JUST a normal, everyday week for the Conservative government and its group of dysfunctional Cabinet ministers.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, allegedly breaches the ministerial code yet again whilst fixing a meeting for a billionaire Tory donor with British Airways.

Her boss, as ever, refuses to countenance any wrongdoing by his Home Secretary and the press largely ignore the incident or treat it with kid gloves, as they are apt to do when faced with transgressions by Tory ministers.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson defends Priti Patel in row over billionaire Tory donor meeting

Simultaneously the Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey, tries to justify the appalling cut in Universal Credit payments by casually and inanely suggesting that claimants could simply work another couple of hours a week to cope with their loss in income. Her lack of empathy and genuine humanity is simply breathtaking, her mendacity and apathy unsurprising but still exasperating. Again, she has the complete backing of her leader in carrying out this unforgivable attack on the poorest and most vulnerable families in the UK.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove (Aberdeen’s answer to John Travolta) is reported to have been something of a racist and misogynist in his 20s, which some people may believe would make him perfectly qualified to become a Tory Cabinet minister of the future. His unpleasant nature and unsavoury demeanour certainly do not appear to have altered much over the years.

READ MORE: Therese Coffey’s Universal Credit calculation does not add up

Finally we read that the blond blockhead in 10 Downing Street has announced that a recent project he wished the electorate to take seriously – the building of a bridge or a tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland – has, surprise surprise, been abandoned due to funding issues. Discussions about this project no doubt served their purpose at the time to draw attention from whatever other areas of government corruption or ministerial incompetence were happening at the time. They may even have deceived some politicians and people in Northern Ireland into believing that Johnson remembered they existed and valued their place in the Union.

Westminster is manifestly a madhouse, a complete stranger to accountability, reason or morality. We need out. Now.

Owen Kelly

SAJID Javid stood up in parliament yesterday asking people still to wear face masks – only four Tories behind him were wearing masks.

The Tories are fond of U-turns but just not the right ones – U-turn on vaccine passports but no U-turn on Universal Credit – and Coffey suggesting people just work two hours extra. So she does not know how it works, and does not explain how people who are not working or ill can make up the money.

Winifred McCartney

I AM writing to register my opposition to vaccine passports AND vaccinating children. Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater have bought their way into government by backing the SNP in their drive to remove our democratic rights. They should be concentrating on the green policies and dealing with climate change. No vaccine passports, leave our kids alone.

I joined the SNP earlier this year to get independence, but not at the price of having my democratic rights removed. Remember the right-wing dictators in the 1930s were democratically elected, and look where they led Europe.

Margaret Forbes

WHILE witchcraft and slavery are unpleasant subjects to dwell on, they are reminders of the importance to modern Scotland of the need to deal with contemporary forms, violence against women and racism. We must also acknowledge the role old shibboleths like the divine right of the monarchy and Western imperial supremacy played in them, and make sure we are protected from these constitutionally in the future. At the moment we are still prey to residual forms of them, as the pages of The National attest.

The recent letter (Sep 13) about witchcraft in East Lothian showing that trials did not stop during the Cromwellian Commonwealth made me wonder about the relationship between the England and Scotland in this respect. On looking it up I found that the two countries enacted separate Witchcraft Acts in 1563 though this was England’s second go at it. Sadly the Scottish version allowed torture. English trials peaked in the later part of Elizabeth’s reign. The Acts were repealed in 1736.

In Scotland there were several waves of activity starting with James VI’s North Berwick trials in 1591. Those of 1629 and the most ferociously pursued of 1661-2 neatly bracketed the Commonwealth period. This may have served to emphasise the idea that Cromwell did not allow witchcraft trials.

The examples D M Robertson authoritatively tells us about date from the period of Cromwell’s death in 1658, when his regime was perhaps weakening.

Iain WD Forde