A LOT of people are currently wondering what the SNP stand for at this election, if anything. Your front page and inside story ("Swinney: I'll work with Labour - but Sunak is not fit to be PM", June 9) rather reinforces this impression, with your exclusive interview with John Swinney.

Throughout, Mr Swinney provides extensive commentary on what other parties are doing, their weaknesses and failures, but without saying anything at all about his own party. He comes across as a commentator, someone who is not involved in the election. Indeed, he is not standing for election, so perhaps he is just a commentator, but his party is, and he is supposed to be speaking for it, and at this stage of the election, we expect journalists to be challenging political figures on what it is that they are going to be doing for us.

Journalism is where people are asked questions that they might not want to answer. Everything else is public relations, and this is exactly what your “exclusive” is. In an election, all politicians should be available for scrutiny across a range of media outlets. A cosy chat on a park bench is all very well, but not what we are looking for at this time.

We know the SNP is not interested in independence any more. We know it thinks the Labour Party is going to win anyway. So, perhaps it is made up merely of commentators sitting on the sidelines, watching the world go by, passing judgment on others, but not really taking part. I haven’t had a single leaflet from it through my door yet. It doesn't seem to be trying at all. In which case, the SNP will likely get what it deserves, which is not very much at all.

If this does happen, then at least the party will know why that is.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.

Change tack on drugs policy

THE Scottish Government has run out of excuses to explain why year after year drug deaths in Scotland keep increasing well above the level in England and are at the highest death rate in Europe.

Whilst the SNP talks complete waffle about a new-initiative approach in tackling the problem the reality when you listen to those working with drug addicts is quite a different story of underfunding and more of the same failed methadone programme.

There needs to be radical change in approach in tackling this dreadful social problem and a substantial increase in funding for residential treatment programmes, otherwise the death rate will continue to rise.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

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Quangos out of control

THE Scottish Government's lack of control over quangos has again been brought to the public's attention with Scotland's water industry watchdog reportedly spending thousands of pounds sending staff on management courses in Argentina and New York and arranging executive coaching.

This comes on top of concerns about hospitality expenditure and travel expenses with the Scottish Government either through indifference or incompetence seemingly unaware of the waste of public money.

Other quangos such as Creative Scotland and CalMac have also received recent criticism and one wonders why ministers on whose behalf quangos are carrying out their functions, seem oblivious to what is going on and fail to scrutinise the workings of those external bodies. Alex Salmond's promise of a bonfire of quangos seems a long time ago and nothing has changed with ministers taking the easy route by keeping quangos at arm's length and hoping any problems will go away.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Sunak apology does not ring true

"WHAT is truth?", quoth jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer.

We all know that quotation and it seems appropriate to tag our outgoing PM with that remark in the light of what took place the day he chose to opt out of the final symbolic meeting of the successors to the leaders who co-operated in the vital D-Day mission.

How honest has the man who used to be known as Dishy Rishi been over the way that day developed?

He made a hasty exit from the scene of the D-Day commemorations and rushed back for a TV interview.

What was the first thing he said to his interviewer in that political programme?

He apologised for being late without any reference to his having body-swerved the final symbolic meeting of that important event.

It had obviously not crossed his mind at that time that he had committed an egregious faux pas by speeding off to an interview to save his own skin in the General Election campaign after his trumped-up allegation against Keir Starmer's tax policy, instead of representing King and country at an international celebration of the importance of solidarity with Britain's allies.

It was only after the furore burst upon his dereliction of duty that he came round to the realisation of the mistake he had made.

In that particular context, the suspicion is that his apology was forced and far from genuine.

Not only did he let the country down but he also let himself down.

There is now an indelible blot upon his escutcheon rather like the albatross which was hung round the neck of the ancient mariner.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Why worry about money?

THE various election protagonists are now assuring us that each of their schemes is fully costed, and will be financed from savings made elsewhere.

But now that we are simply creating unbacked fiat money from thin air, via the banking system, there is no need for such fiscal responsibility.

In 1997 our national debt was a mere £350 billion, today it is about £2.6 trillion, that is to say eight times as much, all of it magic fiat money, only supported by our belief in its issuer, and without any real backing such as gold.

So for as long as we have faith in the ability of our government, it can continue to finance the whims of its various ministers with this magic money.

The key word here, of course, is faith.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

Arrest the demonstrators

PRO-PALESTINE protesters targeted at least 20 Barclay banks, smashing windows and hurling red paint. This was a targeted attack by Palestine Action and Shut The System. It would appear that they and Extinction Rebellion, Tyre Extinguishers, Affordable Energy, Insulate Britain, Just stop Oil, Animal Rebellion, The Fridays for Future Movement, Last Generation, Scientist Rebellion, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Animal Rising, Republic, This is Rigged, Ocean Rebellion, Tyre Extinguishers, Affordable Energy and Insulate Britain have no fear of our police or judiciary and think they can do anything they want to disrupt our society and know they are likely, if caught, to get off with a small fine and no criminal record.

The cost of policing demonstrations has been estimated at over £150 million. Time for this meek government, or the next one, to instruct the police to arrest demonstrators breaking the law and ensure the courts impose severe jail sentences not meaningless fines for the damage and disruption these demonstrators cause.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

(Image: PA)

Hamas to blame for the deaths

IF you choose to abduct civilians from a music concert, where you gang-rape and murder many others and hold the terrified abductees in flats in a residential area and then fire on their rescuers from every direction, what can you expect other than a bloodbath? It is Hamas and its fellow terrorists who are to blame for all the Palestinian deaths, not Israel.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.

The Doctor is ailing

LAST Saturday (June 8), I switched Doctor Who off, a programme I have never missed since 1963. If any reader does not understand that, try watching the episode with primary age children. Doctor Who was designed for children. It was mainly set on other planets or at key moments in (mainly British) history. It had us all hiding behind the settee from scary Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels.

The BBC showed utter contempt and callously jettisoned the loyal Doctor Who audience, who had been there since 1963, in appointing superb, if inappropriate, actress Jodie Whittaker in 2017, though we were assured little girls punched the air in delight.The audience promptly collapsed by two-thirds. David Tennant had taken it to 13million. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the audience research department of Disney, who have bought the streaming rights.

Since then, the global franchise has been undermined by unbearable wokery, tick box companions, and preachy storylines.

Now the audience have simply voted with their feet and the figure bounces along the bottom at two million. The kids want a comprehensible storyline with some action and excitement on other planets; not tedious morality tales on refugees, pronouns, capitalism, government cuts, and that indecipherable codswallop set in Wales.

Now, at 7.25pm on a Saturday, Doctor Who kisses a male character he has only just met: what a role model. I would have had no objection whatever had there been some warning or had it been shown after the 9pm watershed.We have come a long way since the Brookside lesbian kiss in 1994 after all.

I suspect the BBC is testing the parameters of what Ofcom will accept.They are abdicating a duty of care to the young.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife.