I HAVE to disagree with Pauline Bryan's calls to abolish the Lords ("I’m in the House of Lords and even I think it should be abolished", The Herald, August 16). I think Lady Bryan misunderstands her own role: the House of Lords is there to supplement and refine law, not dismiss it. It's not the job of a second legislative chamber merely to be a "check" on the first, and abolishing the House of Lords in the name of "checks and balances" (a concept imported from the USA, which is hardly a model of good governance) would only gum up the works and deadlock our political process further. If we elect one house just to contradict and cancel out the other house, why bother voting in the first place?

Lady Bryan cites the example of the recent strikes and migration bills in Parliament to demonstrate the unsuitability of the Lords but it rather undermines her own point: the irony is that while the Lords is often accused of being an anachronism, it was actually the modern, democratically-elected Commons that was invoking ancient "Henry VIII powers" to pass its laws. There's nothing to suggest that this will change just by taking away the fancy robes.

We also have to ask what exactly we'd be getting in exchange. Lords do not get paid a salary, nor do they get any pension. The Lords costs a fraction of the Commons to run; Lords' expenses came to £15 million in 2021, compared to £136m for the Commons - and that's before you add MPs' pay and pensions on top. The Lords is even cheaper than the Scottish Parliament: MSPs claimed £18.5m of expenses in 2021. If we replace the Lords with elected senators, they would naturally want salaries, secretaries and other flunkies, expense accounts, London apartments, index-linked pensions, equal to the dignity of elected MPs. We know what that means: taxpayers' money, and lots of it. Hundreds of millions of yet more pounds out of our pockets being spent on dolloping yet more sponge onto the tottering layer cake of government over which politicians can sit and pontificate. How very democratic.

I have no special interest to declare: I'm a common-as-muck, plain, vulgar Mister, but I still want to keep the Lords.

Robert Frazer, Dundee.

Read more: Scottish schools are not average. Poverty is holding us back

GERS figures shame the Union

THE publication of the latest GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue for Scotland) figures has triggered the now-traditional annual feeding frenzy ("Scotland's public finances improve thanks to surge in North Sea cash", heraldscotland, August 16).

A black hole in Scotland’s finances is heralded by unionist politicians as validating the continuation of the Union. In fact, it supports the case for precisely the opposite.

The killer phrase for me from the GERS report is “the report is designed to allow users to understand and analyse Scotland's fiscal position under different scenarios within the current constitutional framework”.

GERS is therefore a measure of the public finances under the current Union, hardly the greatest endorsement for how the economy has been managed on the UK’s watch. Major economic levers required to stimulate economic growth are still currently reserved to Westminster.

It is indeed a bizarre scenario when politicians from unionist parties actively gloat and support a Union that has mismanaged the economy so appallingly.

GERS is a set of figures, based on a measure of guesswork that indicate very little, except highlighting the negatives of the current Union. It has little bearing on the finances of an independent Scotland.

The point of independence is not to do everything in the same way but to move away from this one-size-fits-all fiscal straitjacket to a tailored approach that prioritises stimulating economic growth.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Report shows some home truths

IT’S the annual spin day when the GERS figures are published. Although these figures are produced by civil servants in the Scottish Government, the separatists who live amongst us, including many SNP and Green politicians, would like to make us believe that the figures are a figment of Westminster’s imagination.

They annually reject the fact that by being in the United Kingdom, Scotland benefits to the tune of £1,521 per person over our fellow UK citizens. Imagine what we could do with that money if the SNP and the Greens had not chosen to squander it on the failed and costly Deposit Return Scheme, the black financial hole that is two ferries, the costly census debacle to name but a few.

GERS shows the income against expenditure of Scotland and for those in any doubt as to why they never support ripping us out of the United Kingdom, this is the one fact you need to grasp. Scotland’s tax revenue was £19.1 billion less than its expenditure last year. To put it into perspective, the health and social care budget set for this financial year is £19.2bn.

Until the SNP can tell us how it would make up that shortfall without borrowing at horrendous rates, it can’t expect us to take it seriously. We are not too wee, too poor or too stupid. We are just better together.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Welcome to Blair Mark 2

ALISON Rowat's column (The Herald, August 16) poses the question "Is a vote for Starmer a vote for a Tony Blair comeback?" which is chillingly answered in later reference to a Times comment made by the proverbial unnamed senior Labour source, "our working assumption is that half the Blair Institute will be flooding into Number 10 once we've won".

That's it. That's all anyone needs to know. Forget the branch office. Forget independence. Welcome back to more one-sided "partnerships" with private companies slavering to get their teeth into the rotting corpses of our public services. The House of Lords will continue to be be stuffed with vacuous and value-free time-servers making way for the Blair Mark 2 generation serving as "consultants" to these same private companies.

And where the una-party corporate political shills of the Anglo-American war machine lead we will, as the Warmonger-in-Chief once told Jonathan Powell, "be so far up the backside of the White House and just stay there" that we will valiantly follow the US to another proxy war, this time with China.

Scotland really needs to get out.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh.

Read more: The people of Scotland have got wise to Labour

• I WOULD urge anyone thinking of voting Labour to read Alison Rowat’s article.

Given the number of U-turns Sir Keir Starmer has performed, he is the epitome of a populist politician. A metropolitan establishment figure, whose father actually owned a toolmaking company, he knows so little about Scotland that he couldn’t name any of Anas Sarwar’s team at Holyrood. The former Labour leader of Aberdeen City Council resigned from the party over Labour’s energy policy and Sir Keir has backed the use of Section 35 of the Scotland Act that gives the Secretary of State for Scotland the power to veto legislation enacted by the Scottish Parliament, even if it deals with a devolved matter.

There is no vision or change from Labour when it continues to oppose freedom of movement or the EU single market. It is not an obsession to state that Brexit is the main reason that the UK’s economy has tanked and Ireland, without Scotland’s vast energy resources, is now significantly wealthier than the UK.

If Labour can’t commit to abolishing the Tories' two-child benefit cap or the Bedroom Tax, how is it going to afford much-needed investment in the NHS or properly invest in Scotland’s renewable manufacturing?

Labour’s record in government in Wales is dreadful when compared to Scotland, and when Scottish MPs are outnumbered 10 to 1 at Westminster it is fantasy to suggest that the Scottish branch office can influence events.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

How can we look up to Yousaf?

HUMZA Yousaf is Scotland's First Minister and as such holds the highest office in our land, surely a position that should carry gravity and dignity.

Perhaps I am simply old-fashioned, and have lived beyond my time, but I do sincerely wish that he would cease dragging the office into the gutter with his language, which belittles him, his party, and our nation. Last week it was "f*** you"; yesterday it was, "p*** off" ("Humza Yousaf warns his premiership will 'p*** people off'", heraldscotland, August 15).

How sad; how demeaning. I was hoping for a leader whom I can look up to; one in whom I can have trust and confidence, one who carries his office of First Minister with the statesmanship that position surely deserves, in attitude, action, and speech.

Unfortunately, his language, among other things, takes away that hope.

Alasdair H B Fyfe, Glasgow.