I ENJOYED the astute article from Alison Rowat (“Pantomime season arrives early at 10 Downing Street”, The Herald, November 9). The May Government is a shambles, getting worse, right at the most serious juncture in UK history for probably two generations. A ruling party without disciple, common principles or a sense of historic direction, its splits are now endangering the wellbeing of us all, and there appears to be no alternative for the top job.

There is a distinct lack of keenness on the Labour benches for a takeover it seems to me (for all their bluster), and the SNP is perhaps four years from its ideal time for a second independence referendum, so we are all stuck in a bad place.

Our negotiating strategy seems to be: point the Hard Brexit gun at our own head, and crow “give us the deal we want, or we will pull the trigger”. We have friends but few admirers left in the EU: sympathy but no solutions: the separatist route we have taken is incomprehensible to them.

Meanwhile in China there are two rulers with a common objective: to make their country “great again” (“China and the US sign trade deals worth $9bn during Trump visit”, The Herald, November 9). My money would be on Xi Jinping making it happen (though it won’t feel “great” to all Chinese). In fact, I suspect Donald Trump is envious of the Chinese system, though in truth he wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in it.

GR Weir,

17 Mill Street,


WHOEVER Theresa May chooses to replace the disgraced Priti Patel (Patel finally quits but PM’s credibility is also a victim”, The Herald, November 9), they must start their new job by affirming that the sole mission of The Department for International Development (DFIF)) is to eradicate global poverty. The UK government’s aid budget must no longer be seen as a tool for securing trade deals and promoting big business, nor should the department be used as a platform for waging Brexit.

And with an increasing share of the UK aid budget being deployed in conflict zones, often for use by security forces, the new Secretary of State must order an urgent review of DFID’s work in conflict zones and its support for security forces to ensure it meets its mission of eradicating poverty rather than being subsumed by military and other foreign policy objectives.

Liz Murray,

Head of Scottish campaigns, Global Justice Now,

Thorn House, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh.

IN between all the turmoil of Westminster this week were reports that unfortunately didn’t carry the same media attention and headlines ("Warning over benefit tests", The Herald, November 9), yet have devastating effects on many, that of the shameful treatment of the sick and disabled at the hands of the Westminster Government.

Your report on this matter focused on people suffering from Parkinson’s disease being put through re-assessments for the purpose of moving from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and that in spite of being awarded DLA for life. Where is the common sense and joined up thinking for those claimants? This further assessment to claim what is rightfully theirs is shameful and utterly unnecessary, causing much distress for the claimant, not to mention the cost to the welfare budget.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that Parkinson’s patients in England pay for medication / prescriptions, something the Chancellor could address and put right in his forthcoming Budget.

Thankfully, your article ended on a positive note, in that the Scottish Government is soon to take over responsibility for (PIP) and has pledged to reduce the need for unnecessary reassessments. Once again clear evidence from Westminster on why welfare powers should be fully devolved to Scotland.

Catriona C Clark,

52 Hawthorn Drive,

Banknock, Falkirk.

HOW much more chaotic must the Westminster Government become before the Queen steps in and dissolves Parliment in order to protect her subjects – or is that just another fiction?

That the people of Scotland are happy to accept this behaviour when Catalonian politicians languish in jail for upholding their manifesto is simply shameful.

Wha's like us indeed.

John Elder,

Howden Hall Road, Edinburgh.

IAIN AD Mann (Letters, November 9) is probably right to assert that the actions of the Spanish Government will increase support for Catalan independence, but it is going too far to claim that the imprisonment of eight Catalan parliamentarians is "a fundamental breach of basic human rights under international law". Carles Puigdemont and his colleagues were well aware that their actions were illegal under both the Spanish Constitution and the Catalan Autonomy Statute, and would have no grounds for claiming that their human rights were breached.

Furthermore, it is not true that pro-independence politicians "were elected by a majority of those Catalans who voted at the earlier election". In the election of 2015 the nationalist coalition led by Mr Puigdemont failed to gain an overall majority in the Corts, and has been governing with the support of other political groups.

Mr Mann does not mention the purported figure of 90 per cent support for independence in the referendum of October 1, but since this figure has been given wide publicity, it is worth pointing out that (a) the poll cannot possibly be considered valid, as ballot boxes and voting papers were removed by the police and Civil Guard, and (b) the alleged percentage cannot be verified, since the Catalan Government has consistently refused to release the final voting figures.

Eamonn Rodgers,

Emeritus Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies, University of Strathclyde,

4 Albert Drive, Glasgow.

ANDREW McCrae (Letters, November 9) asks about what he calls the artificial difference between tax evasion and avoidance. The difference is real, not artificial.

If I invest money in an ISA, I am avoiding tax and in Mr McCrae's eyes a "tax dodger". If I deliberately and fraudulently understate my assessable income, I am guilty of evasion, and indeed a "tax dodger".

David Miller,

80 Prestonfield, Milngavie.

FROM time to time our politicians go to foreign countries to ask them to invest in Scotland. Could they not go to Balmoral with the same request?

Ian Hamilton QC,

Lochnabeithe, North Connel, Argyll.