SCOTTISH Labour leader Anas Sarwar's reaction to John Swinney taking over from Humza Yousaf as First Minister was unsurprisingly predictable. "The SNP is putting the interests of the party before the country... it's time for change," he said.

Why don't we talk about the changes he makes on issues important to all Scots on instructions from his boss at Westminster, Keir Starmer?

Labour's u-turns have driven me round the bend so many times in recent months I'm not driving any more.

Mr Sarwar calls them "acts of bravery". I call them cowardice and a betrayal.

The party, it seems, accepts the two-child benefit cap plunging possibly thousands of families with three kids or more into poverty, the ban on banker's bonuses will not happen under its watch, the promised £28 billion green investment is scrapped and the refusal to act for the Waspi women despite earlier assurances on their pensions is despicable.

We all know now Labour doesn't stand up for the party's founding principles.

Anas Sarwar should take some time out, maybe read a little and find out who he is meant to be representing. And tell his boss too.

What would John Smith, the best Prime Minister we never had, be thinking now?

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

Swinney's experience

YEARS ago a friend approached a government business advice agency.

After the introductions he asked the advisor what business experience he had.

Back came the reply, “I ran 12 companies.”

“What happened to them?”

“They all went bust”.

“So what qualifies you to sit on that side of the desk?”

“I know what went wrong.”

We can only hope that Mr Swinney is similarly equipped.

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.

Puzzled by the Greens

ONCE again the Greens seem able to have influence way beyond any level imaginable or earned. One thing always perplexes me about the "Green" party and that is what does the gender debate have to do with the environment? We have to wonder why the Greens seem to devote equal time to this along with their crazy ideas like extraordinarily expensive heat pumps.

If the Greens had a table with a shoogly leg their solution to the problem would be to cut the leg off. That’s sorted the problem ...then they’d wonder why the table fell down.

John Gilligan, Ayr.

Focus must be on economy

IT is vital that our next First Minister refocuses his efforts on boosting Scotland’s faltering economy.

The ending of the Bute House Agreement now affords a clear opportunity for a reset with the business community, and to refocus on delivering a thriving and competitive business sector, prioritising investment and boosting economic growth. Such growth is essential if we are to raise living standards and fund public services.

The new First Minister’s priority must be to look at the regulatory and tax burden that faces many of our businesses, clearing away barriers to investment and growth, which includes a review of non-domestic rates.

As a nation, there are a number of long-term challenges facing the economy, including slow economic growth, slowing population growth and a decline in oil and gas activity.

However, there are tremendous opportunities as we seek to deliver a low-carbon economy in the drive towards net zero. A clear vision that will support economic recovery and stimulate private sector investment is essential if we are to maximise the opportunities both from this and other sectors of the economy.

The next First Minister has an opportunity to establish a new and strengthened partnership with business, a chance that must be grabbed with both hands.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

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

READ MORE: Hard luck, unionists: SNP will be more united than ever

It was all about indy

LET there be no mistake. The reason Humza Yousaf resigned last week is because the implied budget deficit under independence renders the current Scottish Government’s principal policy aspiration - and the SNP’s raison d’être - essentially unfeasible for the foreseeable future.

After the independence referendum, the preservation of the status quo ante through the Barnett formula - all too quickly agreed by the Smith Commission - presented a dilemma for the SNP it has never, until now, had to face up to. To secure independence in the future, it would eventually have to ask Scots to make good a funding gap, and establish credible borrowing mechanisms, that go beyond what would be asked for under the status quo.

Keeping the funding gap small would be the path towards keeping independence viable. But, at the same time, it could never allow the Scottish Parliament to be one of just resource allocation. The receipt of the Block Grant therefore sees another round of active political process, beyond the expenditure, tax and borrowing outcome agreed at UK level, that for their political sustainability must deliver outcomes demonstrably different from the UK Parliament. And what do electorates want? More. The settlement is pushed to the limit; insofar as resources are made available, they are channelled towards a political base; and we see ever more policy differentiation, even the absurd. Perhaps in terminating the Greens deal, Mr Yousaf had grasped the nettle that killed him.

One point is under-emphasised. The more prosperous Scotland is, the more feasible is independence. A fuller and richer Scotland is what Unionists want too. If political instincts that fear that electorates in a prosperous Scotland would choose the status quo over change could be tempered, we could get back on track soon. Otherwise, it will need a change of government.

Roderick McCrorie, Cupar.

• NEIL Mackay’s diatribe against politicians ("The fools now inhabiting Holyrood are destroying devolution", The Herald, May 2) has some little merit but does not address the underlying cause of the perceived failure of the devolved parliament to operate with consensus and compromise.

The fundamental problem is the divisive issue of “independence”. If the party whose sole raison d’être is secession did not exist, the government of Scotland could concentrate on the matters of importance to the Scottish people.

Separation from the UK does not miraculously solve the economic and social problems of Scotland.

In reality it would make them worse.

James Quinn, Lanark.

The Herald: John SwinneyJohn Swinney (Image: PA)

Lessons from the Swiss

SWITZERLAND has just built the deepest and longest tunnel ever, stretching 35 miles through solid rock. The Gotthard Base tunnel cost £9.6 billion; roughly £275 million per mile, while the ever-shrinking HS2 (once promised to reach Glasgow and Edinburgh) seems to be priced at an astonishing £409m per mile overwhelmingly on flat ground.

Perhaps if the Swiss construction company had been invited to build HS2 as a tunnel then it might have had enough funding to reach Scotland, though this “promise” always seemed just a typical Westminster “carrot” for us Scots….dangled then pulled away.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Life goes on regardless

THE crisis in Holyrood is so critical that BBC London had to send proper reporters to cover the seismic events rather than use the local staff whom the powers that be obviously felt to be incompetent or lacked the gravitas to fulfil the role.

Down in Westminster our multimillionaire PM makes promises the next government will never be able to keep irrespective of what colour of rosette they temporarily choose to sport. We angst about sending refugees to Rwanda while he swans about pointlessly spending our taxes supporting a proxy war in the Ukraine and ignoring the greatest genocide in a generation.

MPs who are purported to be our betters send rude pictures to strangers and watch porn instead of tractors in the Chamber. Billions of our taxes disappear god knows where because the civil service can’t account for it. The King gives gongs to family members. It’s all distraction to occupy the minds of the hard-of-thinking.

Meanwhile back in the real world none of that circus has the slightest effect on our daily lives, things carry on as they always have done, we work and raise the next generation of workers, the rich continue to get richer and the poor get poorer. Since the era of Thatcher and Regan the portion of UK GDP that goes on wages has shrunk dramatically compared to the increase in productivity. The Equality Trust calculates that if the current trend continues that by 2035 the richest 200 families in the UK will have more wealth than the whole UK GDP.

Rather than focusing on pointless trivia in a system of governance that is far from democratic and smoke and mirrors such as Taylor Swift's Swift's grand tour, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee; while we can still afford to buy it.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.