Douglas Ross is trying to save his political skin by standing up to Boris Johnson - Readers' Letters

Many people, including Ian Hiddleston (Letters, 13 January), have praised Ruth Davidson and Douglas Ross for standing up to the incompetent and corrupt Westminster Conservative Party led by the hapless Boris Johnson. Fair enough, but a further examination of this contrary stance suggests that their motivation was probably a desire for self-preservation than any sudden attack of political decency.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has called for the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The excellent politically independent website Electoral Calculus, whose election predictions have been uncannily accurate for many years, is currently predicting a clean sweep of all 59 Scottish seats for the SNP at the next General Election, meaning Douglas Ross and his five, strangely silent, Tory colleagues' seats will be lost.

Of course, much can happen over the next few years to change this but both Ross and Davidson know that as long as Boris Johnson is Prime Minister, Conservatism in Scotland is a lost cause, so it’s not surprising they are distancing themselves from the Westminster debacles.

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Clearly, Johnson is dead in the water and the leadership challengers are circling but it’s likely his successor will be another Johnson Brexiter clone, whether it be Truss, Raab, Gove or the man who entered politics to protect the super-rich from taxation, Sunak.

Douglas Ross may have contributed to the fall of Johnson but this may not be the last time he’ll have to put his neck on the line in an attempt to maintain some sort of future Tory presence in Scotland.

D Mitchell, Edinburgh

Johnson must go

It wasn’t a party it was a “work event” or a “business meeting” as a sniggering Allegra Stratton described another Number 10 party during strict Covid rules before resigning in tears. Just another lie from a Prime Minister who lost any credibility years ago yet only now does Douglas Ross ask Boris Johnson to resign. So sad he couldn’t see through his lies sooner like the majority of Scots, according to the polls.

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It’s incredible that the PM chooses to use his government’s record on the vaccine rollout to survive. It’s worth remembering that the UK was the first country in Europe to break through 150,000 deaths recently, and the seventh in the world to do so. Also it is the ailing NHS, so weakened by this government’s failure to protect it, that has organised and administered vaccinations supported by the armed forces and volunteers.

All this pales into insignificance, however, to what the PM’s behaviour means to those relatives who could not see loved ones in care homes, in hospitals before they died, attend funerals or travel to meet other relatives for months. All along there has been one rule for the government and another for us and we were never in this together. More will now defy restrictions.

The PM mocked Ian Blackford’s advice to resign “with a pinch of salt since he comes from the SNP”. Mr Blackford deserves the respect of leading a party in Westminster that has the support of far more of the vote than any other in Scotland. The PM chooses to defy democracy and the will of many of the Scottish people. It all plays into the independence agenda.

The PM has no moral authority to continue in his role and must bow to public opinion and go before he gets pushed before the local elections in May. If he struggles on, many more will align to the SNP view that Westminster is dragging Scotland down.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Mogg’s hypocrisy

I suppose Scottish MPs are used to being treated with contempt in Westminster. However, as it's usually directed at opposition MPs, it's peculiar to see the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg, contemptuously dismiss the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, as a “lightweight” and “not a big figure” (Scotsman, 13 January).

We're now left to wonder what has become of the leader of the Westminster Praetorian Guard, the arbiter of parliamentary tradition and honour and guardian of the moral probity of the House of Commons.

It turns out that for all his patronising rectitude, he is just another self-seeking hypocritical charlatan, jealously guarding power he never thought he'd have and reluctant to relinquish it.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

Scottish kiss

Could someone in England please give the Tory charmer Jakes Real-Smug a Scottish kiss please on behalf of Douglas Ross?

I'm a Labour voter but I'm sure that even Ian Blackford will understand that the whole nation, especially Scotland, has taken enough nonsense from Johnson and his loathsome minions.

Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

Sturgeon’s game

Nicola Sturgeon calls for Boris Johnson's resignation after his Downing Street lockdown party last May (Scotsman, 12 January). But really Whatever she publicly states, she surely very much prefers him in situ?

Sturgeon has long since struggled, using rational economic arguments, to persuade Scots that UK break-up would be beneficial.

While many regard as risible the argument that disliking the Prime Minister du jour justifies ending a 300-plus-year old-union, anti-Boris sentiment seems pretty much all Sturgeon has right now – the last thing she wants is him replaced by a less controversial figure.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Who apologises?

Why are atonement campaigners in Scotland asking our Parliament to pardon Scotland’s witches? Holyrood had nothing to do with their persecution.

The Scottish Parliament passed a Witchcraft Act in 1563. However, the principal movers against witches in Scotland were the Church and the Monarchy. James VI and I was obsessed by fear of them and published in 1603 a three-part Treatise entitled Demonologie (still available on Amazon) attacking them, while in Scotland the Kirk lobbied hard for the extensions in the 1649 Act.

By 1735 a degree of common sense was beginning to prevail throughout the United Kingdom and the fervour went out of their persecution, although it did not stop a Scottish medium in Portsmouth being condemned to nine months in prison two centuries later.

The question is: who should do the apologising for this horrid bit of history? I wonder if, in this case at least, the campaigners should not direct their demand for apology to the true villains of the day, the Church and the Crown?

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh

Dog attacks

Under recently updated legislation fines of up to £40,000 backed up by prison sentences will be faced by dog owners who let their pets worry, kill or injure farmed animals (Scotsman Farming, 12 January).

This is to be welcomed, although this legislation should have been introduced many many years ago since there have been far too numerous instances of out-of-control dogs injuring and killing livestock over too many years but very few owners were found and arrested.

With the lambing season about to start it would be sensible to insist that dogs are kept on the leash. A notice to that effect, at the farm gate, highlighting the £40,000 fines and prison sentences would ensure that this reasonable request is actioned. The owner of the first dog to savage farm animals must be fined the maximum and jailed. Pour encourager les autres.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Part-time giants

Graham Bruce refers to the wind turbines in his area as sleeping giants (Letters, 13 January).

His superb and compellingly graphic description illustrates the stark realities of not only the negative scenic, environmental and wildlife impacts of wind power but is also a powerful visual vindication of the factual data which expose their multiple financial and practical inadequacies.

In Dr Richard Dixon's article "Serious cost of dropping our green strategy" (Scosman, 13 January) he champions such developments with exaggerated claims which belie reality. In his blinkered belief he may claim that the wind always blows somewhere, hence providing justification for further expansion of the remorsesly advancing army of slumbering giants that are Mr Bruce's unwelcome neighbours.

Who in their right mind would pay a gold-plated salary to a part-time worker? This is essentially what wind farms amount to.

Neil J Bryce, Kelso, Scottish Borders

China crisis

China’s economy, facing the triple pressure of shrinking demand, supply shock and lower expectations, is weaker than at any time since the fiasco in Tiananmen Square 33 years ago.

A zero-Covid policy and endless lockdowns suggest it will remain closed for the foreseeable future, with adverse effects for travel, transportation, hospitality, leisure and the conduct of international business.

Xi emphasised “stability” as this year’s top priority. Hitting growth of five per cent will require easier fiscal policy, money, and property sector regulations. New bond issuance to finance infrastructure is under way but a Common Prosperity campaign attacking inequality will impose greater state/party control and new regulations. This will make it hard to address ideologically awkward reforms.

Demographics and a shrinking workforce – caused by that one child policy – is a looming nightmare. Its $55 trillion real estate sector bubble is about to burst. Property sales, starts and prices have plunged, undermining banks and local government. Coal consumption is soaring, net-zero promises are on the back burner, and any sabre rattling is for home consumption – we mustn’t overreact.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife

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