HOW one squares the circle when considering the whole idea of "honours" is a personal, subjective act, I suppose. For example, it is relatively easy to embrace the notion that for instance a postman, nurse, lollipop man/lady, firefighter or charity worker of, say, 30 years or more unsung service should somehow be recognised for their dedication by the very community they serve . It is of quite another dimension, however, when the movers and shakers of that society see fit to "reward" mediocrity with all its specious, reality TV-style knighthoods and the other glittering prizes that follow in the bilious league table of z-list celebrities, failed politicians, atonal musicians, second-rate artistes, political grandees and party donors of all hues squirming on the greasy pole of advancement; not to mention the gongs-for-the-boys/girls cronyism that is barely skin deep in the rarefied Narnia world of self-aggrandisement, power and influence ("MP in electiob cash probe awarded Mew Year honour", The Herald, December 30). Sadly, it has ever been so.

In Richard II the Bard of Avon advises that:

"The purest treasure mortal times afford

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Is spotless reputation—that away,

Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay."

"Purest treasure ... spotless reputation." Who among us can aspire to such personal heights of being? Nevertheless, such sentiments clash mightily with the faux profundity of a 21st century honours system that is as outdated as it is literally patronising, insulting and degrading.

Gerard McCulloch,

47 Moffat Wynd

Saltcoats.

I GUESS I have achieved grumpy old man status. On picking up my Herald this morning (December 30) I was struck by the banner at the top of the front page. Under the heading "The People who made 2017" there were pictures of three actors – one whose claim to fame is that she is the first female Dr Who. Another who accused a Hollywood producer of abuse years after it happened. A third whose claim to fame is she announced her engagement to a member of the Windsor ruling clan. The fourth is a member of the aforementioned dynasty who has neither job nor meritorious position.

The fifth person pictured is Donald J Trump, the President of the United States of America. Like most people who comment I have never met Mr Trump and can see both good and bad elements within his business empire. However I am not willing to accept the US liberal media which broadcasts and prints false stories which they later have to retract as totally untrue. I am also aware of their sins of omission when it comes to positive stories about the current US administration. Unlike the leaders of our Scottish political parties who all seemed to slavishly worship Hillary Clinton in spite of her dreadful history I felt we should respect the democratic decision by the US voters. This is borne out by the latest satisfaction percentages for Mr Trump which after one year are exactly the same as Barack Obama after one year. Also unlike the Scottish and UK economies the US economy is flourishing and growing rapidly.

Inside The Herald I read that Nick Clegg, that ineffectual and unprincipled politician, has been knighted along with various nonentity Conservative MPs ("Arise, Sir Ringo! Honour for man who put the beat into The Beatles", The Herald, December 30). Is this really the decadent state of this disunited kingdom? Are we really so superficial that we do not recognise all those who work in their communities to make lives better in so many ways. Are these people's efforts undervalued because the do not expect to be financially rewarded? Do we really believe that those who make a difference are actors and royal freeloaders?

To quote another actor, "I do not believe it".

David Stubley,

22 Templeton Crescent,

Prestwick.

LIKE so many of my friends, neighbours and business associates, we've voted for the Liberal Democrat candidate at the last two elections.

Our reasons were:

1. The Tory candidate in East Dumbarton had nae chance.

2. To keep the SNP candidate out.

So now you tell me she's been awarded a CBE. For what, we ask? Seriously, you're having a laugh, aren't you?

I know. I suppose I have to take some of the blame ... but what a truly pathetic bunch politicians we have both in Edinburgh and at Westminster.

It's all so sad.

Robin Gilmour,

Mosspark Avenue, Milngavie.

I SUPPOSE it adds to the joviality of the nation at this time of the year, but the Honours List leaves me cold. A quarter of knighthoods going for political services and people like Jo Swinson being “honoured”. She has declared herself as delighted her “work has been recognised”. What work beyond her paid work would that be, we might ask?

And then there are government files released under the 30-year rule. Thousands of these files have now disappeared. Shredded by civil servants? Locked away for ever? No one seems to know.

Then there are files not released, presumably for reasons of political embarrassment. How many missing or retained files relate to Scotland (to be parochial)? Is anyone even asking?

Open government? Other than pretence, I think not.

GR Weir,

17 Mill Street,

Ochiltree.

TO assuage the disappointment at my continuing and curious absence from the New Year’s Honours list and the likelihood that I am destined to remain in the seemingly ever-diminshing ranks of the benighted Overlooked I have devised the Alternative Honours Awards,( AHA ), of EBC, EBO, EBM and an additional EBM-M:

Elderly but Controversial, Elderly but Opinionated, Elderly but Mistaken and Elderly but Mistchief-Maker.

I graciously accept all four. Yah boo.

R Russell Smith,

96 Milton Road, Kilbirnie.