THERE has always been a proportion of fraud in any US election ("Trump's election fraud claims taking root among Republicans", The Herald, December 10). Just one instance is the California county which in a previous election managed to have 120 per cent of those eligible to vote recorded as voting.

The most significant event was not as the article seemed to focus on the cases in federal and state courts, as these were almost inevitably going to go against the President. The action of the Texas Attorney General (AG) has the potential to be the game changer. As he is accusing four states of unconstitutional administration of the voting process this will be heard by the Supreme Court, therefore bypassing these states' courts. If the Supreme Court finds in favour of the Texas AG then these states' electoral college vote will not be counted and Trump will have won the election. Up to now it has just been local skirmishes but now the real battle is enjoined. I am sure the Democrats are panicked.

David Stubley, Prestwick.


I REFER to the letter from Duncan Miller (December 10) concerning the use of an HS2 tunnelling machine to tunnel between Argartan and Arrochar. Size is no problem, however the HS2 machines are soft-ground machines which are intended to deal with flint, but only where that flint is in the form of discrete boulders in an otherwise relatively soft chalk matrix. A different type of tunnelling machine specifically designed for hard rock would be required for the A83 replacement. Such machines exist but are seldom used in the UK. The last hard-rock machine used in Scotland was for the Glendoe hydropower tunnel. Nevertheless, the tunnelling industry would welcome any project from the Scottish Government to construct an underground replacement for the A83.

Dr Donald Lamont, Hyperbaric and Tunnel Safety Ltd, Birkenhead.


I NOTE your Remember When feature headed "Scotland's ill-fated lover affair with the hovercraft (The Herald, December 10). Sadly Denny's shipyard closed in September 1963 (although I believe the hovercraft subsidiary carried on a little longer). But sadder still, the photograph claiming to be of a Denny hovercraft in Loch Long is in fact of one of its competitors – either an SRN5 or an SRN6 – built on the Isle of Wight, far, far away.

One of the reasons for the lack of success of Clyde Hover Ferries was the noise from the air-screw (visible in the photograph) which propelled the SRN5 & SRN6 craft. The Denny D2 used waterscrews for propulsion and was much quieter.

David L. Smith, Newton Mearns.


IN the wake of recent correspondence about the OED word of the year for 2021 (Letters, December 3, 4, 7 & 8), my prediction is “Hmm”. “Hmm” is taking over from “So” as a piece of verbal upholstery prelude to a statement from a pundit or expert, on air, in reply to a question.

"So” was a source of irritation to many people, but at least it had some literary provenance. Seamus Heaney translated the Anglo-Saxon word Hwaet, which headlines the epic poem Beowulf, as “So”. (Hwaet! We Gar-dena… What wee gardens! Other translations are available.) “So” indicates that the question asked has been anticipated, and the answer pre-prepared. “Hmm” sounds spontaneous but it is faux-spontaneity. “Hmm” is as pre-packaged as “So”. Come December 2021, will “Hmm” have driven us all crazy?

Dr Hamish Maclaren, Stirling.