IT was good to see your extensive coverage of women in politics facing abuse and harassment ("‘Abused, dehumanised’ female MPs stand down", The Herald, November 15). Patricia Ferguson makes a telling point, arguing that sheer force of numbers and changing culture can make a difference for the better for women coming after. Progress has been getting made, but too slowly, and now in this General Election we may see a degree of reversal because women have been driven out and are less inclined to step forward.

It didn’t used to be like that. In former days when someone wanted to abuse their MP at a distance they had to put pen to paper if they didn’t own a typewriter, get a stamp on and post it. I can offer a small piece of evidence. In my 14 years of being Maryhill’s MP I only received at most five or six abu-sive letters, and two of those apologised when I rebutted their views. Now we hear of MPs’ inboxes filled with hundreds daily.

We could reduce the harassment and filth by preventing anonymity. But that doesn’t deal with the problem of minds still festering away with hatred of women, especially women who dare to be spirited and determined to take part in our parliamentary democracy. But society can and does change, for the better or the worse. Which is it to be?

Maria Fyfe (Glasgow Maryhill MP 1987 – 2001), Glasgow G12.

AS a country, we have, in my lifetime, always invited people who expand and improve our culture.

This includes the English, most of whom have engrossed themselves in our somewhat parochial environment which, for most, provides a comforting and rather old-fashioned living style.

Our respect for other nations and customs, however, is hardly matched by our neighbours south of the Border as recent events have clearly demonstrated.

The right-wing populist movement in England has, in my view, so polarised communities, towns and even cities to such an extent that it’s more or less expected there will be unrest on the streets.

My opinion is that this unrest feeds Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson’s popularity in England and enables them to sustain an insurmountable majority for their views and policies.

This may be England’s fate and future direction but we, as Scots, must not be part of the inevitable drift towards inward nationalism and, eventually, fascism.

Our version of nationalism is diametrically different from theirs – we simply want to be known as Scots, with our own culture, within an international and multicultural society.

Our problem, as part of the UK, is that the Scottish people are likely to be overlooked as a culture and will be roped in with our neighbours across the Border in the international community.

One way to minimise such beliefs is to ensure that, through the ballot box, we do not allow any Tory or Brexiter to represent us at the upcoming General Election.

Brian Farrell, Largs.

I NOTE Dr Gerald Edwards's support (Letters, November 15) for Boris Johnson’s description of a possi-ble coalition should Labour be the biggest single party after the election - a "Technicolor coalition of chaos". I’d be keen to know his view on the Conservative/DUP arrangement since the 2017 election; a raging success?

But it is Mr Johnson’s response to a female Labour MP towards the end of the last parliament that we should also consider. The woman was having death threats made to her and his only response was "humbug".

Politics should be about policy but the personalities and values of those developing those policies must have some weight. I am staggered at the lack of attention that comment has received both in the press and by the electorate. Do we all just shrug our shoulders and say "just Boris"?

Sadly, more than a third of the population appear to be ready to say it. Oh for an opposition in England rather than the fence-sitting we currently have.

Willie Towers, Alford.

ALL the talk about when there will be a new referendum to find out whether the Scottish electorate wants independence is an irrelevance and a smokescreen.

The SNP Government should concentrate on the priorities of the day job to provide proper health care and sound education throughout the country.

We can do without the excuses that it is hamstrung by Westminster with inadequate funding for its programmes.

If we look at education, the Curriculum for Education was foisted upon schools and so far it has been a disaster.

More pupils are taking fewer subjects, the number of pupils leaving school without certification has risen and stress is taking its toll on the teaching profession.

The window dressing from the Education Minister does not cut it with those on the delivery and re-ceiving end of this wrongly concocted curriculum.

Our health service is on the edge of a crisis with GP shortages, the need for more nurses and the mul-tiple problems afflicting the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, not to mention the failure to open the new flagship hospital in Edinburgh.

There are too many gaps and holes in our NHS to be ignored.

Neither of the criticisms about education and health are directed at the staff of those two services as they do their best to meet the demands upon them. Rather the buck rests with the SNP Government under whose watch and boastful leadership those two services have markedly declined.

I would suggest respectfully to our First Minister that she would do better to spend her time correcting those deficiencies outlined before recommending a referendum to the people of Scotland.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

DR Martin Luther King once said: "Silence is betrayal” in relation to the Vietnam war. I will not stay si-lent any longer on the immoral stance by the SNP despite this being a General Election where all na-tionalists are supposed to fall into line and be cheer leaders for Nicola Sturgeon. I refuse to do that.

The Scottish Government are funding to the tune of millions of pounds multinational arms companies based in Scotland such as Raytheon, Chemring and Leonardo and others who make weapons that have been used to kill and maim innocent men, women and children in Yemen, Syria and Hong Kong with the Scottish Government being hypocritical in criticising the Westminster government for giving export licences to these same companies.

Instead the Scottish Government has responded by saying that this is non-lethal investment but has not given any proof of that. Anyway, we should not be giving Scottish taxpayers' money to subsidise these merchants of death. The SNP Government should immediately stop giving this money to these perpetrators of war and give the money saved to services to help the homeless in Scotland. In Glas-gow the SNP-led council cut £3 million from its homeless service budget recently, but with divestment these cuts to the homeless could be reversed.

I will vote SNP with a heavy heart and I could still change my mind.

Sean Clerkin, Barrhead.

WHEN asked in a recent interview about Scottish independence Jeremy Corbyn responded by stating that Scotland was a poor country and that his first objective was to help the people here with a new progressive economic policy.

This all sounds very generous coming from a Westminster politician, but I’m a bit puzzled by his claim that Scotland is a poor country. Scotland has only eight per cent of the UK population but it has 34 per cent of the UK’s natural resources, It produces 38 per cent of the UK’s food and drink exports, and 13 per cent of all UK exports. It produces 20 per cent of UK electricity production, and is the most pro-gressive in that field with 85 per cent of UK renewable energy projects. It also has 20 per cent of all UK space sector jobs.

It appears that in economic terms, particularly advance economic development, Scotland does much better than the UK average. Why does Mr Corbyn think we need help from a UK Labour Government?

Andy Anderson, Saltcoats.

IN the run-up to the General Election, and as photoshoots become even more bizarre, if not ludicrous, it would be possible to think that, with the usual visits to nursery schools with camera crews in tow, politicians were planning to drastically reduce the voting age to below five. Lesson one, children, how to place a big X on a ballot paper.

But what ‘s the alternative? Donning military fatigues and sitting on, or even “driving” a tank? About the nearest that any of our leading parliamentarians will have been to the armed forces.

Please spare us the remaining weeks of this nonsense and treat the electorate as adults.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

PREDICTABLY, in the midst of this Kafkaesque General Election, someone is saying house prices will go up if Brexit happens. No doubt someone else will say they will drop. That both are being used to influ-ence our voting intentions is perhaps the only truth. Do they think we are stupid? They surely do.

John Dunlop, Ayr.

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