RUTH Marr (Letters, May 3) is delusional if she thinks that John Swinney will save the SNP.

Ms Marr was effusive in backing Michael Matheson as an honest politician yet he tried to defraud Scotland of £11,000 before blaming it upon his own family. He was found to have broken the ministerial code and we still await news of the sanctions to be applied.

She called Humza Yousaf a competent First Minister yet he had to resign after he admitted his own catastrophic failure.

She hails Kate Forbes' decision to stand aside. Really? It appears that Ms Forbes was taken behind closed doors and the old guard's intentions made very clear to her.

Now she lauds John Swinney as the new leader of the SNP who will miraculously cure all the SNP's ills and woes. She seems to have forgotten the failure in court of his Named Persons Bill and the absolute slating it received from the judiciary who likened it to the act of a dictatorship. As Education Secretary he took us out of PISA and other standards because they confirmed his disastrous tenure. Just to cap it all, he is the next continuity candidate of the discredited Sturgeon era - although in his defence it shall be hard to find out his record in that era due to the number of records that were deleted or never recorded in the first place.

As a professional seaman, there is one thing that makes me react spontaneously to help someone in peril no matter the situation: that is hearing Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! That is what went through my mind when I listened to John Swinney as he announced his intention to run for the post of First Minister on May Day. There was added irony in The Herald reporting seven ferries out of action ("CalMac chaos escalates further", The Herald, May 1) that actually became nine when the Isle of Cumbrae sitting in for Loch Shira on the Cumbrae service broke down and was withdrawn and the Loch Dunvegan on the Colintraive service having to implement a reverse-on drive-off service due to problems with her forward ramp and no backup vessel being available. Mr Swinney tells us that transport will be a priority in his First Minister role, when will he give us a fully financed plan to replace our ageing ferry fleet and end the unworkable CMAL/CalMac arrangement?

So just who is going to save Scotland? It won't be Mr Swinney. Just like CalMac, the SNP has run out of lifeboats to launch and deck chairs to rearrange.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

Let's hope for more respect

WHILE I would prefer Kate Forbes to be Scotland’s First Minister, the deliberations over the last few days about who would be more suitable have brought out quite a lot of vitriol towards both contenders.

None of us are the same people we were 20 years ago and while Professor Sir John Curtice may have been right to say that John Swinney "wasn’t really that good at it" first time round as leader (“Curtice says Swinney should make Flynn his running mate in SNP leadership contest”, The Herald, April 30), if people are judged forever on their unwise decisions they made 20 years ago it is a very sad state. It seems no one must ever be allowed to forget their past. This reflects a very unforgiving society, as is demonstrated by the hounding of people of influence who once made a foolish statement on social media when they were teenage and continue to be vilified for their immaturity.

Mr Swinney talked about respect on Radio Scotland and commented that First Minister’s Questions had been anything but respectful. Hopefully he can encourage more respect and kindness across the parties if he does become First Minister next week.

Irene Munro, Conon Bridge.

•  SURELY everyone knows why Kate Forbes decided not to stand for the position of leader of the SNP. Once again she has proved how astute she is by holding back at this time.
Mild-mannered John Swinney will lead the party to a humiliating defeat at the next election and will be forced to resign. Ms Forbes will then step into the breach to take control of the SNP for the next five years.
Alan McGibbon, Paisley.

• PASS the sick bag. I find all the recent drivel being spoken about what’s best for the people, the country and so on a bit nauseating and disingenuous. We can all see through this charade and know perfectly well it is nothing to do with these lofty aims. It’s about how can a politician maintain his/her/etc snout in the trough for as long as possible.

Brian Petrie, Edinburgh.

No coronation complaints, please

BRIAN Wilson hasn’t held back in his views (“Swinney as FM? That would be a democratic outrage”, The Herald, May 2).

I will leave to one side all that Mr Wilson has to say about John Swinney’s record because it is not relevant to Mr Wilson’s ultimate point, which is that “the case for a Holyrood election is unanswerable”. However, the fact is that the UK and devolved Scotland are representative parliamentary democracies, not presidential systems.

However much any of us might not like it there is nothing constitutionally, or even democratically, under the existing system wrong with Liz Truss and then Rishi Sunak succeeding Boris Johnson. The same applies to the succession of Nicola Sturgeon by Humza Yousaf and now Mr Swinney. Under our system, candidates for Prime Minister and First Minister are nominated by their party and appointed by a majority of elected representatives in parliament.

Where many might agree that Mr Wilson has a point lies rather in the politics of this rather than in the parliamentary system. Both Mr Sunak (definitely) and Mr Swinney (most likely), and their parties, will have their meeting with electoral accountability, which is as it should be. If there is any “outrage” it would be better directed at the political system itself, preferably with a proposed, and better, alternative arrangement.

We can now, perhaps, expect complaints about a “coronation” rather than a leadership contest. I suspect though, that in the event of a contest, those same people would be trying to make political capital from it with claims of a party riven by division and wasting time and energy that would be much better spent governing. But that’s partisan politics for you.

I am confident that Mr Wilson would not dream of contributing to your pages in such a vein.

Alasdair Rankin, Edinburgh.

•  I HEAR democracy is a good thing. Given a chance, I'd vote for it.
Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.

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

So who controls Scottish Labour?

I HAVE to say that I am shaking my head in disbelief. First we had Rachel Reeves demanding (yes, demanding) that all MSPs vote to try and bring down the Scottish Government. Now I have to ask: why does an Opposition MP in London believe that they are in a position to demand anything from democratically elected representatives of the voters in Scotland?

As if that wasn't enough, guess what happened next? There was a vote in Holyrood to give the Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women the compensation they are entitled to. I would have expected Labour to support this and vote for it, but no, they abstained! Why? Instructions from London again?

It has to be one of two things. Either Labour in Scotland doesn't think that these women deserve the compensation they are entitled to or they have been told by Keir Starmer to abstain and obeyed. Which is it?

I have to wonder, who does Labour in Scotland answer to? Is it the people of Scotland or their bosses in London?

Irene Mcleod, Wemyss Bay.

The conscience of the world

AS the conflict in Gaza continues and Western leaders refuse to restrain Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet from their savagery, I find my "bleeding heart" (which I thought had became cauterised and inured to the relentless suffering of the Palestinian people because it is just not possible to walk around with that level of grief), I am once again consumed with sadness and rage.

A Palestinian surgeon, Adnan Al-Bursh, who trained at King's College London, has been tortured to death in an Israeli prison. Just weeks ago another surgeon had been shot in his own operating theatre after refusing to leave a patient lying open on the table, imprisoned for 45 days without medical care, had his right eye poked out with a rifle butt and then dumped near the Gaza border where he had to crawl for two hours before seeking help. Why are the medical professional bodies not speaking out in solidarity with the hundreds of their colleagues being treated like this?

British politicians with the honourable exception of the departing First Minister have abjectly and cravenly colluded in this utterly monstrous evil. But a spark of hope, not seen since the days of my childhood during Vietnam and the civil rights movement, has lit up the world. The students protesting are the conscience of the world. Confronting police brutality, hired thugs beating them with baseball bats and the threat to graduating or future employment have not deterred them. They are heroic, and whether the UK media reports it fairly or not we know the truth and we know that history is on the side of those challenging the moral cowardice of the US Congress and the disgraceful collusion of the Westminster Parliament.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh.

Mammon or majors?

LAST December you published my letter lamenting Jon Rahm’s decision to accept Saudi Arabian money and join the LIV tour and expressing concern that he was severely compromising his ability to win majors by playing 54-hole "resort golf” against inferior competition.

It gives me no pleasure to say “told you so" but his performance at the recent Masters was, to say the least, lacklustre, finishing a distant 45th and never in contention.

Golf is a capricious game, and I would be the first to say that you can’t judge a player on a single performance but he looked out of sorts and gave a number of frankly embarrassing interviews seeking to justify his decision and insisting he was ready for the fight.

As further observation: none of the LIV players really threatened the winner, Scottie Scheffler, and those who started well all fell away on the Sunday, perhaps because they had got too used to playing 54 holes and having the Sunday off.

The next major up for grabs is the PGA and I would be happy to eat humble pie if Rham or his LIV cohorts make a decent fist of it, but I have my doubts.

It seems difficult to choose between Mammon or majors, but Jon Rham will not be remembered for the amount of money he made in his career.

Keith Swinley, Ayr.

The Herald: Could top golfer Jon Rahm be ruing his decision to join up with the LIV tour?Could top golfer Jon Rahm be ruing his decision to join up with the LIV tour? (Image: PA)

Service fee

BRIAN Watt's tale of being called a "member" of OVO energy (Letters, May 3) brings to mind the stewardship campaign of a church of which I was a member in the true sense of the word.

One elder adopted the tactic of telling the members of his district that, just like being members of a golf club, they were members of the Christ club, and that there was a subscription to pay.

This line of reasoning did not go down well.

David Miller, Milngavie.