WHATEVER the outcome of the Salmond saga, it is likely to be of real historical significance because of the spotlight it has directed at key Scottish institutions.

Despite many years of involvement in Scottish politics, I have to confess to ignorance in relation to the full role of the Lord Advocate.

I knew the position was legal adviser and member of the Scottish Government. I had just assumed that the role in relation to the legal system was vaguely institutional.

It is really quite shocking to discover belatedly that a member of a government actually heads the Crown Prosecution Service, which makes the decisions about whether and whom to prosecute and on what charges, even in cases in which that government or senior individuals in it may have a stake.

This is not principally about the Salmond case but about all the cases in which the state and its agencies might be guilty of negligent or unlawful behaviour.

Have people in the legal profession been shouting about this deep flaw in the Scottish system and the rest of us just haven’t been listening? This needs reform.

The light shed by the case on top levels of our civil service has been very unflattering.

It is a complex job but the case has not only raised issues of ethical behaviour but also of serious incompetence.

We don’t want Scotland to be immobilised by never-ending reviews and inquiries, but a short, sharp assessment of the state of the top grade of our civil service is the least we should expect.

This brings us to the Holyrood committee system. There was a consensus when the Scottish Parliament was being planned that there should be a strong committee system to ensure that executive actions and policy initiatives would be thoroughly examined and open to challenge.

The Salmond inquiry has been a humiliating display of an over-powerful executive contemptuous of parliament and its committees. A serious priority for reform.

Finally, although not a state institution, our political parties are fundamental to our democracy.

The SNP has been run in recent years in an excessively centralised form with the illusion of democracy but little of its substance.

It has almost modelled itself on the Labour Party of the Blair/Brown years. This is always attractive for those in power but the arrogance of power also leads to big mistakes.

Fortunately, even with our constrained powers in Scotland, all of the above are within our control and can be reformed and we have no excuses for saying we didn’t know.

We have seen things that are wrong. We need to put them right.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.


AS we approach the middle of February we need to consider how close it is to the Holyrood May election.

Some are threatening to leave the SNP because of the issues discussed at the Scottish Government committee examining the flawed court case against Alex Salmond.

To stop supporting the SNP at this critical time would be a major mistake. We need to pull Yes groups together and begin campaigning for independence. Hopefully the setting up of Now Scotland will help that.

We are very close to an independence majority and we are not off the campaign starting blocks yet.

Whatever you feel about the SNP leadership and its views we must keep our pro-indy unity and achieve independence.

All other issues can be attended to, after independence. We must maximise the SNP majority and those who support independence. The post-election Parliament must have a majority of supporters for independence.

The particular voting system that was set up for Holyrood was to prevent the SNP getting a majority. The d’Hondt system’s trick was to cream off votes from large constituency votes and donate them to smaller votes from parties like Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Donald Dewar and Tony Blair were alert to the growing support for independence although they could not know then how big that support would become.

The SNP want both votes because they are the dominant party and want to stay that way. But those of us who want to maximise a vote for independence will be using the list vote for another independence party. This is democracy.

Broadening the voices for independence is valuable. I will be voting for SNP in the constituency vote and Action for Independence for the list vote.

I won’t be voting for the Green Party because they haven’t been doing much to promote independence recently.

Most of all, we must hold it together, keep the heid and remove ourselves from the incompetence, cronyism and chaos of the UK Government.

Maggie Chetty, Glasgow.


THANKS to Robert IG Scott for his advice (Lltters, February 10), “May I suggest, fellow Scots, that the time has come for a marked change ...”

I’m sure his intentions are honourable and Mr Scott seriously believes that “There is no rational reason for the SNP to be re-elected”.

However, the view from where I am is that the UK as a whole is governed by corrupt, unprincipled, entitled toffs who have the backing of tax-evading billionaires and criminally negligent chancers.

These are the people who have overseen the deaths of 100,000 citizens in a pandemic they were warned about long before it gripped this island.

I agree with Mr Scott on one point, however: “The only way forward ... is for the people of Scotland to opt for a change ...”

He should have finished his sentence right there.

Centuries of “Great” Britain stealing and thieving from foreign lands and persecuting its own people must indeed “change”.

Independence is the only option left for that change.

But thanks anyway for sharing your views, Mr Scott.

Kevin Orr, Bishopbriggs.


JOHN Milne (Letters, February 9) says he will not vote for the SNP or the Greens in the coming Scottish Parliamentary election unless they agree that independence is seen first and foremost as a sovereign opportunity to ensure that Scotland will be governed by the many rather than the few.

I can assure him that this will be the case. But it needs two to tango.

What Scotland desperately needs are other parties to stake their claim to govern in an independent country. At the moment, the Conservative, Labour and LibDem parties are all merely branches of their HQ at Westminster.

Until these parties become based in Scotland and accept the case for independence we will continue to have this potential democratic deficit in our country.

Ian McKee, Edinburgh.

THAT John Milne regards the current MSPs we Scots freely chose to represent us as “uninspiring” (Labour and Liberal Democrats), lacking in “principles” (Conservative and Unionists, Reform UK), or unable to be trusted to deliver what Scotland needs (SNP and Greens) hardly bodes well for a future independent Scotland.

Perhaps he’d like to comment?

Robert Bell, Cambuslang.


IT is sad, but understandable, when a long-established SNP supporter expects to vote for his party “reluctantly and through gritted teeth” (Letters, February 9).

With respect, I suggest ungritting the gnashers, biting the bullet, and consider the alternative – Say No Please (SNP).

R Russell Smith, Largs.


CATRIONA Clark ponders the benefits of a four-day week (letters, February 10) but she misses the real problem, which is that many would be reluctant to work an extra day.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

I READ that India is proposing a four-day week, but with a 48-hour working week being retained, this will mean four shifts of 12 hours, which will be difficult for parents of young children or those who care for elderly parents. It is something to bear in mind.

M Scott, Glasgow.

IN early 1974, due to a fuel crisis, the government of the day called for a three-day working week to preserve coal supplies

At that time I was employed as production engineer with a Glasgow boiler manufacturer. Normally the workshop had a 40-hour working week – that is, five days at eight hours per day.

With the three-day week production was reduced to 36 hours per week, three days at 12 hours per week.

Production increased significantly!

Ian Clark, North Berwick.

BEFORE addressing the issue of a four-day week we should first of all repair an economy wrecked by the pandemic and try to replace some of the many thousands of jobs, especially in the High Street, that have vanished as a consequence. A four-day week is for future years, not just now.

J. Kelly, Glasgow.