YOUR article “Leonard: Nationalists should back Labour government with no pre-conditions”, (December 3) only served to expose the naivety and political shallowness of the Scottish Labour leader.

Evidence seen while Labour has been the main opposition at Westminster certainly suggests it has erred on the side of caution, and Richard Leonard in this article compounds this.

The SNP may well support a minority Labour Government at Westminster, but surely benefits for Scotland would be a pre-condition to any support. After all, one of the SNP’s main policies is to return power to the Scottish people and increase the powers at Holyrood.

Leonard outlines what would be included in any future Labour Government’s Queens Speech, which he would expect the SNP to support - £2 billion additional investment in the NHS in Scotland, £10 minimum wage, scrapping of Universal Credits. All very commendable, and all policies the Scottish Government have legislated on or mitigated against, when devolved powers allow.

But unfortunately the powers necessary are not always devolved and so the Scottish Government is powerless. Step forward the main opposition at Westminster: Labour. Where have you been hiding? Amidst Conservative minority Governments, you have been conspicuous by your silence, totally ineffective, and have done nothing to protect the vulnerable.

Nicola Sturgeon would surely be failing in her duties if she were not demanding democracy and more powers for Scotland as a pre-condition to any support for a future Labour Government.

Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk.

WITH regard to the leaders’ debate on Tuesday night, Nicola Sturgeon has again stated that the Conservatives are the biggest threat to face Scotland, ever. This is a nation that has survived the Black Death, the Battle of Flodden, the Civil War, the Darien Scheme, Napoleon, the Great Depression, World Wars One and Two, The Great Recession and the SNP. We’ll probably be okay.

David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire

A SMILE crossed my lips as I read Douglas Bell MBE’s letter (The Herald, December 3) asking, amongst other things, Dr Gerald Edwards to “ leave Nicola alone”. Puir wee sowel, thought I. Nicola seems to me to be more than capable of looking after herself.

David Miller, Milngavie.

SO, with a straight face, Nicola Sturgeon states on TV: ‘I always tell the truth’. What? Where do we start? How about her claim, on re-election in 2016, that Scotland’s education system was her number one priority, when it’s beyond obvious that independence and the nationalist dogma drives her and the SNP above all else? When claiming she always tells the truth, I’m sorry to say it, the First Minister of Scotland, desperate for votes next week, is lying to us all.

Martin Redfern, Edinburgh.

ALEXANDER McKay (Letters, December 4) declares himself to be weeping and despairing at his analysis of the SNP’s performance. But because of what he sees as their ‘cult-like following and a first-past-the-post system,’ he anticipates them winning most Scottish seats in the upcoming election.

He then draws an absurd parallel by reminding us that ‘Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin regularly won landslide election victories,’ suggesting we may need protection from the SNP.

Supporters of independence must take considerable pleasure from reading such evidence of heightened hysteria and lack of perspective from Unionist correspondents, and will view it as evidence of continuing SNP success. If Mr McKay is weeping and despairing now, he could well be adding wailing and gnashing of teeth to his repertoire of misery should Boris Johnson be returned to power.

Dr Angus Macmillan, Dumfries.

THE Scottish Tories should make Jackson Carlaw their leader immediately. His one-liners in the debate were funny and relevant and he gave a robust. realistic defence of Tory policies.

Willie Rennie came across well too, especially on the SNP’s education record, but poor old Richard Leonard floundered badly, and Nicola Sturgeon’s dilapidated tactics of talking over her opponents fell flat, as did her repeated demands for apologies from her opponents for their policy disasters.

Perhaps Santa should bring her a mirror for Christmas so she can see the real culprit, and while he’s at it, invite Messrs Carlaw and Rennie round to discuss how they can start working together to get rid of the SNP for Holyrood 2021.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.