BORIS Johnson's Conservative administration appears to be overtly creeping towards an Americanisation of press freedom in this country.

Lee Cain, the Prime Minister's senior communications adviser, seems to be mimicking the actions of his American counterpart, Sarah Sanders, in only allowing government access to journalists or broadcasting groups that refrain from criticism of those in power or who act as apologists for their policies or views. The recent boycott of a Downing Street press briefing demonstrates tangible evidence that political reporters and the agencies they represent will not bow to government bullying or a selection process based on intimidation of the press (“Journalists boycott Downing St briefing”, The Herald, February 4).

It is significant that, though Mr Cain attempted to humiliate reporters from the Independent and the Daily Mirror amongst others by dividing them from their peers; their colleagues from the Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph and the Sun, as well as television political reporters, Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston, all showed solidarity with their colleagues to boycott the briefing and publicly display their commitment to a democratic press freedom. They should be commended for taking a stance against the Government's manipulative attempts to hide from open scrutiny and accountability, but I fear this will only mark the beginning of Mr Johnson's skirmishes with the press.

At present Government ministers are banned from appearing on BBC 4's Today programme, Channel 4 news and ITV's Good Morning Britain as they have been accused of bias against Mr Johnson and his party's political programme or opinions. The Prime Minister's Brexit Day address bypassed the media, on the orders of Dominic Cummings, and was filmed by a Downing Street crew, perhaps a lesson learned from the US President who consistently uses social media to address his supporters to avoid any press reproval.

President Trump's administration consistently attempts to portray any political reporter who dares to question government policy or criticise the President himself as unpatriotic or misinformed. There can be no doubt that press freedom in the United States is now more limited than it has been for a generation with the sycophantic Fox News apparently the only news outlet to carry the government's seal of approval.

A post-Brexit UK must continually be on its guard to try and ensure our Government cannot subdue or oppress our media in the weeks and months ahead. Mr Johnson's Conservative administration is unconventional and ruthless in pursuing its vision of a plutocratic and free enterprise “Americanised” state. Our press must remain open, free and democratic at all times.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

Drily damp

YOUR picture of Glasgow's refurbished Anniesland Housing Office from 1985 (Those were the days, The Herald, February 1) reminded me of a visit to the George Square office of the housing department around that same time. I had been hired by the city's PR department to produce some publicity material, which required a visit to the very dated housing office.

There was a sign reading "Dampness Queue" which attracted my attention. Recalling my late father's as-yet-unfulfilled request for a council house, made to the then City Improvements Department in 1945, I was moved to suggest to the PR officer that the queue may well be for similar applicants, who 40 years on, could not contain their excitement on reaching the top of the list. The chap gave a rueful smile but, not surprisingly, failed to comment.

David G Will, Milngavie.

Vote losers

RE the Iowa caucus cock-up, where results were delayed over counting problems – they never had this problem when President Putin ran their elections.

Doug Clark, Currie.

Pun, my word

PERHAPS I may add to Thelma Edwards' erudite letter (February 4) concluding with a verse by F Lamport.

Felicia Lamport,who died in 1999, was an American poet and satirist particularly well known for inventive use of the pun. One of her books was titled Light Metres.

Readers may, I hope, feel encouraged to provide examples of creative uses of the pun.

David Miller, Milngavie.