THE article in yesterday’s National on Boris Johnson’s visit to Saudi Arabia reveals that his views on human rights are probably closer to those of the Saudi Government than those of the Scottish Government.

The Prime Minister’s visit within days of the execution of 81 people by Saudi Arabia’s government followed by his claims that closer ties with the kingdom do not mean “we can’t stick to our principles” gives us a chilling insight into the mindset of this government.

We can see for ourselves how his government is using its massive majority in the House of Commons to force through Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill and Dominic Raab’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – part of the legislation introduced by this government in the UK since Brexit, no doubt aimed at “levelling up” the UK’s human rights.
John Jamieson
West Lothian

THE UK Government benches, the Labour benches … in fact, most of the benches other than the SNP benches in the House of Commons were scarcely populated Prime Minister’s Questions this week. A sight not often witnessed, when parliament is sitting.

What was more alarming was, this was taking place during an Opposition Day debate by the

SNP on the crisis in Ukraine. A crisis of immense magnitude for the whole of Europe, a humanitarian crisis, yet parliament was eerily empty.

The reason highlighted for the scarcely populated benches was that more than 150 MPs were otherwise engaged in a committee room in the House of Commons, meeting four Ukrainian female MPs. This begs the question, where were the other hundreds of MPs during such a critical debate? And would it not have been more beneficial for those four Ukrainian MPs to have heard the debate in the Commons and witnessed the support of our Parliament en masse?
Catriona C Clark

AS St Andrews is the alma mater of at least three of my family over two generations, I feel I have the right to comment on the remarks of the former presiding officer Tricia Marwick, as well as the offending article (Student newspaper doubles down on ‘misogynistic’ article about Nicola Sturgeon, March 17).

If indeed the article was written as a serious comment, there is no reason to suppose that it represents the views of anyone other than the actual writer and perhaps the editor, who should have vetted it more carefully and considered possible reactions, before deciding to print.

It is therefore, to my mind, even more regrettable that Ms Marwick herself has used it to typify the entire student body in equally offensive terms. In our experience, St Andrews was the university of first choice by many who had qualified for and rejected a place at Oxbridge, deeming the staff at St Andrews, of the discipline they wished to study, to be the top experts in their subjects. We were also aware that other universities, such as Harvard, frequently tried to tempt some of these brilliant teachers to move over to them. Would that happen if the graduates were just “pathetic wee trolls”?

I agree that some of the language is unreasonably extreme, but my reaction was that it was intended as a rather over-the-top satire on the way the UK is run by Westminster. In other words, the “appendages” of the “real” heart of the UK are a bit of a nuisance and best ignored and kept at arm’s length as much as possible, but handed the odd bone or pat on the head like a pet dog, to keep them from becoming too troublesome.

Behind this perhaps virulent seeming tirade may lie an uncomfortable truth. In any case, where has tolerance and the ability to laugh at ourselves gone?
L McGregor

THE telling words used by this failed PM about how UK money would improve its chances of success show that the UK has been failing Scotland (and Welsh, Northern Irish and English regions) for far too long (UK should have power over Scottish investment bank, says Gordon Brown, March 16).

That the onus to create a better investment atmosphere in Scotland is with a devolved Scottish Government without the levers to get the best results shows up Broon for the failure that he has been on Scotland’s behalf for decades. A crap economist who became a crap chancellor and then a failure as prime minister has no answers for Scotland, only the prospect of continued underachievement within the failed union.
Gordon Mulholland
Posted online

GORDON Brown knows fine well that Scotland is denied all the powers to change things for the better. The Labour Party introduced austerity, the Tories continued it, so why are the Scottish Tories, Labour and LibDems not demanding the restoration of all of Scotland’s powers? What are they all afraid of? Is it that Scotland can do better? Westminster couldn’t run a welk stall at Brighton beach.
Glen Peters