AROUND 2pm last Saturday I commenced the unhappy experience of passing a kidney stone.

"Our NHS 24" was contacted a couple of hours into the endeavour, and the promise of a GP consultation was obtained. That eventually came at 4.50 am on Sunday, concluding with the guarantee that a prescription for antibiotics could be uplifted from the Sunday pharmacy at Asda in Linwood.

When I arrived to uplift the prescription at 3pm (a full 10 hours later), I was advised by the pharmacist that the prescription emails from NHS 24 had not arrived, nor were they expected later – "just like last week". At least three people in the queue before me had been given the same news.

People in pain and distress were suffering unnecessarily for the lack of basic competence. Sadly, no doubt next week will be a repeat of this week, and last week.

Is it not high time for those whom we elect and pay to lay off the self-serving posturing, and stop wasting huge amounts of hard-earned public funds on idiotic court actions, and in alternative to deliver to the Scottish people the basics of a competent health service which is within their devolved responsibilities?

Or if not health, then try education, or ferries, or roads and rail, or…..

G Sweeney, Glasgow.


PETER A Russell (Letters, August 15) tells us that JB Drummond is wrong to try to justify the SNP voting against Theresa May’s soft Brexit. I and I imagine many others believe that it is he who is wrong.

The SNP was, and still is, totally opposed to Brexit in any shape or form and would have been accused of hypocrisy and betrayal if it had voted for Mrs May’s version.

The SNP accounted for only 44 of the 344 votes against. The largest number of votes against were from Labour MPs, with 34 Tories, all of the LibDems, the DUP, Plaid Cymru, most independent MPs and the Green MP all voting against.

The responsibility for this shambles of a Brexit lies with Boris Johnson and his party and no one else.

David Clark, Tarbolton.

• IS the bait not tasty enough yet for those who insist staying with England is better than going alone?

We now have Salmon Scotland warning of a "grave threat" to the fish farming industry because of Brexit ("Staff shortage is ‘grave threat’ to salmon farming", The Herald August 15). It is 20 per cent short of staff.

In hospitality, some tourist hotels struggle to open at lunchtime, and many restaurants and bars regularly advertise for staff.

It was the English who voted for Brexit. We didn't. If we are to save our economy and make our own choices we have to get rid of Westminster.

You don't have to support SNP to realise that. I've been Labour all my life, and I'd rather keep voting for it, but I do want an independent Scotland.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


THE Scottish fishing industry and our coastal and island communities are at crisis point.

The industry has been a huge economic contributor to these areas for many years, but now faces a series of problems which appear to go largely unrecognised at government level both at Westminster and Holyrood.

The sector is facing threats from rising fuel costs and reduced quotas coupled with the auction of vital fishing grounds to offshore wind farm developments.

These combined factors will affect our communities in the Highlands and Islands and many local businesses.

Politicians in the central belt are largely remote from these problems and must get a grip on the matter in the short term and provide some form of meaningful financial support to the fishing industry and the communities involved.

Hopefully someone will raise the issue at the Tory hustings debate in Perth today (August 16).

DG McIntyre, Edinburgh.


THE Labour Party has a “sister party” in Northern Ireland which is nationalist, takes the Labour whip and stands for Irish re-unification. The Labour Party has a “co-operation deal” with Plaid Cymru, a Welsh nationalist party, and is examining the constitutional future for Wales, including independence. Labour exudes hostility to the SNP, Scotland’s most popular party, while loosely allying itself to the Tories in Scotland.

Labour has refused to countenance any Scottish independence referendum, while stating it will stay neutral in any Irish unification referendum. Ludicrously, Labour will try to “embarrass” the SNP into supporting a minority Labour government at Westminster as the alternative will be a Tory government, but Labour has been the silent partner to Tory misrule over Scotland in the last 12 years.

I have to wonder what a minority Labour government at Westminster will claim as a mandate to rule Scotland, given its dismissal of the SNP mandate. Sir Keir Starmer rightly dubs Boris Johnson as a “bull******r”. As the old response to that has it,"it takes one to know one”.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


I AGREE with the sentiment expressed in the heading to Doug Maughan's letter of August 13, “What’s the point of Labour if it won’t fight for the weakest?”. I would however put a more positive spin on the “intervention by Gordon Brown prodding the Labour Party into putting forward some proposals to tackle the energy and cost of living crisis that is upon us”.

The Labour Party, the country and above all the aforementioned “weakest” amongst us are indeed fortunate in having someone of the experience, intellect, drive and compassion of Gordon Brown offering Sir Keir Starmer advice.

He rescued the global banking system from its folly. He rescued, for a time, the elderly and young folk from poverty. Hopefully he can do so again in the face of the Conservative strategic disasters, in the form of a decade of Cameronian austerity and Johnson’s fraudulently achieved Brexit and now from a bleak Trussian future imposed on the country by a small number of reactionary Conservatives totally unrepresentative of the rest of us. I also believe he can provide a solution to the constitutional dilemma.

I do hope Gordon Brown’s time has come again. A time in which he is allowed to play a significant role in a radical remodelling of the UK’s democratic, social and economic/financial structures.

John Milne, Uddingston.


WHAT a relief to discover, from George Archibald's excellent letter (August 13), that I am not alone in believing that the Conservative and Labour parties, which are shunned by the large fraction of Scottish voters who support independence, would recover much of their lost support in an independent Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon, the target of much personal venom from unionists, would most certainly leave the stage of front-line politics and the cement of a common cause which binds the SNP together would rapidly crumble, creating space for a multi-party parliament to emerge.

As long as unionist parties persist with their ostrich-style denial of the fact that the drift away from British identity towards Scottish nationality – not to be confused with nationalism – shows no sign of going into reverse, they are doomed to the fringes of Scottish political life for the foreseeable future.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


MARTIN Brennan (Letters, August 15), writing of the merits of the Blair government, makes an erroneous statement with regard to the "overwhelming support of MPs from all parties".

The Liberal Democrats who, at that time held one in 12 of the parliamentary seats, entirely opposed the Iraq war. Who can forget the leadership given by Charles Kennedy in opposing this disastrous and illegal war? It was the Tory and Labour parties, plus some of the NI parties, who committed this country and the people of Iraq to this disastrous war. The Liberal Democrats were, as is so often the case, proved right.

Eileen McCartin, Paisley.


I AM pleased to read that Westminster supports Alan Fitzpatrick (Letters, August 13). He surely cannot be a pensioner or out of work as such persons received no financial aid during the Covid crisis. Certainly his namesakes in Northern Ireland will not be enjoying the Brexit conditions foisted on them by Westminster.

As far as mothers-in law are concerned, I know of very few who are not warmly regarded, but this does not stop us joking about them. At my daughter's wedding – to a very nice Englishman – my speech included the line "I do not feel that I am losing a daughter, rather that the groom is gaining a mother-in-law". My wife did not consider it as an insult.

It is also a family joke that I gave my mother-in-law away at her wedding (she was widowed then remarried after my own wedding). How many men can claim that?

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.

Read more: Is Sturgeon poised to go to pre-empt her indy failure?