THERE is something quite fitting, perhaps epitomising the outgoing First Minister’s entire time in office, in her refusing to appear before the Scottish Affairs Committee ("I am leaving a brilliant foundation... the SNP is not in a mess’", The Herald, March 21).

She claimed her "diary was full". She was instead appearing on Loose Women on TV, where she appeared infinitely happier with the powder-puff questioning than she would ever have been when answering a Westminster committee, even under an SNP chair, where "I can’t recall" and talk of baby boxes does not quite suffice. Most people would think her movie star salary and perks would ensure answering questions on the state of the country she is supposedly administering coming first.

If ever a breath of cleansing fresh air was needed at Holyrood, it is right now.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

The Herald is only £1 for three months.
This offer ends Friday so click here and don't miss out!


THOSE voting to provide the new leader of the SNP and First Minister should pay close attention to the battle cry of Humza Yousaf. He wants to be the “continuity candidate”, wishing to carry on the “phenomenal legacy” of Nicola Sturgeon’s regime. Well, the events of the last week should alert even the most staunch SNP supporter to the hugely unacceptable, duplicitous, suspect Government foisted on Scotland since 2007 and a continuation of this is not acceptable.

Nicola Sturgeon has trashed Scotland and now we see she and her husband have trashed the SNP. The incompetence is there for all to see and they have the temerity to criticise the Conservative Party.

If Scotland must have a nationalist government at this time, and I am no supporter, surely Kate Forbes is the only option. She appears to be honest, gracious and principled and what the SNP desperately needs at this juncture.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.

Read more: Sturgeon 'snubbed Commons committee invite' to appear on Loose Women


SOME people have trivialised the SNP’s secret loss of membership and others have justified the deception about it by comparison with other lies by other parties.

Truth is not reached by auctioning which lies are greater and which less. The SNP had to paralyse its own internal democracy with deception and secrecy in order to a protect a Government already calcified. That is one side of a vicious circle.

The other side of that vicious circle is the haemorrhage of party membership caused by depending on the parliamentary votes of single-issue fanatics. Just add a protective commitment to the most incompetent individuals on the Government front bench, and calcification becomes petrification.

The loss of membership is very far from trivial. It’s the engine seizing. Just one figure can turn the SNP back into a creative movement gaining the trust of the undecided and the undogmatic, and numerous enough to govern. That person is Kate Forbes.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.


THE resignation of Peter Murrell as SNP chief executive has at last made him the subject of media interest. It has been extraordinary, particularly in the last eight years since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, that journalists have evinced no curiosity about the man who created the SNP’s modern organisation and modus operandi. We have been fed only minimal information about him: he was educated in Edinburgh and Glasgow, worked for Alex Salmond in his Banff and Buchan constituency office, became SNP CEO in 1999 and married Ms Sturgeon in 2010. And that is pretty much all.

One might have expected the man credited with the SNP’s breakthrough election victory in 2007 to have evoked media attention. We know nothing about his role in the 2014 referendum, yet he must have played a central part in it. But, by whatever means, Mr Murrell has kept his personal and even his career details close to his chest. His Wikipedia entry is mostly focused on the last few years, when stirrings about his role and methods began to be criticised by some in the nationalist camp, including Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill.

Now that he is leaving his crucial role in the ruling party, perhaps some enterprising soul will write a biography of the man who has done so much to mould Scotland into the country it is today – and not for the better.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


PETER A Russell (Letters, March 21) declares that all of us who support independence, in every letter we write and every statement we make, are somehow complicit in near-criminal acts for having "worshipped Nicola Sturgeon" and the SNP, and we are responsible for the "mess we see today" in Scotland.

Let me just counter that by saying that everyone who has voted for unionist parties, has ever made any statement or written any letters to these pages in support of unionist parties in Westminster is, by Mr Russell's own logic, a participant in war crimes, a supporter of racist and illegal policies towards refugees, and is directly responsible for child poverty, the energy crisis affecting the poor and the failure to meet standards required to counter global warming.

I hope that sits well with Mr Russell.

Kevin Orr, Bishopbriggs.


OUR soon-to-be-erstwhile First Minister is struggling – more so than she normally does. On her London visit and media blitz, she continually (to different interviewers) referred to the "growing pains" which are affecting her party at the moment. How long do growing pains last, for this party which was founded in 1934, only 89 years ago?

Surely she must have been talking about the growing pains which have always been affecting the length of her nose as she describes the state of her party?

Walter Paul, Glasgow.

Read more: Scotland will not forget the SNP admissions of abject failure


WILLIE Maclean's letter (March 21) is a fine example of the belief that independence will, of itself, offer a magic route to the solution of all our national ills. He would do well to reflect that, for those of us who to try to keep an open mind on the principle of separation from the United Kingdom, a major influence on our decision will be demonstration that those who might manage the process, and thereafter govern our country, have the competence and moral standards to do so. On present showing, the SNP and its representatives clearly lack both.

A fine idea which is not backed with sound analysis of and planning for the problems which would undoubtedly lie ahead remains no more than that – a fine idea – and is not to be trusted.

Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh.


UNIONISTS are beside themselves with glee over what has undoubtedly been a difficult few weeks for the SNP, but much as I hate to burst their bubble I would remind them that all political parties go through periods of turbulence.

And it wasn't the SNP which dumped its principles and went into coalition government with the Tories, it wasn't the SNP which led us into an illegal war, and it wasn't the SNP which held boozy parties in Downing Street during lockdown and dragged Scotland out of the EU against our will.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


“IT wisnae me, a big Spad did it and ran away”. This attempt at exculpation from Boris Johnson ("Boris Johnson admits misleading MPs over Partygate", heraldscotland, March 21) is, as expected, intended to deflect and deny.

If he had been a first-time offender, he would be due the benefit of doubt, but he has a life-long history of side-stepping responsibility. There are Tory politicians and some in the right-wing media who think Mr Johnson should get a free pass for his breach of the rules (which he set), but it is important for standards in public life that he is properly punished.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

• THE headlines merely highlight what the country all knew: Boris Johnson misled MPs and misled the House of Commons. But hold on a minute, he didn’t do it intentionally or recklessly ... but he did lie. How many parliamentary hours have been used up dealing with the parliamentary career of Boris Johnson? That time could certainly have been better spent dealing with real issues affecting millions.

It is very serious when a Prime Minister misleads Parliament, but then surely no one was under any illusion regarding his guilt.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

Get The Herald for three months for £1 with our new subscription offer