MANY of us will be pleased to see the back of Nicola Sturgeon solely on the grounds that we will be spared her over-hyped mediocrity, but above all her departure is a chance for a new beginning for Scotland.

For those of us who welcomed the successful outcome of the SNP's 2014 referendum, it of course means that the last of the Alex Salmond-Nicola Sturgeon-Peter Murrell leadership of the Yes cult has departed. But it is for others it means the most profound opportunity presents itself for a fresh start. Those who supported independence in that vote must surely now see that the Dream Is Dead for the foreseeable future – and that they can refocus their attention and their energies elsewhere.

There was never really any chance of independence after 2014, so why not take this chance to admit the prospect held out by Ms Sturgeon was an illusion at best and cruel hoax at worst? And as there is no "one more heave" which will bring about independence, why not use Scotland's devolved parliament for the purposes it was intended – to bring greater accountability to Scotland's public services?

There is no indy to wheesht for, and only a fool would fail to examine themselves after being conned for so long.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

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I NOTE Neil Mackay’s analysis of the SNP’s current difficulties ("The SNP may be done, but indy is still worth fighting for", The Herald, March 23).

They are indeed substantial but clearly of much more recent vintage than he believes. When Mr Salmond handed over to Ms Sturgeon in November 2014, according to the MORI political monitor of early that month, support for the party was at an astronomical 57 per cent for Westminster, the SNP had an a absolute majority in the proportional Scottish Parliament, the SNP membership was 85,000 and rising, the outgoing First Minister’s positive personal rating was at 65 per cent and trust in the Scottish Government was also at record levels. Even support for independence had nudged ahead in some of the immediate post- referendum polls. Without question Ms Sturgeon was handed the ultimate political golden legacy which any of the three current SNP candidates would die for.

Whatever disasters has befallen the party very recently has much more to to do with Ms Sturgeon and her tiny circle of confidantes. Given that she mentioned these few by name in her valedictory address it should not be difficult to identify who shares responsibility for the current bourach.

Mags Keogh, Gourock.

Read more: Sturgeon's legacy is evident in Possilpark and all our poorest areas


I WAS pleased to see Andy Maciver recognise and pay tribute to the enormous contribution John Swinney has made to Scottish public life ("Swinney’s most important job may be yet to come’", The Herald, March 24).

Mr Swinney made a huge contribution to the economy of Scotland while serving as Finance Secretary, with Scottish business at its core. We must embrace his example going forward under a new First Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Maciver highlighted the toxic reception Ruth Davidson received when she was elected leader of the Scottish Conservatives, but that was put to one side during her reign, and I am sure the same could be said for some previous Labour leaders. However, this time it is the SNP. There has been no leadership election within the SNP for almost two decades, so tensions are high. After all, we must recognise we are not only electing a new SNP leader, we are ultimately electing a new First Minister of Scotland.

Mr Maciver suggests the future of the SNP may well need some healing and the services of Mr Swinney may well be called upon, but then he has been there before. I am sure he will need no reminding of the turbulent years the SNP has endured in its past and has successfully come through, as we have all witnessed.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


PAUL Teenan (Letters, March 24) asserts that the SNP vote against the Callaghan government was not the party's finest hour. I disagree, as the vote was one of principle for the party, and the SNP was the first to lay down a motion of no confidence (which the Tories then exploited) from which position it could hardly resile.

Labour could have survived the vote had it agreed to fulfil its commitment to a Scottish Assembly; it could have had the support of the Ulster Unionists by building an energy pipeline to Northern Ireland; Sir Alfred Broughton (who was dying) wanted to attend by ambulance but was refused; Bernard Weatherill offered to abstain, but his offer was astonishingly rejected; Clement Freud was offered a “loose” freedom of information law if he “missed” his train, he declined; even Gerry Fitt (Labour's Irish nationalist ally) refused to support Labour and Republican Frank Maguire went to Westminster to “abstain in person”.

Labour could easily have survived with a bit of guile, but the “Winter of Discontent” and “what crisis” had doomed it anyway. Labour's position, then as now, is they would prefer someone like Margaret Thatcher to “govern” Scotland, than to have Scottish self-government, and it votes repeatedly with the Tories to prevent Scots deciding their own future. Turns out Sir Keir Starmer is a big fan of Maggie – surprise, not.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

• PERHAPS I may be permitted to reply to the letters from Jane Ann Liston (March 23) and Paul Teenan (March 24). Regarding Ms Liston's point about the Tories supporting SNP budgets at Holyrood when Annabelle Goldie was Tory leader, it is one thing to work constructively with other parties, it is quite another to go into partnership with them in government if it requires ditching principles and promises.

Mr Teenan accuses me of "dredging up history" but all the examples I gave are recent history apart from the illegal war which will always be a huge stain on the past Labour government. Mr Teenan doesn't mention the circumstances which led up to March 28, 1979 but if Prime Minister James Callaghan had put the whip on his Labour MPs to pass their own piece of legislation, the Scotland Act, there wouldn't have been a vote of no confidence in him and his government.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

Read more: Goodbye, First Minister. Maybe now we can get some answers


I SPENT the early 1970s obtaining a degree in economics at Glasgow. The years were not entirely wasted as I met my future wife there.

One of the basics we learned very early on was that you could use a rise in interest rates to curb excessive demand for consumer goods like cars, electronic goods, furniture ad the like or if there was an overheated housing market. These were goods that buyers could use their discretion to buy. So you influenced that discretion by making the cost of purchase more expensive.

Eventually, you hoped, inflation (prices) would fall because demand had dropped. Again, another basic tenet of simple economics.

However, who thinks the lunacy of raising interest rates under current circumstances is going to affect the situation ("More misery for Scots homeowners as Bank hikes rates to 4.25%", The Herald, March 24)?

Even the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailie, has admitted the high level of inflation is due to external factors beyond our influence, predominantly Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. I do not think that our raising interest rates is going to persuade Putin to withdraw his troops.

The rise in interest rates at the moment will only make things worse. Our economic masters globally – not just in the UK – are adding fuel to the inflationary fire. The cost of housing will increase. The cost of transporting our food will increase. Neither of these is a discretionary purchase, or do the economic illiterates in charge of the global economy think that people can choose to starve, can choose not to have a roof over their heads or choose to freeze?

Inflation will not fall as a direct result of this interest rate but misery for ordinary people will rise.

The fat cats who make these economic decisions won’t be affected.

But when will they realise the madness of this simplistic approach to our economic woes? We need people with imagination and the ability to think in innovative ways as to how our global economy is managed.

If we stick with the dullards we have at the moment, we are consigned to decades more of the misery they heap upon us whilst remaining shielded themselves.

We need a new way.

William Thomson, Denny.