The battle between Labour and the SNP is well and truly on, and is being conducted with some heat on our Letters Pages.

Earlier this week, one of our correspondents took a swipe at the nationalists, arguing that they had a major hand in Margaret Thatcher’s coming to power in 1979.

Read that letter here 👈

Today, a reader hits back with a searing critique of Labour’s performance.

Derrick McClure of Aberdeen writes:

"Not this again! Here’s Alexander Mackay with the ancient ploy of trying to blame the SNP for Margaret Thatcher’s victory in the 1979 election and the subsequent damage caused by her years in office.

Please recall a few salient facts, Mr Mackay. First, the Callaghan government had forfeited its claim to the support of the SNP by reneging on its commitment to establish a devolved Scottish assembly.

Second, even if it had survived the motion of no confidence, Labour had at the most a few more months in office before a general election which it would probably have lost anyway.

Third and most importantly, during the Thatcher years the Labour opposition at Westminster provided a spectacle of utter helplessness; and in Scotland, though by far the strongest party both at local council level and in respect of its number of MPs, was as effective in protecting Scotland from the damaging effects of Thatcher’s policies as a flock of seagulls would have been: they at least would have made more noise. The SNP is hardly to blame for the fact that the party which should have provided a counter to Mrs Thatcher was too feeble to land a punch on her during her 11 years in office; and even had to leave the task of bringing her down to her fellow Tories!

The moral of this, of course, is that Scotland has nothing to hope for in supporting Labour in next year’s general election. Not that we need to look back to last century for proof of that: the present Labour Party’s proceedings make it more obvious by the day."