KATHLEEN Nutt’s article of February 18 (Forbes’s promotion broadly welcomed but some concerns over LGBT views), where “figures” and “a source” have voiced concerns about Kate Forbes’s Christian beliefs, certainly airs the bigoted views of these unnamed people who are critical of the new Finance Secretary. With no evidence, they’ve made assumptions based on little more than prejudice. I’m wondering if the same would occur if Kate were a practising member of another religion?

Laws are made in this country following discussion and debate, and Kate is entitled – as are those who have differing views – to hold her own beliefs. This does not negate her talents or ability to make a success of the Finance Secretary role, or any other role within government, as she continues to prove her capabilities stepping up to the mark in challenging circumstances.

READ MORE: SNP figures react to Kate Forbes' appointment as Finance Secretary

There’s been lots of talk about Kate Forbes being female and young, but not about her potentially being the most qualified Finance Secretary Scotland’s ever had as the first chartered accountant in the role.

Some people are intent on creating a culture where they shout down those who don’t agree with them, without listening or engaging. Raising concerns about changes to the law as an elected member of parliament – concerns which many across Scotland share on some sections of the Gender Recognition Act, for example – does not mean Kate Forbes, who is by nature a tolerant and accepting person, wants to discriminate against people.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes backed by Christian group amid LGBT rights concerns

It seems to me that it is those who are actually most disparaging of others’ life choices who are attacking the new Finance Secretary for her personal religious beliefs. I can’t see a place for this in a tolerant society and it should never be reported as sourced from unaccountable people without factual back-up.

Niall McLean

THE election of Jackson Carlaw as Tory leader will not have surprised anyone. Nor should his bluster or over-hyped claims of seeking to win in 2021. The truth is that there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of the Tories finishing first next year, or of Jackson Carlaw entering Bute House. But he does not need to come first to severely damage the chances of a pro-Yes government being elected.

The Scottish Tories may not have had a great time last December, when they lost more than half of their seats, and dropped 3% of their vote – bringing it down to just over 25%. However, despite the fall, and the massive baggage that came with Boris Johnson and Brexit, they were still three points up on the result that Ruth Davidson achieved in 2016 – which was the best Holyrood result they had ever achieved. If Davidson had managed to reach the 25% mark in 2016 then it is likely there would not be a pro-independence majority in Holyrood now.

Carlaw’s goal is not actually to win next May. Rather, it is to ensure that more than 50% of MSPs oppose another vote. In order to stand a good chance of doing that he doesn’t even need to grow the Tory vote, all he has to do is maintain the one that already exists and hope that the Labour and LibDem ones don’t collapse any further. He will no doubt be assisted by a major PR campaign and spending pledges from his Tory colleagues in Westminster. Unfortunately, with the Salmond trial on the horizon, and the Scottish Government’s patchy domestic record coming under the microscope, Carlaw has reason to feel confident.

The election may still be 15 months away, but it is already fair to say that the Yes/No balance will be on a knife’s edge. That is why pro-Yes Scots need to be having conversations and debates about tactical voting and maximising the Yes vote. One thing we should not do under any circumstances is make the same mistake that Labour supporters did in England and Wales, and that is to underestimate the Tories.

Andrew Smith

I WAS intrigued to note new Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw say there should not be another independence vote for a generation, even if polls showed support for independence.

Indeed, he will go into the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary election calling for people to vote Tory in order to prevent a pro-independence majority that leads to another independence referendum. However, Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, the UK Government’s man in Scotland, has said there will be no independence referendum even if there is a pro-independence majority at the election.

Given this situation, clearly a vote for the Tories in Scotland is a wasted voted as Mr Jack has already stated that whatever the circumstances there won’t be another referendum. Or, maybe the Scottish Conservatives aren’t so confident that the UK Government will continue to maintain this line.

Alex Orr

GIVEN that weirdness seems to be the “in” thing in present-day Downing Street, where Dominic Cummings plays Rasputin to Tsar Boris and in comes the figure of Andrew Sabisky who reportedly has some off-beat notions about eugenics, it can only be a matter of time until a painting by Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali adorns the front door of No 10. By all accounts No 11 might be similarly adorned.

But given such strange goings-on, isn’t it about time that Larry the cat was looked at by the RSPCA with a view to removing the ageing feline from such a dodgy environment? I mean, every cat is meant to have nine lives, but isn’t it a bitty ominous to be a No 10 cat?

Apart from which there was that Jack Russell pup brought into the house by its chief occupant last September, and any self-respecting cat can take that as a hint!

Ian Johnstone