STAN Grodynski (Letters, March 16) joins a plethora of independence supporters whose main strategy is to either blame the UK Government or indulge in “whataboutery” rather than face facts.

If Scotland were to become independent there is not one shred of evidence that we could generate more income than what we already earn as part of the UK. Indeed it’s very likely we would have less cash to spend on services and the like.

Mr Grodynski and others in the Yes camp seem to conveniently forget this SNP lot has had 11 years of power with this income guaranteed and has driven Scotland into a third world existence. They’re happier grandstanding with PR exercises on alcohol, the environment and every ism one can think of.

We have a horrendous mess in education, health, housing and don’t even start me on the filthy mess all around our streets. Our road signs are rusty and our lampposts haven’t been painted in years, our bridges are rusted with bushes growing out of them and in some cases are actually dangerous.

The refusal of this SNP Government to accept any responsibility means it is every bit as guilty as the Tory Government in Westminster. To continually use the Tories as a deflection is quite shameless.

Nicola Sturgeon in particular should hang her head in shame at the mess she’s leaving behind. That’s the mess her former colleagues so kindly remind us of at their leadership contest, or stitch-up as some candidates seem to believe.

John Gilligan, Ayr.


WHEN Tom Gordon put it to Humza Yousaf that he had had made “a stone cold gaffe” by asking a group of Ukrainian women, “Where are all the men?” ("‘Ignorant’ Yousaf asks Ukrainian women: Where are all the men?", The Herald, March 17), his response was appalling. Instead of acknowledging that he had blundered and saying sorry for any hurt he may inadvertently have caused he replied: “None of the Ukrainian women have asked me to apologise.” The inference being that, as a consequence of their good-mannered silence, he was free from blame.

Such callous insensitivity compounds the error and displays a disturbing lack of insight on the part of the man who wishes to be First Minister of Scotland.

Bob Scott, Drymen.

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THE main lesson of the SNP leadership contest is that none of the candidates has shown to be worthy of the important position of First Minister of Scotland.

Ash Regan may be a perfectly adequate MSP but as leadership material she is clearly out of her depth. Humza Yousaf has had a number of ministerial roles, none of them performed with any distinction. Why would we assume he would do any better as FM? Kate Forbes who, on the face of it, seems the most qualified candidate is a social and fiscal conservative, the opposite of everything the SNP has pretended to be since the Salmond ascendency. The very fact that Ms Forbes is a serious contender gives the lie to any claim the SNP has to being a progressive party.

If these three are the best the SNP can present, it's no wonder that they find themselves attacking each other while simultaneously defending their party's appalling record of failure over the last 16 years (baby boxes always excepted, of course).

Alex Gallagher, Largs.


WHITHER the SNP and independence? Two articles in The Herald on recent days offer party members contrasting views as they consider which leadership candidate to support. Both warn that support for the party could collapse.

Kevin McKenna quotes Sir Tom Devine ("SNP must choose rejuvenation or acceleration of decline", The Herald, March 16), who warns that, as happened to the Labour Party, collapse can come quickly when people begin to feel sidelined from government policies and priorities. He also cites party unity as crucial for continued success.

Andy Maciver ("Why Yes camp should meld the best of Yousaf and Forbes", The Herald, March 17) compares left-leaning Humza Yousaf and economic centrist Kate Forbes with the successful Lib-Lab and Tory "No" campaign in 2014, which spoke to socialist, liberal and conservative voters. He claims the SNP's broad church cannot deliver independence on its own but two separate, socialist and centre-right, independence parties might.

I suspect both are right, although Mr Maciver's view is more theoretical. His suggestion might be plausible for a referendum campaign. But evidence of the Alba party's progress is a warning should the SNP split before the next Westminster or Holyrood elections. In my view, Sir Tom's four questions are the more salient and it looks like independence is still quite a long way off.

David Bruce, Troon.


ALISON Rowat ("After this fight is over, a way must be found to live in peace", The Herald, March 15) repeated a comment that has appeared every so often on the Letters Pages, that the voting for the new leader of the SNP should not be left only to members of the said political party. Personally, I regret the SNP ever getting into power in the first place, however if a party does get chosen at the Scottish election, it was voted in by the Scottish public on the stated aims, policy and promises offered up by the party at that time.

We cannot be in the position of going to the expense of having time-consuming full-blown elections when only an internal leader change is required, whether by resignation or otherwise, yet still be left with the current incumbent party. I can only hope that the Scottish public reflects on the shambles the SNP has presided over when the next election comes along.

George Dale, Beith.

Read more: Dentist 'exodus' warning as eight in 10 plan to cut NHS work


FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon assures us that 95% of the Scottish population is registered with an NHS dentist ("Labour accuses SNP of ‘talking to themselves’ while NHS dentistry dries up", The Herald, March 17).

When, in November 2022, in answer to a question from Alex Cole-Hamilton, she gave that same high registration rate,not in accord with public experience, I made a Freedom of Information request.

I was referred to the statistics publication of Public Health Scotland, where the latest NHS dentist registration figure in January is even higher, at 95.4%. The same publication provides a reason.

Legislation was changed in 2010 to provide "lifetime registration". It does not need to move when the patient has to find and register with another NHS dentist.

One NHS dental patient can therefore produce a multiplication of recorded registrations.

It seems that we have an exponential increase: fewer NHS dentists produce higher registration figures.

Now, I wonder who was Scottish Health Secretary in 2010?

Murdo M Grant, Rosemarkie.


I CANNOT agree with Willie Maclean's suggestion (Letters, March 15) of a single rate of income tax on all earned income.

The current income tax system is much less regressive than I might like, but it should be acknowledged that it is influenced in this direction. For instance, the personal allowance means that someone whose income is less than this pays no income tax. On the other hand, the person earning many thousands per year (or even per month!) will pay more, as their income takes them up through the income tax bands.

A single rate of income tax – say 20% – would mean someone earning £10,000 would pay £2,000 income tax, but someone earning say £1,000,000 would pay £200,000 (assuming no clever accountants). But the more important issue is that the former would pay the state £2,000, leaving them only £8,000 and making them even more disadvantaged. The million-pound earner meantime would "only" have £800,000 left to them. The relative impacts are, I think, very clear.

Surely one of the qualities of any system of tax should be that it is fair? Even if there were effective legislation to ensure payment of a living wage, as Mr McLean to his credit demands, I don’t consider that a single income tax rate would satisfy that criterion.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Read more: Budget proves that we have no way to defend our interests


IT is hard to comprehend that in November 2017, the present Health Secretary and contender for the post of First Minister tweeted that he was looking forward to the launch of the Glen Sannox the next day. He went on to say that commercial shipbuilding was "alive and well on the Clyde".

The latest news from the shipyard in question, where six years and hundreds of millions of pounds later and under SNP overall supervision, is that the new ferry he lauded so highly is still not ready ("Extra £25m injected for emergency ferry funds", The Herald, March 17). The very existence of the yard is problematical and yet those running it are being paid astronomical bonuses for no-one seems to know what. Let us hope that if Humza Yousaf gains the post he craves, no judgments or forecasting or promises or predictions of any kind will be involved in the job.

In truth, the present situation beggars belief.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

• NEWS that the beleaguered ferries are going to be delayed for yet another six months is perhaps not surprising. I suspect the management might not want to miss out on next year’s "performance" bonuses? Performance is so apt a word. They should be on the stage – ideally the one out of town.

Ken Currie, Edinburgh.


OVER the last few weeks the BBC has come under yet more scrutiny, with some justification. I sometimes wonder if the BBC powers that be enjoy self-flagellation.

I tuned into BBC Scotland to hear the news this morning (March 17) expecting to hear more about the hot topics: the SNP election shenanigans, the latest on the ferries fiasco, SNP membership numbers, Budget ramifications for Scotland and so on. But no, we heard three or four minor stories, certainly not the headline news.

It seems to me that this is another case of BBC Scotland avoiding the hot, controversial subjects for fear of offending anyone. If this is the case, and I suspect it is, it's about time we called time on the BBC Scotland News.

BBC Scotland needs to get its act together.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke.


SURELY the best pun (Letters, March 16) ever has to be the one sung by The Old Groaner and his mate Bob Hope: "'Like Webster's Dictionary, we're Morocco-bound."

Irene Conway, Giffnock.