I AM mightily impressed by the certainty with which Robert IG Scott (Letters, September 11) proclaims that the SNP is going to be “thoroughly thrashed” at the next elections: “absolutely no doubt” of it, he tells us. Well, I make no claim to prophetic powers, but I think there is a very considerable degree of doubt. Indeed, I would not bet heavily on the SNP’s being “thoroughly thrashed” if the elections were to be held next week, never mind months in the future.

Who, according to Mr Scott’s crystal ball, is going to administer this thrashing? Labour, presumably, since it assuredly is not going to be the Tories or the LibDems. But if facts are considered instead of wish-fulfilment fantasies, it becomes perfectly clear that Labour neither has done nor is likely to do the slightest thing to deserve victory, at Westminster or (still less) at Holyrood. At Westminster Labour might win through its asset of being the only alternative to the Tories; but as Sir Keir Starmer is hell-bent on demolishing that asset by daily changing his party’s policies in the direction of Toryism, his prospects look increasingly slim. And the unedifying spectacle of his obedient servant Anas Sarwar trying to sell thinly-disguised Toryism to the Scottish electorate does not bode well for Labour’s chances here.

A change of strategy is indeed desperately needed in Scotland; but Labour has neither the will nor the ability to provide it: a fact which becomes more obvious every time either Sir Keir Starmer or Mr Sarwar open their mouths. The change which we need is independence; and the party which will deliver this is the SNP.

Derrick McClure, Aberdeen.

• WITH regard to Robert IG Scott’s letter, I can only respond by stating that there is absolutely no doubt that at the next elections, both for Westminster and Holyrood, that the Conservatives will be thorough thrashed.

Their wide-ranging failures as an administration at Westminster have reached the point where even their most ardent supporters have lost faith.

We have witnessed the demise of first David Cameron, to be followed in rapid succession by Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. Very few people, including their own supporters, have much faith in the present incumbent, Rishi Sunak. And it's doubtful if there is any Conservative MP who would be suitable for the post of PM.

So surely now the time is ripe for change. We Scots should expect much more than dysfunctional, colonial rule from Westminster.

Read more: Holyrood has greatly improved our lives

Iain MacEchern, Crieff.

Audacious hypocrisy

THE audacious hypocrisy of the SNP never fails to astound me. Deploying yesterday’s man, Ian Blackford, with the ambitious Neil Gray, to promote a false history of the Brexit debacle smacks of desperation ("SNP big beast to campaign on Brexit in crucial by-election seat", The Herald, September 11). Apart from the fact that the Labour Party opposed Brexit wholeheartedly and will have to pick up the pieces following next year’s General Election, rejoining the EU would be a tortuous and long-drawn-out process.

The SNP spent more on a Shetland by-election in 2019 than it did on Remain in the 2016 EU referendum.

If the 2014 Scottish referendum had been lost, the SNP would have ripped Scotland out of the EU at that time.

The SNP MPs caused Prime Minister Theresa May’s 2019 Commons motion to stay in the EU Customs Union to fail by five votes. They abstained.

Brexit is done and next year it will be a Labour government that will have to fix it. The irrelevant and impotent nationalists won’t matter.

James Quinn, Lanark.

Why the need for two jobs?

THE SNP candidate for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Katy Loudon, has stated that she is going to be concentrating on the cost of living in her election campaign here.

She should have no problems with that herself as she has two publicly-funded jobs. She is a councillor in South Lanarkshire Council while at the same time she is a case worker for MSP Clare Haughey. I would have thought one or the other was more than enough to occupy her while leaving a vacancy for one of her constituents who may be in need of the income.

Dorothy Connor, Rutherglen.

Corbyn was the real deal

YOUR editorial ("Time we were all put out of our misery, including the Tories", The Herald, September 9) states that Sir Keir Starmer "has done a considerable job of purging the Labour Party of far-left elements and ruinous ambitions and in making Labour more electable than it was under Jeremy Corbyn”.

We’ll soon find out how electable Sir Keir is but given the car crash that the UK is currently, it seems inconceivable that his party will fail to secure a handsome majority at the next Westminster election.

Contrast this to 2017 when Labour was at 25% in the polls at the start of the campaign. By election night, under the “unelectable” Mr Corbyn, Labour secured more votes than at any time since 1997, and its third highest vote share since the first Atlee government in 1945.

In 2017, far from being unelectable, Mr Corbyn’s “ruinous ambitions" captured the mood of the young, the poor and those who wanted an end to the austerity and corruption of the Tory years. And despite the best efforts of his own party establishment and most of his MPs he nearly pulled it off.

Even in 2019, when Labour polled 10.3 million votes, Mr Corbyn still outpolled Tony Blair in 2005, Gordon Brown in 2010 and Ed Miliband in 2015. However, the undemocratic nature of Britain’s electoral system meant that whilst Mr Blair got 355 seats in 2005 from 9.6 million votes, Mr Corbyn’s 10.3 million votes secured 202.

Mr Corbyn offered a real choice between continued decline in the UK economy, growing inequality and increased poverty, and the prospect of a fairer society that benefits us all. Now we can look forward to a Labour government that shows no signs of belief in social justice and has no apparent interest in reducing poverty and the inequalities in our society.

Chris Ewing, Cairneyhill, Fife.

Read more: It is a tragedy that the UK refuses to invest in its people

Criminalising legal protests

SCOTTISH Greens MSP Gillian Mackay will soon be coming to Holyrood with her bill to set up so-called “buffer zones” outside hospitals. She will use emotive language to try to justify the criminalisation of legal protests by pro-life/anti-abortion prayer groups on the public highway.

Ms Mackay will try to suggest that it is currently “unsafe” to access abortion services, which appears to be her subjective opinion (her bill talks about “safe access”). There is no evidence of legal protests being “unsafe”.

This will be the same Gillian Mackay who voted for the now-discredited Gender Recognition Reform Bill which would have made it easier for criminals and rapists to access biological women’s areas in prisons, hospitals, leisure centres and the like, potentially making these areas “unsafe”. Ms Mackay wants abortion to be “expanded” and thinks buffer zones will be “one of the proudest legacies of devolution”.

So the criminalisation of legal protests will be a proud legacy. Really? Who’s next to be criminalised in Scotland?

John Smith, Falkirk.

West must step up aid to Ukraine

AS the miseries of the Ukraine conflict carry on into its second year, with the onset of autumn and the approach of winter, both of which will hamper the manoeuvrability of land-based vehicles, will this allow both sides to recharge their batteries for a renewal of hostilities with the opening up of spring?

There surely has to be in place a strategy by Ukraine to sever the supply lines of the Russian forces to make a huge dent in the morale of the opposing soldiery, already, if reports are to be believed, at a low ebb.

Where then are the planes which could effect such strikes on storage depots, railway lines and roads to make it impossible to restock the food, weaponry and medical supplies of the invasion forces?

Without air power, it will be difficult for Ukraine to strike at the heart of the Russian war effort with paralysing effect.

Its western allies will need to get all their ducks in a row on that count, if Ukraine is to bring this conflict to a sorry conclusion for the Russians. There is no time to lose if we do not want this war to drag on to the further detriment of Ukraine and the world economy.

What do those allies not understand about the words "finger" and "out"?

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.