BRIAN Harvey (Letters, April 14) praises Patrick Harvie's conduct during the parliamentary recall for the Duke of Edinburgh as "candid", but there's a big difference between being candid and being contrarian.

I did not see "open debate" in a "real parliament", but a showboater trying to hijack a memorial to make it all about himself. Mr Harvie was not actually speaking to his fellow MSPs at all, he was playing to the gallery – indeed, in the photograph of his speech published on your website Patrick Harvie is staring straight into the television camera. Increasingly politicians make speeches that are not intended to be discussed but to be retweeted, and Mr Harvie only yet further lowered the tone.

Robert Frazer, Dundee.

* I AM no supporter of the monarchy in the UK and would happily see it abolished. However, Patrick Harvie’s comments on the Duke of Edinburgh’s life of wealth and privilege demonstrates his complete lack of empathy with the Scottish people. Mr Harvie himself enjoys a life of privilege and wealth after nearly 20 years in parliament with a salary and benefits package way beyond what the vast majority working people enjoy.

On checking his Wikipedia page I saw nothing in his qualifications, skills, experience or achievements that would suggest he could hope to achieve such recompense outside the Holyrood bubble.

His comments were small-minded, mean-spirited, spiteful and pathetic and an embarrassment to many of those he claims to represent.

Tom Riddell, Perth.


THANK goodness that at least one person has eschewed the sycophantic outpourings surrounding the death of Prince Philip (“Harvie faces backlash after pathetic tribute”, The Herald, April 13, and Letters, April 14). I am old enough, sadly, to have been alive when the betrothal of the Prince was announced and the general public reaction was “Prince who….?”

Far from giving up a "glittering naval career" to walk three steps behind Princess Elizabeth, Philip grabbed the opportunity to be catapulted from total anonymity into the centre of the wealthiest, most influential royal European family of the time and siring generations of kings. From being a stateless, penniless, rootless minor royal he then enjoyed a lifetime of unadulterated opulence, luxury and deference.

True he had a chaotic, dysfunctional, at times loveless, childhood with a mother who had serious mental health issues and a distant playboy father who didn’t let his lack of money affect his lavish lifestyle in the South of France with his mistress. Good training, I would have thought, for joining the British royal family.

The only fly in the ointment for Philip was his fury at being denied passing on his surname to his children. So instead of the House of Windsor we nearly had the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.

Imagine how that would have gone down in the English shires.

Sheila Duffy, Glasgow.


IT is encouraging to see new guidance issued to local councils across Scotland on preventing suicides ("New guidelines for councils in bid to tackle suicide in Scotland", The Herald, April 14).

Every suicide is an immense tragedy that affects relatives and friends of the deceased for decades. We must, as a society, do all we can to aid suicide prevention.

It is sad, then, that there are those who are pushing for assisted suicide to be legalised. While they might argue the two are not connected, let’s call it what it is. Changing the law to legalise assisted suicide would contribute to the normalisation of suicide across Scotland.

Surely, we need to acknowledge this deep contradiction which, all too often, those pushing for assisted suicide dismiss or ignore.

James Mildred, CARE for Scotland, Glasgow.


PATRICK Barwise ("Do we really want the BBC to suffer death by a thousand cuts?", The Herald, April 13) is right on the button. The BBC is an essential part of the fabric of the United Kingdom despite most of the current news presenters being a few shillings short of the pound. The existence of the service is essential in the times of national emergency.

Having been aware of the telegram alert system in the event of nuclear conflict how would we feel if the prime driver of this system was ceased to exist? The over-75 free licence is essential for the oldies; the internet can fail so often, so how do we preserve the voice of the nation?

Rodney Snook, Helensburgh.


AS an orphan in my eighties I celebrate the extended sell-by date in years which has occurred since my appearance on the worldly scene ("The phenomenon of the elderly child and why we should learn to treasure it", The Herald, April 14 ), and remember the reply of the zany Gracie (1895-1966), of American comedy duo George Burns and Gracie Allen, when asked by husband George, (1896 -1996), if her parents had enjoyed good health. “Enjoyed it? They loved it!”

I’ll be old myself someday.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


I HAD the misfortune of visiting my local supermarket with my wife. While I waited for her in the car, there were a remarkable number of people brazenly parking in child spaces with no children in the car. Worse were those parking in the disabled spaces. As one who has occasion to transport a disabled person, if these inconsiderate people wish to park there, we can oblige to assist in their disability.

These spaces are for those who require them, but then I suppose the excuse is, I’m just nipping in.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.