THE Premier of Australia's State of Victoria is to be commended for his frankness. Asked why he was dumping the 2026 Commonwealth Games, Daniel Andrews said: "I've made a lot of difficult calls, a lot of very difficult decisions in this job. This is not one of them.

"Frankly, $6 billion or $7bn for a sporting event – we are not doing that. That does not represent value for money. That is all cost and no benefit."

By contrast, Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf has asked officials to "explore" the prospect of bringing those games to Glasgow ("Scotland could host 2026 Commonwealth Games with other countries", heraldscotland, July 19).

Even a cursory glance at the pages of The Herald should give Mr Yousaf a swift and obviously much-needed lesson on priorities. I won't bore you with a list but I look forward to Mr Yousaf speedily echoing his Victorian oppo's frankness and leaving those games unplayed.

Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.

• OUR valiant First Minister has declared an interest in saving the Commonwealth Games. As such, is he supporting the monarchy or our potential membership of an organisation despised by his predecessors?

Humza Yousaf is grasping his own poisoned chalice to gain political points and to join an organisation that his colleagues despise.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

The dignity of Philippa Whitford

RICHARD Allison (Letters, July 20) does his best to distract from the “toxicity” around Westminster politics and the patronising arrogance of ideologically callous Tory UK Government ministers by seeking to exaggerate perceived issues within the SNP. The problem though for Mr Allison is that no matter how creative he attempts to be with his spin, most people in Scotland can tell the difference between a sincere, accomplished and widely-respected politician, such as Nicola Sturgeon, and a lying, incompetent buffoon, such as Boris Johnson.

Instead of seeking to make political capital out of the forthcoming retirement from Westminster of the extremely able Dr Philippa Whitford MP (who will turn 65 later this year), Mr Allison would perhaps better advance any argument for sustaining a now-dysfunctional Union if he were to acknowledge the fact that Dr Whitford, as well as being an astute and formidable politician, has always conducted herself with dignity and in an utterly professional manner that most MPs at Westminster would do well to emulate.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

Read more: Never mind the Tories, it's the SNP that is toxic

Evidence that cannot be ignored

PETER A RUSSELL (Letters, July 19) writes that “the power to call a Border Poll is exclusively in the hands of the UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who may only use that power when he or she is of the opinion that it would succeed”, which suggests something approaching carte blanche on whether and when to call a cross-border poll on the reunification of Ireland.

Mr Russell is correct that it is only the Secretary of State who can act, but surely no Secretary of State could ignore the kind of evidence the Institute for Government suggests should prompt a Secretary of State to authorise a poll? These include regular majorities of reunification-supporting (or independence-supporting) elected representatives, votes in the Northern Ireland Assembly (or Scottish Parliament), nor could they, faced at the time with regular majorities for a poll, claim that they see “no evidence of demand” for a poll.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Middle ground

ROBERT McNeil’s Westminster Sketch ("Pete calls for one big bench where Labour and Tories can be together", The Herald, July 20), took me back to the building of the Scottish Parliament. During the construction years, a reader's letter was published suggesting a change to the building specification. This called for a fence to run through the middle of the Holyrood Parliament, for the LibDems to sit on.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

Inequality must not be ignored

AT Tony Blair’s think tank’s conference being held this week Sir Keir Starmer referred to his decision to stick with the Conservatives' two-child benefit cap. “We have to show we are fiscally responsible,” he said, “that we can be trusted not to make unfunded spending promises.” Yes, but can he not indicate that even in these circumstances he will move heaven and earth to find ways of balancing, as justice requires, the demands of the rich whose wealth and income is already obscenely excessive and the needs of those desperately in need, especially children in deep poverty?

He seems to be totally unable to comprehend that a society with such appalling levels of inequality as ours can never achieve the sense of wellbeing within itself necessary to allow its innumerable elements to come together in order to attain the growth he so desperately aims to achieve.

That is surely the unlearned lesson of the past 13 years of divisive Conservative rule.

John Milne, Uddingston.

Where is Gordon Brown?

SIR Keir Starmer really is his own man now. He apparently approves of the two-child benefit cap.

Normally Sir Keir would seek the advice of Saint Gordon (Brown), that great campaigner against child poverty. Saint Gordon is worryingly being reported as missing in action at this crucial time.

Surely Gordon, that great virtuous man of many principles, has not given up on child poverty?

“Power without principles” would be a great slogan for the current Labour Party to use on its campaign literature come the next election.

Ian Archibald, Edinburgh.

Read more: Benedict Cumberbatch Bear Grylls nuclear sub 'Uber lift' sparks anger

Never forget the nuclear menace

WE in Scotland live under a shadow the enormity of which casts darkness not only over our own country but the whole of the world. It is called Trident.

Most people ignore it because of the destructive power enclosed in a secret submarine is too much to contemplate. That is why I welcome the publicity given by The Herald to the stupid pranks of Bear Grylls and Benedict Cumberbatch hitching a lift on a nuclear submarine ("Taxi for Cumberbatch: Star hails a Scots submarine for lift home", The Herald, July 19). It brings into the light just what lies beneath our beautiful lochs. It also shows the absurdity of believing we can leave the safety of our planet in the hands of "experts". Craig Williams' report exposes the reality that HMS Astute, costing £1.2 billion, ran aground near the Skye Bridge in 2010.

Do we walk in the shadow of death? It is not The Cuillins mountains that cast it but nuclear weapons under our seas and lochs. Let’s stop ignoring and get rid.

Susan Martin, Glasgow.

Alarm over bus subsidies

I NOTE SPT chief executive Valerie Davidson's letter (July 20) in response to my interview in The Herald about Greater Glasgow's inadequate privatised bus services and look forward to working with SPT to build the case for the regional bus franchise that is so urgently needed. She made an excellent point that public transport expenditure generates much greater economic and social returns on investment, and should therefore be viewed as a loss-leader that enables society at large to function.

She also clarified that SPT's bus subsidy budget is currently £14 million per annum, which would mean a 54% cut from the £31m in 2019 that is published on SPT's website and was the figure I had referred to in my interview. If accurate, the scale of this decline over just four years is truly alarming and further compounds the collapse in services we have seen since the pandemic. I stand ready with my parliamentary colleagues to assist SPT to reverse this severe cut as quickly as possible.

Paul Sweeney, MSP for Glasgow Region (Scottish Labour and Co-operative Party), Glasgow.

Where was the compassion?

I NOTE your confirming that Carla Foster, who was jailed for illegally obtaining tablets to end her pregnancy, will be released from prison after a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal. Thankfully Dame Victoria Sharp said in supporting the appeal that the case called for compassion not punishment ("Woman jailed for illegally obtaining tablets to end pregnancy to be released", The Herald, July 19).

However I was concerned to read in the same report that the prison holding Ms Foster had refused to let her have any contact with her children, one of whom is said to be autistic. I wonder on what grounds the prison took this decision. Where was the compassion? I wonder who did the prison think they were punishing? Ms Foster or the children? Perhaps the Chief Inspector of Prisons would have a view on this.

Ron Lavalette, Ardrossan.