AS a member of the British Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (Bame) community; member of the Labour Party; former constituency Labour Party secretary and former parliamentary candidate, I have been distressed to read comments in articles about the rise in Labour Party membership ("Labour branch secretary resigns over concerns about new members", The Herald, October 16).

For the first time in the history of British politics we have the opportunity to elect a leader of Scottish Labour who belongs to an ethnic minority. I believe this is highly significant in this current cycle of politics in Scotland, because we could be electing the first First Minister from an ethnic minority.

My daughter is one of those members who has recently joined the party. She is 15. She has joined because she sees the potential of someone with her same ethnic origin becoming the next First Minister of Scotland.

And for those who are older than my daughter, I suspect they too have joined because in Anas Sarwar they see someone like them; someone with whom they can have an affinity; someone who understands what it is like to live as a member of an ethnic minority in Scotland and in Britain today. Ethnic minorities are still under-represented in all walks of life and especially politics. We need role models and for teenagers like my daughter we need role models so that they can aspire to lead in their communities and positively contribute to society.

I am disappointed by many of my comrades in the Labour Party who are decrying the surge in membership from ethnic minorities. Are they suggesting that people from the ethnic minorities should not join the Labour Party? I sincerely hope not and I urge the current leadership of the Labour Party to robustly denounce those members who decry this surge in membership. Such criticism cannot and should not be tolerated.

The Labour Party I know was founded on principles of democratic socialism. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone. Common endeavour must include everyone in our society including people from all minorities. I joined the Labour Party because it represents my voice as a member of the ethnic minority living in Scotland.

Asim Khan,

33 Deaconsgrange Road,

Thornliebank, Glasgow.

DAVID Torrance highlights the irony of the SNP trying to criticise Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, whilst simultaneously promoting variants of many of the resurgent left’s ideas as its own (“ Black’s attack reveals level of threat Corbyn means to SNP”, The Herald, October 16).

As Mhairi Black found in her conference speech, squaring this circle requires a liberal use of tried and trusted nationalist catch-phrases, whilst avoiding inconvenient analysis of whether they makes any sense.

A fundamental plank of the SNP’s separatist rhetoric of the last decade has been that the Tory Party it most likes to hate would be in power at Westminster forever. As the new contender, Labour must now be demonised as well, but that will not be easy when much of the SNP’s core support sits in the same place as them on the political spectrum.

Keith Howell,

White Moss, West Linton, Peeblesshire.

THERE are so many points I could make about the letter from Philip Adams (October 14), but I’ll restrict myself to one.

On what basis does he think that support for the SNP is “rapidly diminishing”? Recent opinion polls show that, at the very least, SNP support and support for independence are doing rather well, and this after 10 years of the SNP in government.

Contrary to Mr Adams’s view, I believe the next Scottish referendum is more than winnable.

Ian Baillie,

1 Tudhope Crescent, Alexandria.

RATHER than spend many years and significant amounts of British taxpayers' money setting up a headline-grabbing not-for-profit Scottish energy company (“Cheaper enegry pledge by Sturgeon steals the show”, The Herald, October 11), I have a suggestion for Nicola Sturgeon.

Her ambition to tackle fuel poverty is sound - after 10 years of the Nationalists in power, 250,000 Scots live in extreme fuel poverty. A faster and more efficient approach would be for her to direct her extensive team of taxpayer-funded spin doctors to mount a high-profile, ongoing campaign to encourage consumers to switch energy tariffs and/or suppliers. This is a key reason why so many in Scotland struggle with their fuel bills.

This approach may not have won Ms Sturgeon rapturous applause at the SNP conference but it would have a more immediate impact on the lives of ordinary Scots.

Martin Redfern,

Woodcroft Road, Edinburgh.