AS the dust settles on the Alex Salmond trial with a result that has clearly disappointed those who thought his imprisonment would bring about the demise of the SNP, it is interesting to note that those who oppose self-determination for Scotland appear to be desperately clutching at the final straw symbolising the survival of their long-dysfunctional union.

Of course the “old guard” of the SNP leadership are vocal, as ever, and in this personal watershed moment for their ex-leader it is no surprise that Alex Neil and Kenny MacAskill appear to be vying to succeed Jim Sillars as the go-to independence person for media reporters who seem keen to represent the current situation within the SNP as the “major split” about which besotted Unionists dream.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Sturgeon announces Scottish Covid-19 deaths now at 22

Some misguidedly claim that essentially because Westminster has significantly more borrowing powers (two trillion pounds debt and rising) than Holyrood, this is evidence of a substantial benefit of Scotland remaining in the UK.

More perspicacious observers realise we are fortunate in Scotland to have a government led by one of the most able politicians of our time and one with the resolute integrity to ensure that due process was followed in circumstances that undoubtedly, if they had arisen with any other major political party in government in the UK, would not have brought about such a rigorous conclusion (as repeatedly evidenced in the past).

In stark contrast, the arrogant Etonian who leads the UK will no doubt bumble on for a while yet and further distance himself from reality, as well as from the general public. The electorate of Scotland will not be fooled.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

THE aftermath of the Alex Salmond trial has caused much debate on the matter of male behaviour in public life. This is very complex because between the two extremes of Trumpesque male supremacy and radical feminist condemnation of “toxic masculinity” sit the vast majority of reasonable men, fathers, sons, uncles, and brothers, all trying to make sense of what it means to be a man in the 21st century.

Many of us grew up in a political environment in the early 1980s and we applauded the women’s movement’s drive for equality, equal pay, and improved legal rights. In fact one of the earliest political campaigns I was ever involved in was with SNP councillors in Falkirk in 1988 to stop the Labour-led council from closing Women’s Aid shelters, a campaign which we won.

READ MORE: Trial 'raises questions' over SNP complaints process

I have signed up to the White Ribbon campaign which encourages men to speak out against male violence against women, and I make periodic donations to Women’s Aid as my grandmother suffered domestic violence. For the last 16 years I have worked in addictions support in Renfrewshire and see many of the worst cases of violent male behaviour and how it disfigures the lives of their sons, many of whom tragically go on to develop life-long addictions as a consequence.

The way forward in my view is to accept that the loss of the social structures which manufacturing industry provided for many men has been devastating, but new positive structures have to be put in place to replace the gang culture which sadly some non-academic young men in deprived areas gravitate to.

Firstly, there has to be mandatory rehab programmes in the penal system for men about how to change their lives, secure and consistent funding has to be provided for the Men’s Shed movement, and last but certainly not least, the judgementalism of the “toxic masculinity” label, which implies that all men are defective, has to stop.

Cllr Andy Doig (Independent)
Renfrewshire Council

AFTER I heard the verdicts from the Alex Salmond case I was considering the ongoing arguments regarding Scotland’s three-verdict system, ie guilty/not proven/not guilty.

I have heard legal practitioners comment on the subject and state that we should go to the two-verdict system of guilty/not guilty in future, as used in rUK, as not proven gives jurors a soft option when considering their verdict.

I would have thought that we should use proven/not proven as our two-verdict system, as both not proven and not guilty are both acquittals, or are they not of equal standing? After all, it is up to the prosecution to prove their case beyond doubt. If they manage this then the case is proven, if not, then the logical verdict is not proven.

John Vosper
Port Glasgow

TYPICAL of Carlaw and his Tory cronies. Always happy to take any opportunity to criticise the government in Scotland and their handling of the trial. I suppose it was asking too much for him to wish Alex all the best and hope that his considerable political talents would contribute once more to the betterment of our great nation. Roll on independence!!

Keith Taylor
via email

IT is not appropriate to make political capital during this crisis, but the government’s determination to keep to the deadline of the end of the year to end the transition period and finally leave the EU is foolish.

Government priority should be to take appropriate action to minimise the pool of infection, reduce the cases of infection and, when the peak of infections is over, to address the economic consequences of the virus.

It is likely that a prolonged period of economic turmoil will follow any reduction in the pandemic. The billions that have been promised around the world to support vital industries and workers suffering from the impact of the virus need to be spent wisely. The last thing we need is a further downturn of trade from pulling out of the single market.

If our Olympics can be delayed for at least a year, why not our final departure from the EU?

Pete Rowberry