IT was entirely predictable that, in a futile attempt to wrong-foot the SNP Government, Ruth Davidson and Richard Leonard should use their allotted time at First Minister's Questions to seize on the resignation of the Chief Constable (“Stand by for the muppets show as Sturgeon gives go-ahead for insults”, The Herald, February 9). I find it incredible that the leaders of both the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour appear not to understand how incongruous, and simply wrong, it would have been for the Chief Constable to have returned to his duties while under investigation, and the position in which that would have put other senior officers and those who had submitted complaints against him; and that Michael Matheson, as Justice Secretary, was entirely right to ask questions on the process.

I suspect that the same politicians who are calling on Mr Matheson to resign would still be calling on him to resign if he hadn't asked questions. Mr Matheson would have been damned if he did and damned if he didn't, but I suspect that the Scottish public are more interested in the fact that crime in Scotland is at a 43-year low, rather than with the feeble posturings of opposition politicians.

Ruth Marr,

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99 Grampian Road,


NICOLA Sturgeon's attempts, at First Minister's Questions, to brush aside the Police Scotland row just will not do. The Former Chief Constable, Phil Gormley, hinted it was the events of November 2017 that caused him to resign. The pressure on Mr Gormley was therefore ratcheted up by this and Michael Matheson's intervention. There is no escape for Mr Matheson in that it is obvious to any impartial on looker that his off the record intervention must have had a major impact. Ms Sturgeon's defence that the outcome was "for the best" is not an excuse for the manner by which that outcome was achieved.

Trust is fast ebbing from the SNP as it will defend anything that suits it politically, no matter what damage is created on the way – Michael Russell's threat to publish sensitive Brexit documents being another recent example.

Dr Gerald Edwards,

Broom Road, Glasgow.

MARTIN Redfern (Letters, February 9) criticised Fiona Hyslop's aspiration that Scotland have its own immigration policy, which is not unreasonable, as Scotland's need for immigrants differs from that of the rest of the UK. He pointed out that immigration is a reserved matter and wondered how Ms Hyslop would feel if Westminster interfered in devolved matters. He does not need to look far to find out: both the Welsh and Scottish devolved governments are already deeply concerned at the unwillingness of Westminster to guarantee that, post-Brexit, powers currently exercised by both, will be returned to them.

Colin Campbell,

Braeside, Shuttle Street, Kilbarchan.

FIONA Hyslop is of the view that Scotland could have a different immigration policy from the rest of the UK, and that immigrants to Scotland could be prevented from crossing the open border into England. She displays profound naïvety if she imagines that determined people could be corralled on one side of a border where people and traffic cross so routinely that most people don’t notice it. It is difficult enough to prevent unauthorised people from reaching England when there is a sea channel as an obstacle.

In any case, isn’t a border between Scotland and England precisely what Ms Hyslop and her associates want?

Jill Stephenson,

Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh.

THERE is a hackneyed old saying that goes something like this: "The person who never made a mistake never made anything." You could extend that to "anything worthwhile".

Accordingly, and notwithstanding the fact that the ongoing labyrinthine nature of the current Brexit "negotiations" stretches to breaking point the idea of Alexander the Great's legendary Gordian Knot and that surely, few, if any, reasonably minded people would now claim that such esoteric shenanigans formed part and parcel of their deliberations and subsequent decision to vote for Brexit in the first place... is there not just the slightest feeling abroad (excuse the pun) that maybe, just maybe, we, the UK, have made a mistake?

I believe that there is such a feeling, home and abroad, and that the grown-up way forward would be to give us all a chance to vote again. I'm with HG Wells when he said: "There are truths we have to grow into."

Gerard McCulloch,

47 Moffat Wynd, Saltcoats.

AFTER many years of girnin' about the Met Office Mercator skewed map of the British Isles, here we are with a new flat Earth version with the actual land areas displayed correctly. Scotland sits proudly at the top of the United Kingdom, no longer a wee stunted peninsula. There has not been a lot of proclamation about the event north of the Border; I wonder why?

ONE of the unintended consequences of the new weather map is that it beautifully illustrates the vastness of the land area of both the United Kingdom and its constituent parts. However it also easily demonstrates how Scotland, if she were to become independent, would have to manage all her roads with only a population of five million to fund them. In simple terms this equates to 142 people having to fund maintenance for one mile of road (35,000 miles of road with population of five million). When compared to England and Wales having 284 people funding one mile of road it isn't difficult to see the enormous cost implications. When we revert to the figure for the whole of the United Kingdom (as at present with the Barnet formula adjustments) the figure works out at 266 people paying for one mile.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, England and Wales have a negligible national ferry service compared to their population whereas Scotland has a huge ferry network connecting all the inhabited islands. At the last forensic analysis of published accounts, the subsidy per passenger on the CalMac Oban to Barra service for example was £300. Could this service be maintained under independence?

These are basic facts and need to be factored into all the other public funded costings for education, health and welfare; and then there is the railway.

I think the new map may have made the penny drop at last.

Archie Burleigh,

Meigle Cottage, Skelmorlie.