PENSIONERS. What are they good for? What did they ever do for us other than melt the Arctic? They don’t go to clubs or pubs or go shopping for shiny new Chinese-made gadgets, they save their money rather than contributing towards our service-based economy, they don’t buy new cars or the latest trainers, the inconsiderate beggars cook rather than relying on take-away meals, they don’t get hammered on Chardonnay at the drop of a hat, worst of all they breathe and use up all that oxygen that otherwise would be powering our economy.

What do they do? They sit at home all day and watch TV, endless mind-numbing reruns of pointless American trash, snooker, déjà vu current affairs with apparently cyborg politicians and cloned interviewers. They snooze through soaps aimed at those with an IQ in double figures and apparently produced by the same demographic. How many would ever consider emigration to Australia yet the programmes are there for them? But the kicker is the really old pensioners want to get this all for free and not pay for a TV licence.

The simplest way of funding the BBC would be through general taxation thereby avoiding all the unnecessary bureaucracy and all those who can afford to pay tax would fund a BBC with universal access but that would necessitate a hike in the rate of taxation which is politically unacceptable. Far better to try to screw money out of old crumblies when the reality is that anyone over 75 in receipt of an occupational pension is probably already paying income tax. Any means testing would probably cost more than it generates but we can’t let these avaricious old fogies get away with not paying their way.

Wait a minute, I’m one of them. Forget everything I have said. Nurse! More medicine! Now!

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

I WISH all to know that free hospital TV has now been cut off within hospitals following the end of the agreement with Hospedia and the Scottish Government. Surely these two organisations could come to a further agreement instead of trying to get patients to pay extortionate prices to view what is a free service when you are locked up in prison?

This is an especially distressing for patients at present who are not allowed any visitors and will not return to normal at least until the current Covid pandemic is over.

Sean Donald, Aberdeen AB10.


HAVING just read Professor Douglas Gifford’s obituary (The Herald, July 3), I’m thrown into a wave of nostalgia. As a student at Strathclyde University in the mid-1970s, I wasn’t always enthused by my course work. What I do remember very fondly are my Scottish Literature lectures and tutorials with this inspirational man.

Alan Riach writes that he "was an inspiration for generations of students over almost half a century" and almost half a century on from my student days, while I still love reading there are only two books that I have ever felt the need to read several times over the years – James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner (my original copy fell apart so bought a new copy a few years ago) and Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song (think I still have my first well-thumbed copy somewhere – notes and all).

Thank you, Douglas Gifford for your inspiration, for sharing your love and knowledge of Scottish literature and for the fond memories.

Mairi Brown, Glasgow G12.


WITH reference to the article by Doug Marr ("Lack of toilets is no wee problem", The Herald, July 3), I can concur with his thoughts.

As a man of 75, I have to seek out these facilities.

The lifting of the restriction on the distance allowed to drive for leisure activities is of no help unless toilets are open.

I still have to limit my excursions.

Please open them again, and allow me to have a comfortable walk on Greenock Esplanade and other places.

Gordon W Smith, Paisley.


DUE to the Beeching cuts, Kintore Station closed in December 1964. Two years later, as a gey young reporter on the long-dead Aberdeenshire weekly paper The People’s Journal, I broke the news about a move to reopen Kintore.

Now comes the news from Network Rail that towards the end of this year, Kintore will at last be reopened – just in time to mark the 54th anniversary of the breaking of the news.

While it’s true that ye canna whack such high-speed action on capital investment. The sad part is that all the suits, seat-polishers, time-wasters, space-fillers and general numpties from endless public bodies who made careers by sitting on never-ending committees down these last 54 years now face redundancy.

We need to erect a statue to them all, so that we can pull it down.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.