THE SNP are absolutely right to say the House of Lords is “wholly undemocratic”, as they outline research on the unrepresentative state of the second chamber (‘Unrepresentative Scots peers failing country’, January 6). The Lords is in need of “wholesale and deep-rooted change”, as Tommy Sheppard notes.

It is a hypocrisy for the Westminster government to establish a “Democracy Commission” on reform … while continuing to appoint unelected peers and defeated MPs to the second chamber.

READ MORE: SNP report exposes disconnect between House of Lords and Scotland

Voters recognise this. That’s why more than 100,000 people signed an Electoral Reform Society petition over Christmas calling for abolition and replacement of the House of Lords with a proportionally elected chamber of the nations and regions of the UK.

It’s time to end the era of hereditary power and patronage for party cronies. Westminster’s private members’ club has got to be radically transformed, and we look forward to working with all parties to make this happen soon.

We need an effective, legitimate counter-balance to the Commons, and the UK Government can no longer kick the can down the road on this issue. The unelected Lords is a drain on our democracy. Support for overhauling it is a point of unity in these divided times. Let’s get on with real reform.

Willie Sullivan
Director, Electoral Reform Society Scotland

READ MORE: Figures show how unrepresentative House of Lords is of Scotland​

THE analysis by Tommy Sheppard MP regarding the House of Lords comes as no surprise. This totally undemocratic care home for retired political flunkies could never represent any nation, let alone one such as Scotland campaigning to become a modern, democratic, independent nation.

Whether its the number of women or the number of members who have been privately educated, the House of Lords reflects not wider society but the British establishment, ensuring that retired politicians and their flunkies can continue to bleed the state with their expenses claims.

In building our new Scotland there will be no need for such an undemocratic body. Hopefully 2020 can be the year that we make strides towards our independence and can leave behind the flawed trappings of the UK’s political system.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

AS a Yes campaigner, I have been very interested in the recent letter by Andy Anderson (Let’s make the Green vote count for more with an SNP pact, December 30) and also his and Alasdair Galloway’s more recent ones on the same subject. The number of independence-supporting MSPs were most definitely not increased by the SNP mantra of “Both votes SNP” in the last Holyrood election.

In that election, having studied The National’s article on the very complicated method by which Regional List votes are counted, I acted upon it to suit the particular circumstances of my constituency.

READ MORE: Let’s make the Green vote count for more with an SNP pact

I could not understand why the SNP promoted “Both votes SNP” unless they did not believe their supporters were well enough informed about the Regional List system, or did not have faith in the SNP’s own ability to communicate the information simply.

I would like to make a simple practical suggestion. Would The National please publish an article containing a cut-out-and-keep

version of how the List system works, to help their readers vote tactically to maximise independence-supporting MSPs? This would be of help to all Yes group members, who could disseminate the information more widely, and also be of use to older readers who might not be in the habit of searching the internet for facts.

I’d like to see this article published now, since the subject has been raised, and repeated when the Holyrood election is imminent, with additional information about specific constituencies which would benefit from such tactical voting.

By the way, I’d be perfectly happy to see a Green-SNP pact on this subject – and I’d definitely be happy to see “SNP Both Votes” dropped over all constituencies where it was not productive!

Jean Hall
Pensioners for Indy

RUTH Wishart is spot on with her strictures on the utterances of Mr MacAskill (Focus must be kept on all we have to gain from indy, January 6). He is of course entitled to express a personal opinion in debate as a private individual, but for a newly elected MP to publicly state a view so out of step with party policy is bang out of order. He has no business giving aid and comfort to our Unionist opponents, as their response shows he has done.

READ MORE: Party squabbles must not overshadow the positive case for independence

Coming immediately after a triumphant election result, his pessimism has only served to puncture the positive spirit it created and is to be deplored. He needs to be reminded he is there to serve alongside his fellow MPs, and to maintain the Westminster parliamentary group’s collective discipline. He may have been a “big beast” in a former SNP-led Scottish Government, and then a columnist, but he must now rein in his ego, and row for the team, and not import Labour’s destructive habit of making their internal differences public.

Martin Gostwick

HAS Donald given Boris a gift? Listening to our Foreign Secretary with his words about de-escalation and diplomacy being the preferred route in the latest Middle East crisis while not deploring the actions of the USA, how was it that in my head the words of PM Chamberlain on September 3 1939 were ringing in my ear: “No such undertaking has been received and so Britain is at war”?

Is our leadership only going through the motions? What better way to unite a divided nation and end all talk of a disastrous Brexit than a war you didn’t even need to start yourself. Does Iran have missiles capable of reaching Faslane?

Robert Johnston