HAVING watched First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, I was in awe of the First Minister as she calmly answered each question put to her by the opposition party leaders.

Ruth Davidson complained, as expected, about the Scottish Government’s Budget and when the First Minister rebutted with her own question as to what the Sottish Tories would do, Ms Davidson – who appears to be just marking time until a safe Tory seat becomes available down south – retorted: “cut down on vanity projects and reduce waste in government spending”’

By vanity projects did she mean, as was quoted by Lord Foulkes years ago, that the Queensferry Crossing was an SNP “vanity project”? And then she had the affront to mention “waste in government” when her colleagues in Westminster waste obscene amounts of money on Trident.

Then we had Mr Richard Leonard – no, let’s save the best till last.

Mr Patrick Harvie, who, with the assistance of his party, helped pass the Budget. This is the party described by Mr David Dimbleby on January 25, when Maggie Chapman appeared on Question Time, as “propping up the SNP government in Scotland”. A blatant lie that was not challenged.

I am sure the First Minister is aware of Mr Harvie and his “supportive” Green Party. The quote attributed to Machiavelli or more recently Mario Puzo – “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. might be appropriate.

Then we had Mr Willie Rennie, who is becoming more and more like a pantomime pirate’s parrot. Instead of screeching “pieces of eight, pieces of eight”, he bleats “Police Scotland, Police Scotland”. This week his question was so convoluted that Ms Sturgeon was puzzled, and she was not alone.

Finally, Mr Richard Leonard, leader of the Labour party in Scotland, who attempted to recommend his party’s alternative Budget proposals. This led to him being verbally pummelled by the First Minister. The National reported the verbal exchanges and described Mr Leonard as “hapless”, which I consider a fairly generous description (Sturgeon: Leonard must go and do homework on tax, The National, February 2). It was pointed out that his Budget proposal had more holes in it than my granny’s colander.

There we have it, the sad state of the opposition parties in Scotland.

Hector Maclean

IT really was a day like no other at FMQs on Thursday (Sturgeon: Leonard must go and do homework on tax, The National, February 2).

Ruth Davidson waffling on as usual, trying to score some obscure political point on the lack of growth in the Scottish economy, apparently unaware that most of the fiscal measures required are still reserved to her own Tory government.

Richard Leonard, toiling without any obvious grasp of how Scotland is financed, apparently having never heard of the Scottish Fiscal Commission let alone its role in the Budget process, turned over two pages and failed to find the place that he had already lost.

Patrick Harvie extolled the virtues of the Green Party policies that had completely reformed the Budget. Then, totally carried away by his own rhetoric, demanded the total restructuring of local authority financing. As if that was not enough, it must also be completed before December to meet next year’s Budget timetable.

Willie Rennie then completed the farce by wading in on matters relating to the Scottish Government and Police Scotland, over a report to Fife Council of which he knew neither the name nor the content, which meant that the First Minister was unable to make any kind of response.

Perhaps he will learn that it is better to make some attempt at getting to know the full circumstances before asking a question, which in this case tragically involved a murder.

It appears that in the case of the Unionist parties, due to the preoccupation with Brexit in Westminster they have been abandoned by their headquarters support teams and are now doing their own research and preparing their own questions.

John S Jamieson
South Queensferry

I AGREE with almost everything in Shona Craven’s article (Scotland in Union’s cabal of letter writers isn’t our real problem, The National, February 2). She should be applauded for encouraging more women to write letters.

However, she kind of answered her own conundrum by saying letters editors can only print the letters they are sent.

I’ve always held the view that men and women are different and equal. I agree with her that more women should put forward their views, but what is more important is what letters say than their authors’ gender, colour, or class.

I guess that most letter-writers are middle-class white males and therefore the views expressed in them are not diverse enough to represent the community at large. Representation, however, is not the point, it is about having an opinion of interest and expressing it.

Raising the possibility of gender discrimination by the letters editor is not at all likely. When it comes to the valid question of diversity, when was the last time a letter was published in The National in Gaelic or Doric or Scots?

I’m certain that positive gender discrimination by a letters editor in favour of some kind of balance will end up with a full stop.

Mike Herd