AS the Labour leadership candidates make their opening pitches to the Labour members, there are already signs that they are beginning to implode.

What a gaffe it was by Rebecca Long-Bailey to award Jeremy Corbyn 10/10 for his leadership of the Labour Party which slumped to a disastrous election defeat. Will she be allowed to forget that by the wider electorate?

Lisa Nandy has done herself no favours in Scotland, where the Labour vote needs resurrection more than rejuvenation, with her statement about learning lessons from the Catalonian demand for independence and the Spanish government's handling thereof. Maybe her phrasing was rather loose and needs clarification, but it will hang around her neck during the campaign.

Sir Keir Starmer's nostalgic video presentation belongs to All Our Yesterdays and does little for his credibility, despite his credentials for putting across a good brief. However, he lacks the necessary stardust to revivify his party's hopes in elections.

As for Emily Thornberry, who just scraped on to the ballot much like the previous leader, exudes a whiff of desperation and will sink without trace.

So far Jess Phillips is the only one left standing who has not holed her own canoe, though there is plenty of time left for her to do that.

Sadly, the future looks bleak for a party needed as a counterweight to the Conservative caravan but it is beginning to look as though all its history is behind it, unless it can fashion a narrative about responsible capitalism, melding the private and public interests so that they can be harnessed in harmony.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

FOR years Scotland has suffered in relative silence under the Scottish National Party because there was no credible alternative government. If Jackson Carlaw is elected Tory leader in Scotland this will change ("Carlaw vows to cut middle-earner taxes and ‘take down’ Sturgeon", The Herald, January 16).

The record in office of the SNP is nothing short of woeful but it has been very good at spinning its way out of trouble. The lack of a viable opposition party has been a large factor in its success. Politics in Scotland is now in a very different situation.

The SNP is pursuing independence with reckless haste whilst the more measured Unionist opposition is coalescing around the Tories given Labour's " fence sitting" position yet again. The mere fact that Tories were elected as MPs in mining constituencies in England which were always designated as "virulently anti-Tory areas" has been dismissed by the SNP far too quickly.

Thirteen years in office has exposed the many frailties of the SNP. A renewed Tory Party under Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish political orator of the year, will not be dismissed by Nicola Sturgeon's tired invective quite as easily as in the past. The SNP's wearisome focus on independence is its last-ditch effort to avoid more basic scrutiny. In a democracy, no political party stays in office forever.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

MY first impression when I read Jackson Carlaw’s platform for Scottish Tory Leader – “Take Down Sturgeon” – was that he had been overdosing on Godfather films: but his whole speech is so divorced from reality, it is incredibly funny.

BBC Scotland has long struggled to put a decent comedy show on TV that isn’t just shouty, sweary voices, with faux Glasgow accents, none of which is funny. I propose it hires Mr Carlaw to write a script. Without him changing a smidgeon of his mind-set, I bet it would be comedic gold!

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

MIKE Wilson (Letters, January 16) writes that he expects from Mark Francois "a scintilla of humility or the sort of bonhomie his French name might suggest”. For me Mark Francois lost any scintilla he may have had when he lost his cedilla; because his name, strictly speaking, should be François ("Franssois", rather than "Frankois").

I would also suggest that the "humility" Mr Wilson is seeking may come from the fact that Mr Francois, as spelt, truly indicates that he is, after all, a mongrel – like the rest of us. However, where I think he differs from the rest of us, is that were primates to become extinct, for whatever reason, he, and his ilk, would represent primatology at its best. So perhaps worth preserving a little while longer from a zoological point of view.

Patrice Fabien, Glasgow G12.

REGARDING "A bong for Brexit" (Letters, January 16) I am surprised not to have seen in your pages (or anywhere else) lately the alleged observation of Sir Robert Walpole on the celebrations following war with Spain breaking out: “Now they ring the bells, but they will soon wring their hands.”.

Hugh Dunnachie, Sanquhar.