YOU know things are seriously bad when a leaders’ debate looks to be the better option as compared to watching Scotland at the Euros. However, the good news is that these debates have turned into comedy gold in terms of political satire. Indeed the one person I feel sorry for just now is Armando Iannucci, because the politicians are blatantly stealing his best plot-lines.

For instance, last week I was banging my TV because the Reform party political slot had no sound. Then an announcer revealed that no sound had been provided. It seems Reform hadn’t anticipated an election being called at such short notice, so Nigel Farage ended up with nothing to say. This is irony taken to a whole new level.

Accompanying this farce was the spectacle of Reform candidates being suspended due to failed vetting procedures. The excuse offered was that Reform had been ‘badly let down’ by the company they’d outsourced the procedure to. In other words they themselves had failed to properly vet the company tasked with vetting. You just couldn’t make this up.

Not to be outdone, up pops Douglas Ross with his mantra that all the SNP has given us is division. This from a party that has so many factions that the BBC is struggling to keep up. So far they have identified the European Research Group, the Northern Research Group, the China Research Group, the Popular Conservatives, the Common Cause Group, the Conservative Democratic Organisation, the One Nation Caucus and the Net Zero Scrutiny Group. 

Then we have Labour saying that if elected they won’t alter anything because of the fiscal rules but that nevertheless we should regard this as ‘Change’. Visions of Malcolm Tucker delivering that line to a baffled Labour campaign team spring to mind.

Meanwhile the LibDems think that engaging in slapstick is the best route to be taken seriously, whilst the Greens believe that covering the surface of the planet with debt is the quickest way to prevent greenhouse gases getting into the upper atmosphere.

Poor Armando must be sobbing his heart out.
Robert Menzies, Falkirk.


Alba is echoing Tommy Cooper
THE great showman has performed again. Alex Salmond, founder and leader of the somewhat eccentric Alba party, has declared that he will ‘sweep Labour away’ in the Holyrood election of 2026. 

Alba is a party that has had two MPs and one MSP only because three elected SNP members have deserted that party and joined Alba. It is highly unlikely that Alba will have any MPs next Friday.
Salmond’s plan, if such it is, is to use every election as a mandate for declaring secession from the UK.  As the late, great Tommy Cooper, used to say, ‘Just like that!’

It is possible that Salmond may achieve a platform by becoming an MSP in 2026, either through election or, more likely, as a list MSP. He would, in that identity, undoubtedly dilate loud and long on the need for Scotland to leave the UK, without explaining how on earth it could afford to do so, or how he would pressure Prime Minister Starmer – as he will presumably be – into ‘negotiating’ with a Scottish leadership. Perhaps he would challenge him to an arm-wrestling contest. Who knows? 

We know what Salmond’s goal is – taking Scotland out of the UK, but what then? But, as is the case with the SNP, we have no idea of how he would achieve leaving the UK and creating a viable, let alone a prosperous, state. And probably nor does he. 

Not so much a great showman as a ham actor.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


Don’t leave indy too late for me
I HAVE read the letters from all sides about the election and am, like many, infuriated by the bickering, unsubstantiated vows and promises from all that no political party can keep. Not to mention, of course, the side-bets placed by the already wealthy to make a few more bucks.

Then I thought I would write a balanced view but realised that was impossible as I am an (obvious) independence supporter, and so any prose of mine would be ineffectual to those of Tory, Labour or other party persuasion.

I can only tell you one thing I am sure of – voting Labour in Scotland with the expectation that a Westminster government led by Keir Starmer will mean more consideration for us at home is just dreamland, and basically for two reasons.

First, Scotland is a cash cow to Westminster and the branch office here will do as it is told. All the cries of “Barnett formula” are just a red herring.
The British Isles is the name of the country (currently), and where are most of the isles? Here in Scotland. Bigger spread of population; worst weather, especially in winter; worst infrastructure. 

Haven’t you noticed over the last year that all weather forecasts at the end of national news have ceased saying it is fine weather “except in Scotland” and now say “except in northern areas”. We earn and deserve the Barnett formula. It is not a gift.

Secondly, when it comes to the Scottish Parliament elections there is no first-past-the-post. It is proportional representation with a great number of candidates being “listed” into their seats.  The chances of Labour sweeping into power in Scotland are non-existent due to that factor alone. 

They will have to work with the SNP and/or Greens, et cetera. Has it ever occurred to anyone that the reason the ferries are a disaster is that the Greens (partnering the SNP) stuck their oar in and demanded a “green” solution for fuel to pass it through? It was a disaster waiting to happen. Not an excuse, however, but a possible reason.

So, I shall be voting SNP – and if we get independence then perhaps people like me with much to say and lots of common sense will step forward along with my letters-page opponents like Dr Edwards and Ms Stevenson and allies like Ms Marr and Mr Grodynski. Don’t leave it too late, Scotland, as I am a child of the Fifties and need independence soon.
Ken Mackay, Netherlee, Glasgow.


Noises off
YET again, as with many political reports and interviews from St Stephen’s Green, Westminster, noisy protests disrupt an outside broadcast, most recently Wednesday night’s Sunak/Starmer debate.

While no-one would question the right to protest, this frequently comes across as unintelligible, background squawking.

The BBC and other broadcasters seem to have an endless need to use ‘interesting’ venues and locations for events when in many cases a studio would have been better. This vaudeville obsession with ‘let’s do the show right here’ does neither the viewers, presenters or guests any favours in terms of clarity and understanding.
Stuart Neville, Clydebank.


Where was Starmer’s passion?
AS A floating voter I thought that Keir Starmer was disappointingly subdued in the debate and was easily outflanked by Sunak.

It was hard at times to tell which man was the incumbent and which was the insurgent.

I would like to see Labour win the election after 14 years of Tory rule but Starmer could do with showing more of the necessary passion and fighting spirit. It’s long overdue.
M Scott, Glasgow

No disguising the SNP’s priority
The First Minister, John Swinney, claims that the Scottish Government is utterly focused on dualling A9.  Can someone remind me what Page 1, Line 1 of their manifesto is? Infrastructure, education, health and social care, economy? We know exactly where their focus is and it’s not on any of these.
Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Sturgeon’s demise, continued
THE Herald Voices column “Hush-hush lunch that made Sturgeon say yes to TV job” (June 26) implies that this is Nicola Sturgeon moving on, looking to her life beyond being a politician, and being given the opportunity to say what she really wants, above the party political fray.

But Ms Sturgeon is still an elected MSP, receiving an MSP’s pay every month, although seemingly now not doing very much to warrant this. She is not free to speak as she pleases. She is still a party member and will no doubt take a party line, but it will be a difficult night for her, and perhaps ITV bosses want her on the panel to see her struggle against what is likely to be a rising Labour tide that drowns many of her star names at Westminster.

The whole thing says “poor judgement” by the former FM, who seems totally unaware of how she is now perceived by the general public. Personally, I will be watching the election coverage elsewhere but looking forward to seeing highlights of this inevitable car-crash interview after the event. It will be just another milestone in her rapid and overdue demise, all brought about by herself, with nobody else to blame.
Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.