IT’S good that Michael Matheson has agreed to pay the £11,000 data roaming bill he accumulated on his iPad ("Matheson agrees to repay bill of £11,000 run up on his work iPad", The Herald, November 11).

It would be more than good if Liz Truss refunded the public purse for the £500,000 charter flight to Australia she ran up, when normal commercial flights were available. Or for Boris Johnson to pay back the £245,000 bill he ran up to pay for his Partygate inquiry lawyers. Plenty more where these two came from.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Sacrifices of Scots ministers

THOSE seeking to make political capital over Michael Matheson’s excessive roaming charges should note that Scottish Government ministers, have frozen their salaries at 2009 levels and to date provided the public purse with an extra £1,250,000. In Michael Mathieson’s case, he is currently receiving £21,000 a year less than he is entitled to. For comparison purposes, the Welsh First Minister is receiving £153,000 a year for fewer responsibilities, while Humza Yousaf's salary is frozen at £135,600.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

Be clear about Scotland

STAN Grodynski (Letters, November 11) appears to think that those who rejected the Scottish Government’s proposals in 2014 for independence are not convinced that Scotland will be better served as an independent country.

In 2014 I rejected the proposals for independence because I believed that the Scottish Government would not be able to deliver what it promised. In essence I believed that the process of leaving the United Kingdom would be as disastrous as that which played out following the referendum in 2016 which gave us Brexit.

We should be talking about how we should actually achieve independence, rather than have people like Mr Grodynski tell us what we already know about a dysfunctional Westminster Government. A majority of Scots know that we are in the proverbial frying pan and the issue that we need to address is how to avoid the fire.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.

Read more: Beware the slippery slope to a police state

Shame on Braverman

CONGRATULATIONS to Suella Braverman on getting what she wished for. A handful of right-wing protesters on a hate march shouting and protesting not long after the silent, sombre reflection of the Armistice ceremony.

The 300,000 mostly peaceful, respectful protesters, who marched through London to express their outrage at the murder of innocent children and civilians in Gaza should shame her. Sadly she is without shame and her words only stir up those who are fuelled by the same complete lack of compassion for humanity that she shares. Thankfully these individuals are far outnumbered by the many people who stand against all that is hateful.

Johan Wilson, Tain.

• I NEVER thought I'd see the day when I would be ashamed to live in the country for which my grandfather in the First World War and my father in the Second World War fought to preserve our way of life. Sadly, that day has now arrived.

The self-serving chancers and charlatans who are now using the participants in both of these conflicts to further their own ends are ot fit to lick the boots of either of them, and are a disgrace to their memory.

Dave Henderson, Glasgow.

No short cut in Middle East

MAGGIE Chetty (Letters, November 10) urges the USA to promote a Good Friday Agreement-style deal for the Middle East.

This is of course an excellent idea, of which I hope we can hear more. We can look forward to hearing how the Islamic Republic of Iran will be party to an agreement that guarantees the future of the state of Israel until its citizens decide otherwise, to seeing Hamas put terrorist weapons beyond use in the same way that the Provisional IRA did, and to the emergence of an Israeli David Trimble and a PLO John Hume to lead the process.

Obviously such ideas are not within reach, no matter how desirable they might be. For what it is worth, I support the two state solution, possibly plus Gaza under international control, and maybe with a confederal structure to govern key resources and so-called holy sites. How do we get there? I honestly do not know, but I am certain it will involve tedious, painstaking and difficult discussion, negotiation and hard work. It will undoubtedly involve courageous people risking their lives for seeking peace, remembering the assassinations by their own sides of Itzhak Rabin and of early Palestinian advocates of the two state solution such as Issam Sartawi and Said Hamami.

I am sorry to say that there is no short cut and no magic wand - and simply demanding that the USA should wield one is just wishful thinking.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

Read more: Israel is doing more damage to itself than Hamas ever could

Enemies must talk together

SANDY Slater (Letters, November 7) sums up the essential issues surrounding the current inhumane carnage unfolding in the Middle East.

There is currently no moral high ground for either party in the short term and genuine peace will only be achieved when the guns and rockets are laid aside.

Sadly, human nature being what it is there will have to be more blood spilled before that comes about.

What is required is affirmative intervention (presumably by the United States and" knocking of heads" to get both parties to call a halt to the bloodshed.

Unfortunately, Western hypocrisy suggests that this is unlikely. Led by Britain by way of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and supported by the USA as Britain's influence in the Middle East has gradually disappeared there are too many vested interests both political and financial which will see the USA remain standing to the side until the protagonists inevitably run out of anger and hot blood, at which time they will step in to be seen to be brokering peace.

Meanwhile politicians and the media have managed to distract themselves from the horror by tying themselves up in endless debates over definitions of terrorism, the dangers posed by protestors,what is jihad, when is a ceasefire not a ceasefire and so on and analysing levels of compliance with international law which really take us no further forward.

Whatever the name or the cause both sides are currently as bad as the other, both with the same objective of killing and terrorising. The only difference is their weapons of choice. Hamas goes for up close and personal preferring bullets, knives,and decapitation followed by HD videos spread round the world. Israel,borrowing from the American playbook prefers long-distance missile attacks to kill and to create requisite shock and awe. Ignore the phrase "collateral damage". Despite protestations to the contrary civilians are amongst the intended targets as that is where and how the fear is created In their twisted logic both sides are doing well and sadly it appears that we are a long way from peace negotiations The answer to an interesting question posed to both sides might at least give pause for thought:Do you love your children more than you hate me?

As seen in Northern Ireland peace involves supping with the devil albeit with a long spoon. You don't need to negotiate peace with your friends.

Keith Swinley, Ayr.

Listen to the brave Israelis

I STARTED writing to the Letters Pages more than 20 years ago. I recollect that the topic I most returned to was the plight of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli state which had been established more than 50 years previously. Obviously things have only got worse since then, as a consequence of the USA and UK standing resolutely behind the Israelis.

On my several visits to the Kirk’s Palestinian partner churches (Episcopalian and Lutheran) as a member of the then Church of Scotland Middle East Committee a number of years ago we on occasion met with rabbis and other Jewish Israelis who actively opposed Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. There remain today many such courageous souls to whom Israel and the West should be listening instead of to Benjamin Netanyahu, his uniquely extremist far-right government and its supporters such as those illegal settlers reported as murdering Palestinian children in the West Bank.

John Milne, Uddingston.

Local hero

I SAVOURED Mark Smith’s erudite piece on the subject of poetry, politics and patriotism ("The thorny truth about the white rose of indy", The Herald, November 10 and Letters, November 11).

My personal favourite on that theme came from John Milne, the much respected Aberdeenshire poet and educationist:


Fecht for Britain? Hoot awa!

For Bonnie Scotland? Imph man, na!

For Lochnagar? Wi’ clook and claw!

David Henderson, Inverness.