WELL, there goes my dream of an independent Scotland, sinking with the Titanic that is the contest for First Minister.

One candidate wouldn’t surprise you if they advocated tying up swings on a Sunday.

If one of the other candidates appeared at your hospital bedside and said “Don’t worry, I’m Dr Yousaf and everything will be fine”, you would be booking a one-way ticket to Switzerland as a more hopeful alternative.

And a third candidate thinks it would be fun to be the SNP’s own Liz Truss-lite; our own currency within two months of becoming independent? On what planet would that happen?

The independence campaigns have been like every Scotland participation in a major football tournament. It’s the hope that kills you.

Ah well; at least that’s not a problem any more.

William Thomson, Denny.


LIKE Andy Maciver ("Hard choice for the SNP is between party or country in the leadership contest", The Herald, March 3) I won’t have a vote in the SNP leadership election, but I follow it with interest.

In the long years of the rise of the pro-independence movement, it is worth recalling that it was the Tory bastions in the north-east and south-west which fell first, hence “tartan Tories”. Then it was the turn of an indolent and apathetic Labour Party in Scotland to fall through the floor. It seems the wider SNP membership is leaning toward Kate Forbes (which hardly paints the party as “left”) and it may be a sign of these economically distressed times that people are looking to place their trust in a leader who opts for growth and prosperity, rather than worthy but narrowly-focussed social issues.

“It’s the economy, stupid” is an eternal truth that wins elections.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Read more: There is a serious problem with the lack of accountability of our MSPs


SO, that nice Mr Swinney is opting out of government now as well, irrespective of who wins the SNP leadership contest ("Swinney to leave the Government along with Sturgeon after 16 years in power", The Herald, March 3). It can't give SNP party members much confidence when so many of their big guns either opt out of government or opt out of standing for the leadership, with John Swinney, Angus Robertson and Keith Brown all conspicuous by their reluctance to step forward and no-one at Westminster seemingly interested. In addition, there was a whole swathe of party notables who stood down and out of it at the Scottish elections last year. It doesn’t seem that there is any history-making constitutional vote imminent, otherwise they would all have wanted to have been a part of it.

It seems as if the years of playground politics are coming to a head, and the SNP is running out of road. There are just too many issues closing in on it, and it can't keep up the pretence any longer. We all thought Nicola Sturgeon herself would have had to be dragged kicking and screaming from office, but she went pretty quickly too in the end, with no real analysis of the reasons why yet, and very little commentary of the situation since that happened.

Of course, the opposition isn't that much better, and is unlikely to displace the SNP any time soon, so the best that we can hope for is that one of the SNP's leadership candidates recognises the reality of the situation, and tries to concentrate on the job in hand, as a minority administration if needs be. If that is not possible, can we have an election in May please, and we can chance our luck with somebody else?

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.

• NOW that John Swinney's going, who will the next First Minister use when there's bad news to deliver?

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

• THE debate at the first husting let Kate Forbes know she will not continue to be Finance Secretary if Humza Yousaf gets the job. And after his comments about her policies he won't have a post in the inner circle if she wins.

Elizbaeth Hands, Armadale.


VICTOR Clements' suggestion that the Greens need to "concentrate on environmental activism and forget about independence" (Letters, March 2) is one of a number of good points he makes about the dysfunctional Green/SNP coalition.

For a green policy or legislation on climate change to be meaningful, it needs to result in changes on a large enough scale to have a positive effect globally. Scotland's contribution to global warming is minuscule, but the UK's emissions, although still relatively minor in global terms, are more significant. Green Party members and Green voters who really want to make a difference should be insisting that Scotland remain within the UK where they can fight for meaningful change.

Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen.


THE late Queen Elizabeth II gave a dinner for her six surviving Prime Ministers. James Callaghan asked if there was a collective noun for former PMs. Harold Macmillan suggested "a lack of principals".

Your Letters Pages suggest that Macmillan's definition may apply equally well to MPs and MSPs.

David Miller, Milngavie.

Read more: Could the next SNP leader please learn to listen?


MAINSTREAM parties, as well as some independents, in local councils along with those in Holyrood pretend to agonise about 5% or even 10% council tax rises. Together with this they are going to impose cuts in services that will punish their poorest residents.

They forget to at least illustrate that a local tax related to income (so that the richest would pay most) would raise more money and do it more fairly.

We have known this in detail for more than 10 years. This lack of vision rather than reinforcing the image of an alternative independent Scotland undermines the dynamic of a transition to a modern country.

Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen.

HeraldScotland: The Caledonian SleeperThe Caledonian Sleeper (Image: Press Association)

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth this week announced that the Caledonian Sleeper service is to be brought into public hands


YET again SNP politicians are squandering Scottish taxpayers’ money with ill-considered nationalisation. Motivated by misdirected SNP socialism and decided by SNP career politicians with zero business experience, the sleeper services to London are to be taken from Serco and put at the mercy of Aslef and the RMT ("Sleeper to be brought into public ownership", The Herald, March 3). The fact that two of the UK’s most militant unions backed the move is testament to the folly of this SNP Government.

In the future the Scottish taxpayer will see their hard-earned tax pounds, already wasted on late ferries and a deserted airport, held to ransom by the egos of union bosses.

Robert Gemmell, Port Glasgow.


THE frustration that must have been felt by Douglas Ross following constant interruptions by so-called climate protesters is completely understandable and there must be many among us who might have been tempted to let a wee sweary word slip out.

What is less understandable though is his use of the word “industrial” ("Tory leader Ross sorry for ‘industrial language’ after FMQs hit by eco protest", The Herald, March 3). One can only guess exactly what he meant but we must assume that he felt that his language would have been more acceptable on the factory floor. That is surely offensive to the many blue collar workers who for religious or other reasons do not swear.

Given his weekend hobby it might have been more appropriate had he said football language.

David Clark, Tarbolton.


THE photograph of the demolition of the old Strathclyde Police HQ in Pitt Street, Glasgow ("Crime-fighting hotspot gets leafy new life in city Avenues revamp", The Herald, March 3) has a fine view of my old office in Sixth Year at school. I moved into it each morning after the rector had moved out, following what were called "Prayers". It was a little area of peace where I could concentrate on the theory part of a one-year Higher Music.

The office had a telephone and a lavatory, both of which made it a real port of convenience.

Gilbert MacKay, Newton Mearns.

Read more: So now we know: indy doesn't mean a hard border


SUSAN Swarbrick asks "when did you last feel joy"? ("Brighten up your life with some joy snacks", The Herald, March 2). I feel it on and off all day as I potter around my home seeing all the little stones and feathers I collected over the years in my favourite wood, until a bad fall last year means I cannot walk there now. Now I see these treasures and remember the paths I walked, the trees I talked to, the flowers, fungi and particularly Freddy my friendly pheasant, the rain sifting through the branches overhead ... these are some of my thrills of joy. A beautiful woodpecker feather brings back his loud hammering and a goldfinch feather the little birds in their bushes along the path.

Most of all great floods of joy come as I hold the tiny felt mouse wearing her acorn-cup hat that was made for me 58 years ago by my late daughter when she was nine and the little felt-covered box made for me by my son when he was six. It appears to be empty, but isn't, as it is the holder of invisible magic.

I have so much to feel joy about but these are special treasures so thank you to Ms Swarbrick for pointing out the name given to such things by Richard Sima, "joy snacks". Lovely.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


THE great breakthrough in our Latin classes was the discovery that a local bookshop sold an English translation of Caesar's Gallic Wars, the staple diet of "Jumbo" (origin uncertain) Murray's teaching. His pedagogy involved starting at the back left-hand corner of the class, and asking each pupil to translate a sentence of the great work. Having the translation to hand meant that everyone was prepared to give a correct answer.

Occasionally, he would fool us by starting at the front of the class, the back right-hand corner, or getting someone to do two sentences. In retrospect, being a teacher of great experience, he probably knew what was happening all along.

Professor KB Scott, Stirling.

• THE continuing correspondence about the “dead” language of Latin happily continues. The declination of the verb to love had a different ending at the school I attended. The last word of the third person plural was rudely translated Amab*****d.

Perhaps a crude translation of the royal motto of the UK, “Dieu et Mon Droit”, usually “God and my Right” into My God You Are Right, says it all.

Robin Johnston, Newton Mearns.