OWHAT has become of our democracy? The UK political system seems to have degenerated into a two-party pantomime where there is little or no difference between either party when in office and what you see is not what you get.

Westminster MPs seem to be party drones who willingly toe the line so they can dip their snouts in the trough; their allegiance is to the party central office, which is in the pocket of the Establishment and not to the general public. Why else would we have suffered decades of deliberate austerity and a declining life expectancy for those who are not members of the elite?

An unelected second chamber is the antithesis of democracy from the start but especially so when it is full of ex-MP drones rewarded for toeing the line or oligarchs who have generously funded Central Office in the past.

In proposing a knighthood for his father Boris Johnson ("Outrage as Johnson tries to get father a knighthood", The Herald, March 7) is simply doing what he has always done and is metaphorically sticking two fingers up and acting as if he were the most important being on Earth. Brexit certainly doesn’t seem to have harmed him at all, yet we all have suffered. Nobody will have the cajones to stop it happening if the boys at HQ sanction it. Rishi Sunak? Who he?
David J Crawford, Glasgow

• MARTIN Redfern (Letters, March 7) reckons the two main SNP leadership contenders have double standards, their religious beliefs conflicting with secular legislation, and asks why we should trust them. The inference I take from this is that he must believe the only suitable candidate for such political office would have no moral compass. Someone like Boris Johnson perhaps?
David Bruce, Troon

Arrogance of Starmer and Gray

I NOTE the proposal that Sue Gray should become chief of staff for Sir Keir Starmer ("Gray move to Team Starmer may breach civil service rules, Tory Minister claims", The Herald, March 7). The aspect which strikes me most about this matter is the implicit arrogance of both parties involved, who have been round the Westminster block more than once. How did they think that such a step would pass without profound criticism from numerous quarters?

Surely Sir Keir Starmer realised that in bringing into such a sensitive post the person who wrote a condemnatory report on Boris Johnson during Partygate, he was pushing the boat out, as it were, by quite a stretch. As for Ms Gray, she has surprised many by proposing to take up the position offered. By so acting she has opened herself to questions about her partiality.

I have come to the conclusion that for both of these mature individuals, their problem has certainly not been one of naivety, but rather arrogance in that they thought that they could get away with it once any dust settled.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie

• I ALWAYS enjoy the honest and challenging writing of Neil Mackay. But with today’s column ("Our politics is a sick joke and the voters are the punchline", The Herald, March 7) he was in his most brilliant form, with every line sparkling with satirical humour and insight, and refreshingly leaving no political character or even the Northern Ireland impasse untouched. It reminded me of the once-unmissable Spitting Images.

It cheered me up no end.
James Devine, Bishopbriggs

Yousaf could be SNP liability

THE SNP leadership election poses a problem for the candidates. The winner will undoubtedly become First Minister of Scotland, but the electorate consists only of current SNP members. To win, a candidate requires only to curry favour among those most committed to breaking up the UK.

Thus Ash Regan promises that every election will be a test of Scottish electors’ desire to leave the UK. Kate Forbes promises to "establish a proper party-based campaign mechanism" (whatever that may mean) to promote the case for secession. Humza Yousaf ups the ante by promising to be not only First Minister but also "first activist" knocking on doors and tramping the streets to campaign for secession.

The SNP leadership has, however, made its choice. The man who epitomises the Peter Principle and who has failed upwards at every brief he has held – transport, justice, health – has the open backing of cabinet secretaries and the more covert support of the old regime, the Sturgeon-Murrell axis.

His campaign statements on Twitter are edged with SNP yellow, and his "Humza for Scotland" placards are in the SNP’s black and yellow colours. Angus Robertson, one of Nicola Sturgeon’s closest associates, appears on a yellow-framed poster delightedly backing Mr Yousaf ("Robertson endorses Yousaf to be next FM", The Herald, March 7).

The party has made its choice. But what of the country? Are we to have foisted on us as First Minister the most incompetent minister in Scotland’s history (with the possible exception of Joe Fitzpatrick)?

If so, the problem for the SNP is that Scots may react unfavourably at the ballot box. Still, look on the bright side: it would remove Mr Yousaf from the health portfolio, where he has done nothing but harm. I’d lay a bet that he has thought of that, with relief, too.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Turn light on other failures

IT seems that Humza Yousaf is constantly being placed under the spotlight for his dismal record in various ministerial positions with the SNP Government. I would never disagree with that, but why does the media concentrate on his record above others?

Since the day it came into power in Scotland this Government has failed miserably in every department from health, transport, policing, justice, education, drugs deaths to anything else not mentioned above. Its total inability to govern the country successfully is all down to one thing, the fact that it has prioritised the drive to independence. Unfortunately for the population a change of leader will make no difference to all of this, but a change of government can only be an improvement.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth

Read more letters: It is clear that McCrone's report was suppressed by the UK

Yes movement will be refreshed

THOSE salivating at their perceived prospect of the electoral demise of the SNP and the wider Yes movement are either duplicitously trying to persuade others of what they believe to be an unlikely outcome or they are highly naïve with regard to Scottish politics. The chances that support for independence will significantly decline even if the SNP were to suffer a setback at the next Westminster election, or Holyrood election, are between nil and zero.

What is much more likely with a younger team at the helm of the Scottish Government, as well as at Westminster, is that the independence movement will become still stronger overall and self-determination will be achieved sooner rather than later.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry

Staying in UK is the settled will

EVERY authoritative poll is indicating that the for-against percentages for the break-up of the UK are at the same level, or very close to it, as they were when the present and outgoing FM took up the reins eight years ago.

That is of course with every advantage that running the administration for many years gives and the plus of a fractured opposition. And the simplistic question polled remains always slanted towards those wanting to break up the UK and does not really reflect the magnitude of what the nationalists propose and of course they want to keep it that way. It is doubtful if, in the early decades of this millennium, that any fair-minded, neutral organisation would allow such a question being posed in the Yes/No way it is; it should be Leave or Stay.

Yet despite all this and eight years of relentless grievances being aired and the countless PR opportunities being in office gives to put their case, the nationalists remain trailing the pro-UK side by some way. It is perhaps time for the SNP to throw in the towel. The established and settled will of the people is clearly known to anyone who wants to see the truth.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Why does council tax go up?

SINCE the creation of the Scottish Parliament the services of police, fire, water, sewerage, trunk roads and the Reporter to the Children's Panel have been transferred from local government to central government control. Why then does the council tax continue to rise instead of going down?
Leslie Mutch, Dingwall

Read more letters: Scotland needs to get a grip and stand up for itself


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