YOU report that Suella Braverman accused the police of “ playing favourites” with pro-Palestinian protestors (“Demands for Braverman to be sacked after police broadside”, The Herald, November 10).

This raises serious questions about the relationship between government and police. It has long been accepted that police operational matters are the responsibility of the appropriate Chief Constable and that the Government should not intervene. Parliament sets the legislative framework for the police but the police must operate independently within that framework.

When I was a member of the panel which reviewed the policing of the 1984-85 miners’ strike in Scotland, there was frequent reference to that principle.

According to a previously-classified secret Cabinet Committee Minute of May 8, 1984, Margaret Thatcher expressed concern about inadequate action being taken by Scottish police to deal with flying pickets and explicitly said that the “Secretary of State for Scotland should establish in particular whether Scottish Chief Constables were willing as a matter of policy to take action similar to that in England and Wales to prevent pickets from going to the scene of possible disturbances”. Two days later, a busload of innocent miners, including many of my former constituents, were stopped by the police on the main highway at Stepps. When they refused to turn back, the miners were arrested en masse and detained in police cells.

In 1984, Thatcher secretly sought to influence the police on operational matters. In 2023, Braverman does it publicly and brazenly. What next? A police state?

Dennis Canavan, former MP and MSP, Bannockburn.

Veterans would call for freedom

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman should be held to account if there is violence at pro-Palestinian rallies this weekend.

She's inciting trouble by calling for a ban, and that will obviously wake up right-wing groups looking for a fight.

The world, according to much of the British media and the UK Government, should remain silent for Armistice Day and Remembrance Day in honour of those who died fighting for a free Britain 70 years ago.The message is: there is no room for current-day protests, even peaceful ones.

But hey, there's a war on right now in Israel-Gaza and thousands of innocent Palestinians and Israelis are dying.

The killer punch is that Britain can be blamed for this situation. Its arrogant, ignorant and colonial masters divided up this part of the Middle East in the 1940s and got it wrong. Palestinians have been besieged since then behind walls and fences and denied basic human rights.

Their fields and ancient olive trees are now being bulldozed and torn down by illegal Jewish settlers. The world is sitting back, watching, and doing nothing.

If we took a step back, what would British veterans be urging? Freedom.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

Read more: Lest we forget about Gaza, Armistice Day protests must go ahead

Doing down the Conservatives

NICE one, Suella Braverman, keep your extreme right-wing views coming. They can only assist in the demise of your party in government after the next General Election.

I think that the much-touted suggestions that you could be the new leader of your party will now be severely dented. By the time that this letter is published you may well be gone. If not it could be a long wait for your big ambition to be the next PM.

Malcolm Rankin, Seamill.

Will Scotland finally twig?
IT was bad enough that those who voted No in 2014 condemned Scotland to a catastrophic Brexit and to effectively being run by that grossly incompetent blaggard Boris Johnson, not to mention 
his vacant successor who in a matter of days crashed the UK economy.
With support for Keir Starmer now waning as more come to recognise that the Labour Party Emperor has no clothes, will it take the appointment of that heartless right-wing ideologue, Suella Braverman, to the role of Prime Minister before those yet to be convinced of the merits of independence realise that the people of Scotland will be better served when they can determine their own future?
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

FM should not get to decide

IMAGINE a situation where the police got to decide whether to report themselves regarding incidents and if they didn’t think it appropriate, it wouldn’t happen. Can you imagine the outrage? There is a reason we have a system that means Police Scotland automatically refer certain serious complaints or incidents to the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner.

Yet the most powerful person in Scotland, the First Minister, is allowed to decide if he should refer himself to the independent advisers on the Scottish Ministerial Code ("Yousaf declares he has ‘no need’ to refer himself over messages", The Herald, November 10). Humza Yousaf gets to decide if he thinks he needs to be investigated. What kind of madness is this?

I don’t know if Mr Yousaf broke the Ministerial Code regarding misleading parliament on the WhatsApp messages but as long as the First Minister is the one who decides whether he will be investigated, we will never know. If you want to claim that you run the most open and transparent government, First Minister, change the rules that allow you to avoid scrutiny.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Read more: The SNP's tactics of deflection are no longer working

Give us some straight answers

POLITICIANS of all parties when asked a straightforward question never answer yes or no, they try everything in their power to avoid those words. It's almost as if they do not exist in the political vocabulary.

This has become painfully apparent with the Covid Inquiry.We still do not know if WhatsApp messages were kept or deleted by the SNP Government. The First Minister waffles on in the same vein as his predecessor, avoiding the words yes and no.

I fail to see the point of First Minister's Questions when the questions are never answered other than to finely tune this skill.

How does the SNP in particular expect to gain our support and respect if it continues to be evasive with questions relating to health, schools, ferries and as aforementioned, the Covid Inquiry?

Neil Stewart, Balfron.

Achievements of Holyrood

IN response to Keith Howell (Letters November 9), I would point out that most SNP voters are attracted by the party's support for the cause of independence rather than by any notion that it possesses particular administrative skills in comparison with other parties. It is not clear whether Mr Howell's displeasure is aimed at the SNP as an organisation or at the constitutional case for independence.

I assume that when he refers to disinterest among Scots he means indifference. I am sure he would agree that all Scots would be affected by constitutional change. Scottish governments since devolution have introduced many creditable legislative measures such as abolition of bridge tolls, prescription charges and tuition fees and introduction of free bus travel for the senior and junior sections of our population.

The much-publicised ferry procurement travails of the SNP administration pale into insignificance when set against the billions of taxpayers' money squandered by Westminster on the abortive HS2 rail project. The Scottish NHS out-performs the rest of the UK on almost every measure. The current high energy prices have arisen less than alleged from recent events in Ukraine and more from the abandonment of any long-term energy strategy and planning in the wake of the privatisation of our utilities by the Thatcher government in the late 1980s. Would an independent Scotland have engaged in invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or taken us out of the EU? Mr Howell should share with us his vision of Scotland's future.

Finally, could I point out to Alexander McKay (Letters, November 7 & 9) that even Blackadder's Baldrick would have noticed that it is possible to "slip into" the UK today across an open land border in Ireland?

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

The Herald: Scots apprenticeship numbers, including among electricians, are healthyScots apprenticeship numbers, including among electricians, are healthy (Image: Getty)

Construction doing well for apprentices

I READ with interest the letter (November 8) from Jill Stephenson.

I am at a loss to understand her well-meant but altogether misinformed view on young apprentices in Scotland, who in her view lack an adequate skill set and have an inappropriate attitude.

I would advise her that in Scotland the Scottish Government funds 25,000 apprentices each year in all areas.

In Scottish Construction we recruit and fund 5,000 annually in all areas, from graduate trainees right through all other construction disciplines. The traditional construction crafts (such as painting and decorating, joinery, carpentry and stonemasonry) recruit 2,300 annually which is 9,200 in any and every four-year apprentice period. The annual recruitment in electrical craft is 900 annually, 3,600 in the apprentice period, plumbing is in excess of 500 per year and this does not even include engineering.

The main portion of recruits come from the 16- to 19-year-old cohort with smaller but significant numbers from the 19- to 23-year-old cohort. The number in the 25-year-old and above age group is infinitesimal in Scottish Construction.

Scotland punches well above its weight in construction apprentice training, providing 26% of all UK construction apprentice training and provides young people with what is recognised as a gold standard qualification within Europe.

As to young people’s attitude, it is no different from when Ms Stephenson and I were 16. They want good training, a good job with good prospects and a decent wage and to my certain knowledge dealing with them on a regular basis they are a joy to be around.

Yes of course we could do more but the funding of all apprentices above 25,000 in Scotland annually in these difficult times is just not there and even if it were, there is not the college provision to train more.

Construction is a great career employing fantastic people and provides and drives 10% of Scottish GDP and most things in this world rely on a thriving construction sector.

Ian Rogers, Co-Chair, Scottish Construction Qualifications and Skills Council, Milngavie.

A Christopher Grievance

TO Herald columnist Mark Smith, who criticised Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem The Little White Rose of Scotland ("The thorny truth about the white rose of indy", The Herald, November 10):

If Hugh MacDiarmid were alive today

He wouldn’t let this pass.

The next time he saw you,

He’d verbally kick your ass.

Gordon Wright, Edinburgh.