NICOLA Sturgeon’s resignation has thrown Scotland and our future into chaos. The cynic in me (which is normally hard to find) feels that this may be a deliberate strategy. The timing is immaculate to divert thoughts away from recent failures so that the SNP can regroup with a new leader in the image of Ms Sturgeon, with a small intimate group (still led by Ms Sturgeon) pulling the strings of their new puppet.

As an ex-SNP member, I’ve long thought that we need a more inclusive movement towards independence, with a great emphasis on the priority of proving we can run our nation’s primary issues and finances first, and then once established, hold another independence referendum.

I’m not sure that in every case longevity in power corrupts, but it has certainly caused an unfounded certainty of “I know best” from Thatcher to Blair to Sturgeon.

There has been a consistent laziness at play within the Scottish Government with its various generous social policy implementations, in that people don’t have to demonstrate their qualifications for certain benefits.

I’m very grateful to have a free bus pass, however I still work and I feel that perhaps the benefit could have been given only to those who proved they needed it, but that would have taken a very exacting level of hard work. Similarly with other policies, for example the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, paperwork to prove individual entitlement based on circumstances was deemed not required.

My hope is that the winner of the leadership election will be someone who opposed Ms Sturgeon and therefore will have a mind and policy strategy of their own to take our nation forward, as an inclusive people who believe in the traditional Scottish value that we have to work honestly and diligently for everything we achieve.

Whichever candidate ascribes to that philosophy will certainly get my vote.

Danny Gallacher, Glasgow.


YOUR front page story about the Greens potentially withdrawing from the Scottish Government should Kate Forbes win the position for First Minister ("Greens ‘may pull out of power share agreement’ if Forbes is FM", February 19) exposes two interesting observations about politics in Scotland at the moment.

One is that we have a Scottish Green Party which is not actually defined by its views on the environment, which seems to be behind both gender reform and the constitution in its list of priorities.

The second is that if the so-called “progressive agenda” can destroy the political career of a battle-hardened and cynical politician like Nicola Sturgeon who is quite happy to change her beliefs and principles depending on the audience, it will very quickly destroy someone like Ms Forbes.

The problem that the rest of us have here is that someone is going to get elected, and none of them is good. The Greens' new-found agenda is a problem for the SNP. Independence is effectively dead. If the SNP’s new leader accepts these realities and concentrates on the issues that affect everyday people, then they may make some progress, possibly even as a minority party if that is how it works out. Everyone in Scotland outwith the Holyrood bubble could see that having the Greens in government was going to be a mistake. If you cannot see that, consider the irony of a so-called “progressive” party who say they cannot work with someone because of their beliefs. How “inclusive” is that?

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.


I FOUND your report on the Greens' "deep discontent" over Kate Forbes' beliefs" very disturbing.

Scotland has not since the Reformation been without discontent due to religious beliefs; happily, belatedly, Scotland has to a large degree removed religion from politics.

I hope that this "discontent" says more about the Green Party than the electorate, who will draw their own conclusions as to the Green Party's motivations.

Voters have sense enough to vote for parties and policies. Politicians of all parties have a responsibility to present policies to the electorate clearly, transparently, so that the electorate can decide.

Gavin Findlay, Boghead.


IF it has achieved nothing else. Kate Forbes’ bid to become SNP leader and First Minister has demonstrated quite how narrow-minded and intolerant most of Scotland’s political class and a large part of the media are.

Outside Holyrood and TV studios, her views that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that children should be conceived and raised by married parents, are shared by a substantial proportion of the population. They accord with the moral teachings of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

No reasonable person could be offended by her observation that a trans woman is a biological male who identifies as a woman, as the statement is pretty much a dictionary definition.

In Scotland, we have become inured to only ever hearing one view on complicated social issues. Those who have different or even just more nuanced views are shouted down or intimidated into silence.

The car crash interviews where politicians, including Nicola Sturgeon, have been asked the simple question of what is a woman show quite where this leads.

All too many of those trying to destroy Ms Forbes’ candidacy are social and sexual revolutionaries who are entirely unwilling to compromise with the rest of us or with reality.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.


THE faint whiff of hypocrisy has never been far from the lips of SNP politicians and their self-righteous sound bites. Following the election of Liz Truss to the position of Prime Minister, SNP politicians were clamouring for a General Election to be held as she had been elected by Tory Party members only. Nicola Sturgeon herself was quoted as saying that a General Election was then a "democratic imperative".

However, it is now no surprise that following the resignation of Ms Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister, that "democratic imperative" of a general election in Scotland has been forgotten and those self-righteous sound bites have been silenced. However, the distinct odour of hypocrisy still remains as SNP members only now prepare to elect the new Scottish First Minister.

Paul Lewis, Edinburgh.


IN November 2015 Channel 4 broadcast a remarkable documentary investigating British women recruiting for Isis on the streets of London. They glorified Jihadis and promoted extreme Isis ideology to young impressionable teenage girls. Recruitment for Isis was, clearly, a crime though, shamefully, nothing came of this remarkably brave programme. It depended on brave young Muslim women undercover reporters and was aired just four weeks before the deadly attacks in Paris.

That is unfortunate as I have listened to the early BBC podcasts I Am Not A Monster about Shamima Begum. I beg to differ witn its title.

It is undisputed that she claimed the deaths of 22 young people at the Manchester Arena concert in 2017 was "fair justification" after western air strikes against Isis in Syria.

In 2019 she told a Times journalist, in a refugee camp, that she was "unfazed at seeing a severed head in a bin in the Caliphate".

Her legal team has lost her case at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in London but no amount of her glamorising in western clothing, wearing sunglasses, make-up, nail varnish, and hair style detract from her abhorrent comment. That is why the then Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, stripped her of British citizenship and banned her from returning. Other reports claim she sewed Jihadi bombers into their suicide vests; was part of the terrifying morality police, and has tried to justify the enslavement and rape of Yazidi women.

It was deplorable that the bravery of the young women who helped the Channel 4 investigation, at considerable personal risk, were not rewarded by subsequent arrests and prosecutions. One wonders why, for these recruitment teams needed to be taken off the streets in the big cities where they poisoned the minds of young girls every bit as much as the slick Caliphate videos.

Make no mistake; had Begum been allowed back into England, there would have been a flood of claims by others. Yet some women, like Tareena Shakil, the healthcare worker, fled the murderous regime and gave themselves up and accepted the consequences.Why didn't Begum?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife.


CLARK Cross (Letters, February 19) seems rather obsessed with numbers – so here are a few others. Seventy-seven per cent of teachers are classroom teachers earning a maximum of £42,366 per year. Some teachers starting out in their career will of course be earning less than that.

Publishing the pay brackets of deputy heads and principal teachers may be useful, but it applies to a minority of teachers. I am sure Mr Cross would agree with me that people taking on additional responsibility are entitled to a different pay scale.

In 2003 I was not long in to the start of my teaching career and the pay for a standard teacher was £28,707 pa. The cumulative inflation since then has been 102.29%. If my wage had taken account of this my wage would be £58,071. If the teachers' pay was to rise by 10% my new pay would be £46,602 – a shortfall of more than £11 000 from my 2003 salary. The 11.5% pay rise that Mr Cross mentions is a two-year deal ensuring a further reduction in the value of a teacher's salary.

It is this £11,000 that should be uppermost in the minds of Cosla and the Scottish Government.

The question is not why teachers are involved in industrial action, but why has it taken us so long.

Alistair Morrison, Edinburgh.