SCOTTISH nationalists must rue the day Alex Salmond resigned.

He'd have waltzed past Nicola Sturgeon's gender recognition reform, deposit return and ferries banana skins; someone with the same strict, thorough schooling and teachers as I had in Linlithgow wouldn't allow our education system to tank, he'd have taken a harder-nosed, realistic view of net zero especially on the oil and gas industry and ludicrous plans to force heat pumps upon us, and I bet, as in his most successful 2007-11 term, he'd have formed a minority government, wheeling and dealing with the Conservatives rather than selling out to the Greens.

He might then have been in a better position to push for another referendum - assuming his flawed 2014 prospectus could be repaired.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

Why we have suffered

FOR once I can agree with Dr Gerald Edwards (Letters, August 9). Scotland has indeed suffered since 2014, but sadly, he is mistaken in his attribution of the cause.

If he cares to look back to that year, he will find a long list of promises and guarantees made by all three parties at Westminster which were immediately ditched as soon as they won the vote, thus fulfilling the power grab prophecy, that guarantees given to ensure success never thereafter need to be honoured; witness Evel within less than 24 hours of the result. That the promise of guaranteed membership of the EU was instrumental in that outcome is amply proved by the huge majority of nearly 25% for Remain in Scotland two years later.

Instead, since then, with Westminster hoping that the threat of independence had safely receded, we have seen a number of devolved powers overridden and diluted, for example the blocking of the UN Rights of the Child, or direct interference with local government, or the wide-ranging Internal Market Act that even affects our food labelling. As a result, Holyrood has had to spend time, effort and money mitigating many problems caused by Westminster, from a budget that decreases in real terms every time something more is privatised in England. Had it indeed been concentrating only on independence, to the exclusion of these more immediate concerns, we might well have won independence by now, and still been in the EU.

L McGregor, Falkirk.

Read more: UK is on a dangerous path with Tory dog-whistle politics

VIP treatment down to security

RECENT reports of spending by civil servants in Scotland on corporate credit cards ("£14m credit card bill includes £10k on Sturgeon's airport VIP costs", heraldscotland, August 8) is a further demonstration that the unionist opposition will leave no gutter unexplored in their never-ending mission to criticise the Scottish Government for everything it does.

It is, for instance, unfortunate that there are queues in airports, but does Tory MSP Annie Wells have any appreciation of the security issues created if Nicola Sturgeon had not been “treated like royalty” as Ms Wells demands? Does she really have so little understanding of such issues if Ms Sturgeon had not used airport services such as those provided by Ace Handling? They offer that “clients can be met kerbside from their car, then whisked through the check-in, security procedures, to the VIP lounge, and then to your awaiting flight. Choose to be collected from your in-bound flight and escorted through the immigration procedure, bag collection and taken to your awaiting car.”

Or should the former First Minister’s driver have found a place in the car park, should Ms Sturgeon have walked across to departure, stood in line to check in, followed by security and then sit – if she could find a seat – before her flight is called?

Ms Wells' comments seem to me to be somewhere between political vengeance and personal animus. Neither of which does Ms Wells any credit, particularly when she should remember the travel arrangements of her own party leader at Westminster.

This is not, and never was about whether the First Minister was “treated like royalty”, but about security. As the Scottish Government spokesman said, “for security reasons we cannot comment on the First Minister’s travel arrangements”. Perhaps given how long it has been since her party has been involved in government in Scotland, Ms Wells is becoming forgetful? Or just misleading.

On that issue, the Scottish Government has recently been berated for the continuing growth in the number of civil servants. As you report, the total number of civil servants in Scotland rose by 2,475. However, not all work for the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government accounted for just over 13% of the total increase. The remaining 87% was accounted for by The Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

• SO Nicola Sturgeon is to write her "deeply personal memoir" ("Sturgeon signs book deal for memoir to be released in 2025", The Herald, August 10). Will it be titled I Can't Recall or I Don't Remember?

I wonder if it will be published on scrunched-up, pencil written Post-It notes?

A heavily redacted foreword by Leslie Evans would add to the authenticity of a time in charge.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

Don't let migrants jump queues

IN response to my letter of August 8, Doug Maughan (Letters, August 9) displays exactly the misguided naivety of the woke campaigners I referred to.

Mr Maughan makes several assumptions devoid of context while alluding to a similar barge he lived on being used as a prison ship in New York. Perhaps he should also avoid holidays on cruise ships.

By saying I am comparing apples and oranges in regards to the illegal refugees not being allowed to work he shows his primary concern is for how refugees will pass their time.

While I was confined to my cabin accommodation during my off-shift hours on the rigs, the refugees will be free to fill their day with walks in parks, hills, town centres, visit various places of interest, local libraries and museums. I was unable to access any of these while working offshore. They will also be safe in the knowledge their safety, food and shelter are all being met by the UK taxpayers.

To suggest they be allowed to work by queue-jumping and gatecrashing the border is exactly why they should not be allowed entry. Mr Maughan naively assumes all immigrants have skills and are itching to work, but there are only so many Uber and carry-out delivery drivers we need and this is why they should enter through legitimate channels so the UK Government can determine and exert a degree of control over skills sets, qualifications and manpower channelled to the sectors that do require them and we get people who can make a contribution across our economy rather than allow an open drain on our health service, benefits system and uncontrolled pressure on our already-overcrowded housing infrastructure.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.

Read more: Shame on Glasgow for turning its back on the needy

No logic to ban on work

I HAVE to very much commend the letter from Doug Maughan.

I fail to comprehend the arguments and philosophy from some of your contributors and others including the Home Office which imply that those coming to our shores are doing so purely for some form of nefarious scam. Those who do manage to arrive in the UK are doing so for good reason; they are fleeing for their lives. None whom I have had the privilege to meet, and there have been many over the years, would ordinarily have ever wished to have left their country of origin. Extreme exigencies have forced them to so do.

In the late 1930s, my own parents, and many of their friends, were forced to flee Nazi Germany. They were welcomed to Scotland, settled here, and subsequently made notable contributions to the Scottish and UK economies and culture. In contrast, their parents, my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins were not so fortunate despite their best attempts to get here. They ultimately perished in the Holocaust.

More recently, I have hosted a young person seeking asylum in the UK. They have been forced to flee their country of origin due to severe abuse and potential threat to life. They have recently graduated in a science degree from one of our prestigious Scottish universities having gained a scholarship to do so. This individual has made it perfectly clear to me, and so have others in a similar situation, that they don't wish to exist on measly government hand-outs at taxpayers' expense. And this whilst it is taking years in limbo for their application for refugee status to be considered by the Home Office. Quite simply, they want to work, ply their trade, contribute their fantastic skills, qualifications and taxes to the benefit of Scotland and the UK as per their predecessors 80 years ago. There is no rationale or logic why they should not be allowed to do so.

It is only the utterly hostile political dogma of the current Westminster regime which is preventing them.

Ian Fulton, Glasgow.