WHAT on earth took Michael Matheson so long to realise that his position was untenable (“Yousaf reshuffles Cabinet after Matheson resigns over iPadgate”, The Herald, February 9)?

He did himself and his party no favours by clinging on to his post. It looked like an act of shameless self-preservation or a desperate attempt to keep hold of his ministerial salary as long as he could.

What all the delay and dithering have done is to undermine Humza Yousaf's credibility, thereby casting even more doubt on his capacity as a leader. He should have grasped that particular nettle early on and replaced his health secretary to show that he was in control. Failure to act swiftly and decisively on this matter brands him as a weak FM.

Mr Matheson will now have to carry with him to the back benches the knowledge that he has damaged not only his own prospects but also the standing of the man who kept him in that responsible position for far too long.

Those two men who showed so much promise have now been shown to be no more than toom tabards.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

It's time to drain the swamp

JUST when we thought it would need a stick of dynamite or at very least a crowbar to remove Health Secretary Michael Matheson from his post, he finally jumped before he was reluctantly pushed into a damage limitation exercise to save himself and the First Minister any further damage, not for the sake of country - perish the thought - but to themselves.

This has become the over-reaching, arrogant, political equivalent of Custer's Last Stand as Mr Yousaf refused to hear what was screaming out from everyone else around him. That the FM thought for a nanosecond he could ride this out shows us how sure he was of the docile apathy among the Scottish electorate that they would accept the inept incompetence of this Government as normal, till it became his Little Big Thorn.

A party that could make a pact with the devil, or worse, the Greens, just to stay in power for the sake of staying in power, does the people Scotland no favours. The only thing "stronger for Scotland" is the stench that permeates from a party mired in sleaze and secrecy.

We can only imagine the media and online uproar had this been the Tory Party. It's time to drain the Holyrood swamp. Better still, close it down. Building social housing on it would be doing more good and be far cheaper than what we have at present.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.

Rewarded for rule-breaking

YOUR front page today carries a picture of Humza Yousaf’s reshuffled Cabinet following shamed Michael Matheson’s forced resignation (First Minister's new-look Cabinet", The Herald, February 9), Mr Matheson improperly claimed and received £11,000 expenses for his sons’ fitba’ viewing roaming charges by falsely stating they had been incurred on constituency business. Repaying it does not expiate the sin.

If I as a solicitor improperly took £11,000 of clients’ money falsely claiming it for some manufactured expense, I’d very rightly expect to be prosecuted and struck off.

But nothing so prosaic for Mr Matheson in SNP Scotland. No, when he’s eventually shamed into resigning, he then gets a £13,000 severance payment for losing his ministerial job, from the same taxpayers he improperly charged for his roaming bill in the first place. He’s £2,000 up on the deal. Not bad for breaking the rules.

Alasdair Sampson, Stewarton.

Read more: Starmer has sold the soul of the Labour Party in thirst for power

I regret his resignation

FOR many Tory and Labour supporters the resignation of Michael Matheson is good news. It's particularly a good day for those who hate the idea of an independent Scotland.

Michael Matheson is an honourable man who has worked his whole life for Scottish independence.

From a young age, when the SNP had few supporters and few MPs (MSPs did not exist) he spoke up for what he believed in the face of criticism, even derision, while pursuing a cause few thought would attract support.

He campaigned long before he stood for election.

He has served his constituents as well as the people of Scotland in an outstanding and exemplary manner. The way he carried out each of his ministerial positions has shown ability, attention to detail and humility.

Many of his accusers, prosecutors and executioners are not fit to lace his shoes.

So strong are their arguments that I heard one who had in the past been an advisor to one of the other political parties accuse him on radio of not being a Patrick Thistle supporter. I assure you he took stick for supporting the Jags in the same way as for supporting the SNP.

I regret his resignation.

Grace Hendry Nash, Glasgow.

The jokers in the pack

MARY Duncan (Letters, February 9) wonders how an orangutan group and an ecocide bill got together.

A group of orangutans is known as a buffoonery. Is it stretching the imagination too far to suggest that the ecocide bill was presented by the political jokers mentioned today by Jackie Baillie ("Yousaf reshuffles Cabinet after Matheson resigns after iPadgate", The Herald, February 9)?

David Miller, Milngavie.

What's next? Prohibition?

"WHISKY an' freedom gang the gither" said Burns. Not in SNP-run Scotland they don't. As a punishment for buying a bottle of Scotch we will now have to pay 30% more for it from April ("Minimum unit alcohol price to rise to 65p", The Herald, February 9). Like that bastion of freedom the Russian Federation, the SNP Government punishes the majority because of a drunken minority through its minimum unit pricing policy. This from a Government which has gone through health secretaries like a dose of salts to the extent that the minimum unit price (MUP) increase was announced by the Deputy First Minister since the latest health secretary, Michael Matheson, has resigned.

As the Conservatives' Shadow Health Secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane said, "it is clear that MUP is not reducing alcohol-related deaths", since the number of alcoholic deaths has continued to rise under MUP. Yet the SNP administration has ignored the facts. It has doubled down on its own folly. It would not be so bad if that excess pricing went into the NHS, but it does not. The excess price goes straight into the tills of the retailers. Tesco will be pleased, both here in Scotland and also in northern England where their Berwick and Carlisle stores will be overwhelmed by Scots on booze cruises.

Perhaps nationalists should go further still and introduce prohibition. Just think of the great teetotallers of the world: Hitler, Che Guevara, Hamas, Trump, Biden. When in Ireland last April President Biden, a teetotaller, said: "I'm the only Irishman you ever met that's never had a drink." Quod erat demondstrandum.

William Loneskie, Lauder.

• LAST month's rise in inflation - announced prior to the SNP's proposal to, once again, increase the unit price of alcohol - was blamed on a rise in the price of alcohol. Any increase in inflation is an excuse for people, particularly in the public sector, to demand increases in their incomes to cover it, thus adding to the cycle of inflation.

The SNP likes to blame the Westminster Government for inflation. As it is agreed that excessive use of alcohol and tobacco should be discouraged, the SNP should demand that these products are removed from the basket of goods used to calculate inflation. As should any government with a care for the economy do for every item which is not an essential.

Ian HC Stein, Dunblane.

The Herald: Jacob Rees-Mogg has denounced the annual COP climate conferencesJacob Rees-Mogg has denounced the annual COP climate conferences (Image: Getty)

Do they teach science at Eton?

AL Gore is best remembered for his prescient film An Inconvenient Truth, which is a timely warning about climate change and associated weather events.

Less well-known is his book by the same title, which displays his erudition and expands on then-anticipated effects of global warming. The book carries a fulsome endorsement by William Rees-Mogg, former editor of the Times.

Jacob Rees-Mogg (William's son) may or may not have read the book, nor seen the film; however it is mystifying to find him challenging the annual COP climate conferences' right to address the worldwide issues raised by extreme climate events which include flood risk along much of England's east coast, and to urge action ("Kwarteng to step down as MP", The Herald, February 7)|. The insurance industry is bracing itself for the increasing scale and cost of problems resulting from such "acts of God".

It makes one wonder: do they teach science subjects at Eton? Perhaps the latter-day King Canutes of GB News might come up with their own solutions. Elon Musk rocket to Mars, anyone?

Graeme Orr, Neilston.

Pavement parking ban is foolish

REGARDING the pavement parking ban in Glasgow: Take a drive round Shawlands and Battlefield of an evening and explain exactly where the people living in those tenement flats are going to park. If they park fully on the road there would be no road space left.

Another misplaced idea to raise funds for an incompetent government.

Sheila M Kerr, Newton Mearns.

Read more: Blame the SNP if your library or playgroup is closing

Disparity over garden waste

THERE has been recent correspondence regarding garden waste collection by the councils with varying degrees of support for the continuation of this service without an extra payment being levied (Letters, February 6, 7 & 8).

Going by these letters it would seem that different councils have different rules. Allan C Steele (Letters, February 8) suggests that there is no requirement for a 52-week collection and that due to a “fallow period” from October to March no collection should be required during those months. In the council area where I live that is exactly what happens as there is no winter service. During the months that the service is available the collections are only once every four weeks.

I would also add that during winter, in some gardens, a fair amount of garden waste can be produced when cutting back trees, bushes and hedge cutting. There can be more to garden waste than grass cuttings.

It has been suggested that funding this service through council tax payments is disadvantageous to those living in flats who have no garden. There are many council services that are not available to or availed upon by everyone.

David Clark, Tarbolton.

Outlandish transformation

SO there are now 70,000 visitors annually to Finnich Glen, and nae doot a great many more if a visitor centre is built ("Scots beauty spot made famous by Outlander goes up for sale", The Herald, February 9).

Changed days indeed from 60 years ago, when in cycling club days, we’d skinnydip there.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.