STUART Waiton’s column ("Real reason behind the SNP’S anti-family legislation", The Herald, November 3) raises a number of issues and takes quite an extreme line. He seems to look for the worst possible motives in several pieces of recent or current legislation. His overall theme seems to be that we should do less to protect the minority of children who are in danger of harm.

On the Hate Crime Bill, I am afraid we still see in our society considerable expressions of hatred based on race, religion, disability, and a range of other characteristics. Humza Yousaf has already made it clear that intent will be required when considering whether someone is guilty of stirring up hatred against others. However, the chances of someone being prosecuted for something they say within their own home must be absolutely minuscule.

The Named Person scheme was a good concept which could have helped a number of vulnerable families in a constituency like mine. Many parents do not find it easy to challenge head teachers, GPs, or social workers if they are seeking help for their kids and are being passed from pillar to post. The named person would have been a help to such families.

Mr Waiton seems to ridicule the idea that parents might be held to account where their child is at "risk of harm". Yet sadly we have seen cases where a parent does not seek the medical treatment that a child needs, most recently when a mother apparently went to the pub and left her sick child alone to die. In such rare occasions, children are at risk and we need to act.

Again the suggestion is that it is fine for a parent to laugh at any joke their child makes about a Celtic or Rangers player. Is he saying that we just accept sectarian hatred and families have no responsibility for teaching their kids that anti-Irish, anti-Catholic, or anti-armed forces hatred is wrong? Of course it is incredibly unlikely that parents would be prosecuted for laughing at a joke. But surely we as a society have some duty to reduce the level of hatred we see around the Old Firm and the culture and politics of that?

John Mason, SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, Glasgow G31.

GIVEN that Humza Yousaf allegedly wishes to remove the "dwelling defence" and potentially criminalise speech and conversation in people's homes, I remembered a rather pertinent song composed and performed by the Irish singer Colum Sands. He introduces his performance with the words "if people feel cautious of what to safely say in their own homes it is best to heed the words of the song and ... Whatever you say, say nothing". His audience is invited to join in the "suspicious" chorus if they feel that no-one is watching them. The performance is fairly light-hearted but the warning is there nevertheless.

I am in agreement with Sandy MacAlister (Letters, November 3). We have been warned. A future of saying nothing is not one for the free people of Scotland.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.