PICK a subject: ferries, the Deposit Return Scheme, heat pumps, the gender nonsense, iPad football viewing; all have been disasters. Now Grangemouth, important to all employees and suppliers and surrounding areas, has been threatened with closure. The current SNP/Green Government has been caught asleep at the wheel yet again.

As a former member of the SNP, I am worried that the idea of self-government could be regarded as incompetent and without direction and might be seen to be irrelevant. I have joined the Alba Party as I still hold the the conviction that Scotland would thrive as an independent country.

I seem to remember Alex Salmond intervening twice to stop Ineos turning Grangemouth into a massive petrol station; where was the present leadership of the Scottish Government on this? Given the pantomime that is Westminster, which would be a gift to any real opposition, here or in England, is there anyone in Holyrood at the moment who looks like a leader?

Veronica Nelson, Edinburgh.

Salmond's choice of action

ANDREW Tickell's writes about Alex Salmond's "misfeasance" action against the Scottish Government ("Has former FM Salmond ‘moved on’? Not a bit of it", November 26).

The piece seems to suggest that the misfeasance issue is with possible conscious misuse of legal authority, intended to cause harm.

The law in England and Wales - and presumably Scotland too - differentiates between "misfeasance", which is the unconscious improper use of properly-held legal authority, and "malfeasance", which is the conscious misuse of properly-held legal authority in order deliberately to cause harm.

Each of these failures may cause harm but malfeasance is concerned with the intention to do so, where misfeasance is concerned to show only that authority has been misused.

It looks germane that Mr Salmond's action cites "misfeasance", which has to be easier to demonstrate.

Lynda Henderson, Furnace, Argyll.

Read more: Sadly, Alex Salmond is thinking only of himself

Strike trouble lies ahead

I NOTE that Finance Secretary Shona Robison has confirmed that the public service workforce will have to be reduced.

Humza Yousaf made a clear commitment at the SNP conference that council tax in Scotland will be frozen but there is a £1 billion black hole in the SNP budget which leaves no options but further cutbacks.

This will no doubt lead to more industrial action which will damage Scotland's economy even further as it drags behind the rest of the UK.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

Pavlovian responses

SO Westminster bans XL Bully dogs in England and Wales, yet in Scotland the SNP administration won't consider such a move. The UK Government believes the Elgin Marbles should remain in the British Museum; SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn tweets the opposite, saying they must be returned to Greece. It's the predictable Pavlovian "being different simply for the sake of it" SNP response, even on matters unconnected with the constitution or even mainstream politics.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

No safeguards on assisted dying

LIAM McArthur’s claim that the legalisation of doctor-assisted suicide is a matter of “when not if” ("Assisted dying ‘will become legal’ in Scotland says MSP Liam McArthur", November 26) fails to address the serious concerns raised by those who would be most impacted by his proposals.

Tressa Burke, CEO of Glasgow Disability Alliance, has previously told this newspaper that “no amount of safeguarding within the [assisted dying] legislation could offer enough protections to stop disabled people being pressured into assisted dying” and that the legislation would send a message to disabled people “that we are a burden and feel a pressure to make the ‘choice’ to die”.

Mr McArthur may be happy to express his supreme confidence that doctor-assisted suicide will be introduced in Scotland, but, in so doing, he is sidelining the concerns of some of the most vulnerable people in our country.

Furthermore, his dismissal of the "slippery slope" argument doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There is no effective protection he and his fellow parliamentarians can provide to protect his proposed law from future expansion or the erosion of safeguards. The current law is the safeguard.

Anthony Horan, Director, Catholic Parliamentary Office, Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Airdrie.

Read more: Assisted dying 'will become legal' in Scotland says MSP Liam McArthur

Give us all a voice

I WRITE to express my disappointment with your three-page "Assisted Dying Investigation", (November 26), which you say was looking at the issue “from the viewpoint of families, politicians and the experience of other countries”.

The piece is described as an "investigation", but your reporter only spoke to one family, one medic, and one MSP, all of whom support assisted suicide. There was only passing mention of opposition to the practice, and this was framed as being from “faith groups”. It’s troubling that with an issue as controversial as this, the reporter took no time to delve deeper and speak to those with concerns.

Opposition to assisted suicide exists across philosophical lines. Humanists, atheists, agnostics, and others oppose it, as well as members of the major faiths. Opposition is also rooted in professional concerns. A large majority of end-of-life doctors oppose it. Many disabled people oppose it. People working with vulnerable adults oppose it. People engaged in suicide prevention oppose it.

Opponents are committed to articulating the problems with so-called assisted dying and setting out a better way forward for Scotland. We’d ask that our voices be included in this significant debate.

Dr Miro Griffiths, Disability Studies Scholar, and spokesman for Better Way, The Wirral.

The Herald: The installation of a heat pumpThe installation of a heat pump (Image: Getty)

Give us choice on heat pumps

YOU report that Patrick Harvie is considering fining Scots who refuse to scrap their LPG or oil central heating systems and fit an expensive heat pump in their place ("Scots could face financial penalty for not installing heat pumps", November 26).

At present those who are in receipt of one of nine state benefits, such as child tax credits, can have a heat pump fitted for free. The rest of us, if Mr Harvie gets his way, will have to find thousands of pounds to replace our perfectly-functioning heating systems with a heat pump and an immerser tank heater for hot water and possibly replace the entire pipework with larger bore pipes and bigger radiators, causing disruption plus annual maintenance costs.

Then, we will have to find thousands more in 10 or 15 years time to replace the main unit which long before this time will have become unacceptably noisy. This is as silly an idea as Aberdeenshire Council ripping out fireplaces in Braemar "to save the planet". Heat pumps are a great idea for those selling them or fitting them, but if they are so good why not let the public choose to have them fitted or not?

Mr Harvie does not have a heat pump in his residence - one of thousands in which heat pumps cannot be fitted - although he could afford one on his £99,000 salary (plus expenses) so presumably he would have to fine himself under his proposed legislation.

William Loneskie, Lauder.

We need an informed debate

I COMMEND you for publishing several recent articles regarding heat pumps.

There does seem to be a great deal of scepticism about the Government's proposals, which is understandable given the significant changes that will be necessary in converting from fossil fuel appliances. You only have to read the online comments following these articles to see the extent of negatively and abuse directed towards Patrick Harvie in particular. There is clearly a need for informed debate to help educate us all and inform the consultation process.

Neil Arthur's letter (November 26) typifies the reaction. Like him, we have invested a considerable amount in an old stone-built property and suspect the cost and disruption that we would need to undertake to meet future requirements would also be considerable. Given the proposed timescale, we will almost certainly leave that to the next owners although, with hindsight, it might have been possible and better to invest in additional improvements, had we seen what was coming. That said, there surely will be justification for some exemptions.

We are fortunate to have a reliable heating engineer to advise us. Recently I asked him about heat pumps. He was already quite knowledgeable, if a bit sceptical and had not yet taken the steps to get accredited to install them. I have heard and read about people's experiences, both good and bad, and must hope that the industry responds quickly to ensure that an orderly transition and the right decisions for each property can be made. Meantime, I suggest The Herald could play an important role in providing more information from experts and examples of readers' practical experiences.

David Bruce, Troon.

A matter of perspective

TONY Philpin's "corrections" (Letters, November 26) of Clark Cross's previously-stated data on atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) should be seen in context.

As a proportion of the atmosphere's gases, CO2 is 0.04%, of which less than 5 per cent is man-made. Arguments about the fine details of CO2 in the air recall the old, medieval chestnut of deliberations as to what the size of a pinhead needs to be so that angels can dance on it.

Charles Wardrop, Perth.