I AM afraid the voice of reason and accuracy can remain silent no longer in the face of the tirade and mass hysteria continuing to be whipped up against CalMac as witnessed in the letter (November 20) from James Bishop of Lewis.

For background, I am an islander and depend on all of the constantly listed services provided by the CalMac ferries. I therefore fully sympathise and understand the anger of islanders whose lives and businesses suffer in the turmoil as a result of caused by the current shambles of a ferry service.

I accept that we are fortunate and not representative of the greater Western Isles situation but that is not really relevant to the argument.

Given the necessary tools, ferries which are 16 and 18 years old, CalMac provides a generally excellent and efficient service on the Wemyss Bay-Rothesay route. There are occasionally cancellations; all forms of transport break down, planes, trains, cars even the humble bicycle, so why should ferries be any different? The vagaries of the Scottish weather are beyond the control of mankind.

However, if the masses allowed the all-enveloping red mist to lift just a little the actual problem may become clear to them and they can redirect their righteous anger to the correct party. The facts are simple and crystal clear: the budget for ferries is provided by the Government to CMAL to enable it to procure and provide suitable ferries to lease to CalMac with which it must provide a robust ferry service.

The Scottish Government has failed, over many years, to invest the money necessary to allow this process to flourish. This is not a political dig, simply a statement of fact.

To lay blame on CalMac for the current problems is both illogical and inaccurate. CalMac is currently using its best endeavours, in the face of a torrent of abuse, to run a patched-up makeshift service with the tools provided to it by CMAL and ultimately by the Government. The villain in this saga is the Government, not CalMac.

Give CalMac the new contract next year, but also give it a suitable and adequate fleet of ferries and then judge it fairly.

Incidentally, the Corran ferry is neither owned nor operated by CalMac, so what part of its problems is relevant to CalMac? A case of "pile it in there anyway, it's a ferry, must be something to do with CalMac"; never mind the facts, red mist again.

John Ferguson, Rothesay.

Read more: Please, give someone else a chance with the ferries

Murkiness of the SNP

RUTH Marr and Lorraine Alexander (Letters, November 21) say that Michael Matheson made a mistake and we all should put this saga to bed with a slap on the wrist. We certainly should not.

This was an official laptop provided by the SNP for use of government business, not for watching football. The confidential information on the computer would appear to be open to the Matheson household. Both your correspondents miss that point,and as everything involving the SNP is brushed under the carpet, from the missing £600,000 to the truth about the ferry situation and the failure to submit WhatsApp messages to the Covid Inquiry, it is not surprising that they take this view.

The SNP claims transparency, but to me it is far more murky than transparent.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.

• WE can certainly agree with SNP activist and Michael Matheson apologist Lorraine Alexander that "teenagers are not experienced enough to realise the repercussions their actions might have". That presumably is why the SNP gave the vote to children aged 16 and may even allow them to stand as candidates, despite still having four more years of such inexperience ahead of them.

John Birkett, St Andrews.

Time to shut down Holyrood

IS the new SNP slogan going to be "the matter is closed?" Humza Yousaf seems increasingly to depend upon this method of delivering government. Be it energy claims or Michael Matheson's iPad expenses it appears that any difficult areas are simply shut down. With more and more fanciful documents about independence being spewed out that path looks closed too.

Surely the next move therefore is to shut down Holyrood and put devolution in the bin. That would very popular amongst most Scots as it would save a huge amount of taxpayers' money that Holyrood appears to be less than careful with. As a bonus, we might even get back proper public services. Scotland could then reopen to a brighter future.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

Is there nothing more important?

TO err is human, to forgive is divine. Politicians may suck at delivering what the electorate wants and needs, but boy can they dance on top of a pin to get their face on the telly. Poor old Michael Matheson, he made a big stupid mistake and the attack dogs are after him irrespective of his past performance and the fact that situation arose because he took the necessary steps to be able to stay in contact with his constituents while he was on a family holiday. I don't want to Michelle Mone, sorry moan, about the situation and the possible impact on public funds, but have our public servants not got more important matters to deal with?

We all make mistakes, after all at a time when the UK economy is tanking and the majority of us are experiencing the detrimental effects of austerity and inflation, how many voters can look at the news coverage of Westminster and Holyrood and not think “Did I really vote for these useless numpties?”

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

Read more: It's not just Michael Matheson. We need to look at the whole system

Why Ireland is succeeding

BRIAN Wilson ("The lessons cosmopolitan Ireland can teach us on making immigration work", The Herald, November 21) neglects to mention the reason Ireland has succeeded with an open immigration policy is that it declared its independence from the UK over a century ago.

Independent nations can make their own decisions, not just on immigration but on economics, trade and defence. They don’t have a foreign government telling them what they can and can’t do, or stealing their resources and revenues. Mr Wilson’s English Labour Party denies Scotland the right to leave this disunited kingdom, and will force it to knuckle under to an incompetent, uncaring and exploitative Westminster government.

Another consequence of Scotland’s colonisation by England is that since 1707, the population has fallen from 20% of that of England and Wales to just 8.1%. Over the last 150 years, Scotland has proportionately lost more of its people than any other north-western European country.The drivers of this population bleed are a lack of Scottish self-government and the policies that would benefit Scotland’s economy and people.

Mr Wilson calls for a humane domestic immigration policy, but Scotland also urgently needs to retain its own population. Neither is possible while it’s subservient to a foreign nation.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Whisky sour

IT is a bit rich of SNP business and trade spokesman Richard Thomson to be asking the Chancellor "not to squeeze the life out of the whisky industry" ("Hunt told not to 'squeeze life out of Scotch whisky industry' with new tax hike", The Herald, November 20) when his Government is already doing so by imposing a minimum unit price alcohol policy in Scotland. The current minimum unit price raises the price of a £14 700ml bottle of whisky to £18.20, a 30% hike.

Bringing a bottle of whisky back from Englandshire is already akin to being duty free.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

The Herald: Steven Camley's view of the upcoming Autumn StatementSteven Camley's view of the upcoming Autumn Statement (Image: Newsquest)

Camley on the button

STEVEN Camley's Autumn Statement cartoon (November 21) presents the current UK Government's approach in a far more clear and concise manner than any politician ever would. More truthfully too. Well done, sir.

John O'Kane, Glasgow.

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What you can do for Gaza

DUNCAN Macintyre (Letters, November 16) connects industry in Govan with the wider world. Of course we welcome new jobs and job security but the jobs we really welcome are those created by a just transition away from militarism and fossil-fuel-based industries.

The arms trade is fuelling wars throughout the world. Its profit is being put ahead of the lives of innocent people including children. Scotland is exporting components of the Israeli weapons which are killing civilians in Gaza. We are complicit.

At a demonstration in Peebles demanding a ceasefire a passer-by said: "It's awful what's happening in Gaza but there's nothing I can do." Yes, there is. Write to your MP asking him or her to call for a ceasefire, support the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and donate to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Dr Lesley Morrison, Peebles.