AS someone who was working to establish the Greens when they were still the Ecology Party and Patrick Harvie would have still been in short trousers, I am appalled that neither he nor his co-leader Lorna Slater did not resign from the Government over dropping climate change targets ("The Greens put a brave face on it as yet another net zero policy, loudly trumpeted, turns to dust", The Herald, April 19).

Instead we were treated to Mr Harvie’s acolyte Ross Greer trotting out platitudes about bus passes. If only we had seen Mark Ruskell, arguably our most competent MSP on matters environmental, on his feet lambasting the Government; instead we simply saw Greens shifting uncomfortably in their seats. As well they might.

Mr Harvie and Ms Slater should go. They have shown appalling lack of judgment and an apparent liking for ministerial cars and the occasional boat trip over green principles. It would seem that the Greens now have their very own parcel of rogues.

The party needs new leadership and it needs it now. Mark Ruskell?

Michael Collie, Dunfermline.

Deceiving the voters

KATHLEEN Nutt’s article ("Harvie set for row as climate targets are ditched", The Herald, April 18) reveals just how efficient some of our politicians have become at mastering the dark art of deceiving the voters.

The Net Zero Secretary Màiri McAllan told Holyrood the goal of reducing emissions by 75% by 2030 is now "out of reach". Ms Nutt then reports that the Scottish Greens welcomed the new measures set out by the Scottish Government to meet the 2045 target, a target which is a very long way ahead.

The acronym IBGYBG,“I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone” first coined by hedge fund managers as they feathered their nests with cash comes to mind. How many of those MSPs presently in government will still be in power in 21 years' time and able to take due credit for the success of their policies, or explain why they have failed?

Bob Scott, Drymen.

Options for Holyrood

IS Andy Maciver’s second chamber idea desirable ("We need a second chamber ... but of independents only", The Herald April 19)?

First, its membership should be reflective of the wider population. My problem is that the candidates, who under Mr Maciver's proposal would not be party representatives, would nevertheless be dominated (through campaign funding) by people basically the same as the denizens of the House of Lords: trade unions (Labour), business (Tory), media (whose punditry are relentlessly unionist, including those who pretend to be pro-independence), charities (Labour again): so not exactly “independents”.

I prefer a unicameral system, but an Upper Chamber could be drawn by lot ensuring random “independence”, but a different way to improve our parliamentary system might be to a), make Holyrood powers autonomous, forcing MSPs to grow up; b), have an age requirement of at least 35; c) have a larger number of MSPs, loosening the grip of party whips; d), have a two-term limit.

Some of these I do not believe in myself.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

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Calling Gregor Smith

THE pause in giving puberty blockers to children and teenagers ("Prescribing of puberty blocker drugs to Scots under-18s halts", The Herald, April 19) is surely a good and a right step from a clinical perspective.

I do believe, however, that the public should be hearing loud and clear from our Scottish Chief Medical Officer on this very important matter. He is the senior medical person in the country; surely he should be making an absolutely clear statement backing up the findings of the Cass review, and endorsing the pausing of giving puberty blockers to youngsters as from now, as well as initiating a proper clinically-based, politically and ideologically unbiased, and informed-long term study into gender confusion, and the proper management plan for the future. And this should be done in conjunction with our clinical staff in England, to increase the numbers studied, therefore the accuracy of the data.

So, Dr Gregor Smith, please would you make a public statement re this vital matter? Do not leave it with the unscientifically-minded MSPs to do this. Thank you.

Alasdair HB Fyfe, Glasgow.

Shoddy treatment of the disabled

IT is sheer electioneering chutzpah and virtue-signalling for the Westminster Conservative Government to announce a new minister dedicated to disabilities.You rightly report that no new position has been created ("Sunak forced to shuffle his Cabinet", The Herald, April 13); the minister Mims Davies will fold in disability concerns alongside social mobility and "youth progression", whatever that is and how is it measured?

Rishi Sunak will not and must not be forgiven at the polls for the brutal assault on the living standards of the disabled but Labour has nothing to craw about either. Shadow mental health minister (for England) Dr Rosena Khan resigned in September 2023 when her mental health brief was downgraded and she complained to Sir Keir Starmer that he did not see a space for her in any future cabinet, begging him to make mental health a legislative priority (to date he has given no such indication of doing so); I am sure Wes Streeting is beavering away at looking to the private sector; our family and friends in England can look forward to enjoying the finest The Priory has to offer whilst the NHS withers and dies on the altar of private good/NHS bad propaganda.

Scottish Labour too has been on manoeuvres, eliminating the shadow drugs portfolio and folding it in with Dame Jackie Baillie's health portfolio among her other roving campaigning responsibilities. As the only Scottish Labour MSP with a dispensation from supporting the distinctive Scots party's position on Trident she must be revelling in yet another of Keir Starmer's infamous u-turns: billions of pounds for warmongering whilst refusing to commit to ending the two-child cap on child benefit and the odious so-called rape clause and declining to keep the triple lock for those of pension age.

Amazingly, I was invited last weekend by the Labour candidate where I live to a "thank you party" but if I "could not stand" then I should bring my own chair, I jest not. For me that is either a crying-out need for urgent disability awareness training, in the alternative it's just an unacceptable mindset.

If the SNP thinks it is escaping from putting its disability policies under the microscope it is not; it might reflect on its now very tired period in government when drug deaths are stubbornly at unacceptable high levels, the highest in Europe by a Scottish country mile and shamefully almost four times that of England.

Take your pick but for me on balance an opportunity for change is an imperative and like many other Labour members our hopes rest on Sir Keir being a more progressive PM than any indication he has given us so far. He is on notice accordingly.

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh.

This is madness on overdrive

WE are heading for World War Three as a result of Israel's determination to get rid of the Palestinians and the UK (English) government refuses to say No.

Surely we all realise now our country is being run by incompetents... Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is so privileged he doesn't have a clue about reality and an unelected Foreign Secretary, David Cameron (I refuse to call him Lord), also very privileged, who is never questioned in Parliament because he doesn't have a seat there.

The war on Gaza continues unabated despite the United Nations demanding a ceasefire from Israel and is now spreading with Iran the new focal point.

TV, radio and newspapers often neglect to include the reason Iran launched its drone attacks on Israel. They were in fact in retaliation to a strike by Israel on its embassy in Syria (another country, let's note) that killed seven of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

But now everyone's talking about Israel taking retaliatory action against Iran's attack in which no one was killed.

The UK is still sending arms to Israel and providing RAF fighters for attacks against Israel's enemies.

This is madness on overdrive. The inmates have taken over the asylum.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

Time to demolish Kinloch Castle

I NOTE yet another report commissioned on Kinloch Castle funded by the public purse ("Islanders are ‘tired of being slated’ for their views on castle’s future", The Herald, April 15). I have lost count of how many reports and proposals have been put forward over at least 50 years.

When the island was purchased by the then Nature Conservancy the castle came as part of the package, rightly or wrongly. The most recent proposal clearly divided the community on the island and from comments attributed to the article it gave me the impression that any future report could lead again to future discord. I was sorry to read that "trolls" had been at work addressing members of the community. A sign of the times I regret.

The Herald: What fate awaits Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rùm?What fate awaits Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rùm? (Image: PA)

As one-time manager on the island and one who recalls the castle being operated as a hotel, hostel and guided tour venue which was an interesting period even if challenging at times, being realistic, it demonstrated in real time that the castle could never be a self-generating profitable business venture. Apart from the vast sum required to fully restore the property, which the last proposer recognised, together with a realistic reserve fund in place, the limited amount of accommodation available together with a limited season, the additional costs associated with living on an island such as Rum surely makes the term "non-viable" more than realistic.

Despite the well-intended repairs and restoration schemes undertaken on a piecemeal basis over many decades in reality the time has come when you have to say "enough is enough" and demolition is the only realistic solution. It would be wrong to use public funds to keep this family monument to the industrial revolution and the spoils that went with it for a period of time. Once and for all keep personal and or government-funded ambitions out of the decision-making process.

As illustrated in the past, the area of land the castle currently occupies could be restored over a period of time into green space and woodland, remembering at the outset the island of Rùm is a National Nature Reserve of some significance and which I hope it will retain that special designation well into the future.

Christopher Eatough, Nièvre, France.

Snakes alive

IN today’s Herald (April 19) on Page 8 there was a single-column headline, "Extinct snake may have been the largest to ever live". Beneath that was another article headlined "Uni chiefs get Cobra briefing". It made me wonder if the two items were related.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.