JIM Murphy's election as the leader of the Scottish Labour Party may prove to be a turning point not only in the fortunes of his party, but also in the general direction of travel of our best politicians.


Scottish Labour's electoral woes have often been attributed to the fact that its most talented parliamentarians opted for careers at Westminster, Gordon Brown and Robin Cook being two obvious examples. Increased devolution means that public service in the Scottish Parliament becomes ever more attractive to those who wish to use their talents for the benefit of Scotland.

Whilst Mr Murphy has of course still to find his way into the Scottish Parliament, in the event that he does, his wealth of political experience gained after over 17 years at Westminster will transform Scottish politics in much the same manner as Alex Salmond's return did. There is no finer endorsement of the Scottish Parliament, or indeed Scotland, than to see our best politicians returning home.

Allan C Steele,

22 Forres Avenue, Giffnock.

DAVID Torrance writes ("Murphy should take year out to flesh out his Labour vision", The Herald, December 15) "the political ideology of Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon is virtually indistinguishable". To which I can only gasp an incredulous "Eh, what?"

Mr Murphy is perfectly happy that Britain deploys H Bombs in full alert 24/7, ready to bring hell on earth to hundreds of thousands. He says yes to this. Like myself, Ms Sturgeon says no. There can be no greater gulf in ideology, politics or religion than the chasm that separates this yes and this no.

Mr. Murphy wants an end to all nuclear weapons, he says. He believes the only way to achieve this is by us keeping ours and updating them, while denouncing those who follow our example. Why complain that North Korea or any other state does what we are doing? "Don't do as I do, do as I say" is the hypocrite's mantra, and convinces nobody.

On the Sunday Politics show BBC 1 show he said: "It has no intellectual credibility to move the nuclear deterrent (sic) a few miles south to the North of England". He simply ignores the irrefutable findings of John Ainslie's report Trident - Nowhere to Go which proves that Trident can operate from nowhere else in the UK other than the Faslane/Coulport complex. A nuclear-free Scotland means a UK without Trident. End of story.

"Visions only take you so far" writes Mr. Torrance, But Proverbs tells us "Where there is no vision, the people perish". In supporting British nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and abandoning any vision of a world free of these, Mr Murphy betrays the hopes not only of the Labour Party, but also of all people of good will.

On December 8, at an International Conference on the Humanitarian impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, Pope Francis expressed support for the banning of all nuclear weapons.

Like myself, Mr. Murphy is a Catholic. How does Mr Murphy reconcile the irreconcilable? Or does he just ignore the Pope?

Brian M Quail,

2 Hyndland Avenue, Glasgow.

JIM Murphy seems to be missing the point ("Murphy: I want to rewrite Clause 4 for Scots", The Herald, December 15). It's not about "out-tartanning " the SNP but being a leader of a party who can be trusted with Scotland's future. How can Scotland trust a Blairite who supports Trident nuclear missiles in Scottish waters and defends the Iraq war, which has brought such misery to the area and is responsible for the obliteration of Christian communities in the region? These are not issues of nuance, but of substance.

Roddy MacDonald,

1 Glenmount Place,