DEARIE me! The only conclusion one can come to after reading Struan Stevenson’s hysterical diatribe against the Greens is that the Scottish Tories are very afraid of them (“Think the Greens are the fluffy party? Think again. They are dangerous eco-Marxists”, April 22).

Yes, the Greens have some wacky ideas but Mr Stevenson’s accusations were so far over the top that I think he destroyed the argument he was trying to make.

Given what we are living through as a result of Tory policies (and assessing the list seat possibilities in my region) I think the Greens are a good option for my second vote.

Corruption at the highest levels of UK government, the explosion in numbers needing emergency food parcels from food-banks, the Universal Credit uplift being removed, foreign aid being slashed – this is not who we are.

Sandy Slater, Stirling.


IT has obviously not been the best of times for the new Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar.

We had two damaging reports, both in The Herald on April 23.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) effectively took apart the party’s National Recovery Plan (“Labour’s National Recovery Plan rubbished by leading economists”).

And Mr Sarwar had problems with his family’s decisions on education in relation to the content of his party’s election manifesto (“Sarwar admits to ‘hypocrisy’ over private education for his children”) .

To that one can add his insistence, during a Channel 4 interview on April 22, that he had spoken out about discharging patients into care homes in March and April last year.

Ciaran Jenkins, the interviewer, later asked the Scottish Labour Party to support that claim. They were unable to do so.

Scottish Labour, in order to make any significant political recovery, needs to win back in substantial numbers those who have deserted Labour over the years and ticked alternative boxes on their ballot papers.

Performances, and the criticism arising from them, referred to above, make any such recovery extremely unlikely.

The way back for Labour is clearly an uphill struggle and the longer the way, the steeper appears to be the incline.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I NOTE with growing amazement the belief within certain factions in Scotland that there is a case for Scottish independence.

I’m no economist; a simple bit of layman’s maths categorically shows me that every Scottish household would be significantly worse off in an independent Scotland.

According to the IFS report dated March 31, and thanks to the Barnett formula, “Scottish funding per person is over 30% higher than equivalent English funding”.

If Scotland were to go it alone and have to be self-funding, precisely where do the disciples of Scottish independence expect honest, hardworking Scottish households to accept cuts to their public services?

At a time when public finances are so stretched by deep cuts and the unprecedented costs of an international pandemic, is there a worse time to inflict this on the finances of Scottish people?

I remember observing the SNP’s business case for a self-financing Scotland ahead of the 2014 referendum.

At the time it seemed a very optimistic take on North Sea Oil prices. Before the end of 2014, oil prices had crashed and have still not returned to pre-referendum levels – let alone the levels Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon promised. Can the SNPs numbers be trusted this time?

Are the good people of Scotland aware what the true cost of independence would be? I urge you to use your investigative powers to unearth the true facts – whatever they may be – and to make the Scottish public truly aware what independence really means ahead of the election on May 6.

On a personal note, let’s not take for granted the power of a United Kingdom – this isn’t just a case of England (and Wales and Northern Ireland) saying you need us: we also need you, Scotland.

We all remember the controversy caused by misleading claims in the Brexit campaign. It would be a travesty if misleading and inaccurate claims were to decide the outcome of this election.



AS we approach the Scottish Parliament elections we should reflect on the actual results of the last 14 years of SNP governance in Scotland

In sport, business, healthcare and life in general, results are very important measures in our decision making – as the ‘scoreboard’, they show us what has happened. And often, to affect the results, we need to make some important changes.

The following results of devolved responsibilities are based on data publicly available from the Scottish Government:

economy – GDP has steadily worsened since 2007, now eight per cent lower than the UK average

* education – rankings are down, literacy levels have fallen to lowest in the UK

* childcare – the promised doubling of free child care is only 13% ready

* healthcare – massive GP shortages, highest drug deaths in Europe, life expectancy falling

* poverty – up across all main measures

* council budgets - slashed and services reduced.

I would urge all voters to seriously consider this and ignore the senseless push to leave the UK – it’s not only a distraction tactic to mask these results and incompetency, it would also be an utter disaster for Scotland.

Make no mistake, life would take a serious turn for the worse and don’t listen to empty promises about EU membership – even they would scoff at this terrible track record.

Gerard Baxter, Kilmarnock.


NOW that all Scottish political party manifestos have been announced, it’s pleasing to see so many of the parties recognising the vital role palliative care plays in society, with their pledges to deliver further support to the sector and to provide better support for all those experiencing dying, death and bereavement.

Sadly, all of us will experience this at some point in our lives, which is why people deserve the best possible care and support for them, their family and friends.

Unfortunately, at the moment, many miss out on some or all of the care they need. With more and more people projected to be dying every year needing a palliative approach and with increasing levels of complexity, we must plan to make sure we close the care gap before it starts to grow.

Following the launch of Marie Curie’s 2021 Scottish Parliament manifesto earlier this year, we highlighted the need for a new palliative care clinical lead, a national strategy for end of life care and ensure all carers get the financial support they need.

We have confidence that the next Scottish Government will work towards a Scotland where dying, death and bereavement are talked about openly, where people can plan and discuss their care and preferences, and everyone affected has the best possible end-of-life experience which reflects what is most important to them.

Richard Meade, Head of Policy, Scotland, Marie Curie.


I’M with Mark Smith in the Morrissey v The Simpsons debate (“Moz v T he Simpsons? I’m With Morrissey”, April 22).

As a long-standing fan from the early days of The Smiths it dismays me to see many others turn away from Morrissey in apparent disgust.

He has made many contentious statements from the moment he was given a platform. Going back almost 40 years, he has railed (almost murderously) against the monarchy, Margaret Thatcher and the meat industry, but also against individuals, including the recently deceased biographer Johnny Rogan.

Often there would dark humour in his pronouncements and lyrics.

Criticism of Morrissey as an artist is entirely valid and is a matter of opinion. Naively (I suppose), on my part, I fail to see why a perception of his political views should cause such consternation now, yet all those years ago much less so.

As for the perception that he is racist, that is insulting beyond words. There is no possibility of that slur being true. I suspect (and hope) that his wish for animals to be treated humanely worldwide comes true and stands as a fitting tribute to the man who coined the term ‘Meat is Murder’.

Edward McKnight, Wishaw.


DAVID Leask’s excellent article, ‘Russia’s secret services use Salmond in propaganda war’, April 23) demonstrates clearly the moral turpitude of our former First Minister, someone whose desperation to achieve independence for Scotland allows him to embrace the support of the most dangerous man on the planet.

‘Divide and rule’ is one of Putin’s well-practised modus operandi and the break-up of the UK plays right into his hands in his quest for world domination. I’m sure Alex Salmond is no unwitting pawn in this game and he and his supporters should be ashamed of their association.

Iain MacDonald, Kilmacolm.


AT school, in the heady days when Scottish education was better than it is now, my class-mates and I were taught about journalism and news reporting. This was in the English class, which the SNP may well re-name as the Scottish class.

A Welsh littérateur in his early days made some money by news reporting for a national paper. I shall be brave and face a charge of hate-crime and call him Taffy in order to protect his identity. But months went by when Taffy filed nothing. His editor lambasted him until Taffy filed a report, giving it the headline of Little News from Llareggub. Welsh towns are hard to pronounce and this one is best read backwards.

Two major projects here are hiding in a sullen haze. Both are of importance to the public as users and donors and taxpayers. Taffy has moved on.

Can readers or reporters tell us what is happening about the promised rebuilding of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece of Glasgow School of Art? Continued silence is not encouraging, or at least indicates poor leadership.

What is happening about the needed construction improvement to Hampden Park, when visits to Specsavers will be redundant? Willie Haughey stepped forward with the promise of major funds to start the ball rolling and was on the same day joined by Tom Hunter to share the contribution.

Perhaps Garnethill and Mount Florida have moved to Llareggub.

Graeme Smith, Glasgow.