SCOTLAND is a social democratic sovereign nation, trapped in a Tory far right Anglo/British state – a so-called "Union of Equals”.

Although the SNP is a political party, it is in essence a movement for independence. It’s therefore vital that our new leader and First Minister, Humza Yousaf, keeps to a centre-left political agenda, providing economic stability, fighting poverty and inequality, climate change and human rights, but above all working together, with renewed unity of purpose, to secure a vibrant and successful independent Scotland.
Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

Opposition must not fail again

BY the time of the Holyrood Parliament elections in 2026 it will be 23 years since the pro-UK parties won a Holyrood election. Surely, with the election of Humza Yousaf, they can't fail again?

Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and bogeyman Boris Johnson are gone. Brexit and Covid are in abeyance, people are fed up with SNP failures, hype and scandal. Meanwhile the UK Labour and Conservative parties are both evolving sensible policies to recharge and reform the UK.

Mr Yousaf was indeed the continuity candidate: continuity of independence transcending everything, continuity of the Green tail wagging the dog, continuity of spin, hidden truth and scandal, and the disastrous continuity of his failures in transport, justice and health extending across the whole devolved portfolio. Poor old Scotland.

I hope the opposition mark the occasion by taking a lead from their Westminster colleagues and producing election-winning policies that will enthuse people to go out, vote them into power and win Scotland back for its people. They can't rely on Humza's failures to do the job for them.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

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Who's in charge behind the scenes?

WITH the new SNP leader announced, we have only one part of the burning question answered. The other is pretty much equally important: who will succeed Peter Murrell as SNP CEO? Michael Russell, who preceded Mr Murrell in the role before 1999, is only a temporary stand-in.

Perhaps the remit of the new CEO will be modified, to ensure that no single person again has the extreme power within the organisation that Mr Murrell wielded for almost a quarter of a century. Or perhaps Mr Murrell has groomed his lieutenants sufficiently for there to be a succession plan in a way that there was not for party leader. The hurried drafting of Mr Russell suggests that that was probably not the case and that, like the parliamentary group, the party organisation is starting from scratch.

There may, then, be an unseemly scramble among Mr Murrell’s underlings, such as Ross Colquhoun and other senior propagandists at Gordon Lamb House. But who is going to choose the successor? In this case there will be no votes or pubic campaigns. That leaves the question of how whether Nicola Sturgeon and Mr Murrell have really left the SNP’s stage or whether they can continue to exercise power behind the scenes.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.

Read more: Now is surely the time for Scotland to have a reset

Benefiting all Scots

IS it too much to hope for that Union-supporting correspondents be more specific in their criticisms?

I refer specifically to Richard Allison's letter (March 25). He wishes that new First Minister will act and behave in a way that will benefit all Scots, whether supporters of independence or not.

The free bus passes, the free university tuition, the free prescriptions, along with the sterling work the Scottish Government has done in respect of renewables and new rail tracks, are available to both independence supporters and Union supporters. Or put another way, the level of ferry services being enjoyed or suffered in the Scottish islands are being enjoyed or suffered by both sides equally.

So exactly where are unionists suffering alone?
Iain Cope, Glasgow.

A nation ready to prosper

I NOTE Mark Smith’s recent article (“Are we slowly being ‘foreignised’ by the SNP?", The Herald, March 25). He says: “I am comfortable asking the same question over and over again ...what would the cost be?”

Well, that sounds like someone (not Mr Smith perhaps) who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Remember that unlike the UK, Scotland is a net exporter and would certainly flourish and prosper economically, and in many other ways, as an independent country.
Of course I could be wrong, and it could be that Scotland becomes the first country in history ever to take their independence and then sink and fail. Could be, but I doubt it.
George Archibald, West Linton.

Read more: Sturgeon and Johnson have a fair bit in common

Give rural areas a fair deal

ALISTAIR Easton (Letters, March 24) is correct in his claim that, in addition to the Highlands and Islands being left behind by Edinburgh, the South of Scotland is also a trailer being towed by the Central Belt. A major failure of the SNP/Green Alliance is that both parties pledged to implement the Wightman Bill to devolve additional financial and political powers to Local Authorities after the May 2021 election yet, to date, the bill gathers dust in Edinburgh.

The bill was drafted by Andy Wightman, then a Green MSP, and endorsed by Aileen Campbell on behalf of the SNP. Needless to say the pledge turned out to be worthless. If Humza Yousaf refuses to honour the pledge given to the people of Scotland then surely it is time for Westminster to step in to set up separate Assemblies for the rural North and South of Scotland.
Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.

We don't want or need Starmer

WHO on earth, or indeed in Scotland, has been whispering in Sir Keir Starmer's lug that he is popular in Scotland and can secure an increase in Labour's one seat at Westminster?

Scotland's diaspora was not ready for the right-wing economic and social policies of Kate Forbes.

Further, Scotland as far as people tell me (including Labour Party members; I used to be one) do not want nor need a non-progressive North London lawyer who inter alia has no solutions to Scotland's drug problems nor other Scotland specific problems, the SNP for one.

He has no more connection with Scotland than political opportunism. He is as socially and economically illiberal as Ms Forbes.
On the drug deaths issues alone (an interest of particular concern to me), Sir Keir is desperate to out-Tory the Conservative Party. But of course the Labour Party's website describes him as "a husband, father, and former lawyer who has fought for fairness his whole working life";

As I say perhaps his election prowess will be more in hope than expectation.
A plague on both their houses.
Douglas McBean, Edinburgh.

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

How to sharpen BoE bosses' minds

THE Governor of the Bank of England has warned businesses against raising prices as that may stoke inflation.

The Bank of England pension scheme is heavily invested in inflation-linked bonds and matches payouts to the inflation rate. It is generous and non-contributory so completely taxpayer funded.

This should be changed. Arrange for a special issuance each year of a 2% bond by the Debt Management Office of an amount no greater than the current contribution.
It may be below inflation now but it would sharpen minds. More importantly they would lead by their example.
Tom Walker, Loanhead.

• AS a casual observer of this cost of living business – I am a single pensioner, do not live frugally, but do keep my eye on where the pennies are going – this so-called 17% increase in our shopping basket? I wish.

I have seen prices increase by 135% (I could give you specifics) and even Poundland will have to rename itself

I appreciate the pressures retailers are facing, I but suspect there is a wee bit of profiteering going on.
Hugh Steele, Cumbernauld.

•WILLIAM Thomson's comparison of what he was taught in obtaining his degree in economics with what he describes as the economic illiterates in charge of today's global economy (Letters, January 27) reminds me of Winston Churchill's saying that if you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three. 

I incline towards Churchill's view.
David Miller, Milngavie. 


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