ONE wonders where this outbreak of civil war within the SNP is going to end (“Dark day for Sturgeon as Salmond crisis engulfs Government”, The Herald, January 12). According to your Political Editor, Tom Gordon, Alex Salmond now refers to the First Minister as Lady Macbeth. Kenny MacAskill, former SNP Justice Secretary, has criticised a misguided “coterie” around Nicola Sturgeon. Tom Gordon writes that infighting “could divide, distract and debilitate” the SNP. 0ne could insert the word “will” instead of “could” with confidence.

The SNP is a broad church incorporating many diverse political, economic and social beliefs, including different views on Brexit within its membership.

The Herald editorial counsels that, with the background of the Brexit crisis, “Scotland needs its Government and First Minister to be fully focused”. Not much chance of that given recent events at Holyrood , I would say.

The question is: are the warring parties within the SNP going to kiss and make up or put themselves through a painful divorce ?

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road,


THIS was, indeed, a dark day for Scotland’s political credibility as a single element of the crisis has dominated the Scottish opposition parties in Holyrood and much of the media.

Why are they attacking the First Minister on her contacts with the former first minister and ignoring the fact that the civil service discipline code procedures, designed to give protection to employees from any kind of harassment, has collapsed?

It is clear that, as the First Minister plays no part in the civil service disciplinary procedure, discussion in Parliament on what contact she had with Alex Salmond over the past few months can wait until the much more serious collapse of the complaints handling procedure revealed in the court case has been resolved.

It appears that it is the Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, who is responsible for the procedure that suffered a disastrous failure during the investigating of the complaints by two people of alleged offences against them by the former first minister.

Politicians of all parties should demand an inquiry into what went wrong during this investigation as Ms Evans states that the procedure for handling complaints involving current or former ministers is robust.

The case is in the hands of the police and, no matter the outcome, it is likely that all of the people directly involved and probably many members of the civil service staff will be left with lasting distrust of a system that has already failed so abysmally to deliver on any of its objectives of dignity, fairness and impartiality.

John Jamieson,

37 Echline Place,

South Queensferry,

West Lothian.

AS the storm clouds over Nicola Sturgeon grow ever darker this situation was always going to come about. Ms Sturgeon has previous form in being vague about SNP activities such as deals with China, fracking and the row over leadership of Police Scotland.

In the present case, did she fail to adhere strictly to the rules by not reporting all conversations? Inevitably, behaviour must come to light, even by the strangest of paths.

It seems now that the political leaders of the Conservatives, Labour and the SNP are in trouble for different reasons all at the same time.

The First Minister might have been pushing Jeremy Corbyn to call a vote of “no confidence” over Theresa May and Brexit earlier this week, ideally to lead to Labour’s demand for another General Election. Has she changed her mind now?

Dr Gerald Edwards,

Broom Road, Glasgow.

IN the present chaos that is British politics, Nicola Sturgeon could have easily stood out.

Although she has limited ability and zero imagination, all she had to do was to show competence, and she would have had a good Brexit war by default.

Her role was to remember her lines and not bump into the Bute House furniture.

However, that was before the Salmond case and the blunders and appalling judgment which she and those closest to her have displayed in this sorry and shambolic affair.

If the SNP was not controlled by the First Minister and her husband, Peter Murrell, her party would call for – and would deserve to have– her head.

But the whole world will know from now on: never again can Ms Sturgeon pretend to be the only grown-up in the room and get away with it.

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road,



THOSE thinking there should be an inquiry into the First Minister and her Government’s handling of the accusations regarding Alex Salmond, should keep in mind that the SNP leadership and the previous head of the Scottish civil service have already avoided any close scrutiny of a previous and potentially far more significant scandal.

This related to the politicisation of the Scottish civil service during the 2014 independence referendum, and in particular

their involvement in the production of the Scotland’s Future White Paper.

For civil servants to mislead anyone is a breach of the civil service code, just as it would similarly be a breach of the ministerial code for any minister to encourage civil servants to do so.

Despite all of the denials at the time, insiders have since revealed that some of the content of the document was knowingly misleading.

Indeed, there are surely few now who would claim otherwise. Yet, given the large number of civil servants involved, how could this possibly be done without breaching one or both of those codes of conduct?

Keith Howell,

White Moss, West Linton, Peeblesshire.

THERE’S an old saying to the effect that “Great Britain, lost an empire and still to find a role”.

Given the current internal shambles in the SNP and the well documented and comprehensive failings in its attempts to govern Scotland, one is tempted to adapt the saying to: “The SNP, lost a referendum and still to find a role”.

Alex Gallagher,

Labour Councillor,

North Ayrshire Council,

Cunninghame House,