YET again the whole sorry saga afflicting Ferguson Marine has taken another turn for the worse with the sacking of Chief Executive David Tydeman. With many commentators supporting Mr Tydeman's efforts to remedy mistakes from the past, the word "scapegoat" comes to mind.

From Day One the course set for these ships has been a challenging one with excessive costs and delays which don't appear to be over. Inept management and incompetent politicians must share the responsibility for this embarrassing fiasco which may have signalled the end of commercial shipbuilding on the Clyde.

If any single person should shoulder the blame for the majority of the troubles affecting the Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa, it shouldn't be Mr Tydeman but the politician who used the ships as a grandstanding photo opportunity and dreamt of building world class eco-friendly ferries. This deluded dream has now become a financial nightmare for Scottish taxpayers.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Humza Yousaf's report card

HUMZA Yousaf despite predictions has survived his first year as Scotland's First Minister and his report card may read as follows: "Humza is a very pleasant and polite young man who studies hard but achieves little and places his trust in those who let him down.

He will struggle in his chosen career in politics as he lacks the backbone and ruthlessness required for the job and should have stuck to his first choice of social work."

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

Renters' plight is worsening

WITH the Tenant Protection (Scotland) Act coming into force on April Fool's Day, its cheerleader, Patrick Harvie, Tenants' Rights Minister, informs us that Scotland "has led the way across the UK in improving the experience of people who rent". Really? Let's leave aside his puerile attempts at point-scoring with Westminster and focus on the facts rather than SNP/Greens spin.

The SNP/Greens have meddled in the housing market for some time, virtue-signalling sound intentions while demonstrating a negligible grasp of the economic principle of supply and demand. The outcome of several years of rent caps, as repair costs and mortgage interest rates soared, is that significant numbers of landlords have sold up, reducing the availability of privately rented property in Scotland. Consequently, rents here have risen faster than other parts of the UK (where rents were uncapped): 10.9% increases in Scotland, 9% in Wales and 8.8% in England. Yet Mr Harvie suggests that, by the nationalist administration creating a housing shortage and causing rents to soar, it "is improving the experience of [renters]".

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has just cut £196 million from its affordable housing budget, with housing association starts in Scotland at their lowest point since 1988. It seems that whichever way the SNP/Greens spin it, the reality is that, as a consequence of their actions, the plight of renters in Scotland relentlessly worsens.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

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Why the Hate Crime Act delay?

TOMORROW marks the start of Humza Yousaf's Hate Crime and Public Order Act. Controversial is the least of it but one aspect appears to have been missed: why has it taken so long? This bill was introduced at Holyrood on April 23, 2020. It passed all its stages by March 11, 2021. It has lain dormant until now. If this legislation is so necessary why did it not come into force right away?

The pandemic might have delayed it somewhat but that is quite a while ago now. Did Nicola Sturgeon see the dangers in this legislation and let it rest quietly on the sidelines? Humza Yousaf had a huge hand in making this legislation happen. Is he going to have to shoulder the blame on his own when it falls apart?

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

Protect local communities

I COMMEND Helen McArdle on an excellent article putting the spotlight on the potential closure of cottage and community hospitals in Dumfries and Galloway ("'Easy target’: Hospitals are under threat in one of the country’s most rural areas", March 24).

Scotland needs its rural communities to survive and prosper.

In recent years we have seen centralisation of services which deny people living in rural communities the access that those in the Central Belt take as a given.

We must do all we can to protect our heritage of varied and attractive communities across our nation.

A major industry and source of income for this country is tourism. If our villages and towns become depopulated no resources and infrastructure will remain to attract and accommodate visitors.

The closure of local hospitals sees us potentially losing more resources; our police station has already gone, for example.

The NHS in Scotland needs to be more accountable to its public with the Scottish Government taking more of a role in ensuring services are available locally in hard to access areas.

Local health boards are not locally accountable. In last week's article, the NHS Dumfries and Galloway quote was that only a few people wanted to see our local hospitals reopened after mothballing; this is totally untrue and only illustrates the paucity of its ability or desire to listen to the people of this area.

Geoff Dean, Kirkcudbright.

MUP evidence far from clear

THE debate around the Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of alcohol has been marked by the recurring concern that evidence cited by supporters of the policy is partial, open to interpretation and not nearly as conclusive as it has been portrayed.

Given that, it is doubly unfortunate that, in a report revealing our concern at the proposal to increase MUP by 30% published by you ("‘Poorest Scots will be hit hardest’ by new minimum pricing, warns union", March 24), a prominent backer of the policy not just misinterprets economic statistics but turns them on their head.

Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, suggests GMB Scotland’s concern that this increase will penalise the poorest Scots is misplaced since we admit “spending power has risen by more than inflation”.

We had done nothing of the kind, of course, and had, in fact, highlighted official figures showing the exact opposite, that spending power of Scots in real terms has stagnated in the five years since MUP was introduced, meaning an increase from 50p to 65p cannot, in any way, be justified as necessary to reflect inflation as ministers have done.

If Dr MacGilchrist’s interpretation was correct then there would be no cost of living crisis as wages rise above inflation. The reality, sadly, is very different.

This, unfortunately, is only one example of many where scepticism and criticism of this policy has been airily dismissed by supportive lobby groups and campaigners citing evidence and research which is either inconclusive or open to interpretation.

Dr MacGilchrist clearly believes the case for MUP is indisputable, adding that “the evidence is entirely clear: it is saving lives without significant unintended consequences.”

His confidence is bullish but premature. The evidence is far from being entirely clear and the consequences, intended or otherwise, for Scots with a drink problem, for families struggling to make ends meet in our poorest postcodes, and for workers in one of the country’s most important industries remain far from certain.

David Hume, GMB Scotland organiser, Glasgow.

The Herald: How will Humza Yousaf's report card read?How will Humza Yousaf's report card read? (Image: PA)

The income of the royal family

DANI Garavelli’s thoughtful column about the the image of royal women ("The public's dissection of Kate Middleton reveals us at our ugliest", March 24) repeats a popular misunderstanding.

The royal firm is not paid from our pockets.

The wealth of former monarchs is held in a trust fund which is very profitable. The Crown Estate pays up to a third of earnings to the Royal Household. The Government directs exactly how much according to perceived upkeep needs. Like all European monarchies the Household maintains a number of palaces and parks, which are partly available for the enjoyment of the public and visitors from other lands.

The Head of State also assigns salaries from this source for persons with royal duties and for persons who work for him.

Between two-thirds and three-quarters of Crown Estate income is paid to the Exchequer.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

The crucified peoples of the world

THROUGHOUT Holy Week leading up to this Easter Sunday we Christians have been reflecting upon the life, teaching, death and the resurrection of Jesus 2,000 years ago. This man (he was most certainly a human, not a supernatural being: my assertion being the essence of a credible 21st century Christianity) revealed that the way forward for humanity is from brutality to kindness, from injustice to justice, from selfishness to generosity and from cruel indifference to empathy. In other words the resurrection is primarily about a revolutionary and even subversive life-changing transformation from death to life in the here and now rather than about a literal life after death that being an issue for another discussion.

Within the life and resurrection of Jesus we ought to recognise the cosmic force of Love which brings hope of liberation to the crucified peoples of today while the powers collude in the violence or wash their hands of it, like Pilate of old.

These crucified peoples are to be found, to name too few, on the West Bank, in Israel, Gaza, Ukraine, Haiti, Afghanistan, Darfur and Yemen. Although the hardship of UK citizens suffering at the hands of a political regime which has been blatantly promoting the most fearsome inequality for the past14 years is on a different scale we must rescue them too.

For too many in our world today it is still Good Friday (crucifixion) and there is no sign of Easter Day (resurrection). In our world where millions of people are faced daily with death by hunger, war, famine, drought and economic exploitation the resurrection is as remote as the crucifixion is real.

John Milne, Uddingston.