AFTER watching Nicola Sturgeon's discomfited interview with Laura Kuenssberg ("Sturgeon: I might not lead Scotland to indy", The Herald, January 23), it seems that the First Minister's calamitous gender reform miscalculation may have sealed her fate.

Unlike all previous "Resign Sturgeon" scandals, this time all the facts are on the table, arguments are clear, the campaign against it – including cross-party demonstrations outside Holyrood – have ensured that the SNP/Green hubristic, incompetent genie is well and truly out of the bottle. The polls are against her, the pros in Westminster are on the case and, courtesy of ITV, BBC, Channels 4 and 5, Sky – even STV and BBC Scotland – the brouhaha has reached the country's living rooms and every day, more and more women are becoming informed and enraged.

She hasn't just lost the independence "dressing room" – many MPs and MSPs and party members, Alba, Wings over Scotland and indy diehards – the voters on the terracing are leaving early for the bus home.

And, encouraged by Stephen Flynn's leadership coup, pretenders to the crown such as Angus Robertson, Kate Forbes and Joanna Cherry might be circling.

The UK Government couldn't have picked a better issue or fight to begin the reset of devolution and expose the SNP/Greens' vulnerability and, well, stupidity.

And as we see from Sir Keir Starmer's unease with the legislation, he might even convince Anas Sarwar to support the opposition to the bill and win back the votes of the decent, sensible people of Scotland.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven

Time is running out

NICOLA Sturgeon’s rhetoric is becoming increasingly nonsensical. Opposition MSPs must surely by now have lost count of her "number one priorities", none of which ever manage to become prioritised.

Her Gender Recognition Reform Bill is tying her up in knots, as was seen when she said that 16-year-olds should be able to drink alcohol in a pub then swiftly had to change her mind ("For the Sunday shows there’s no such thing as a Saturday night off", The Herald, January 23). To be honest, the way the SNP keeps making new alcohol laws we’ll soon be lucky if any of us can drink alcohol in a pub.

Ms Sturgeon was warned against going to court with her referendum bill but she did and was embarrassed; she’s been warned against going to court over her dispute with the UK Government on her gender reform bill but insists she’s "very confident" of winning a judicial review. I think that contrary to her claims her time is running out and she knows it, otherwise she wouldn’t keep clutching at straws nor would she keep throwing raw meat to her followers.

But what do we have to replace her? Angus Robertson, he who once hinted that as older voters die off the upcoming generation will vote SNP. What an exciting prospect for Scotland.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth

Poisonous and hate-filled

FIRST of all, I would like to record my appreciation of Saturday's Herald View on the subject of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill; calm, factual, well-measured, it was journalism at its best ("The UK Government may win its day in court. But it faces a much bigger defeat", The Herald, January 21).

Sadly, the same cannot be said about Kevin McKenna's article today, regarding the photo which showed SNP politicians standing in front of hate-filled placards at last Saturday's demonstration in Glasgow ("The misogynistic hatred that has infected the SNP", The Herald, January 23).

Apart from the fact that these politicians are decent, respectable people, no politician would willingly allow themselves to be included in such a photo; they have expressed their horror and totally condemned the wording on those placards, which they assert weren't there when they joined the demonstration. The placards were behind them; they do not have eyes on the back of their heads.

As for Mr McKenna's assertion that "the SNP has become creepy and sinister. They're an outfit you wouldn't let into your home unless they were under supervision or some kind of tracking device. You wouldn't be comfortable having your children near many of them"; what utterly poisonous, hurtful and hate-filled rubbish. In more than 50 years' membership I've never met anyone in the SNP who fits Mr McKenna's description. That is journalism at its very worst, which might be expected to be found in a trashy tabloid rather than a quality newspaper such as The Herald.
Ruth Marr, Stirling

• COMPARE the Government’s support of people who publicly call for the decapitation of feminists and its treatment of people who pray in public for an end to abortion.
John Kelly, Edinburgh

Let Tom Nairn inspire us

HOW fitting it would be if Tom Nairn's death ("Tributes as Scots thinker Nairn dies", The Herald, January 23) triggered a change in the focus of leading voices in the independence movement. Nairn's work from the 1970s onwards sought to develop the case for independence with intellectual rigour in the context of a critique of the socio-economic power structures of the UK.

It is these power structures that damage life chances for so many, create major social problems and are creating irreversible damage to the planet. Yet the amount of political energy the SNP/Green leadership has put into issues that are individualistic and ego-centric is totally out of proportion to the big issues that are critical to our future.

Of the high-income countries, the most unequal in distribution of household income are the US and the UK. Since the 2008 financial crisis, productivity growth in the UK has been the worst and GDP growth per head the lowest of comparable states.

Where is the SNP analysis of how economic power and wealth and income distribution will change with independence? Where has the action been on using existing Holyrood powers to their maximum to build towards economic restructuring? Selling off our offshore wind on the cheap?

It would be a tribute to Nairn to see the independence discourse turn to the big, tough issues which will determine the real-life experience of the great majority of our citizens.
Isobel Lindsay, Biggar

Why are the rich in politics?

BEFORE the franchise was extended to all, rich men (titled or entitled) ruled the country. It looks sadly similar today, with wealthy individuals the majority now in Cabinet, having family wealth, or moneys made in the City or by investment/trust funds.

Why are these people in politics after they have made their money? Is it to be close to the source of decision-making where insider knowledge makes even more money? Is it just a “power thing”, where their inflated egos insist they are “special”?

Add to this, old school tie networking, closeness to media “barons” and the political take-over of the BBC: or maybe just old-fashioned sleaze? All of this ensures second-rate people are at the top and is a reason this country is so badly run. It’s not just a Tory thing: the last Labour government had people who couldn’t raise a mortgage but ended up as millionaires.

It’s time those in politics had their earnings and tax situation published every year, and a rigorous enforcement of the rules of conduct, though many senior civil servants have been got rid of. Of course none of this will happen; petty corruption and sleaze are now embedded within the Westminster political sphere, alongside sexual harassment and bullying.
GR Weir, Ochiltree

Laws are for little people

GOODNESS knows why you’ve covered the story about the Prime Minister being fined for not wearing a seatbelt (“Sunak fined for not wearing a seatbelt while filming video in car”, The Herald, January 21). I mean, laws are only for little people, aren’t they?

Just the same with taxes. Big, important people shelter their money in tax havens or use tax avoidance schemes. It’s only we plebs who pay up so we can help fund our public services, our fee for living in a decent society.
Doug Maughan, Dunblane

• WOULD Derrick McClure be kind enough to follow up his letter (January 21) by informing readers which pro-independence party has a track record for competence and lack of sleaze? I am struggling to think of one that fits this job description to govern an independent Scotland on the grounds of competence alone. I shall let others decide on the sleaze factor.
Eric R Gardner, Glasgow


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