A WEEK, they say, is a long time in politics. Sir John Major has been away from the front line for longer than a week, and has no party dues to pay so can tell it as it is. He states: “Britain’s reputation has been undermined … and the blame lay principally but not only with the Prime Minister. Many in the Cabinet are culpable too, as are many outside the Cabinet who cheered him on” ("Former Tory PM John Major slams leadership hopefuls failing to criticise Boris Johnson", heraldscotland, July 12).

Excellent stuff, but you won’t find many in the right-wing press who agree with him. Nor those in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet who were forced (by self-interest) to break their self-damaging silence and defenestrate the PM, and are singing the same tune this week as they were last week. Mr Johnson has gone from a miscreant with serious character flaws to a big shaggy dog who was, at worst, misunderstood.

Remember this, when you see the Tory “contestants” selling themselves to their mainly elderly, white male, Home Counties electorate: these are the same people who enabled Mr Johnson, who excused his every gaucherie and peccadillo and who exposed themselves, like Douglas Ross, as Johnson human shields. When one of them is “chosen”, he/she will bury any “Boris Bad” stuff deep in the vaults of Whitehall, eventually to be shredded. We the paying public will never get the whole, unvarnished truth, just a polished, fairytale version.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

• WHATEVER may be said against the Conservative Party no one can deny that its leadership contest is democracy in action. While the SNP requires all its politicians be bound to adhere to the leadership line, the Tories have shown that they are prepared to oppose their leaders and even depose them.

The lack of critical thought and democratic accountability on the other hand within the SNP is quite appalling. The SNP leadership has mandated that "no MP shall publicly criticise a group decision, policy or another member". Along with this you have lack of transparency, obstruction of Freedom of Information requests, and even taking on powers to lock down the country again without a vote in Holyrood.

William Loneskie, Lauder.


CONTRARY to Otto Inglis's claims (Letters, July 12), judging from their initial election pitches, the Tory leadership contenders are even more xenophobic right-wing ideologues than Boris Johnson, who merely blustered out whatever came into his head at the time. This is really bad news for the anti-Scottish self-government forces as it will only increase Scotland’s disenchantment with Westminster rule.

British establishment figure Sir Keir Starmer was more at home in the Royal Box at Wimbledon than on the rail workers’ picket line and his opposition, like that of the LibDems, to a European single market and freedom of movement is driven by middle England focus groups rather than any concern for Scotland’s economy or the Scottish Parliament’s democratic mandate to have a second independence referendum.

As Scotland exports much more per head than the rest of Britain, we have suffered more from a Brexit we didn’t vote for which damaged our agriculture, fishing and scientific research sectors plus exacerbated recruitment problems in our health care and hospitality sectors. An independent Scotland will be welcomed in the EU and even as a member of the EEA or EFTA, we would better off than under the UK’s current trading arrangements.

With our vast natural resources, including energy supply, plus a highly educated workforce, there is no logical reason why an independent Scotland can’t match our Scandinavian neighbours by creating a fairer and more prosperous nation.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.


ALEX Gallagher (Letters, July 12) relates the same old tired arguments commencing with how an economy too broken to be independent should be grateful for a £15 billion subsidy from Westminster.

Norsk Petroleum estimates 2022 Norwegian government net cash flow from the petroleum industry of NOK 933bn, which if I have pressed the correct buttons equates to £76.5bn. It was a mere £23.6bn in 2021.

May I acquaint Mr Gallagher with a few more present-day realities?

Reality is that a Prime Minister, widely regarded as the worst in history remains ensconced in 10 Downing Street.

Reality is if and when his replacement emerges, it will be from a group who seek to evict him not because it is the nation that is in peril but rather their own political ambitions.

Reality is that Brexit is an unmitigated disaster.

Reality is that Sir Keir Starmer and Labour have embraced Brexit.

Reality is a cost of living crisis.

Reality is that the triple lock on state pensions has been removed.

Reality is that come winter, a great many folk will make a few hard decisions.

Reality is that even Murdo Fraser is quoted as making the case for independence, detailing what the UK will lose if Scotland becomes independent.

Mr Gallagher says “but he forgets the biggest lie, corruption if you like, that the SNP leadership propounds: that Scots would be better off if we broke up the country, an assertion for which there is no credible evidence”. Really?

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.

• ALEX Gallagher insists that there is no case for Scottish independence, that we are not a colony and are not suppressed in any way; in that case, the Government in London which Scotland did not elect cannot refuse the Government in Edinburgh, which Scotland did elect, a referendum on Scotland's constitutional future.

As for there being "no democratic case" I find it strange that Mr Gallagher, a member of the Labour Party, can promote a set-up which sees Scotland having to repeatedly put up with Tory governments we don't vote for, and being removed from the European Union after decisively voting to stay. In 2014, Scotland was told that the only way we could safeguard our place in Europe was to vote No; that was a lie, and it is through no fault of ours that we are being forced to live with the disaster that is Brexit.

Mr Gallagher clearly prefers Scotland being under Tory rule from Westminster rather than Scotland choosing its own governments as an independent nation, and in this letter, like all the rest, he beats the same old drum, insulting Scotland with the same miserable, depressing refrain. However, on a positive note, recent opinion polls suggest that Mr Gallagher's dirge is out of tune with growing numbers of voters in Scotland who have confidence in their own country's abilities and believe that Scotland's future will be better served in Scotland's hands.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


I DON'T disagree with some of the comments made by Stewart Falconer (Letters, July 11) regarding Boris Johnson and some of the corruption ongoing in Downing Street.

But I do take exception to his comment that "there are a few of the unionist persuasion [for this I assume he means those who voted No] who perhaps cannot stand the democratic and settled will of the Scottish people". The democratic and settled will of the Scottish people was made in 2014. It was a referendum on Scottish independence, in case Mr Falconer has forgotten. The result was a resounding "No" to independence on the part of Scottish voters.

It is the SNP supporters who deny the settled will of the Scottish people. It doesn't matter how often they try to reverse this, the reality is that the Scottish people voted against Scottish independence, and that vote should hold for a generation, as promised (by the SNP leadership).

I am not a unionist, I am a federalist, and I accepted the "settled will" of the Scottish people in 2014.

Eileen McCartin, Paisley.


BRIAN Wilson ("Energy crisis is as big as Covid and demands the same urgent action", The Herald, July 12) provides an excellent article on the current energy crisis, but the one factor that is missing is any explanation of why energy bills will increase from a cap of around £2,000 a year to more than £3,000 a year in the autumn. Check the financial pages of The Herald and gas is relatively stable at around 8p/unit and Brent Crude at around $105 per barrel. The effects of the conflict in the Ukraine must already be factored in to future price costs, so why is there any need for a 50 per cent increase in energy bills over the next three months?

It should be noted that Mr Wilson seems unaware that a planning application for a 900MW gas-fired station at Peterhead has been lodged as a replacement for Hunterston B.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.

Read more: Scotland has a problem with Glasgow. Time to set the city free