IS it any wonder that so many people are completely disillusioned with politics in this country?

For democracy to work, Parliaments need a competent and effective opposition. Scotland does not have any, so the SNP have free rein to do as they like. Under its current leadership, Labour has no chance of regaining its former position. The current Scottish Conservative Parliamentary leader lost all credibility when she decided to accept her ermine robe.

The Conservatives must also be tearing out their hair at the Embarrassment who occupies No 10 Downing St.

He appoints an independent assessor to investigate allegations of bullying at the Home Office and then totally refutes the conclusions reached. The subject of his investigation seems to think that a “heartfelt” apology is all she needs to keep her position secure.

The revelations of “chumocracy” in the awarding of contracts for PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, involving eye-watering sums of money, are simply shrugged aside by the Chancellor.

And the national Labour party continues to tear itself apart over the Corbyn affair, with trade union dinosaurs still exerting undue influence.

As I have written before, I despair.

John N E Rankin, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire.

THE Good Law Project, supported by a public crowdfunding initiative, is taking the Conservative Government to court for its cronyism and lack of process in its awarding of contracts during the current health crisis.

What comes to mind, generally, is the colossal amount of waste of public money and lack of scrutiny.

At the centre of that would have to be the ill-fated HS2 project currently £800 million over budget and projected to send the diggers into ancient woodland and heritage sites.

What is additionally offensive is the blatant Southern bias of the project.

It is little wonder that the Prime Minister is spending time trying to woo the new Northern Conservatives who represent those areas where road and rail infrastructure is so poor.

Those who argue that Scotland is “too wee, too poor” for an independent economy should take stock. Even if the first two or three years of budgeting were tentative in their efforts, it is clear that we could do so much better.

The launch of the Scottish Investment Bank was excellent news, while recognising that it requires wider public involvement. The news report of its investment in a Clydeside laser technology firm is exactly the kind of development required to grow the economy.

The draft Scottish Constitution tying a Scottish currency to government control offers more possibility of a stable economy without casino-banking hands in the till.

The desire for honest dealing and public transparency has never been greater particularly since the “reality television” approach of Donald Trump has been rejected by the US electorate.

An independent Scottish, clean, green economy beckons.

Maggie Chetty, Glasgow.

ALLAN Sutherland of Stonehaven (letters, November 23), having watched Question Time on BBC TV, apparently draws inspiration from the London-based Scot, Fraser Nelson, and Tory MP James Cleverly, who repeated the current favourite anti-SNP statistic which compares Scotland unfavourably with Rwanda as a domicile.

Nelson is the son of a Glaswegian but spent his formative years in the Moray area. Cleverly has never left England for education, work or political service, although his Sierra Leone-born mother may have imparted some knowledge to him of living conditions in Africa; I suspect that his knowledge of Scotland is incomplete.

Another London-based Scot, Andrew Neil, had quoted similar statistics on live TV recently, aiming his remarks at Glasgow’s East End, and, in turn, was joyfully quoted by Scotland’s only Labour MP, Ian Murray, who has never held any position outside his native Edinburgh.

I have no knowledge of Allan Sutherland’s life experience or of poverty levels in Stonehaven but for my own part, born in a Glasgow tenement, raised in an East End housing Estate, educated and worked mainly in Glasgow, I have never been tempted to relocate to Rwanda, although I have experienced living and working in three continents.

From my own researches I can quote from BBC TV in 2018 where, in a list of the UK’s most deprived areas, the first Scottish area was Central Glasgow, at number 12. Most of the areas ahead of Glasgow were in London, Birmingham or Manchester.

My message to Unionists and others who persist in dishing dirt on the Scottish government is best summed up in the well-known Glaswegian expression “Gonnae no dae that! Jist gonnae no!”

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

I MUST have been watching a different episode of Question Time from Allan Sutherland.

Far from getting “two public dressing-downs” I thought Ian Blackford spoke with assurance, sincerity and dignity.

While the replies to the question “has devolution been a disaster?” were entirely predictable from James Cleverly MP and Fraser Nelson of the Spectator, Mr Blackford pointed out that, among other achievements, the Scottish government had been praised by the United Nations for its efforts on climate change and designing a new social security system, including the new Scottish Child Payment which has been described as a “game changer” and the most ambitious anti-poverty measure of anywhere in the UK.

Mr Sutherland suggests pro-UK politicians should take a “how to do it” induction course from Mr Cleverly and Mr Nelson, but I believe most voters in Scotland would think that a course from a Tory MP and the Tory-supporting Editor of the right-wing Spectator would be a lesson on how not to do it.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

YES, it was a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” is my response to J. Young, Edinburgh, whose Herald letter (November 23) is meant, I think, to correct a previous letter of mine, and particularly me, describing the much politicised phrase as “throwaway”.

However, I remain uncorrected on this matter. Regardless of its origins, it is the word “opportunity” that was significant, not the once-in-a- whatever as this is a typical offhand, or indeed throwaway expression.

Only those with ulterior motive or conscious agenda would choose to fasten onto such throwaway phraseology and ascribe to it fealty oath status.

I would, though, suggest to J. Young that he focus instead on the “vows” subscribed to by three leaders of main UK political parties at the time of the 2014 independence referendum, including how a No vote would ensure Scotland’s continued membership of the EU ostensibly because of the UK’s eternal commitment to the EU.

Rather than tilt at me and my fealty oaths, maybe J.Young could joust at some of these Don Quixote vows that stir with their windiness some fabled windmill sails.

Ian Johnstone, Peterhead.

IT does appear that Struan Stevenson occasioned a real stushie with his recent political observations.

Some seven letters comprising the entire Herald political page (November 24) suggest that the columnist has lost the plot vis-a-vis Scotland’s future.

Whilst I am not suggesting an SoS (Save our Struan) campaign, I trust those of his ilk will make some form of spirited response. A score of seven-nil does indicate a problem with Team Stevenson’s game plan.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

HAVING read the plethora of letters criticising Mr Stevenson for pointing out the blindingly obvious that an independent Scotland would suffer years of uncertainty and austerity due to our fiscal deficit (much higher public spending per capita than England) the correspondents really do “transcend” economic reality.

And that was before plunging oil prices and Covid-19 are taken into account.

In doing so, they clearly ignore the sober assessment by Andrew Wilson (the SNP “brains”) on how an independent Scotland would look like for the first ten years outside the UK internal market and the EU single market.

For example, he accepts GERS (much to the annoyance of the diehard nationalists) as a credible starting point and has adapted modelling approaches from a range of economic experts and institutions.

However, to me, the outstanding points worth mentioning from his report (to his credit) are his understanding that Scotland’s share of debt has to be repaid (there’s no magic printing press); the fiscal deficit has to be reduced to three per cent from its current unsustainable level; and that we would have to cling to the pound for up to ten years.

The questions the nationalists should be asking Nicola Sturgeon, rather than having a go at Mr Stevenson, is whether she agrees with Andrew Wilson’s report and, if not, where exactly she differs.

Indeed, they should stress to her the urgency to produce another report, given the eyewatering amount of debt to fund the effects of Covid.

The quote often made by nationalists, that they we are “too poor, too wee, too stupid”, will be an apt description of the SNP until they stop disregarding economic reality and explain questions they have failed to answer since the “once-in-a-generation” referendum in 2014.

Ian Lakin, Milltimber, Aberdeen.

KUDOS to Alister Jack for urging the SNP to work with, rather than against, Westminster (“Alister Jack accuses Scottish Government of putting ‘nationalist interest ahead of the national interest’, November 21).

One fervently hopes that the SNP will get its comeuppance at the elections next May. As Mr Jack says, we do not need another divisive referendum at this acutely difficult time for the entire country.

D. McIntosh, Glasgow.