I REFER to Tom Gordon’s sketch ("Being bawled at for first time was the day Yousaf finally became FM", The Herald, March 31) and his report that Humza Yousaf just ignored a question in Holyrood from Douglas Ross. The First Minister resorted to his prepared script, which had no reference whatsoever to the question.

Such behaviour, following the habits of his immediate predecessor in post, does not bode well for the future with regard to parliamentary proceedings. One might have hoped that we would have moved on from situations like SNP MSPs clapping like seals even when SNP ministers are delivering bad news associated with the Government’s mismanagement. Obviously that is not going to be the case and any hopes of rapier sallies of wit, relevance and topicality during debate with a new First Minister are likely to be dashed.

One wonders what overall impression has been left on the school children who attended such uninspiring political fare with a background of loud and disruptive environmental protest ("Ban issued as protesters disrupt first Yousaf FMQs", The Herald, March 31).

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

• LISTENING to Humza Yousaf's reply to Douglas Ross at First Minister's Questions one could be forgiven for thinking it was all done by mirrors as he read from Nicola Sturgeon's script: "I will take no lessons on division" (from Douglas Ross), a phrase straight from the mouth of his mentor and predecessor.

So much for a "fresh start, a reset or new beginning" in the chamber of distorted mirrors. It's the same old clichés from the same old actors in this carnival house of clowns, jokers and fortune tellers.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.

• ON the basis of his posturing during First Minister’s Questions, I was left with the impression that Humza Yousaf is not a person whose company I would care to share.

Alasdair Gibbons, Bearsden.

Tiresome attacks on the UK

I WAS disappointed when I listened yesterday to the new First Minister's Questions in Holyrood. I was genuinely hoping that after understandable jibes against the Conservatives and Labour (part of the job, of course), that he would then continue to explain what his future policies would be for our country – but no, just like his predecessor, every living moment in that chamber he mentioned the UK Government/Labour, etc, to the detriment of making a mark as the new bloke in the job and explaining exactly what he intended to do to try to sort out the mess in which Scotland finds itself after the past umpteen years of SNP government.

And this attitude, of course, continues to certain SNP supporters, members of "Team SNP", such as Ruth Marr (Letters, March 31), who spent more than 50 per cent of her letter talking about the Tories and Labour, while not one word was written about what the SNP really needs to do to try to save the crumbling mess which Scotland is currently.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.

Read more: FMQs sketch: Let's all play continuity bingo

Hypocrisy over Brexit ministers

LIGHTWEIGHT politician Douglas Ross has used a Minister for Independence as a hypocritical attack line. His own party had a series of Brexit Ministers in post for years during difficult economic and pandemic conditions. During that time the main focus of what Alister Jack has referred to as “the English Government” was to “get Brexit done”. If the Tories or Labour had alternative constitutional proposals for Scotland, it might be different, but they don’t (in spite of Labour waffle).

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Tories should be ashamed

HUMZA Yousaf’s first experience of First Minister's Questions was certainly a baptism of fire. Over and above the expected onslaught from opposition party leaders, Mr Yousaf had to endure no fewer than five suspensions of business due to disruption from the public gallery.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross tried to trash Mr Yousaf’s ministerial appointments, but I am sure the country will take his assault on the new Scottish Cabinet with a pinch of salt, considering it came from the Tories, whose ministerial appointments at Westminster have resulted in the current cost of living crisis, fuel poverty and increased use of food banks. They should hide their heads in shame.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

Every health minister 'failing'

AS a result of the global pandemic all countries around the world have witnessed numbers of people awaiting medical treatment rise to record numbers.

Following the simplistic reckoning of disingenuous or shallow politicians and unscrupulous or lazy commentators and journalists, this indicates that every health minister in the world has “failed”.

Surely the general public deserve more enlightened assessments from those purporting to honestly serve the public interest, from those seeking to sincerely persuade others of their views and from those claiming to impartially report the news?

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

Poor show from the BBC

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Andy Stenton’s comment (Letters, March 31) regarding the BBC Scotland coverage of Thursday’s First Minister's Questions. I had noticed the previous week, during Nicola Sturgeon’s final question session in Parliament, how the BBC cut away from the Chamber immediately after our long-serving FM had finished her farewell speech, but before the viewers could witness the applause that she received. Very disappointing indeed.

There could certainly be room for some flexibility as Mr Stenton suggests, because the coverage invariably switches to an analyst who then wastes programme time by repeating what’s already been said.

Brian Watt, Edinburgh.

Read more: Can anyone tell me what's so precious about this Union?

Questions on Cancer Research UK

CAN someone please answer two questions?

First, why is Cancer Research UK still using UK in the name, when it has recently withdrawn all funding for cancer research in Scotland and Wales, to concentrate that cash on an additional, new centre in England?

Secondly, at the time that the Scottish research charity was amalgamated with it, it notified Scottish donors of its pledge to spend in Scotland all donations made in Scotland. So why has it not informed all Scottish donors that their money will now be used only in England?

I am sure that many of its donors, like myself, would prefer to transfer their donations to another cancer charity that is honest about its use of donations, such as Worldwide Cancer Research, which helps to fund projects in multiple countries around the world. It at least represents that openly in its name and regular mailings.

P Davidson, Falkirk.

The Herald: Is the Deposit Return Scheme really necessary?Is the Deposit Return Scheme really necessary? (Image: PA)

The sheer waste of the DRS

THE letter (March 30) from some Green MSPs and four academics (on the Deposit Return Scheme, DRS) demands clarification.

Recent research indicates the majority of the elderly wouldn't be happy taking bags of glass containers to a refund facility, especially those relying on public transport. Most would prefer using the existing kerbside collections (that this DRS now threatens to jeopardise). The main attraction for recycling glass isn't the conservation of scarce resources: rather the massive savings in energy costs by using cullet (ground glass) instead of the raw materials.

None of these academics has any experience in waste recycling and their endorsement of this flawed DRS isn't helpful.

Why are millions of pounds from the public purse being spent on reinventing something that's already being done rather well by the Scottish councils and the small waste management companies?

John F Crawford, Lytham.

The joy of nature

YOUR correspondent B Zonfrillo (Letters, March 27) writes of the true contributors to rural economies, the visitors, that there is "no gunfire, no blood, no guilt in support of the extermination of other wildlife. And no incineration of insects, moths, reptiles or small mammals through so-called 'management by muirburn'".

What can compare with sitting at the foot of an ancient tree studying the beautiful fungi at its foot and seeing, day by day, how it increases and grows? What can compare with hugging an old beech tree as its leaves unfurl and give shelter from rain and sun? What compares with walking through flowers and meeting my lovely friend Freddie the pheasant as he walks towards me and greets me with his Oo-Oo sound and I reply? Until, one day, there was the sound of popping guns nearby and after that Freddie never appeared. Like so many other pheasants he was probably shot, hung, plucked and roasted for the delight of some unkind person. I still grieve his loss.

I met a bee one day as she struggled to get out of a large puddle, rescued her and she sat on my hand to dry her wings and I was honoured. I spent many happy hours sliding down grassy slopes to count fungi and having a real task to climb back again. I saw otters, a kingfisher, swans, geese and ducks of several kinds, I once poked my walking-pole into a hole at the foot of a tree-stump and was stung 10 times by some very angry insects. I learned my lesson about being careful of what you do with poles when near holes in the ground. But I loved it all.

Health reasons stop me being there now and I miss it. I still remember the feeling of standing still and thinking I could feel the throb of the mycelium as it went about its business underground ... it was a magnificent feeling. Such power of wild things. Now this variety of life to which I belong, the human race, often seeks the destruction of the other lovely creatures with which we share this planet. To me it is wrong and I hope that they feel ashamed of what they do.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

Noisy plants nothing new

I READ your article on the revelation of recent discoveries of "popping noises" made by stressed-out plants with some amazement ("Stressed-out plants make ‘bubble-wrap’ popping noises, scientists reveal", The Herald, March 31).

The phenomenon of plant cavitation has been known since at least the end of the 19th century and the subject of in-depth research since at least the 1960s.

As a research student I well remember the debates following lectures by Dr John Milburn which were accompanied by recordings of sounds from a variety of plants. His work can be referenced in an article comparing ultrasonic with audible acoustic emissions from plants published as long ago as 1988 in the Journal for Experimental Botany vol 39 pp 1237-1248.

I am afraid evidence shows plants preceded bubble wraps in sounding off under pressure.

(Dr) Andy Hawkins, Cupar.