I MUST say it is awfully big of Alex Cole-Hamilton’s Liberal Democrats to have removed some Tories in English by-elections (Scottish LibDems ‘won’t play the game’ on plans for de facto vote, Dec 3).

As far as I can tell the LibDems have won four by-elections out of a possible 16 over the last two parliaments. It’ll take some time for the Tories to be shifted by the LibDems at that rate.

What might have been far more helpful would have been the LibDems not allowing more than 300 Tories the keys to the castle in 2010, when they entered into a coalition that ushered in more than a decade of austerity and proved the hand maidens to Brexit and the most calamitous and extreme right-wing government these islands have ever seen.

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All the while, in Scotland, democracy is denied the Scottish people whose votes are disregarded by the ultra-British nationalists in London and more shockingly by their branch officers in Scotland. To paraphrase Henry Ford, it seems Scotland is allowed any government it wants as long as it is Unionist!

The LibDems should be held to account each and every day and made never to forget that damaging decision for Scotland and her people.

Kevin Cordell

ALEX Cole-Hamilton’s LibDems are neither liberal nor democratic. After spending five years in a seamless de facto coalition with the Tories in Westminster that laid the foundations for present-day Tory policies, they are now demanding that the SNP and Scottish Green Party ditch their manifesto commitments to an independence referendum as easily as the LibDem MPs ditched their individually signed promise to oppose an increase in student university fees.

Alex Cole-Hamilton is the LibDems’ equivalent in Holyrood of Labour’s Ian Murray in Westminster – in thrall to the anti-SNP Unionists in his constituency; there is absolutely no possibility of the LibDems replacing a significant number of Tories or Labour in Westminster or Holyrood in the near future.

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The LibDems can produce as many policies as they like on the cost of living, the NHS and the climate crisis but the voters can see that they are once again in alliance with the Tories, now on Scottish councils.

Surely Alex Cole-Hamilton can not have forgotten already the “unspeakable arrogance” of the LibDems after the council elections in May when they joined alliances with the Tory and Labour parties, dictating that SNP policies that had won the support of more voters than those of any other party would be replaced with a hastily cobbled together hotch potch of opposition parties’ manifestos.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

YOU report that the stance of the Scottish LibDems on the proposed de facto referendum “was confirmed at a special meeting of LibDem members earlier this week.” Can anyone advise me at what telephone box the “special meeting” was convened? Perhaps it was in Wee Willie Rennie’s favourite hideaway, the soft play park in Cumbernauld.

Jim Todd

I’M writing in response to Alex Cole-Hamilton’s recent remarks saying the people of Ross, Skye and Lochaber have been deprived of decent representation since the loss of Charles Kennedy and that Ian Blackford isn’t fit to represent us.

I feel lucky to have been represented by both Charles Kennedy and Ian Blackford as my Westminster MP over the years, and have had positive contact with both of them. To take a sideways swipe at Ian Blackford like this feels childish and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. You might not agree with Ian’s politics, Alex – fair enough – but don’t come out with some off-the-cuff remark that is unfair and untrue.

Hilary de Vries

IN Sunday’s letter from your regular contributor Ivor Telfer, he wondered what was the Gaelic for Yma o Hyd, we are still here. As a learner in the earlier part of my journey, I suggest “Tha sinn fhathast an seo”. Does someone with a fuller knowledge know a better one?

I would strongly recommend that Mr Telfer try to learn at least a little of it. He will be surprised how many of what I thought of as old Scots words had a Gaelic origin. To get started there are many courses online; there was a recent piece in The National rightly praising Duolingo.

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He bemoans the lack of Gaelic survival in his home patch of the central Borders. There are still elements if you look closely there. The burg motto of Hawick, Quoting from memory "Ye Teribus y Teriodin" sounds like a mangled version of a phrase in Brithonic Gaelic, the ancestor of modern Welsh, continually repeated though the original meaning was lost.

I would heartily recommend that everyone try to get a little familiarity with Gaelic. Everyone makes lots of mistakes, but that is not important.

What is important “Is fear Gaidhlig bhriste na Gaidhlig san uaigh”. Better broken Gaelic than Gaelic in the grave.

David Rowe

SPEED, acceleration, wild overtaking and a tragic increase of more than 20% in Scottish road fatalities last year (Road deaths up sharply but reduction in serious injuries, Dec 3). No mention of the wildlife killed: badgers, squirrels, even an otter on the roadside last week. Fancy cars and fast driving, the cult of the motor car – preferably large, or better still an open-top model with a noise-enhancing exhaust pipe. It’s the status symbol of a society in a hurry. Oh for the days when the Highlands had a peaceful pace of life, and flocks of birds rather than motorbikes on the North Coast 500.

Iain R Thomson