THERE is much that I can find to disagree with in respect of the policies and behaviour of the SNP. However, there is one topic with which I find it extremely easy to register my concurrence and that is in relation to the House of Lords ("Cabinet peerages a 'grotesque spectacle'", The Herald, December 18).

The SNP, as a matter of principle, make no nominations to the bizarre, oversized and unelected House of Lords. To hand out a well-paid job for life in the country's legislature in the 21st century to loyal party members, advisers, supporters and those who have lost an election, is as close to a complete anachronism as one can get. Whither Jo Swinson, erstwhile of East Dunbartonshire? That is apart from the 26 Church of England bishops sitting there burnishing their self-esteem.

Let us turn to the ongoing Brexit episode to find some pearls of wisdom from the ranks of that House following the EU Referendum when more than17 million of the electorate voted to leave. Lady Altmann complained that "politics is being put above economics". Lord Liddle criticised the "jingoists and imperialists .... in the working class electorate". Lady Henig opined: "This is the problem with direct democracy: the public do not necessarily come up with the optimum answer." Any faint hopes we may have had of the new Government actually doing something about this outrage against democracy have already disappeared with the elevation of Nicky Morgan, who did not even stand for re-election recently, and Zac Goldsmith, who lost his seat. This time for me, Nicola Sturgeon said it all.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

BORIS Johnson's declaration that the Conservative Party has changed, declaring that his will be a "people's government" and repay the trust of those who voted for them has straight away been tarnished by Mr Johnson adding to the already swollen numbers of the undemocratic and unelected House of Lords by handing peerages to Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith, two former Conservative MPs, in order to keep them in his Cabinet. The new Baroness Morgan wasn't a candidate last week and Mr Goldsmith stood at the election, but was defeated. So instead of the bright shiny start we were promised the reality is we're stuck with the same old Tories imposing their policies on Scotland, where they hold six out of Scotland's 59 Westminster seats. And they call it democracy.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

A key driver of devolution

MAY I add a touch to the letter of Isobel Lindsay (Letters, December 14) on the Labour Party and Independence. Home Rule was a founding policy of the Labour Party when formed in 1900.

It was banished from Labour’s vocabulary by the authoritarian Secretary of State for Scotland, Willie Ross, who fulminated against the emerging Scottish National Party after the historic win of the Hamilton constituency, by Mrs Winnie Ewing in 1966.

All Scottish Office ministers were threatened with instant dismissal if they uttered the words of home rule, devolution or independence. They kept their jobs by keeping their heads well below the hedge and remaining silent.

John P Mackintosh didn’t. Re-elected in Berwick and East Lothian constituency in October 1974 he asked my help in launching the revival of devolution. That year the constituency officers persuaded the leading Scottish trade union leaders, at Labour’s annual conference at Perth, to support their resolution. They did despite the concept of Home Rule being anathema to them.

Thus, Devolution was restored as Labour Party policy.

John P. Mackintosh was a forceful proponent of devolution to Scotland. He famously said in the House of Commons in 1976: "People in Scotland want a degree of government for themselves. It is not beyond the wit of man to devise the institutions to meet these demands.”

He also advanced the concept of dual nationality: that Scots could be both Scottish and British, and indeed European.

When I asked him, that morning in 1974, if devolution could lead to independence he said: “Why not. If it becomes the settled will of the Scottish people, then why not?

John Mackintosh died in office in 1978, aged 48.

The Referendum on devolution in 1979, which he had driven, was ruthlessly scuppered by Robin Cook MP and his Labour colleague George Cuningham MP.

Arthur Greenan, Founder, The John P Mackintosh Annual Memorial Lecture Fund, East Linton.