COULD someone kindly tell me what this SNP-Green administration is for? With the Deposit Return Scheme no more, marine-protection areas, no more and heat pumps, no more ("Ministers to delay plan for heat pumps to replace boilers from 2025", November 19), I genuinely don't know. As far as I can see its only environmental achievement is not to have driven its campervan up the road that it hasn't dualled.

On the question of the constitution, I personally take John Buchan's approach. I think it is in Scotland's interest to be in a union with England. We benefit economically, culturally and spiritually. Call it naked self-interest, but that's what makes the world go round. However I do get the sovereignty angle, and I'm not immune to it. But on top of all its everyday failures, this flailing secessionist administration doesn't even have a plan for secession.

So in the place of a competent government that works to the real world benefit of the Scottish people, we have make-believe plans that might come to fruition if the conditions are right and if there's an independence referendum, and if the secessionists win and if we choose to join the EU. If, if, if. They have let dreams become their master.

Douglas Lumsden, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport is surely right to say that "they have no practical and pragmatic plan for moving towards net zero". But do they actually have a practical and pragmatic plan for anything?

Graeme Arnott, Stewarton.

End this obsession

IT appears that the Greens, and therefore the SNP Government, have suddenly realised that achieving only their first target on the way to an unachievable net zero for Scotland is impractical. I have spent the last 35 years renovating an 1850s farmhouse and attached barns and at each stage all work was compliant with the then current planning and building standards. Never ever, until now, has anyone tried to enforce new regulations on existing properties retrospectively.

This has been our residence throughout and we don't do, and don’t intend to do, "cold". The 700mm-thick stone walls have no cavity but, in my time, have stood solidly and cosily in verified wind speeds in excess of 110 mph. The property has been professionally re-roofed, re-wired and re-plumbed, extended and insulated where access allowed at various stages. We have oil-fired central heating, an oil-fired AGA (for cooking and hot water) a log fire and stand-by portable generator and a stand-by portable gas heater. None of which would meet with Patrick Harvie's approval. In 2013 we were self-sufficient for seven continuous days during a snowstorm-induced power cut. That is my definition of resilience.

Yet Mr Harvie and his pal think that I should be dependent on electricity with air-sourced heating. In 2013 those living locally who were “all electric” depended on neighbours and volunteers to make their way through heavy snow to deliver hot food and hot water bottles. Living on a Scottish island, with no mains gas available, I'm not convinced and will not be changing. We live warm and comfortably and at 76 years of age I do not have the necessary disposable income, nor shall I borrow to meet Mr Harvie's delusional, impractical, and very expensive aspirations. Full compliance for me and returning the property to its present decorative order has been estimated at £50k £60k.

When will the SNP/Green lot at Holyrood realise that their obsession with sound bites and “one-size-fits-all” solutions will not do?

Neil Arthur, Kilpatrick, Isle of Arran.

The Herald: For how much longer will Michael Matheson be backed?For how much longer will Michael Matheson be backed? (Image: PA)

How long can Yousaf last?

AS the dust beings to settle on the Michael Matheson iPad affair it would appear that Humza Yousaf has no intention of jettisoning his colleague and friend from his post as Health Secretary. This comes despite considerable public negative comment about Mr Matheson's integrity and trustworthiness and the fact that in his previous government positions Mr Matheson has been anything but effective.

The First Minister's inertia also reflects on himself and bolsters the views of his critics who claim he is weak and out of touch. As the First Minister focuses on world events and neglects what is happening on his own doorstep, one wonders how long his grip on the party and power will last.

Perhaps he might even be away before the two ferries take to the high seas.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Read more: SNP should do as Sinn Féin do and boycott Westminster

Grangemouth symbolises SNP

THE SNP has said this week that Scotland "has been let down on all fronts" by the UK Government. In reality it is very much the other way around.

Ministers who flaunt "integrity", alliances with fringe parties and a mind-boggling catalogue of policy disasters and u-turns mark out the SNP years of government. Now Grangemouth is to close. Perhaps that is the final straw.

The SNP's prime goal is independence but Scotland must be further away from this than ever before. The papers the SNP/Greens have produced to further their case have been glaring in their omissions. If Grangemouth just becomes a large petrol station then this symbolises Scotland's aspirations. Led, not leading.

Even membership of the European Union is neither likely without a huge change in circumstances nor even desirable as the EU looks to be imploding. Not only is independence now looking catastrophically bad but even devolution is now questionable.

We are almost certainly in the dying days of SNP power. What comes next must be totally different.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

Woods system is broken

SYSTEM inertia is there for all political parties. Politicians are not experts so they are advised by the institutional experts to lend weight to the argument, otherwise the adversarial nature of politics means that opposition parties and those with an alternative political agenda, including newspapers, will challenge them. What they cannot use is two lads frae the street who have no institutional tag, only the evidence of what they have done to challenge institutional thinking and dogma.

The Loch Garry Project planted trees along a lochside in Drumochter Pass. Visits from Scottish Natural Heritage members and indeed Edinburgh University School of Forestry all started with "you'll never get trees to grow here". They did, they grew very well but the institutional need for survival, the need to stick their flag on something, edits these things out.

As trustees of Scottish Native Woods, we fought the Forestry Commission in the 1980s to bring in native woodland grants. They as a funding body set up an arm’s-length woodland organisation which would compete for funding with us. To us this was them controlling the narrative and the process. The civil service functioned for long enough on the motto that you have got to be seen to be doing the right thing, whether you did it or not is another matter. The problem is that common sense and simple argument gets ambushed by other agendas. In the absence of normal behaviour (common sense) there is another agenda.

Biological engineering would work on the Rest and Be Thankful as it has elsewhere in the world. The priority has to be to plant suckering species to stabilise the soil and not just create woodland cover. Your headline "Ecologist’s anger at SNP delay to tree solution for A83 landslips" (November 19) is misleading. The SNP was not the problem, it is the system that is broken. To quote Terry Pratchett, a quantum visionary, “there have been times, lately, when I dearly wished that I could change the past. Well, I can't, but I can change the present, so that when it becomes the past it will turn out to be a past worth having”. It will require a quantum change in approach and thinking to build a past for Scotland that future generations will value.

Derek Pretswell, Oban.

Read more: Time our MSPs told us what they think about the Assisted Dying Bill

Man versus nature

JUST to correct your correspondent Clark Cross (Letters, November 19) on his factual errors and omissions: 1. Average global volcanic emissions average 0.6 billion tonnes per annum of CO2 with the range between 0.3 ± 0.15 billion tonnes.

2. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions for 2015 were 40 billion metric tons, so a factor of 65x those attributed to vulcanicity.

3. Major eruptions are rare but can produce large volumes of emissions in only a few hours, yet are still tiny by comparision with man-made emissions. The 1980 Mount St Helens eruption threw 10 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere in only nine hours. By comparison, it currently takes humanity a mere 2.5 hours to put out the same amount.

4. Earthquakes do not produce emissions.

Mr Cross's conclusions bear zero scrutiny once one corrects for his factual errors and omissions.

Tony Philpin, Isle of Gigha.

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Shame on the Hampden bigot

I WAS fortunate to attend last Sunday's Scotland v Norway match at Hampden, sitting in the "posh" seats in the South Stand. It was a happy occasion. There was a party atmosphere and although we didn't win, it didn't matter too much as we had already qualified. However, a couple of episodes saddened me.

At one point in the match, the referee awarded a free kick to Norway. A supporter behind me called him an “Orange b*******”. I turned around to look at him and he mumbled something about it just being a habit.

Later on, Ryan Jack of Rangers was brought on as a substitute. The same supporter started booing him - before he was on the pitch. I attempted to engage with him about it but he just laughed.

None of this affected my enjoyment of the occasion. I am just very sad that sectarian bigots choose to attend Scotland matches.

Douglas Morton, Lanark.