I LISTENED to Ross Greer, Green MSP, on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme proclaim the policies of the recent SNP/Green coalition Government as “progressive,” with Green continued support contingent upon their continuation.

This word “progressive” has been purloined by the Greens and other platoons of the woke brigade, and attached to policies such as self-ID as trans by 16-year-old adolescents and male adults, without regard to the potential consequences for women’s need to have safe spaces. It is also “progressive” for a Highlander to stop placing wood in a stove to save the planet, while elsewhere 1,400 coal-fired power stations eliminate in seconds whatever gain in emissions that makes.

Noticeably missing from Mr Greer's interview was any recognition of the profound damage being done to today’s young people, and by extension to the nation in the years ahead, by SNP/Green decisions: £200m cuts to housing, cuts to primary and secondary education, cuts to universities, and the crisis created in the equally important further education colleges, as reported so accurately by you in your series last week ("The State of Scotland's Colleges", The Herald, April 29-May 4).

As I look at the condition of Scotland as a result of the SNP/Green Government, and realise how ill-prepared it has made the people of Scotland to rise to the challenge of creating a successful economy in this highly competitive world, and the social life dependent upon it, I have another word for Mr Greer’s “progressive”: stupid.

Jim Sillars, Edinburgh.

We need an election

EVEN after the SNP's annus horribilis, SNP acolytes continue to defend this failing party. Catriona C Clark (Letters, May 7) is one of many. She writes that John Swinney "is to be commended" for being in a cabinet responsible for baby boxes and increasing the benefits bill still further.

Mr Swinney promises a new beginning and a fresh start but he has more political barnacles on him than the Glen Sannox has real ones. He was part of the Sturgeon/Harvie/Yousaf cabal which inflicted all the green and transgender policies on Scotland. Did Mr Swinney oppose the gender transformation laws of Nicola Sturgeon's government? Of course he didn't. Does he support increasing the cost of whisky sold in Scotland by 30%? Yes, he does.

Did Mr Swinney support Mr Harvie's Heat in Buildings strategy setting targets for scrapping gas and oil boilers and coal, wood and peat fires? He did, even as MSP for North Perthshire, which does not exactly enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Did he support the creation of targets from thin air to reduce Scotland's miniscule CO2 emissions even further? Yes, of course he did. Did he support the SNP target to cut car use by 20% by 2030? Yes.

Mr Swinney was part of a failed government. What is required is a fresh election to allow a new administration to take Scotland forward.

William Loneskie, Lauder.

The State of Scotland's Colleges: Find all articles in the series here

Read more: Scottish Greens must return to the party's core principles

Read more: SNP should have had its retread a decade ago. It's too late now

John Swinney's credentials

WHEN Steven Camley portrays John Swinney as a caretaker First Minister (The Herald, May 7), it is worth pointing out that John Swinney is 18 months younger than Sir Keir Starmer and went to a less-privileged state school at Forrester High School in Edinburgh. John Swinney’s father was a garage manager while Keir Starmer’s father owned an independent toolmaking firm. However, John Swinney has more experience in business through a five-year stint as a strategic planning principal with a Life Assurance company.

As for unelected leaders, unlike at Westminster our First Minister must be an MSP and elected by Holyrood members. As both Anas Sarwar and Douglas Ross were merely elected via the party list back door in 2021, they are hardly in a position to complain.

Meanwhile, when Jackie Baillie calls for more teeth for Holyrood ("Labour’s longest-serving MSP Baillie says Holyrood needs ‘more teeth’", The Herald, May 7), she fails to mention any additional powers for our Scottish Parliament in order to tackle the cost of living crisis or labour shortages and economic stagnation under a UK outside the EU supported by the Labour Party. Given the number of policy U-turns, the main change Labour is planning at Westminster is to replace a multi-millionaire with a mere millionaire.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

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Cabinet of all the talents?

JOHN Swinney should seize the opportunity to deliver on the vision of the devolved Scottish Parliament as a chamber in which no single party should be able to gain total control.

It was only the sense of betrayal felt by Scottish LibDem voters when their party went into coalition with the Tories in 2010 and the knowledge that Labour was shaping up to go into alliance with the Tories and LibDems against Scottish independence that produced the SNP landslide in 2011. John Swinney now has the chance to form a government along the lines likely to emerge in an independent Scotland.

Anas Sarwar could be offered the job of Health Secretary where he so clearly believes he could succeed where the SNP has failed. Douglas Ross could be given a similar challenge with the education portfolio and Alex Cole-Hamilton might be able to pull some ferries out of the hat. I’ll leave Mr Swinney to decide who should handle other issues such as net zero and drug deaths.

Finally I would urge the SNP and Alba to withdraw from contesting Westminster seats and for all independence supporters, regardless of party allegiance, to unite by voting for candidates standing “Under One Banner” in Westminster elections with a single-issue manifesto of Scottish independence.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

The Herald: Steven Camley's take on John Swinney's electionSteven Camley's take on John Swinney's election (Image: Newsquest)

US must wake up to Gaza's plight

YOU report that Israel has rejected the ceasefire agreement proposed by Egypt and Qatar and accepted by Hamas (“Israel says ceasefire terms ‘not enough’”,The Herald, May 7). Today’s news bulletins report that Israel has started bombing Rafah, as it has threatened to do for weeks. Is anyone, other than perhaps Joe Biden, surprised by these latest developments?

When it first invaded last October, Israel said it would destroy Gaza City, but told its inhabitants they would be safe if they moved south to Khan Yunis and beyond. That was a lie. Later, Israel said it would destroy Khan Yunis, but told its inhabitants and the multitude of refugees from Gaza City they would be safe if they moved south to Rafah, hard up against the border with Egypt. That was also a lie: they now intend destroying Rafah, with the inevitable loss of thousands of innocent lives.

The worst human conditions I’ve ever seen were in Ethiopia during the great famine of 1984. I’ll never forget some of the children I saw there, skeletal and close to death. The media blamed drought for the famine, but there was more to it than that. There was civil war in Ethiopia at the time, between rebels in the north and a brutal Marxist regime in Addis Ababa. The worst of the famine was in the north and that suited the Marxists just fine: they had little interest in the survival of women and children in rebel areas and exploited the famine to advance their war effort. I recognised that same indifference to suffering, in a much less extreme situation, in Mrs Thatcher’s response to mining communities fighting to survive that same year.

US Vice-President Kamala Harris said: “Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed.” That was in December. Since then, thousands more innocents have been killed by Israeli forces using American bombs and shells. The Israeli government is worse than the Ethiopian Marxists; at least the latter allowed a substantial amount of foreign aid into the country. So why on earth is the US, which prides itself on being a beacon of democracy and human rights, so deaf and blind to the situation in Gaza? Children are children; wherever they live, they don’t deserve to be killed or maimed by munitions made in America.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

• IT is sad to see how so many in Israel endorse what is going on in Gaza.

They accuse outsiders of anti-Semitism while failing to understand the depth of anger and resentment that has fuelled Palestinian hostility to Israel.

They fail too to appreciate the appalling death toll that the war has wrought on Palestinians in Gaza, the shocking destruction and what can only be described as collective punishment and revenge.

It does the Israeli government no credit to talk tirelessly of anti-Semitism in a knee-jerk reaction to the slightest criticism of its actions.

Hamas is widely considered a terrorist organisation and its actions last October more than justify the accusation, but there are state actors, too: there is state terrorism and we shouldn't be afraid to call it out.

Trevor Rigg, Edinburgh.