AT the risk of starting a stairheid rammy, I feel I should respond to Michael Watson’s reply (letters, November 21) to my previous letter.

He widens his criticism of the Scottish Government’s “ham-fisted” Covid-19 measures (without indicating what he would do to save lives) with a sideswipe at various other SNP initiatives. His letter concludes: “Our civil liberties are eroding fast: can he [that is, me] not see that?” Well, oddly enough, I can see our civil liberties being eroded.

I can see it when the Prime Minister ignores an independent enquiry into Ministerial bullying and defends his Minister. The highly respected author of the report resigns; the Minister stays in place.

I can see civil liberties being eroded when the extent of the “chumocracy” at the heart of the UK Government is exposed: apparently, at least £10 billion worth of Covid19-related contracts awarded without any tendering to companies, many of which allegedly have close contacts to the Conservatives. One individual receives £21 million as an introductory fee. A contract is given to a jewellery firm, another to a pest-control firm.

I can see civil liberties being eroded when major international companies continue to pay little or no taxes in the UK whilst making large profits (those pesky taxes which pay for schools and hospitals).

Proudly, this UK government says that it will break international law. The Scottish government proposes measures to further civil respect and understanding. Where there is criticism, it is rightly listened to and debated. Can the same be said at a UK level?

Hamish McPherson, Giffnock.

WHY was there not the usual SNP knee-jerk condemnation and pillorying of Priti Patel and the charges against her of bullying civil servants? Instead we had something most rare from the SNP: total silence.

I thought their usual attack dogs would have been unleashed. In this case, that was clearly a step too far for the usually hypocrisy-deficient SNP. What could the problem possibly be with civil servants being bullied by ministers that leaves the SNP speechless?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

OUR PM seems to think not sacking people who break rules (Dominic Cummings, Patel) is a sign of strong management. I’d say it is the exact opposite. Yes, he did eventually sack Mr Cummings but only when he fell out with his fiancée.

He will also live to regret his support for Patel. Does it matter that her abuse was ‘unintentional’? No: abuse is abuse. He also seems to be following Trump’s approach, saying he knows better than his advisers, leaving them with no other course than to resign. He instigated the enquiry, why did he ignore the findings?

There is something rotten at the core of this government but it simply reflects the ethics of the person at the top.

Willie Towers, Alford, Aberdeenshire.