce Local Income Tax – is testament indeed to its loathing of local control and its utter intolerance of alternative policies and centres of power.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


EDINBURGH and Glasgow councils have made no secret of their hatred of the motorist and their intention of introducing the workplace parking levy (WPL). Other councils are delaying the decision until after the May 5 elections, since showing their intentions would lead to a cull of the SNP and Green candidates. Therefore those against the WPL must get out and vote for anyone other than the SNP and Green candidates. They should only use one vote, since otherwise the SNP and Greens could sneak in the back door on the proportional representation system.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


I AM/WAS a dentist, my original qualification being in 1973, so have a reasonable insight into the working life of a dentist and how the NHS works. In Helen McArdle’s recent article on the current shambles in NHS dentistry ("Dentist calls for more therapists to tackle NHS backlog in patients", The Herald, April 21) she quotes the opinion of Professor Phil Taylor (Dental Dean, RCS Edinburgh). I completely agree with Prof Taylor that a major factor in the problem lies in the fact that the UK has historically relied on medical and dental graduates who were trained overseas coming to work in the UK and that an asinine Brexit has severed that connection.

However, one has to question the rationale behind a system of free universal healthcare that from its inception failed to train enough staff to efficiently run the service but has always relied on a significant number of its doctors, dentists, nurses and other allied professions being immigrants coming to the UK in search of employment.

There are two possible solutions to the problem; one is to train more than enough staff here in the UK and the other is to dilute the skill base by employing more who can do less as is suggested by Prof Taylor. That has already happened in dentistry, where much of the work that dentists traditionally performed 50 years ago has been hived off to technicians, hygienists and therapists, I personally don’t think that policy has been in the long-term interests of the general public but is a feature of an underfunded NHS and part of an ethos to create more bang for less bucks. There is an element of conceit in it as well: "We can let the underlings do that menial bit but keep the difficult/remunerative part for ourselves".

I don’t know about you but whatever the subject I’d always rather see the organ-grinder rather than the monkey, but if dentistry continues on its current trajectory that will only happen if you are wealthy enough to seek treatment in the private sector.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

Read more: We need a full public inquiry into the ferries fiasco