I NOTE with interest the article by Andy Maciver ("If we want quality politicians ... we need to pay them more", The Herald, November 18).

It raises several questions, not least of which is Mr Maciver being happy to pay MSPs £130,000, ministers £200,000, cabinet secretaries nearly £225,000 and the First Minister £300,000. I don't disagree that a different type of person might be enticed into politics but they might not be any improvement on what's there already, since they would potentially only be doing so because of the size of the salary package proposed by Mr Maciver and not because they necessarily have a significant desire to do so based on improving the lives of others in society.

He also raises a question about "who on earth would want to be a politician" (being paid a mere £65,000 per year)? The answer to that of course is that the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments are full of people who want to be a politicians: there is no shortage. Something not addressed by Mr Maciver is the qualities and qualifications of the new breed of politician attracted by the sky-high remuneration he proposes.

Currently, should an aspiring potential politician have to make ends meet by working temporarily as a labourer he/she would be well advised to apply for a Construction Skills Certification Card (CSCS). The requirements regarding application for such a card are that you can apply if you have either completed the RQF Level 1/SCQF Level 4 Award in Health and Safety in a Construction Environment or completed the SCQF Level 5 REHIS Elementary Health and Safety Certificate. I suspect most people would agree that even this most basic level of qualification is helpful when considering someone as a potential employee.

However, almost unbelievably, anyone in Scotland or in the rest of the United Kingdom can earn £65,000 per year by becoming a politician (soon to be (£130,000 if Mr Maciver's suggestion is implemented) without the need for any form of educational or vocational qualification whatsoever. The only expertise that an aspiring politician really needs to have is the ability to talk, talk some more and talk even more but still don't answer a straightforward question and of course the ability to act the part.

I suspect that Mr Maciver answers his own point in the final paragraph of his article when he states that even on current salaries of just £65,000 per annum we do have people of real quality in Jeane Freeman and Ian Murray. These two well-respected people prove the point that we can obtain politicians of real quality on existing political salary levels, so why don't we look harder for people of such quality and instead of offering vastly increased remuneration to future MSPs and MPs, look more at the ways in which badly-performing and untalented people, potentially with no qualifications whatsoever, can be prevented from entering politics and as a first step to do so by looking at the selection processes of all political parties which inevitably results in many instances of people "not up to the job" being appointed.

John S Milligan, Kilmarnock.