WHEREVER Rishi Sunak looks, the received wisdom is that he, the Conservatives and their General Election campaign are all doomed. Certainly that's how the polls look, but in years to come when historians look back he might be seen in a better light, and perhaps the Conservatives' fortunes aren't so bleak in Scotland, where people seem willing to tactically vote even for the Tories to get rid of the SNP.

In the past 15 months he has repaired the Northern Ireland Brexit situation, steadied this financial outlook, sensibly delayed many net zero plans to 2035, sunk several loopy SNP policies such as gender recognition reform, the Deposit Reform Scheme and highly protected marine areas, continued our robust support of Ukraine, presided over more than a halving of inflation, made inroads on illegal immigration and so far, whether we like it or not, ably or by good luck, steered his Rwanda policy through Parliament.

He has also, when push came to shove, called the loopier Boris Johnson/Liz Truss kamikaze plotters' bluffs and legitimised the push for lower taxes, and getting "economically inactive" people back to work, thereby hopefully reducing the soaring benefits bill.

In doing all this he has forced Labour, or certainly Keir Starmer, to acknowledge the realities, for example on £28 billion net zero spending, immigration, gender, health and Brexit to the point where he is becoming indistinguishable from the Prime Minister.

Perhaps his cheery disposition is based on the view that if the Tories are going to get trounced he might as well do the right thing for the country and pass on a better baton to Labour than it handed to David Cameron. And who knows, in doing so, he might just squeeze a win?

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

Read more: It's just like The Traitors: faithful Brits have been hoodwinked

PM has lost all credibility

RISHI Sunak's last shred of credibility has been ripped from him.

This is the man who has had a law passed to contradict the Supreme Court's judgement that Rwanda is not a safe country. By the stroke of a pen he made a fiction out of an incontrovertible fact.

Why should anyone believe a word out of the mouth of a man who, to ensure his policy of sending "illegal" immigrants to that territory be delivered, has shown that he is willing to subvert the truth?

Whenever he stands up in public or at the despatch box, surely no one will now place any credence in what he declares as factually accurate.

There are now plenty of stories emerging about the dictatorship operating in Rwanda where dissidents are seeking refuge in the very country which has legalised the status of Rwanda as a safe and secure country.

There is a reek of a Faustian pact in Mr Sunak's desperation to remain in power. He has been caught out in this regard and his cover has been blown. I hate to think of how far he will go in his departure from integrity to maintain his dire hopes of retaining his position at the forthcoming General Election.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Looking forward to Labour

WILLIE Maclean (Letters, January 29) bemoans that he recently saw on TV that "there was no indication of what changes Labour would implement; only that it would be better at doing the stuff the Tories were doing badly".

In fact, the reason why the UK is for most of its citizens a relatively prosperous and decent place to live is that both Labour and Tory governments seek to operate within a mixed economy which can provide both the dynamism of markets and the common good of public services. However, it is also true that the Tories in power over the past 14 years have failed abysmally in running both parts of that mixed economy, and certainly far worse than the Labour government which preceded it.

So, I suspect that I am not the only one who is looking forward to Labour again being much better than the Tories at creating a better economy for business and for workers, and at rebuilding public services for the benefit of us all. And contrary to what Mr McLean believes, Labour is committed to the social democratic centre-left, to a more efficient immigration system based on the UK's labour market requirements, and to a mutually more beneficial relationship with the EU.

If that is what Mr Maclean so deplores, that is up to him. I say bring it on - and as soon as possible.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

The Herald: What kind of Scotland might Keir Starmer be presiding over?What kind of Scotland might Keir Starmer be presiding over? (Image: PA)

Defeat for SNP not the end

IT was never going to happen. The British Government, in league with big business and the media, was never going to let Scotland go. A second referendum is now a pipe dream. The result in 2014 was far too close for comfort. The UK cannot risk the Faslane submarine base, the RAF bases in the North of Scotland, access to oil and renewable energy, the tax take from the highly successful financial sector, the digital and technology sector and life sciences industry, let alone tourism and food and drink. Yet it will never admit this. To admit this would highlight just how successful an independent Scotland could be.

Yes, Labour could win the next election and indeed as MP Tommy Sheppard said recently, if this happens independence will be “off the table”. It will have successfully kicked the issue into the long grass. But 45 per cent of the Scottish electorate voted to leave the UK in 2014 and we have yet to see a shift in either direction. This was not an aberration.

As said above, Keir Starmer could win the next General Election and Labour could win in Holyrood, but to beat the SNP does not mean the independence movement is finished. Labour will be presiding over a Scottish nation, half of whom do not want to be in the UK.

Stuart Smith, Aberdeen.

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The tragedy of missing messages

BRIAN Taylor fears that the Covid inquiries are getting bogged down in detail and that “lessons drawn from the experience may not be transferable to a future pandemic” ("Yousaf deftly puts distance between himself and his predecessor over Covid", The Herald, January 27). I suspect he could be right, but not for the reasons he gives.

Given that many of the key decisions appear to have been made on social messaging accounts which have been deleted, and the main formal “Gold Command” meetings were so formal that no minutes were taken, all that is left for the inquiries to examine is the detail and the politics. The real problem isn't that vital records were deleted or not recorded, it is that without this information the inquiries are deprived of facts on which to make judgments about the future.

This means we will be less well prepared to prepare for a future pandemic than we might have been. That is the real unforgivable outcome of the actions of those who chose to politicise the pandemic and to hide their actions and decisions from any possible scrutiny.

Alex Gallagher, Largs.

• SINCE the present Covid Inquiry seems to have been reduced to the sort of sterile squabble that is characteristic of party politics, it is surely time to have a new inquiry to examine the actions taken during the pandemic and consider what has been learned. The political parties can still carry on with their irrelevant sniping at each other about who said what to whom and what messages were sent or deleted, but should not be allowed to distract us any further from an examination of the important issues.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.

• I AM surprised Scottish Government WhatsApp communications are not conducted in Gaelic.

Alan Reid, Edinburgh.

Read more: This is a slap in the face to all who followed Covid rules

The myth about Sturgeon

IN his critique of Nicola Sturgeon Alasdair Sampson (Letters, January 25) claims that she replied “I do not recall” or “I don’t remember” to over 100 questions when testifying before a Holyrood inquiry. Having watched the original eight hours of her testimony this came as news to me. So last week I spent three hours checking the transcript. And guess what, she said “I do not recall” a mere eight times, and “I do not remember” only twice.

Furthermore the former responses often referred to the date of an event, the legality of a proposal, or complainers being told information concerning them was to be published. In most cases she offered to check and come back with answers. This is hardly indicative of somebody being evasive.

As regards the two occasions she “could not remember”, one was again about a date whilst the other concerned the reasons behind Alex Salmond’s alleged threat to resign. Her stance as regards the latter is hardly surprising given Mr Salmond testified he had no intention of resigning. It was Geoff Aberdein who incorrectly told her this was the case. So again, how does that translate into Ms Sturgeon misleading the public?

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.