NICOLA Sturgeon's "progressive alliance" offer (“Corbyn rules out anti-Tory election coalition with the SNP”, The Herald, April 20) was not done to help the Labour Party. It was done to help mitigate the fallout from the Scottish National Party facing a less than stellar performance at the polls by blaming it on Labour.

Theresa May's call for a snap General Election has completely wrong-footed Ms Sturgeon. There cannot be a voter in Scotland who is under any illusion that a vote for the SNP is also a vote for independence, courtesy of the SNP being obsessed with this to the exclusion of all else. Given the huge resentment this attitude has built up amongst the 55 per cent of Scots who voted No in 2014 coupled with the large percentage of SNP voters who do not want a return to the European Union, you can see Ms Sturgeon and her party are facing a rather different voting outcome to what they would expect. The excuses are being made up already. No wonder the Draft Referendum Bill consultation result has disappeared.

Dr Gerald Edwards,

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Broom Road, Glasgow.

THERESA May's prize in June is a win with an overall majority and five more years as Prime Minister. Jeremy Corbyn has just given her the opportunity of winning a consolation prize of another five years in Downing Street if the Tories don't win that majority but are still the largest party in Westminster after the election.

John Jamieson,

37 Echline Place, South Queensferry, West Lothian.

HAVE I been mishearing Nicola Sturgeon for some months now?

She has claimed that Theresa May is an unelected Prime Minister with no personal mandate.

Now that the PM has called an election to seek a personal mandate, Ms Sturgeon should be pleased.

Or am I completely wrong?

Gordon W Smith,

21 Baronscourt Gardens, Paisley.

I NOTE that, unsurprisingly, both Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson voted against holding another election (“Two Scottish MPs in the unlucky 13 against vote”, The Herald, April 10). But what will the SNP do about them now? Take them back into the party, choose other candidates or let them stand as independents and not contest their seats?

It will be interesting to note what principled stand, if any, the party will take. Or will both women decide not to stand for the good of the party?

Paul Lewis,

99 Guardwell Crescent, Edinburgh.

A FEW weeks ago the SNP was criticised for postponing publication of the 2016 survey of NHS workers until 2018, despite it having a very high 38 per cent response rate.

The previous (2015) report revealed only one-third of employees felt staffing levels were sufficient for them to do their job properly. Among nurses and midwives, the rate fell to 26 per cent, and for ambulance staff it was 12 per cent. A fair assumption is that the figures were worse for last year, hence the delay.

I rarely speak to a policeman, health professional, council worker or teacher who has a good word to say about how the SNP is running their service, but few feel free to speak out. There are 486,000 public sector workers in Scotland and in the next seven weeks they can join two national "whistle-blowing" opportunities in the shape of the council vote and the General Election.

There, in the privacy of the ballot box, they can give vent to their opinions and anger with a simple "X" in the right box, or boxes.

Allan Sutherland,

1 Willow Row, Stonehaven.

THERE will be claim and counter-claim from all of the political parties throughout the General Election campaign and in its aftermath we will be subjected, as always, to further political game-playing as the parties interpret the results for their own ends. So much time is wasted on this frustrating process which could potentially be avoided by simply asking people what they want on key issues.

As examples: why not use the opportunity to ask the electorate whether they want another independence referendum, and whether they want to have a say on the final outcome of Brexit negotiations. Or is this perhaps a bit too democratic for our politicians to handle?

Gerry Seenan,

Eglinton Terrace, Skelmorlie.

UNLIKE your correspondent Martin Ketterer (Letters, April 19), I find the decision to hold a General Election by the Prime Minister to be neither bold nor necessary. In one of the greatest U-turns in political history, where once she proclaimed no election until 2020, we are now faced with a totally unnecessary election. Unnecessary for most of us but as seems increasingly obvious, very necessary to the Tory Party. Theresa May compounds the matter with her rank hypocrisy. Whereas now is not the time for an independence referendum due to the terms of Brexit not yet finalised, it seems the time is right to call a General Election.

Where Mr Ketterer sees the “shenanigans” of the SNP I see a strong and focused party dealing with wave after wave of Tory incompetence, hypocrisy and outright nastiness. I'd much rather put my faith in a party standing up for Scotland. Yet Mr Ketterer seems to find the phrase "stand up for Scotland" as one of the SNP's “bogeymen” and I often wonder why so many Scots find such a phrase annoying and worthy of scorn? Unlike him I find such a phrase wonderful – direct and straight to the point – and I'm sure many of the MEPs across Europe who are dealing with the calamitous UK Brexit team must find such a sentiment refreshing. The current UK Government could learn many lessons by looking and learning from the professionalism of the SNP team in Holyrood, Westminster and the European Parliament.

I'm afraid that those who, like Mr Ketterer, think the SNP might be weakening Brexit negotiations are on the wrong tack. The weakening of the UK's hand in negotiations is self-inflected by a Tory Party, rudderless and drifting from one disaster to another. The hope for Scotland is that the upcoming local elections and General Election will pave the way for an independent Scotland taking its rightful place on the world stage.

Graeme Finnie,

Balgillo, Albert Street, Blairgowrie, Perthshire.

NO-ONE should be in any doubt that Theresa May’s decision to hold a snap General Election is a carefully calculated and aggressive act – albeit deploying the legitimate means of the ballot box – designed to crush all opposition to the UK Government’s attempt to impose its own version of Brexit on those who hold alternative views. It is reminiscent of developments in some other European countries in the 1930s when economic austerity and national crisis provided the backdrop and justification for government centralisation. No doubt the Labour Party in England is Mrs May’s principal target, but it is clear she also sees an opportunity to put Scotland in its place by inflicting a damaging blow on the SNP, which already holds almost all the Scottish seats at Westminster following the 2015 General Election.

Unfortunately, in the current political climate fuelled by the Brexit referendum, populist anti-immigration views in parts of England, and an understandable mood of weariness amongst many people in Scotland about further constitutional wrangling, there is every prospect that her strategy will succeed. This would be a disaster for all those (and not only in Scotland) whose vision is of a diverse country with a strong emphasis on social justice, respect for immigrants, minorities and distinctive cultures, and is truly internationalist in outlook.

In Scotland, we have the opportunity to resist Mrs May’s centralising agenda on June 8 by putting aside tribal allegiances and sending an unambiguous message that Scotland is fed up with being treated with disrespect by the UK Government and does not wish to be absorbed within her resuscitated British Empire. To do this it is essential to vote for the party most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate in each constituency.

John Randall,

31 Lemreway, South Lochs, Isle of Lewis.


WITH this week's unexpected news, I wonder to what extent Jeremy Corbyn now regrets his actions in the House of Commons last St Andrew's Day? I refer to the three-line whip imposed by the Labour Party in order to prevent any of its MPs from voting in support of the motion to censure Tony Blair for misleading Parliament to launch an illegal war against Iraq. I presume the Labour Party thought that enough time would have passed before the next General Election to ensure that its disgraceful self-interest that dreadful night would have largely been forgotten by the electorate.

In never seems to occur to Labour that huge numbers of its disillusioned, natural vote would have returned to it in droves had that censure motion been approved. Never mind the socialist rhetoric, Jeremy Corbyn has shown himself to be from exactly the same clay as any other “trick Tory” from New Labour.

DH Telford,

11 Highfield Terrace, Fairlie.