I TAKE grave exception to your front-page subheading today which implies Boris Johnson's speech and actions could be Churchillian ("Prime Minister will evoke the spirit of Churchill with ‘finest hour’ address in Kyiv", The Herald, May 4).

Churchill united a country at war; he did not divide the four nations of Britain. Churchill made sure everyone was fed in an isolated island in the face of insurmountable odds; he did not push them into financial, food and fuel poverty. Churchill was a man for the times, not a man out of time.

Mr Johnson's actions will not galvanise the Ukrainians to greater things, they already have a real live Churchillian figure in Volodymyr Zelenskyy, uniting the world and his country against the fascist ambitions of a tyrant.

Please let us not besmirch Churchill's name. Mr Johnson has done much to destroy the unity of our country and its neighbours, not unite them.

Angela Fotheringham, Stow.

* THIS is definitely not the UK's "finest hour". Bumbling Boris Johnson goes to Kyiv and quotes Winston Churchill from the Second World War to commend Ukraine on its defence against Russia's invasion. Although the UK is providing military support for the Ukrainians, the Home Office is still stagnant when it comes to getting visas for refugees seeking shelter from the war. This is embarrassing, humiliating even.

Hello Scottish Conservative supporters: when are you going to wake up?

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


IT is a sign of the times when the leader of a political party lusting after independence forgets that her first duty as a politician is the defence of the realm ("Sturgeon: Ukraine war will not stop us ditching Trident", The Herald, May 2, and Letters, May 3).

Perhaps she has forgotten Ernest Bevin, when Labour Foreign Secretary, pleading with his "Ban The Bomb" Cabinet colleagues not to send him into the international debating forum naked.

Perhaps she has forgotten that in the past Ukraine had access to nuclear weapons and was persuaded to give them up in exchange for guarantees. Does she really think that if Ukraine still had that access, that Putin would have dared his open aggression and subsequent invasion of Ukraine's sovereign territory?

Of course it is unthinkable to our eyes that any one would be so misguided as to use such weapons. If in the event that Russia feels the need to use tactical nuclear weapons, what is her response? Perhaps the advice of President Teddy Roosevelt might be helpful: "Speak softly but carry a big stick."

R Johnston, Newton Mearns.


I NOTE the various letters today (May 3) berating the SNP.

The electorate of Scotland are not daft and understand that every government will get some things wrong and most things correct.

I am pro-independence and have supported the SNP for a number of years now but can see irritating issues that need addressed. The “loss” of the ferry papers had me raging. It is so childishly like “the dog ate my homework”. The legal issue of independence has shifted to an area “of consideration” due to the upcoming elections. Hardly the open and honest government we want or need.

I am still voting for SNP as I firmly believe we need to separate ourselves from Westminster and the voters in the Home Counties to determine our own future. Make no mistake, however, I will be challenging my MP, Kirsten Oswald (SNP, whom I canvassed for), over the above matters.

Ken Mackay, Glasgow.


ALAN Dougan (Letters, May 3) declares that "the SNP Government has fostered division and distrust, particularly since its refusal to accept the result of the 2014 referendum". However, I would suggest that it is the various antics of the Conservatives at Westminster which have caused real division and distrust, not only in Scotland but around the UK.

I would further point out to Mr Dougan that at the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, the SNP manifesto clearly stated that there would not be another independence referendum, "unless there was a significant and material change of circumstances, such as Scotland being taken out of the European Union against our will". The SNP was returned to power on that manifesto, returned to power again at last May's Holyrood elections, and won the majority of Scottish seats at the UK General Elections of 2017 and 2019.

It is significant that unionists never complain about Scotland being taken out of the EU after voting overwhelmingly to remain, and never complain at Scotland being inflicted with Tory governments we never voted for.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


THE SNP’s army of spinners have done their job. They have managed to turn the focus of the local elections on to one subject only – Boris Johnson and the Westminster Tories.

The state of our towns and cities and countryside is barely mentioned in any of the campaigns. Instead, Anas Sarwar in particular was fighting Mr Johnson, seemingly unaware he was not standing. Mr Sarwar appears unable to focus on what the local elections are about. By doing so, those opposed to the SNP – the majority of voters – have been abandoned and it looks certain the nationalists will on Friday remain by far the dominant party, as far as seats are concerned, in Scotland.

If only Scottish Labour would recognise who is cutting budgets and opening pretend embassies overseas or nationalising shipyards with money that could have saved many drug victims’ lives and made our cities cleaner and safer and lifted our pothole-ridden streets out of third world level. That was not Mr Johnson. That was the SNP.

The opposition parties appear more interested in hurting and bad-mouthing each other, while the SNP’s spinners rub their hands in glee. Waken up, Scotland.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


THERE has been considerable debate over the reasons for the poor response rate to the census, but it seems to me that one factor has been ignored. Our devolved parliament and the seriousness of its pronouncements are obviously simply not viewed with much respect by very many in the population it governs. Although there is a legal requirement, the administration of the census relies fundamentally on consensual participation; the problem of participation in this instance is a mark of a substantial absence of social respect for our devolved democracy.

It is perhaps not surprising that many people have not felt bothered about such participation after our parliament tried to impose by law another relatively minor but intrusive and expensive universal requirement, to install interconnected smoke alarms. This has simply been ignored by most people with an impunity encouraged by the parliament's own embarrassed pronouncements in the face of installation costs at a time of crisis in living costs, that people can safely flout the law it passed. Passing such an impractical and unenforceable law which so demonstrably did not have the people's consent, does not come without damaging consequences for collective respect in our governing institutions.

Stephen Smith, Glasgow.


NOBODY likes a clype or a telltale, or so I had always understood. However the case of Neil Parish, who has resigned as an MP, would suggest that at least in politics the position is otherwise.

Given the layout of the chamber only his Tory colleagues could have known that Mr Parish was watching porn on his phone. Did they raise the issue with him? No, of course not. Did they raise the matter with the Conservative Whips’ office? No, instead they saw fit to pass the matter to journalists, not just destroying their colleague’s career, but damaging their own party’s campaign in the local council elections.

Who knows what mitigating factors might have applied in Mr Parish’s case? It is too late now.

Is his crime uniquely serious? Worse than a conviction for a campaign of harassment? Worse than calling out the Prime Minister over the very thing you are even more guilty of than him? Worse than starting a witch hunt for sexists over something that you have said yourself?

Whatever Mr Parish’s faults I find the idea of being represented by the kind of vipers who have no sense of proportion and shop their colleagues to the press far more concerning.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.

Read more: We all lose if we let the SNP continue to run councils into the ground