Easily trapped

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It is extraordinary to what lengths SNP apologists will go in order to avoid admitting that an error of judgment has been committed by their leader.

J Stephen (Letters, 5 May) defends Alex Salmond’s recent gaffes by claiming that he was “trapped” by a wily Alastair Campbell who was out to give him a “hard time”!

If Mr Salmond does not have the political nous to circumvent the “blatant and simplistic traps” of such an interview then why on earth is he the First Minister of Scotland? Did he think he was being invited to discuss the weather?

Mr Salmond’s admiration of Russian president Vladimir Putin is justified on the grounds that he has an 80 per cent approval rating in Russia. Is it not the case that Kim Jong-un has a 100 per cent approval rating in North Korea? Does Mr Salmond therefore “admire” Mr Jong-un even more than him?

If we actually believe such extraordinary ratings, would any reasonable person not take into consideration the means by which leaders gain approval before making an assessment of their worth?

I do agree with J Stephen that opposition leaders should not have spent time on “character assassination” at last week’s First Minister’s Questions. Why waste time on character assassination when Mr Salmond is doing a perfectly good job of character self-destruction himself?

I do not imagine that a large part of the nation is raising a glass to him for his recent conduct as First Minister.

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue

Edinburgh

Am I alone in making a connection between First Minister Alex Salmond’s praise for President Putin and recent incursions into UK airspace by Russian warplanes? Has his flirting been interpreted as an invitation?

As my wife and I gaze over the River Tweed from our home beside historic Wark Castle, our apprehension over the Scottish referendum has just ratcheted up a notch, wondering if this time next year we will be prevented from shopping in Edinburgh by Russian border guards.

(Rev Canon) Alan Hughes MBE TD CF

Cornhill on Tweed

Northumberland

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