IN an iconic, historic example of the UK democracy we Scots thankfully still enjoy, David Davis used the Westminster Parliamentary privilege not available to Holyrood MSPs to light a fuse under the SNP’s disgraceful handling of the Alex Salmond affair (“Davis suggests FM was aware of Salmond issue before April 2018”, The Herald, March 17). In doing so he exposed evidence of collusion and conspiracy. He then called for greater powers of accountability to be conferred on Holyrood, a timely, reassuring reminder that the Scottish Parliament gets its power and existence from the UK. Paraphrasing Mark Antony, he said: “I’m here to strengthen the Scottish Parliament, not bury it.” In stark contrast to that statesmanlike reverse power grab offer, the SNP’s top “will of the Scottish people” bleater, Pete Wishart, said on Twitter “Jeezo. The Tories are currently considering using the pretext of the Salmond inquiry to impose its will on our Parliament and determine the role and authority of the Lord Advocate. They are now preparing a full assault on our institutions.” If ever we needed a fundamental example of why Scottish voters and pro-UK parties need to come together and tactically vote this gang out on May 6 it is this extract of yesterday’s tale of goodies vs baddies in the Mother of All Parliaments. Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

David Davis was right to bring up the situation which has been dominating Scottish politics in the House of Commons (your report on the Scottish government’s handling of allegations against Alex Salmond, March 17). We did not learn anything new, and he did not betray any confidences, but Davis was spot on with one of his central criticisms, namely that everyone in Scotland who is interested in this can find the relevant documents online, but the only people not permitted to use them as evidence or admit they have read them are the committee set up to investigate the matters. Davis goes on to say that it is the structures of government in Scotland that are wrong and that the best way around this is to strengthen the powers of the parliament. But there is an additional dimension that his own intervention has illustrated very well. There needs to be an external mechanism for overseeing the political process in Scotland, one in which those charged with oversight can have no conflict of interest themselves. Avoiding such interests in a small country where governance is now massively centralised is almost impossible. More powers will not change that. Ultimately, we need a means whereby people in Scotland can appeal to the government at a UK level to deal with problems in which the Scottish government itself might be implicated. If that sounds a bit like “Scotland cannot effectively govern itself”, well, the shenanigans that are going on at the moment would suggest that indeed we can’t. If we want to salvage our self-esteem and pride as a country, we have to deal with this, even if the more delicate Scottish egos and sensitivities get trampled on. VICTOR CLEMENTS Aberfeldy, Perthshire

WE have just been condescended to with the latest gracious set of permissions to lead parts of our lives by the First Minister (for which we should of course all be humbly grateful). It includes many generous liberties granted by Nicola Sturgeon, but one, in particular, is conspicuous by its absence: although travel across mainland Scotland will be allowed from April 26, no such permission has been given to travel to other parts of the United Kingdom. Ms Sturgeon has never lived or worked outside of Scotland, which may account for the narrow and pinched perspectives of her politics. She has made it plain that she regards the people of England as so different from those of Scotland that we need a border between us, and indeed it has been her life’s ambition to see such a border. The pandemic has given her a chance to cut us off from our families and friends, and now she wants to hold on to the separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK for as long as possible. The cynicism of her indifference to those of us with families south of the Border is utterly revolting. Let us hope that she pays dearly for her Anglophobia in May. Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


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