NAMES are being thrown in the hat to become the next leader of the SNP. According to reports, John Swinney is the hot favourite for the role ("SNP rallies round ‘safe pair of hands’ Swinney", The Herald, April 30). I have nothing against Mr Swinney, I am sure he is a nice and genuine gentleman. However, is he the gentleman for the job?

He was the broker on the SNP side for the Bute House Agreement which has gone some way to us being in this situation.

He is “a safe pair of hands”, a continuity candidate. We’ve just had one of these. That didn’t start or end well. I would have thought less of the same is what is required. The country does not need more of this type of continuity. We need a fresh start and with someone who recognises the important things which need addressed - for example, what about the economy, what about sorting out the A9, what about recognising there are people and issues who are above Scotland’s version of the Watford Gap - that is, anything above the central belt area of the country?

Continuity: I’d rather not, thank you.

Janice Hawton, Gourock.

Clear out the old guard

I FAIL to see how the SNP can survive and provide credible government if it chooses John Swinney as its new First Minister.

This would be the SNP going down the continuity route, which didn't work for the two previous First Ministers.

The only way that the SNP would have a slight chance of credibility would be to clear out the old guard and elect Kate Forbes as their new leader.

She may have strong views due to her religious faith, but that should not have any effect on her governance.

If she was elected her forthright approach and clear speaking would give the electorate that feeling of a new broom sweeping clean and starting afresh and at least we might see proper governance instead of same as, same as.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.

Could we thole Kate Forbes?

IN your tour of the Highlands ("Kate Forbes: How is she perceived in Highland constituency", heraldscotland, April 30) you cite one of Kate Forbes' constituents as remarking of her: "(she's) not afraid to speak the truth", which neatly encapsulates the problem for the rest of us.

The fact that notions of biblical truth rarely survive contact with empirical reality is neither here nor there. The issue is whether SNP members (let alone the rest of us) are willing to countenance having someone like Kate Forbes, with somewhat eccentric (if not just antediluvian) views, being the public face of Scotland? And that's the truth.

Alistair Richardson, Stirling.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf was set up to fail by Nicola Sturgeon

READ MORE: Kate Forbes should now step forward with leadership bid

FM right to banish Harvie

WHAT are Patrick Harvie’s qualifications?

He looks to burden the working people of Scotland with costs to transfer the method of heating their homes because of - in his terms - the undeniable scientific evidence of global warming.

Next he questions the scientific advice of the eminent paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass that the possible effects of puberty blockers on juveniles have not been sufficiently scientifically tested to show they are risk-free.

He follows the practice of the Inquisition: if it doesn’t suit blind faith, it is wrong.

The resigning First Minister was correct in banishing this charlatan from government.

Andy McAdam, Ayr.

Greens' hand is strengthened

AS the SNP vainly scrambles to find a suitable candidate to become party leader and First Minister, the vibes being sent out to the Greens are of contrition because the SNP knows that without the Greens it cannot effectively govern. This will strengthen the Greens' hand in demanding even more ludicrous policies to inflict upon the hapless Scottish public.

We shall move from the tail wagging the dog to the tail being pinned on the donkey.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

Yes should field own candidates

THE demise of Humza Yousaf demonstrates once again that entrusting the cause of independence to a party within the devolved Holyrood parliament is doomed to failure.

It is too easy for opponents of independence to obscure the constitutional issue by citing matters such as ferry procurement, gender issues, educational attainment, drug deaths and NHS performance as if they were reasonable yardsticks against which to judge the case for constitutional self-determination. It is difficult to dismiss the argument that “obsession” with independence is a distraction to the day to day performance of the Scottish Government.

The present interregnum is a good time for the independence movement to distance itself from the Holyrood status quo. Let the SNP under its new leader concentrate on Holyrood, withdraw from contesting Westminster elections and leave the wider independence movement - under one banner - to stand its own candidates for Westminster, campaigning strongly on a single-issue manifesto of Scottish independence. The forthcoming UK General Election would then give the people of our Scottish nation the opportunity to vote in a de facto referendum with a binary choice between unionism and a modern, pro-European, independent Scottish nation.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

Can decency succeed in politics?

I HAD a rather negative reaction to Alison Rowat's front page piece on Humza Yousaf's resignation ("'Yousaf left as he governed, bewildered to the end'", The Herald, April 30), but couldn't quite understand why. After all, I actually agreed with her overall assessment.

It was only after reading Ruth Marr's letter (April 30) describing Mr Yousaf as "a decent, kind and caring man" that the penny dropped for me. I also agreed with Ms Marr's assessment. My conclusion, therefore, is that decent human beings, with exceptions, cannot be successful politicians. They would appear to be mutually exclusive species.

John O'Kane, Glasgow.

The Herald: Kate Forbes speaking to the media in the Scottish Parliament yesterdayKate Forbes speaking to the media in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (Image: PA)

Anas Sarwar's hypocrisy

TWO years ago, when Rishi Sunak was installed as Prime Minister without having a public mandate, a certain Angus Robertson wrote on the SNP website that the situation was "a total affront to democracy". "As if one unelected Prime Minister wasn’t enough", he wrote, "the Tories have once again crowned the UK’s leader without any consultation with the country." And yet, here we are.

The Scottish Greens likewise like to think of themselves as champions of democracy. Their website describes the House of Lords as "a badly dated and undemocratic chamber that has been stuffed to the rafters with party cronies" and when David Cameron was appointed as Foreign Secretary they made a point of stressing that he is not an elected MP. But will these hard-line republicans now show their true colours and help anoint another unelected First Minister?

With the prospect of a second unelected SNP First Minister, the Scottish Labour leader has also been bumping his gums about democracy. The SNP cannot impose another unelected First Minister on Scotland, he says, despite the fact that that is precisely what Labour did with Henry McLeish and (initially) Jack McConnell. It is, he continues, for the people of Scotland to decide who leads our country ("Sarwar calls for Holyrood election after FM Yousaf announces his resignation", The Herald, April 30). I wholeheartedly agree: it is not for the elite to appoint our First Minister. This raises an interesting question: does Mr Sarwar propose to change Holyrood’s rules so that in the event of a sudden, unexpected change of First Minister, there must be a general election? If so, he should say so. If so, he must present his proposals to the people so that we can judge their merit.

Perhaps the events of the last few days have converted Mr Sarwar to the cause of improving our democracy. It certainly wasn't always thus. In January 2022, only two Labour MSPs supported the Scottish Conservatives’ Proposed Removal from Office and Recall (Members of the Scottish Parliament) Bill, and Mr Sarwar wasn't one of them. If he does not now bring forward proposals to improve Holyrood’s democracy, he may be remembered as nothing more than a cynical opportunist. And who knows what lies ahead, he might even one day be discovered to be as big a hypocrite as Angus Robertson.

Graeme Arnott, Stewarton.

Insult to BBC Scotland

YET again another big story breaks in Scotland and for some reason the BBC feels the need to send a team/crew to cover it.

Are our Scottish political reporters not best placed and qualified to cover and comment on the resignation of the Scottish First Minister for a national media programme?

Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.