I NOTE Anas Sarwar's comments today on Labour "throwing everything" at the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency ("Labour to 'throw everything' at winning Rutherglen byelection", heraldscotland, April 6).

As a lifelong Labour voter, the one thing Labour has to throw out is its support for gender recognition reform. By voting along with the SNP and the Greens (whose support for the SNP was obviously to push this through instead of their green credentials), Labour has sold Scottish women down the river.

This has to change and I have written to Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie.

Their support for this has effectively disenfranchised me. I cannot vote Labour while the party backs this and I will not vote Liberal Democrat or Conservative and never SNP or Green.

I suggest that throwing everything at this area will need to entail dropping gender reform and concentrating on what really matters here – folk queued up at food banks, shivering in their own homes, children going to school without proper clothing in the winter, families in desperate straits, cuts to local council budgets in all areas, delays in NHS treatment, GP access, wages and working conditions in all sectors. In 2023 people should not have to go on strike to get a decent wage and decent conditions.

It is high time that Scottish Labour got back to its roots in the working class and stopped aligning itself to the latest trends and minority concerns. Back to basics is what is needed here.

And on the gender recognition issue – respect my sex if you want my x.
Dorothy Connor, Rutherglen.

Read more: The SNP has lost its way. It needs a full reset

Incompetence of the SNP
ALEXANDER Duncan (Letters, April 6) perpetrates one of the many endless SNP falsehoods in his misplaced claims of his party's "talent". Kate Forbes is not a qualified chartered accountant, and repeatedly referring to her as such is frankly an insult to those who have earned their professional CA recognition. She briefly worked as a trainee accountant with Barclays, but like all too many in Holyrood has very little experience working in the "real world".

Mr Duncan's plea to "replace ineffective incumbents with independence champions" does in fact sum up all that is wrong with Scotland's political "leadership" today under the SNP and minority Greens – the ineffective incumbent ministers, of whom there are many, need replaced by competent professionals working in the best interests of the country's businesses and people, not those working solely to sow grievance and division.
Steph Johnson, Glasgow.

• KATE Forbes can only be happy today that she did not become First Minister last week. The damage limitation exercise falls to Humza Yousaf, who is Nicola Sturgeon's preferred successor.

The unionists, of whom I am one, consider that Christmas has arrived very early this year.
William Durward, Bearsden.

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So we're doing well? Really?
MAY I please have some of whatever Stewart Falconer (Letters, April 6) is taking when he writes that those who run down our country focus on “a single issue, namely two delayed ferries” and contends that “our Government is doing well”? 

In doing so, he chooses to forget, among many other matters, the disastrous conditions of our health service and our education system, which was once the envy of the developed world, our dreadful record on drug deaths and the awful state of our economy, which appears to have been largely ignored by this Scottish Government, despite the fact that inward investment, gainful employment, public services and infrastructure are all dependent upon and driven by it. 

He also manages, perhaps intentionally, to confuse “country” and “government” and bemoans the constant criticism directed against our NHS and teachers, in response to which I would point out that I have neither heard, nor read of, anyone criticising our country, our NHS staff, or our teachers. The only constant criticism has been against this current Scottish Government for its many, manifest failings and failures.
Bob Hamilton, Motherwell.

Hypocrisy of the unionists
LETTERS from Allan Sutherland and Alex Orr (April 4) demonstrate in different ways how the unionist opposition to another independence referendum has been total hypocrisy.
Mr Orr is correct in pointing out that the Better Together alliance of 2014 is still very much in evidence. Mr Sutherland, by encouraging Scots to vote against independence rather than in favour of any particular candidate or party, is effectively turning every constituency vote into a mini-referendum on independence. By taking parties and individuals off the ballot paper it replicates exactly the choice offered in 2014.

The alliance on the unionist side consists of two rival Ukip clones (Labour and Tory) and a third party which relies on protest votes and those of others who have either left or right leanings but are reluctant to step firmly in one direction. The voters of our Scottish nation must therefore choose between a modern, independent, welcoming, pro-European nation and continuing to be held captive by English nationalist parties who took us into the Iraq war, out of the European Union and now regard potholes and asylum seekers as high-priority issues.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

Read more: When can we expect straight answers from Humza Yousaf?

Ramping up the rhetoric
THE process to elect Humza Yousaf, whatever it had achieved, has certainly encouraged the more strident Union-supporting correspondents and contributors to ramp the rhetoric up to maximum, the latest being Guy Stenhouse ("FM cannot do the job we need if the SNP cult holds him prisoner", The Herald, April 5).

Thus a roughly 50-50 split turns into a "sizeable minority". An opinion is then stated as a fact – that Scotland leaving the UK "would actually do them considerable harm". This opinion is then, as usual, backed up by a rant on the SNP'S record, much of which is more the fault of Westminster than anything any Scottish government has done.

Would it be asking too much for people to critique the case for independence without mentioning the SNP?
Iain Cope, Glasgow.

What's happened to Scotland?
I JUST feel sad today. What has this once strong, honest and flourishing nation become? 
Sheila Watson, Glasgow. 

Treat all refugees the same
CATRIONA Stewart's "Love, loss and sanctuary: On board with Scotland's Ukrainian refugees" (heraldscotland, March 30) provided a real insight into how the refugees had adapted to their new surroundings.

But it raises an important question which the UK Government refuses to do anything about, and in fact places more obstacles in the way, and the Scottish Government seems unable to answer.

The Ukrainians on the cruise ship MV Ambition in the Clyde had regular sessions with JobCentre staff and were able to find work, some even taking two jobs. So why is it that other refugees and asylum seekers, many from different war-torn countries or fleeing persecution can't do the same?

They may be from Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq or one of the many African countries suffering violent attacks.

They don't want to be stuck in third-rate hotels, where conditions can be miserable and the owners are making huge profits from the government for housing them. They want to work, pay taxes, contribute to their new life in Scotland and become part of the community. But the UK Government, the Home Office, won't allow them that freedom.

And this at a time when the country is struggling to find workers to fill vacancies in so many industries including farming, hospitality and the NHS.
Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

The problem with the Met
I AGREE wholeheartedly that the bad apples in the Metropolitan Police should be rooted out and dismissed ("Met officers moved from crime squads to investigate internal standards", The Herald, April 6).

The question I would like answered is why were these individuals accepted into the police to start with?

It should be the hierarchy in the Met that should take the blame for employing these officers. But as ever quantity before quality has been the order of the day.
Let's get back to the time when officers were chosen on merit. Only then can we begin to regain the trust in once-respected police officers.
Neil Stewart, Balfron.