RON McKay’s list of those who would be denied entry into the UK (“Irony of points system isn’t Priti”, March 28) shows how ridiculously stupid the plans of Priti Patel really are, and that the immigration laws and those in charge of them in this country have long been, and continue to be, in disarray.The chance to welcome on board intelligent and forward-thinking people who have enriched this country in the past should be recognised as well as our duty to those who are fleeing for their lives.

It beggars belief that this woman and her ideas on immigration would even be considered by this Government, but then on reflection would we really expect the members of this Government to have the ability to recognise those who could enhance this country by what they would bring? Judging by their record over the past decade, I think not.
During this particular time of Easter when people, including Government officials who support Priti Patel’s ideas, pay homage to Jesus and his message, it should be remembered that he and his 12 pals who were all unemployed and would be barred from the buroo for voluntarily leaving their jobs to rely on charity to survive, would never have been allowed anywhere near these shores except by bypassing the legal route.
Michael Tolland, Glasgow.

BEFORE deciding to vote for Nicola Sturgeon in the upcoming election and not seeking to strengthen the hand of a “mediocre Government in Westminster”, Mary Kwiatkowski (Letters, March 28) would do well to revisit the disgraceful record of Ms Sturgeon’s regime since 2014. Let me remind Ms Kwiatkowski what a truly “mediocre government” Ms Sturgeon has presided over.
In September 2016, she stated that “nothing” was more important than independence, and she has proved true to her word. She wanted to be judged on her record on education which has failed children and teachers. It is well documented that the attainment gap has widened and the OECD report is being held back until after the election. Ms Sturgeon’s vanity projects such as Prestwick, BiFab and Ferguson Marine have cost Scotland more than £300 million. Then we have a new hospital unfit for purpose, another hospital responsible for child deaths due to poor ventilation, rusting ferries costing three times the original. A new bridge which has to close in winter due to ice falling on cars. The Police Scotland financial black hole of £60m.
Scotland has the highest drug deaths in Europe, an increase in child poverty, an increase in homelessness, reduction in GP surgeries, a Named Person Scheme North Korea would be proud of, the Hate Crime Act China would be proud of and a national police force Russia would be proud of. All of these the product of a regime intent on control. I could go on.
Ms Sturgeon is brilliant at sound bites, provides great ideas but fails to follow through. The only thing she is good at is daily grandstanding. As history shows, the ability of leaders who are good at populist rhetoric is to hypnotise and control, exactly why she has the support she has. We know what happens to these “leaders”.
Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.

NOT one but two articles from Iain Macwhirter in this week’s Herald on Sunday (“The SNP say Salmond is unfit for public office but that doesn’t mean Alba will fail to win votes” and “Hating Boris isn’t enough – this election will be difficult for SNP”, March 28); what a pity neither accurately reflects what many in Scotland, especially women, feel about Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.
All of Mr Salmond’s post-trial posturing has been personal, in my view that of a vengeful, arrogant individual whose ego has blinded him to the reality of his own self-confessed inappropriate behaviour whilst in office.
Mr Macwhirter cannot contain his joy at the introduction of Alba to the forthcoming Scottish election and claims that the election has now “come alive”. I am not sure that the man or woman in the street would agree with his excitement.
None of my friends and colleagues, male or female, of all ages, can stomach the idea of the return of the former First Minister to the public sphere.
As regards his main column, extensive borrowing by Rishsi Sunak has allowed the UK economy to keep going during this pandemic. Surely Mr Macwhirter is aware that Scotland will only have full borrowing powers once it is independent.
He seems extremely reluctant to accept the very high regard in which Ms Sturgeon stands not only in Scotland but in the wider UK. As well as leading the day to day governance of Scotland, she has had to deal with a huge public health issue as well as a very hostile and negative media, not to mention the ructions resulting from the former first minister’s extremely regrettable personal behaviour.
Eileen Michael, Ralston.

THERE can be no doubt that Henry Dundas was a scoundrel. A heavy drinker, a womaniser and a man who shamelessly used his considerable powers of patronage to help his friends, particularly fellow Scots. However to continue to place all of the blame on Dundas for the delay in the abolition of the slave trade is I think unfair and ignores the reality of the tumultuous years of the early 1790s. Those attacking Henry Dundas (“Was Henry Dundas ‘The Great Delayer’?”, March 28) have to address the question as to how a slave-supporting Parliament was ever going to vote for abolition.
Britain was now at war with Revolutionary France and was faced with the real prospect of invasion. Dundas was effectively the UK’s War Minister. Furthermore, the British establishment was terrified that the success of the French Revolution might inspire similar uprisings in the UK. The country was flooded with spies and agents provocateurs. In Edinburgh, the annual celebration of the King’s birthday in June 1792 led to three days of rioting. Several so-called Radicals were executed and many more such as Thomas Muir were transported to Botany Bay. The Habeus Corpus Act was suspended in 1794. The country was in turmoil and it fell to Dundas to try to restore order at home and to meet the French threat.
Realistically in the 1790s there was very little chance for legislation to abolish slavery to succeed in Parliament. A previous attempt to pass a motion for abolition had been very heavily defeated. Dundas knew perfectly well that Parliament was packed with members who had strong vested interests in the slave trade. It would take years for the force of the moral argument against the vile trade to have any chance of success. During the debate in 1792 he proposed a gradual path to abolition, stating that “my opinion has been always against the slave trade”. Indeed it was Dundas who had taken on the case of the West Indian slave Joseph Knight in 1777 and successfully established that there was no slavery in Scotland. He concluded his remarks in the Court of Session by stating: “Human nature, my Lords, spurns at the thought of slavery among any part of our species.”  It is quite wrong to state that “Dundas was fighting a rearguard action against abolition”.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer, who is to be congratulated for his efforts to expose Scotland’s role in the slave trade, calculates that the delay in repealing slavery from 1792 to1807 resulted in 42,000 people being shipped across the Atlantic as slaves. However, it is worth remembering that the vast majority of these unfortunate Africans were captured and sold to the slave traders by their fellow Africans. It is seriously misleading to present slavery as a white persecution of black. Finally, we must also remember that during the centuries in question at least a million white Europeans were captured and sold in the slave markets of North Africa.
Dundas had many faults, but I do not think that he deserves to take the full blame for the delay in the abolition of the slave trade.
Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.

IN suggesting that the hate crime legislation recently approved in Scotland differs little to legislation in England and Wales, Professor Matt Williams overlooks important differences between the two (“Why we can’t stop hating each other” March 28). The legislation on “stirring up hate” extends here to a longer list of characteristics, including transgender identity, where “hate” has become a heavily contested term. In England, behaviour must be “threatening and abusive”; in Scotland, the test is only “abusive”. Lord Bracadale recommended that protection for freedom of expression here should follow the English model, including anticipating specific flashpoints, but this has been done only for religion. Scotland also has no specific protection for entirely private conversation. Much of the unresolved concern here relates to these points.
More generally, academic commentary has at times failed to engage with how the law here is likely to work in practice and its potential for unanticipated chilling effects. Intention to use the legislation to inhibit debate on certain topics is already evident. In response to a reference on Twitter to the LGB Alliance, which argues that a person’s sex, rather than their gender identity, is the material issue for sexual orientation, an SNP parliamentary researcher has expressed hope that the act “will do some work to limit the activities of these hate groups in our country”.
Prof Williams states that “legislation sends a signal to the community about what’s tolerated”. Many women in Scotland remain concerned that the legislation here, which controversially excluded sex as a protected characteristic, sends a signal that hatred toward them is to be tolerated, but their freedom of expression on questions about sex and gender identity is not.
Lucy Hunter Blackburn, Kath Murray, Lisa Mackenzie, Edinburgh.

JOSEPH Tipler (Letters, March 28) asks if the SNP would expect America to bomb Russia in the event of a nuclear strike on Scotland.
I can’t speak for everyone in the SNP but I wouldn’t expect that or desire it.
Why does he think Russia would want to bomb Scotland?
Hopefully we would become one of the many small nations in the world not in thrall to weapons of mass destruction.
Jane Porteous, Kinross.