ACCORDING to a report in The National, a lot of people apparently want Alex Salmond back as First Minister. I wonder why.

Is this the Alex Salmond that supported Donald Trump in his acquisition and destruction of the Menie Estate? Is this the Alex Salmond whose actions possibly led to the Tories regaining relevance in Aberdeenshire? Is this the Alex Salmond who admittedly did very well at the referendum until he inexplicably muffled over the question of currency at a time when many of the larger stores were happy to be paid in euros? Is this the same Alex Salmond who worked for a Russian TV station?

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Alex Salmond is now toxic and became so through his own actions. Were Alex Salmond to return as First Minister he’d be laughed at every time he opened his mouth. “Are you speaking for Scotland or for Russia, Mr Salmond?” “Do you still support Donald Trump, Mr Salmond’? “Are you hoping to work for Russian TV again, Mr Salmond?”

Alex Salmond started Alba with one intent and that was to scupper the SNP, the party he used to lead. Why? There is no way Alba are going to win enough seats to do anything positive for Scotland as far as independence is concerned. Is he perhaps determined to make his prophesy of “once in a generation” come true? I have supported independence since I was six years old. I am now 75. Alex Salmond seems determined I should never know Scotland as an independent nation again.

George T Watt

EACH day in the press/mainstream media we are seeing a drip-feed of stories/suggestions that we pensioners are somehow a drain on society and that our pensions are unaffordable. Others better qualified than I have made perfectly sound arguments as to why we deserve the pension that we get, with all its failings. Yet still the headlines persist in telling a story of pensions being a benefit that we do not deserve.

Firstly, our pensions are not a benefit. they are the result of many years of contributions made during our working lives – in my case 47 years. Secondly, the pension as it stands does not even match the living wage – indeed, it is roughly half of that wage. So how can anyone justify the complete absence of any recognition in the Budget of the needs of some of the poorest members of our society? It is nothing short of a disgrace.

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And the fact that the mainstream media are happy to regurgitate the lines that the government put out about our situation. Anyone would think from the headlines that we are to blame for the state of our economy. We are not.

The blame lies squarely at the feet of the well-paid, well-heeled members of parliament who insist on recycling their cretinous views about pensions. They need to look closer to home if they want to blame anyone – Cameron, May, Truss, Hunt etc. They are to blame. Not the pensioners.

Chick Mckenna

IT was gratifying and reassuring to see that most industrious and fastidious of MPs, Mr Neale Hanvey, set out in detail the principles of ethical clinical practice for your readership and the central importance of informed consent (Informed consent must always be at the heart of clinical practice, Apr 1).

Unfortunately, since I graduated consent, particularly to pharmaceuticals, has been in a majority of cases anything but informed and we are about to enter an era of medical practice where this can no longer be tolerated.

Neale did that as a preamble to the calling out of one of the most pernicious and scientifically bankrupt organisation of our time, namely the so-called arbiters of “best practice” in dealing with gender-dysphoric individuals, the WPATH group.

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This collection of self-serving queer theorists have been complicit in the chemical and surgical GBH inflicted on so many vulnerable, beautiful young people who as predicted are now presenting themselves in pitiful states to detransition despite the still prevalent but mercifully receding influence of militant transgenderism.

The loving care of gender-dysphoric folk must now be a priority. I have several friends in the trans community who were greatly relieved to see a Scottish MP of impeccable medical credentials espouse the cause of their safety and recovery from the attention of pseudo-physicians and surgeons.

Neale will no doubt get some stick from the FM’s thought police but his courageous efforts to provide some stewardship for the Scottish people on a number of difficult health topics of the most life-and-death nature will be recorded in posterity alongside the incompetence and naivety of others in due course. Most of the nation are behind him and will be demanding more of his combination of expertise and courage of conviction so signally absent in many Westminster and Holyrood incumbents.

Dr Andrew Docherty MRCP