WHAT a shambles the leaders debate on STV on Tuesday night turned out to be. One could almost say it started off bad, and then fell away.

When will these politicians realise that if more than one person is talking at a time, we can hear neither of them? The two voices became three, with the poor chairman’s interjections trying to keep order.

I’m not complaining that the three Unionist parties were ganging up on Nicola Sturgeon – she handled them no problem, and their bully-boy tactics will not impress the viewers. My main complaint is that in this modern day and age, why conduct a so-called debate like a stairheid rammy, or a fight for who’s turn it is for the wash hoose key?

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Why not give the chairman electronic control by supplying him with the ability to switch off any heckler, and only switching on whoever he has asked to speak, or answer a question? They should also be seated, or in a sound-proof booth, each one given right to reply on the chairman’s say-so.

This method is not new, and is used in the Scottish Parliament, which is a pleasure to watch on TV. Here, only one speaker has his or her microphone activated by the Presiding Officer. So let’s get our points across in a civilised manner, and then and only then can we decide who has the best plans, and policies, for our nation.

Iain Ramsay

THE organisers of the STV “leaders debate” were surely having a laugh. They had only one actual party leader and three regional branch managers who frankly made absolute fools of themselves.

The Three Stooges consisted of Jackson Carlaw, a failed used car salesman; Richard Leonard, a public schoolboy who says he opposes nuclear weapons but wants to spend £200 billion on renewing Trident; and Willie Rennie, whose only purpose in life seems to be to play Moe the Bartender in any future live-action version of The Simpsons.

They might as well have wheeled out a trio of shaved orangutans and asked them to make noises for an hour about opposing independence. This would have been far more entertaining.

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The fact is that Holyrood has its budget set by Westminster. For 10 years it’s been cut by the Tories and by the LibDems. That’s indisputable. However, try making this point to a Unionist and they engage in lies, obfuscation, hair-splitting irrelevance. But they will not answer the point and still oppose independence. The British Unionist Labour party who run Wales blame the Tories for cuts there, but say the same circumstances don’t apply in Scotland.

The independent think tank the Resolution Foundation says that Boris Johnson’s policies will increase child poverty to record levels by 2024. The Office for Budget Responsibility says austerity will last 50 years.

The illegal and immoral Union of 1707 is a construct whose time is over. It needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Alan Hinnrichs

WHAT a ganging-up goes on against Scotland! We have three main political parties trying to score points against each other on the basis of their measures to prevent Scotland becoming an independent country. Yet in the same breath they are saying what a broken-down country Scotland is! Why then are they so obsessed with keeping hold of it?

The STV leaders debate seemed more focused on Scotland’s independence than on Brexit, despite this General Election being brought about by Brexit. One could readily think that the planet Earth might wobble on its axis and deviate from its solar orbit should Scotland become again, as it once was, a nation, a country. There were no terrible astronomical effects from Scotland being an independent country before – unless these Tory, LibDem, and Labour politicians know otherwise. You only have to look across the Irish Sea to the Irish Republic, or across the English Channel to France, to witness what a common thing an independent country is. The land mass of the world is almost wholly made up of independent countries both large and small.

Any comparisons with other countries – big and small, far and near, as near as England for example – would show that Scotland is a robust,self-sufficient, organised, civilised, caring, and well-educated country that welcomes people from other countries both as visitors and residents.

Ian Johnstone

I AM very impressed by the stamina, resilience and intelligence that Nicola Sturgeon has demonstrated in the past few days. I think she has now done five “leaders” debates, including the first one when Corbyn and Johnson had their head-to-head and the other parties were allowed a say afterwards.

She acquitted herself well in all, getting praise even from the London press, being consistently rated one of the best in debate. Moreover, as leader of the party which is third-largest in the House of Commons she has done all the debates, which neither Corbyn nor Johnson has done, and Monday morning appeared on a TV breakfast programme and did a radio phone-in where she was able to show a sense of humour and human qualities that are so lacking in some of the other leaders.

She has answered questions from presenters and the audience clearly and has explained the unique position of Scotland within the United Kingdom to show why around half of the people in Scotland want to be independent and hold another referendum. She has dealt with hostile questioning from other participants, particularly from Rishi Sunak (Conservative) and Richard Tice (Brexit Party) and did not duck an interview with Andrew Neil.

I think we, the Scottish people, should be very proud of our First Minister.

Ann Rayner