I AM writing in view of the critical elections immediately ahead, hoping that all of us may see through the smokescreen that is hiding the real issues that are at stake.

It is obvious that the nationalist parties can’t even see eye to eye, but worse than that, they can’t even control their administration.

There is a massive black hole in their finances – money pours in from the UK Treasury, but where does it go? There is a serious lack of transparency in so many areas of the current administration.

Much could be said, but a few frightening facts will suffice to illustrate the concerns of intelligent people.

Poverty in Scotland is increasing at an alarming rate. There are 30,000 more children living in relative poverty in 2019/2020 than there were in 2018/2019.

Drugs deaths in Scotland are the worst in the EU. The death rate among the homeless is three times higher in Scotland than in England.

The state of our roads is lethal –largely due to a lack of funding to councils by the Scottish Government. Many medical practices have had to close because of a shortage of GPs.

I could go on, but the stark truth is that the present administration has shown itself unfit to govern, and their aim for Scotland to become independent is, to say the least, pie in the sky.

Russell Hopwood, Kirkliston, Edinburgh.


YOUR main story (“100 infected patients ‘led to care home Covid crisis’”, April 22) reports on yet another disaster from this SNP Government.

This time, it concerns the needless deaths of hundreds of our elderly due to them having been released from hospital to care homes, even though they had tested positive for Covid.

The report, by Public Health Scotland, makes the quite astonishing claim that this movement of infected patients from hospital to care home meant this act of gross stupidity on so many levels could “not rule out” the spreading of death.

Note the phrase “not rule out”, and wonder where we recruit these report writers from, given that it is as clear as the nose on your face (and was so at the time it was being perpetrated) that the spread of infection would be as inevitable as night follows day.

This was, clearly, so obvious. It is not hindsight.

This decision is not just some mere incompetence by the SNP Government, as was the case of Prestwick airport, or Ferguson Marine, or the Alex Salmond court costs, or policies that have failed our children’s education, reduced the effectiveness of our police and local government services, and much more.

This is in addition to a decision that will diminish our train services to third-world status when the train franchise is taken in-house under Holyrood control.

All these failures matter though they did not directly cost lives. But the hospital-to-care home transfer did cost lives, and those ministers responsible must be brought to book.

James Martin, Glasgow.


IN the report last week on SNP Government policies relating to poverty, life expectancy, education, childcare, healthcare, drugs deaths, homeless victims, Covid-19 vaccination, economy, police, freedom of speech, local government, fund distribution and procurement, it would seem that in every single area their policies have failed.

On top of this an independent Scotland would leave the UK borders exposed. Therefore, the answer to the question “Is Scottish independence a good idea?” has to be a categoric No. Do not be blinded by nationalism.

I write as a director of a business based in Scotland who would have to seriously reconsider – along with many others – the genuine viability of remaining in Scotland should it become an independent country.

Stephen Simpson, Powys.


THE letters page of The Herald is no place for a history lesson.

James Cormie’s assessment (April 22) that the Act of Union “rescued Scotland from its third-world status” is, however, so ignorant, misleading and inflammatory, that he should surely be asked to read about the many Navigation Acts, The Act of Settlement, The Aliens Act and The Equivalent, and what followed for Scotland, including Culloden, over the very next 100 years.

He could then perhaps reflect on lessons learned.

In terms of debt, the sooner Scotland extracts itself from the bankrupting, magic money-tree mess of Brexit, HS2, Crossrail and the Covid national debt – as created by Westminster cronyism, corruption and incompetence – the better.

Scotland’s future is internationalist co-operation in a pandemic-alert world, aware that no matter how many billions are spent on unusable, unstable nuclear missiles stored for “ safety” just outside a remote and expendable city somewhere near Loch Lomond, viruses pay no heed whatsoever. And the ice-caps will go on melting.

Yes, indeed, Mr Cormie: Brexit is also a disaster. Scotland did not vote for it and that’s exactly the same point that goes all the way back to that so-called “ Union” in 1707.

While English votes dominate London Rule, Scotland has no real say in vital matters. Devolution has only allowed Holyrood to ameliorate, the most recent example being Covid, the care “industry”– privatised by London Rule – and the consequent suffering and deaths.

We are simply a different nation, in terms of environment, culture, economy and outlook – the oldest in Europe – with a long, long history of non-predatory internationalism. We should be looking to the future on our own terms. We need our own independent government, not the looming, extremely dangerous “power grab”.

Frances McKie, Evanton, Ross-shire.

JAMES Cormie reminds the people of Scotland that the Westminster Government can be voted out of office every five years.

Perhaps he has just arrived from Mars on the new helicopter service and is not aware that many of us here in Scotland have been trying to do that exact thing for many years without success. We need some further guidance from Mr Cormie to improve our deficient grasp of arithmetic.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


THE SNP manifesto includes the statement: “We will explore the potential to build ... a bridge from Gourock to Dunoon.” Is this the most ridiculous commitment in a manifesto for the gullible?

The width of the crossing of the Clyde at this point is similar to the Forth at Queensferry.

Any crossing of the Firth of Clyde would need to allow clearance for large ships. It is therefore not unreasonable to assume that the cost of a bridge would not be less than the £1.35 billion cost of the Queensferry Crossing. Additional costs would be incurred beyond that for road connections with the bridge.

A few minutes using Google Maps allows assessment of potential savings in distances and travel times that such a bridge would offer.

This indicates that for traffic originating from the Fort William area, there is no benefit, irrespective of destination.

From Oban and the Kintyre peninsula there is no benefit if the destination is Glasgow or Ayr, but a saving of around 20 to 25 minutes if the final destination of the journey is Greenock – which, I would suggest, would account for an insignificant proportion of journeys.

For Dunoon and the Cowal peninsula, the bridge would typically offer a saving of just over 30 minutes compared to the current ferry service and, to Glasgow, a saving of around an hour compared to driving via Arrochar.

The total population of the Cowal peninsula is around 15,000.

The existing ferry service, operated by Western Ferries, at peak operates a 15-minute service in both directions with vessels that carry 40 cars.

This equates to an hourly peak of 320 journeys. This is a very small traffic flow.

By comparison, Transport Scotland published data between March and May 2019 showing that the hourly peak across the Queensferry Crossing was in excess of 6,000 journeys.

Even allowing for the bridge generating economic growth, it is obvious that a benefit-to-cost analysis will not justify such investment.

The figures are so stark that I would suggest that even expenditure on a feasibility study would amount to wasteful misuse of public funds.

George Rennie, Inverness.


I HAVE checked, and Boris Johnson is definitely not standing for any Holyrood seat. Those who suggest that Boris is an issue are simply diverting attention from their own dismal hinterland. A poorer cohort of opportunist carpetbaggers you will not find anywhere.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


NICOLA Sturgeon’s decision to allow Keith Brown to speak for the SNP on the BBC Question Time programme is evidence that the SNP is not a one-woman party, as has often been asserted. Brown has proved himself to be a more than able deputy.

M. Harvey, Glasgow.