ELECTING a new leader is a very important event. While activists and party members rightly make the decision, what cannot be forgotten is that a party leader has to appeal to the wider voting public. If they don’t feel they can trust the leader then we are on a hiding to nothing.

History lessons apply here. Those of us who are old enough have seen the examples of Michael Foot and Jeremy Corbyn, both of whom lacked widespread credibility and then failed to gain the trust of the ordinary voters. Both of these people attracted significant activist support, but that was not enough to sway opinion at an election.

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Boris Johnson won at the last election because he had the most credible solution to the Brexit problem (that he helped create) and the disproportionate English electorate bought into his vision, and rejected that of Jeremy Corbyn, such as it was! Even had Labour support from Scotland returned to the levels of the old days, it would still have not been enough to win.

We also need to bear in mind that the leader does not create policy, party members do. A leader may lead the creation of that policy, but when electioneering they credibly lead the presentation of policies. It is crucial that the leader believes in the collective policy decision. As always, the final choice comes down to voters. We can have the most popular activist policies selected by the party members, but if the vision doesn’t appeal to the public, we have lost.

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The strategy for gaining a referendum and then winning it is yet to be decided and will not be until after the new leader is appointed. So the most important thing through the next few weeks is to ask yourselves who can best present that vision, pursue the yet-to-be-decided strategy, and maintain and even enhance public credibility. We all know as supporters which way we will then vote, but it is the undecided or swayable members of the public who will make the final choice, when we are allowed.

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

I AM somewhat concerned that we, the constituents of those MSPs who have put their hat in the ring to become First Minister, have no voice in saying how good or bad their MSP has performed for the constituency.

Newspaper columnists and political journalists basically become pundits and put their views from afar with no practical knowledge of how these people have performed at ground level. Lazy journalists just accept what the Holyrood spin machine feeds them.

Voting in an MSP doesn’t guarantee that they are going to be any good at representing their constituents.

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Let’s look back and question these candidates on what they have or have not done for their constituents, before we look forward to what they tell us they can and will do as First Minister.

In any job interview you are asked to illustrate those aspects of your work that you feel you have done well, but also where you have failed.

The Fourth Estate should be asking these questions of candidates for First Minister.

Was the candidate successful in stopping the closure of a local care home, for example?

Give us details of the things they have done on behalf of their constituents, that suggest they have the potential to perform on a national and international stage and take this great country of Scotland forward.

I Archibald

VOTE Yousaf, vote for the Sturgeon And Murrell Entity (SAME).

Yes, you know who you should be voting for, vote SAME. The SNP have made it abundantly clear. Any potential candidate assessed as difficult to destroy politically, such as Angus Robertson and Mairi McAllan, may possibly have been told to back off – to avoid the risk of their outshining Nicola should she make her move to become the “de facto” leader of the broader independence movement.

To paraphrase Karl Popper, in reference to the machinations of powerful elites: “power must be maintained, even if the worst people are elected”.

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So, you have a choice of one. Vote SAME. What a farce of an election!

Media interviews on major channels, poster campaigns and a child support scheme (presumably approved by SNP central office), umpteen scripted support messages from various MSPs and MPs, all should make you very aware of the paucity of choice before you. Vote SAME.

But wait, what’s this? It seems that Kate Forbes has not got the message. I’m guessing that her maternity leave and that outrageous media assault she suffered were thought to be enough to see her crumble. Well, my goodness she is made of strong stuff. Strong enough to lead the party, and strong enough for me not to be ruling her out.

Let’s hear, in detail, what she has to say for herself, before we all vote SAME.

Alan Adair

JIM Taylor’s letter despairing at the deposit return scheme (Mar 2) may have a point about flawed implementation. That I can’t comment on, however his concerns over wholesaler and retailer costs being passed on to the consumer are curious.

Those costs already are passed on – to every householder who pays that part of the council tax allocated to bin collection and recycling. Personally, I don’t use a whole lot of cans, bottles or (if I can help it by avoiding over-packaged goods) plastic containers, yet Jim seems quite happy to have everyone pay for disposal, whether they generate that waste or not.

Now Alister Jack has joined in the attempt to prevent Scottish weans supplementing their pocket money in the “gingie” collecting industry.

What happened to “Let the polluter pay”?

Alan Laird
via email