IT seems incredible that, with Boris Johnson refusing to budge from Downing Street in the teeth of all the resignations and hostilities from his own party, Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, decided on Tuesday to stay stuck by Mr Johnson's side ("Tories in meltdown after Sunak and Javid abandon PM Johnson", The Herald, July 6).

Mr Jack knows full well that the Prime Minister has always been toxic in Scotland; "getting Brexit done", when Scotland had voted overwhelmingly to stay in Europe pre-dates the appalling Partygate scandal, and last year, Mr Johnson was told in no uncertain terms that his appearance in Scotland during the Scottish Parliament election campaign would be the kiss of death for the Tories.

And yet, armed with all this knowledge, the Scottish Secretary still pledged his support to a Prime Minister he knows is loathed in Scotland. Clearly, he is Mr Johnson's man, not Scotland's man, and if he had a smidgeon of respect for the country he is supposed to represent in the Cabinet he would do the honourable thing and exit office along with his discredited boss.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

• THE loyalty to Boris Johnson demonstrated by Alister Jack should certainly be raising questions: none more pertinent than who exactly is he representing by his actions and does he have the support of the other Scottish Conservative MPs for his demonstration of loyalty to the PM? And what about the Scottish Conservative MSPs, where do their loyalties lie? Their silence so far is deafening.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

• AM I alone in thinking that the new Chancellor and UK Health Secretary bear worrying similarities to the Russian Foreign Minister? They all give interviews where they try to defend the indefensible. Oh for a Cabinet filled with people with a backbone who would admit to the truth.

Alan McGibbon, Paisley.

• I’M not sure if you will be holding your annual Politician of the Year awards. If so, can I suggest three new categories: Sex Pest of the Year, Liar of the Year and Incompetent of the Year.

I’m sure their will be no shortage of nominees.

Michael Watson, Glasgow.


I NOTE your report on the comments of Scotland’s chief prison inspector ("New Glasgow prison will ‘not solve jail overpopulation issues’", The Herald, July 6). I do despair.

The issue of overcrowding in HMP Barlinnie is as old as the hills. During my time working there (from 1985 to 1989) there was some research carried out which showed particular sheriffdoms, particularly in the West of Scotland, sent a high incidence of male prisoners between the ages of 18 and 24 to jail (or the "Big Hoose" as Barlinnie was popularly known). Some sheriffs were known for their preference for custodial sentences even if there were community alternatives. Other sheriffs were keen on community-based options if they existed, but they, sadly, were few and far between.

At one stage the overcrowding in Barlinnie became so bad that prison officers refused to transfer any more prisoners remanded in custody to the prison. Social workers who interviewed accused when they arrived at the prison had to go to the courts to carry out initial assessments there.

It is a sad fact that we imprison more offenders per head of the population than anywhere else in Europe.

Much debate and many initiatives were undertaken and proposed in developing community-based projects as a viable alternative to custodial sentencing. Sadly, the amount of investment and recruitment of staff never materialised and we remain in the same position.

Ann Ross-McCall, Glasgow.


DONALD Trump may yet return to power. And he'd bring more of his far-right extremist views with him, including his love of America's gun laws.

So as the people of Chicago mourn the victims of the latest mass shooting at Highland Park ("shot dead at Fourth of July parade in Chicago suburb", The Herald, July 5) – there's at least one a week in the United States by the way– is there anything we can do in Scotland to make a stand?

What about boycotting Mr Trump's golf courses in Scotland? This should have been done years ago, but better late than never. Golfers please find another course.

We don't want this man's name on anything to do with Scotland.

Hopefully, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Hill insurrection will find Mr Trump guilty of orchestrating the attack on democracy. But given the make-up of the US justice system I'm not convinced anything will come of it.

So let's do what we can to give Mr Trump a thumping.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


NEWS of a major exhibition to mark 200 years since the decipherment of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics ("British Museum launches Egypt exhibition to mark anniversary", The Herald July 6), reminds me that an unquestionably fragrant lady of unimpeachable reputation once informed me at a Burns Supper that a certain inscription when read backwards translated as “Dig the ass on that chick”.

And who was I to doubt her?

R Russell Smith, Largs.


ANENT the correspondence on things we are tired of hearing (Letters, July 5 & 6), I am flabbergasted to read today, in relation to law firm Gilson Gray's taking over another firm ("Scottish law firm acquires English residential conveyancing specialist", The Herald, July 6) that this will " accelerate a roll-out" of the firm's " full-service offering" in England.

Whatever happened to plain English? Who concocts these phrases?

David Miller, Milngavie.


RECENT letters (July 1, 4, 5 & 6) regarding the doom-laden Mrs Thomson reminded me of Alastair Reid's poem, Scotland. In response to the poet remarking on the beautiful morning as he walked into town, the woman in the fish shop, in a radiant raincoat, which belied her dour state of mind, uttered the traditional Scottish mantra: "We'll pay for it, We'll pay for it, We'll pay for it!"

Amy Kinnaird, Ochiltree.