THE conference speech by Boris Johnson to what we should now term the Conservative, Democratic Unionist and Brexit Party was somewhat underwhelming from a brand-new leader with a Queen’s Speech looming.

He appears unable to articulate how to either achieve No Deal, propose a deal acceptable to the EU’s internal commitments, safeguard the UK’s treaty obligations toward Ireland, or get an election.

Of course, the acolytes cheer him to the rafters, but how will his speech play to a wider UK? If he loses seats in Scotland or the South West, can he make them up in middle or northern England? He may well double his vote in Tory England, but that won’t gain any extra seats with the first-past-the-post system.

On Scotland, he brings up shipbuilding on the Clyde, an industry which has lost 90 per cent of its workforce in the last three decades, and that while Scotland receives less than half the per-capita spend on defence than it is due: hardly a plus for the Union. He wants control of “the extraordinary marine wealth of Scotland” while attempting to deny Scots the right to self-determine their own future. Remember that this same man once dubbed SNP influence as “A-Jockalypse Now”, and published a poem calling for the extermination of verminous Scots: hardly one-nation sentiments.

G R Weir, Ochiltree

EVERY Scot is fed up to the back teeth with Brexit, with three years of ineffective discussions and endless talk getting us absolutely nowhere with much negativity from the SNP minority government, which wants to re-join the E.U. under questionable terms.

The referendum on Europe was crystal clear - “Get out of Europe” - so let’s just do that whatever it takes, even if it means No Deal. At least we can then sort out our trading position to our own advantage and get on the road to a new prosperity and unlimited trade opportunities. The Scottish economy will recover fast in a free market as we have the best of the best in a full range of high-quality food produce, and worldwide exports will expand rapidly.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen

IT is still very hard to believe your headline about the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party (“Scots Tories want election in spring after Salmond trial”, October 1). I don’t doubt The Herald: it is just hard to accept that even these people have sunk so low.

Personally, having lived through the Poll Tax experiment on Scotland; having witnessed the continuing effects of the Universal Credit experiment on the Highlands; being still horrified by the mindset of those that could conceive of the Rape Clause and “Hostile Environment”; being numbed by the insanities of Tory Brexit Wars; watching the economic and environmental debacle unfolding at Hinkley Point in Somerset; and being newly aware that 726 homeless people died on the streets of English cities last year, I have to say that the Conservative Party, and those who support them, have seemed alien to me for a very long time.

Until yesterday, nevertheless, most people could not have imagined that this Scottish Tory Party was now so desperate, so cynical, that they would contemplate arranging an election to coincide with a court case that might divert attention from the quite incredible mess they have made of the UK economy and society- not to mention the international humiliation heaped upon the new-age Whitehall Farce that used to be called Westminster. These are dark times indeed.

Frances McKie, Evanton, Ross-shire

WHEN a trade union tries to negotiate a deal with an employer, it always does so with the possibility of a strike held in reserve. The labour movement has fought hard against all attempts to remove the right to strike. It is a weapon of last resort, but it strengthens the union’s hand in negotiations, a threat to be held in reserve. The union does not want to go on strike, because that damages the company and brings hardship to its members, but it cannot negotiate without that leverage.

No-deal is the equivalent of the right to strike. The UK Government cannot negotiate with any strength in its position if it is deprived of the threat of no-deal. It does not want no-deal, because it inflicts economic penalties on both sides, but it still needs that leverage.

The opposition, including Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP, has undermined the UK position in the negotiations with the EU by removing the possibility of no-deal. The government is now in the same position as a union which has been denied the right to strike.

Jeremy Corbyn has given in to the Remainers and they want him to give in to the EU. However, there is a strong chance that the people of UK are not ready to give in. They are tired of the prevarication, but that does not mean they have changed their minds about leaving. And if Labour has weakened, the people will soon leave it, too.

The referendum was the greatest exercise of democracy the UK has ever known. The government and opposition should be working together to implement the decision to Leave. Instead the opposition is blocking the way and spoiling the negotiations. They deserve to be thrashed at the next election. No wonder they refused to go the country when Boris Johnson challenged them to a General Election.

Les Reid, Edinburgh