NICOLA Love asks why society polices teens drinking in a public park ("Should we be policing teens in the park?", The Herald, April 28). Well, to answer that question, one must look at a number of things, including:

* Why do people not have on "off" button when drinking in public?

* Why do people lose control when drinking in public?

* Why do people often become belligerent and aggressive when drinking in public?

Allied to trying to answer those questions, consider the reluctance of the Lord Advocate some years ago to proceed with cases where the sole charge was the common law crime of breach of the peace. Along with this, consider the diminution over time of the power of the police to arrest without warrant a person who has been accused of having committed a crime shortly before, and detain them in custody until appearance at court.

Then bring the local council into the mix; fed up with complaints about public drunkenness and an apparent inability of the police to deal with it, it simply introduced a blanket ban on everyone drinking alcohol in public. A perfect solution, where the police can simply issue a fixed penalty ticket to the offender, who will more than likely choose to pay, rather than electing for a trial. Easy; no witness statements, no court case, job done.

Instead of individual cases of drunkenness being dealt with on their merits, all instances of consuming alcohol in public become, to an extent, "criminalised". A sledgehammer to crack a nut, some might say.

Stuart Brennan, Glasgow.

* IN response to Nicola Love, the answer has to be, yes, of course we should. Public drunkenness is intimidating, anti-social and unacceptable. It should not be tolerated in a civilised society and presents a less than presentable image of Scotland, and its people.

What does it say about our values, or the image we want to present, when I have to think twice about taking my granddaughter to a park for fear of encountering drunken idiots (of all ages)?

Susan McKenzie, Fort William.


I FOUND it fascinating that the much-criticised Scottish Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is getting hammered for poor scores in certain school subjects within the Programme for International Pupil Assessment (PISA) results (“Curriculum for Excellence ‘weak’ in maths and science”, The Herald, April 29).

I suggest that when comparing Scotland with the performance of other nations that the historic profile of curricular stability is given a relative score. I suspect that the best-performing countries have not had the scale of classroom turmoil Scotland has faced in the last four decades with new initiatives such as Standard Grade, National Modular Units, 5-14, Higher Still and now the CfE.

We easily forget that the introduction of Standard Grade in the mid-1980s was so badly received that it led to industrial action. We seem to continue to believe that the curriculum is somehow the problem when time and again we see that revamping the content of what pupils learn does not lead to learning for excellence.

However I feel that the finger of suspicion is pointing at the wrong culprit. Profiling the learning needs of individual young people, often from very difficult dysfunctional backgrounds, and matching the specific needs with sophisticated technological teaching resources has yet to have a major impact on schools’ performance. Books are merely passive resources which are only as good as the learner.

Yes, it is not a cheap future; but as the statistician Claus Moser reminded us, “education costs us money. But then, so does ignorance”.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.


THELMA Edwards (Letters, April 28) makes a very pertinent point, as always, when she laments seeing people wandering about, eyes glued to their mobile devices rather than looking at the wonders around them.

What particularly worries me is the sight of mums and dads walking along, eyes glued to their phones, while the kids trail behind or sit ignored in their buggies. It’s a common sight and it doesn’t bode well for the future of those kids.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


THE news that wasps, unloved by most of us, should be valued just as highly as other insects ("Wasps do have a purpose ... and could even be a cure for cancer", The Herald, April 29), brings to mind my much-missed and gentle late mother-in-law despatching a wasp traversing her window with her bare thumb.

I admired her then and confess, now with a little guilt, that I still do.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


IN her Issue of the Day piece (The Herald, April 28), Vicky Allan discusses the move by Standard Life Aberdeen to rename itself Abrdn. Interestingly, she cites a number of trendy tech brands like Tumblr, Grindr, and Readr which have similarly dropped the vowel "e". Ironically, as the mangling of our language continues, these brands will find that many people pronounce their names as Tumbla, Grinda and Reada – as the letter "r" is becoming as dispensable as vowels. Thus, if we miss a programme on TV, we’re invited to watch on the BBC’s iPlaya, or if it’s Channel 4, it’s All Fo. But the letter "r" doesn’t simply disappear – it’s highly mobile, as in "lawr ‘n’ orda" and "idears", cropping up where it shouldn’t be.

Is this a danger for the language – or should I say "dange-a"? If we still manage to communicate, and make ourselves understood, maybe I’m missing the bigga picture, or even the bigga picta?

Dr Angus Macmillan, Dumfries.