IT appears the "right time" for Nicola Sturgeon to retire has coincided with a complete meltdown of SNP/Green policies ("Leadership rivals battle over Greens partnership", The Herald, February 27). The chaos that is ensuing does not point to a stable government emerging from this hasty leadership contest; quite the reverse.

This is unsustainable. A Holyrood election is urgently required to give any shred of authority to the Scottish Government. Not one current policy is working as it should and upcoming ones are in the same boat. Independence is simply a bridge too far to even contemplate and who can now possibly trust the veracity of claims that this policy is the only way forward?

A reset of priorities is urgently needed. Three more years of an SNP or SNP/Green Government is just a recipe for further disasters.
Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

A gormless proposal

PERHAPS a solicitor amongst your readership can confirm that someone declaring Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) for Scotland is exposing themself to prosecution, presumably for treason, as it amounts to a call for insurrection?

I ask because you report that UDI was threatened by Ash Regan in her initial pitch for leadership of the SNP and thus the post of First Minister (“Regan: I will declare independence if Yes parties win majority of votes", The Herald, February 25).

How can Joanna Cherry, her principal advocate, support Ms Regan on this UDI proposal which would fly in the face of the recent decision of the Supreme Court confirming the authority of Westminster on constitutional matters, apart from putting Ms Cherry herself in an impossible conflict of interest with her responsibilities as both an MP and a KC?

Back of a fag packet doesn’t come close to the thinking behind this crackpot and gormless proposal from Ms Regan. If she continues with it, her candidacy will soon be in ashes (pun intended).
Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop

Belief in the Union is misguided

IF as Alex Gallagher (Letters, February 27) asserts belief in independence is a religion, then I assume belief in the Union may also be regarded as such.

I wonder if they celebrate communion with readings from The Book of Truth (Westminster revised version)? Perhaps the bread should be called turnips, and wine, water?

To paraphrase Desmond Tutu: “When the politicians came to Scotland, they had the Bible and we had the oil. They said close your eyes and let us pray. When we opened our eyes, we had the Bible and they had the oil.”

We on this side of the fence have never contended that independence “will solve all ills” but we are wise enough to recognise that the actual evidence of recent years suggests the Union will not deliver us to sunlit uplands.
Alan Carmichael, Glasgow

How about the truth on indy?

MANY of your correspondents to these pages and other commentators have praised the honesty of FM-wannabe Kate Forbes. If it does indeed prove to be the case that She Can Tell No Lies, this will be most welcome.

It would of course mean that she will fess up to her party and to the people of Scotland about the true cost of independence, above all that we would be much poorer for the foreseeable future, as Scotland transitions from being a massive net beneficiary of UK membership to being a net contributor to the EU. Indeed, she will tell us the true costs of EU membership to ordinary people, such as VAT on items which were exempt when the UK was a member state.

Sadly, it is unlikely that even the pious Ms Forbes will ever come clean on such vital issues, and Scotland would be best advised not to hold its breath waiting for her – or any other candidate for the SNP leadership – to do so.
Peter A Russell, Glasgow

• WATCHING the SNP try to kill itself off has not surprised me. They are always shouting for independence but do they really want it? If they did they would have done all the costings and put forward a proper case for independence. I think they just wanted the power, as if independence comes the SNP will be just one of many new parties to spring up again.
Bob Mitchell, Elderslie

Some views are less equal

YOUR editorial ("Scotland’s new First Minister must pass the test on equality and tolerance", The Herald, February 25) made some sweeping statements.

Apparently because Kate Forbes would never consider having an abortion, this raises the question in many women’s minds how strongly First Minister Forbes would defend their rights. This makes big assumptions that most women support abortion legislation as it stands today.

As all candidates should be under the same scrutiny, then Ash Regan, a woman who is also hopeful of becoming First Minister, should also be required to declare that she would definitely consider having an abortion in order to show that she is "progressive".Would Humza Yousaf be required to say he would be willing to support his wife who may wish an abortion in a crisis pregnancy? And will either of them be asked the question?

Instead of asking Nicola Sturgeon’s question of how would Scotland be seen around the world if the First Minister opposed gay marriage, a better question would be: how would Scotland be seen around the world if a First Minister lived by a remarkable, honest, moral compass?

Nicola Sturgeon may say that the people of Scotland will look for a First Minister who will look after their rights but I think she may mean those who champion progressive rights, and certainly not the rights of the minority in this country who hold religious views.

The Church of Scotland has issued a statement which declares "we deplore comments which suggest that holding views because of religion, faith or belief would impair Ms Forbes’ suitability as candidate as a candidate for First Minister".

The comments made since last week in the media show that living in Scotland in the present day means that we are far from a "tolerant and equal society" that your editorial wishes Scotland to become, because some religious minority views are deemed considerably less "equal" than others and not tolerated at all.
Irene Munro, Conon Bridge

Compare Forbes to Merkel

YOUR editorial on Kate Forbes concluded: “And how would Scotland be seen around the world if we had a First Minister who was opposed to gay marriage?”

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany for many years, voted against gay marriage while she was Chancellor and was on the losing side. Why is it that Mrs Merkel was able to be a prominent and important world leader who furthered the German and EU cause and be against gay marriage at the same time? Why is it that Kate Forbes will not be able to promote and forward the cause of Scotland in the UK and around the world and be against gay marriage at the same time?
David Howie, Dunblane

A question for Douglas Ross

TEN years ago, Sir Roger Scruton penned for The Times newspaper a piece entitled "Don’t sacrifice marriage on equality’s altar" in which the great man lamented the absence of a conservative voice in defence of the heterosexuality of marriage.

He wrote: "In this, and so many things, people of conservative temperament look around for the person who will speak for them and find only an embarrassed silence."

Well, silence no more. We have at last found that person.

Kate Forbes' brave and principled stance does however raise a number of leadership questions, not least of which is why Douglas Ross has failed to inspire his core constituency of conservatives in anything like the same way?

It is one thing for St Paul to write in his first epistle to the Corinthians (14.8) that "if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?", and quite another if the trumpet has remained resolutely silent on the issue.

Perhaps as Scruton also writes in the same piece, "only someone with nothing to lose can venture to discuss the issue with the measure of circumspection that it invites, and politicians do not figure among the class of people with nothing to lose".

Mr Ross, with his numerous jobs, is certainly someone with something to lose. If the rather astonishing Mrs Forbes can become a successful First Minister, those of a conservative temperament might well conclude that their voice will be better heard in a small independent country, rather than unheard in the current arrangement.

That is what is so intriguing and terrifying about the possibility of Ms Forbes' leadership of the country: she will be a boon to conservatism but a real and present danger to the Union.
Graeme Arnott, Stewarton

Read more letters: How much longer can this tenuous SNP unity endure?


Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.