MANY delegates at the recent Scottish Conservative conference in Glasgow commented on the absence of SNP protesters outside. This was despite the attendance of the Prime Minister, the leader of the Scottish party, ministers of state, MPs and MSPs. who normally attract such protests. Some attendees joked that they felt deprived of their usual motivation boost as they went in. Others were relieved not to be subjected to the vile abuse seen at similar events, including one young woman who had been spat on.

Having long been the subject of intense media scrutiny following a period of turmoil within their own party, it was not surprising that many of the Tory speakers devoted some of their speech to SNP scandals and failures dominating the news cycle recently. Encouragingly for those of us who live in Scotland, they did not stop at criticism but went on to cover a large range of policies and ideas to tackle the many problems we are facing as a nation. From agriculture, autism, climate change, cost of living, education and energy security through to NHS and transport, guest experts and politicians outlined strategies on many topics.

If the other pro-UK parties also make efforts to develop, publicise and explain their proposals, then by election time voters will have some real choices other than the dominant theme that problems can be solved simply by separating for the UK or by staying part of it.

It would be nice to think that the lack of protesters signalled a new era of tolerance in Scottish politics, but sadly it was probably more to do with them being too embarrassed by the recent revelations about the SNP.

Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen.

Where was Alister Jack?

WELL, what a conference for the Tories. First they bar most of the press from the press conference with the Prime Minister, then with the threat of a press boycott (including by the original chosen few), over an hour late they allow everyone to attend but only take a few questions from their chums ("Ross admits No 10 should have handled Sunak press conference row better ", The Herald, May 1).

Where was Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland? Who knows, as he didn't bother to attend and appeared on video instead, making the excuse that he "had to guard the Stone of Destiny in case the Nats tried to pinch it again".

He really should have attended to boost the very scant attendance; I wonder if they will publish the attendance figure, or is it another secret like their membership?

David Hay, Minard.

• MICHAEL Gove ("Gove predicts SNP ‘rebrand’ with independence to take back seat", heraldscotland, April 29) tells us that the case for independence has been compromised by the failures of the Scottish Government. Just, no doubt, as the case for the Union has been strengthened by the runaway successes of his Government.

As my hero Rab C Nesbitt might say: “Some gemme the politics, boy.”

John Boyle, Ardrossan.

📝 Sign up for our Letter of the Day newsletter and receive our Letters Editor's choice every weekday at 8pm.

Get insight from fellow readers and join in on what has Scotland talking. Exclusive responses to our writers and spirited debate on a whole host of issues will be sent directly to your inbox.

👉 Click here to sign up

Read more: Ross was wrong to back down. Tactical voting is the way to go

Brexit is history

I AGREE with Ian McConnell that Brexit was an act of economic folly ("The twin challenges facing our tourism industry", The Herald, April 28). I was a Remainer. I do however wish that he and a number of journalists and political parties would move on from bringing it up at every opportunity.

Sir Keir Starmer is quite right. Brexit is history. We need to move on, change the narrative and repair our relationship with Europe as best we can, whilst, at the same time, taking advantage of whatever freedoms Brexit does allow us.

Angus MacEachran, Aberdeen.

Such a waste of resources

WHEN I read Ema Sabljak's article ("Krakatoa: East of Cumbrae. Islanders prepare for ‘major volcanic eruption’", The Herald, April 29), I quickly checked the date thinking it must be April 1. What a stupid waste of time, energy and resources. If they feel the need to do some disaster mapping why not try something a bit more realistic – like a ferry breaking down in the middle of the Clyde?

Elaine K Honeyman, Largs.

It's time to rethink Covid

THESE days we seem to hear more about so-called long Covid than Covid itself (“Long Covid three years on, are sufferers still being failed?”, The Herald, April 29).

The official name of long Covid according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is Post-Covid-19 Condition (PCC), and to the NHS across the UK it is Post-Covid-19 Syndrome. The NHS admits that its definition is “very similar” to that of WHO.

However, a recent Norwegian study under Joel Selvakumar calls the whole issue into question. Selvakumar and his team of 18 researchers recruited participants who were non-hospitalised and aged under 26 and divided them into a cohort that had tested positive to Covid, and a cohort that had not tested positive. It was found that 48.5% of the former cohort had long Covid according to the WHO definition. But, bizzarely, it was the same for 47.1% of participants in the latter cohort. You obviously cannot have long Covid if you didn't have Covid in the first place.

NHS scientists and doctors need to have a rethink as well as patients who believe that they have long Covid.

Geoff Moore, Alness.

🔴 Save on a full year of digital access with our lowest EVER offer.

Subscribe for a whole year to The Herald for only £24 for unlimited website access or £30 for our digital pack.

This is only available for a limited time so don't miss out.

👉 Click here to subscribe

How did we survive school?

I NOTE with interest your picture of a science lesson at a Glasgow school in 1953 ("Remember when ... Nitrous oxide was no laughing matter", The Herald, May 1). I remember the same laboratory experiments for toxic and flammable gases like hydrogen sulphide from chemistry lessons at Bearsden Academy in the late 1950s.

They would be a modern-day health and safety advisor’s nightmare scenario. Where are the goggles? What about a safe distance? Why is it not being conducted in a fume cupboard? Indeed how did any of us survive five years of Chemistry lessons and what were the accident/casualty statistics?

Jon Cossar, Edinburgh.

Muddled thinking

I AMUSE myself on Monday mornings reading and trying to understand the job, sorry, appointments, adverts, and just what is required of applicants, sorry, post-holders. One such mentions strategic operational thinking.

A quick reference to Google explains that strategic thinking is "big picture" thinking, while operational thinking is about the bread and butter workings of an organisation.

Perhaps this is where my colleagues and I went wrong. In those days, the big picture was shown at cinemas, and bread and butter were consumed at lunch breaks.

David Miller, Milngavie.