FOR almost 60 years I have tried my best to serve the communities of Scotland to the best of my ability – celebrating with those rejoicing, consoling the bereaved, burying the dead, including many who had no minister of their own.

I have served the NHS in the field of ethics and as a hospital chaplain, the Law Society in the field of complaints, Citizens Advice in the field of advice, North Ayrshire Council in the field of education – among many other activities.

Why are my beliefs and I myself mocked, vilified and belittled by fans of a Scottish football club?

Why would I want to continue living in the country of my birth when so many are hateful?

Of course because it is not everyone, and I am grateful to have made so many true friends in Kilwinning, in Ardrossan, in Saltcoats, among other places over the years.

I will end my days here. It is my country. I simply cannot understand the hatred.

Canon Matt McManus, Saltcoats.


THE events of the weekend past regarding a small marching army of seemingly out-of-control football supporters, if that is an accurate description, which have rightly drawn the pens of various observers to the Letters Pages looking for a solution, surely demands action.

It seems clear that not for the first time in Glasgow, our police force has been overwhelmed. For example, I understand that in 1822 a large mob plundered a house on Clyde Street owned by a George Provand. The police could not cope and the acting chief magistrate, Mr Lawrence Craigie, rushed to the cavalry barracks, at that time in Lauriston while his colleagues ran to the infantry barracks, then in the Gallowgate, for assistance while the Riot Act was read.

It seems to me that we may have reached the stage where, if we are to continue to wish to be policed by consent, then our police should be given an auxiliary route which they can follow when things get as out of hand as was seen at the weekend.

A civil guard, or a national guard? Call it what you will, but as we have become increasingly a liberal society we must wake up to the fact that Scotland is no longer the land of the White Heather Club and tipsy excesses reserved for Hogmanay.

Our police officers do not deserve to knowingly be put in a dangerous position when protecting public and private property. They need a public protection option of last resort, short of the Army, as it is clear that the football clubs are unwilling to provide effective measures to protect themselves from shame.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.


ROBIN Johnston and Sheila Mechan (Letters, May 18) seem to be in agreement that the rule of law was not upheld in the recent (peacefully conducted) protests against the forced eviction of two local residents in the south side of Glasgow. While the law of the land should certainly be treated with respect, it is not infallible and should never be held to be sovereign over the will of the people in any healthy democracy. After all, the suffragettes of the early 20th century were considered to be outlaws until their protests led to legal reform, after which they became heroines, while, in America, many prominent civil rights leaders were perceived as criminals until the justice of their cause came to be more widely acknowledged and changes in the law eventually followed.

While there is certainly a wider debate to be had about how the law on immigration is administered in Scotland and in the UK, the right to protest against the enforcement of laws which are perceived to be unjust is not only a democratic right but a civic responsibility and I, along with a great many others around the country, commend the Pollokshields protesters for their well-conducted and kindly-motivated actions.

David Gray, Glasgow.

IN response to Sheila Mechan, what happened to Kriss Donald bears no relation to the protests against the raid by the UK Border Force.

We are experiencing the consequences of Britain's colonial empire-building over 500 years. We are suffering from the selfishness and greed of people who stole the resources of countries on the other side of the world. Inhabitants of Asia and Africa were given Commonwealth status and invited to come to Britain to rebuild after the Second World War. Their reward? To see messages on buses inviting them to go back where they came from, even though they had lived here all their lives, and had no relatives in any other countries. They were deported after spending their whole lives in Britain.

Perhaps if the Westminster Government stopped the manufacture and sale of weapons which are used to return other countries to the Stone Age, residents of other parts of the world could enjoy life in their own homes, without fleeing from wars and becoming refugees and asylum seekers.

The people of Pollokshields showed admirable compassion, which is sadly lacking in some comments on this topic.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


AS Nicola Sturgeon ponders her new Cabinet perhaps she might cast a thought about moving Humza Yousaf. The Justice Secretary has made a few misjudgements in the space of a week.

Criticising the Home Office for the Kenmure Street debacle without a thought to the fact that he was also criticising the legal position was his first mistake. No action on the obvious lack of social distancing was his second. He has now waded into the Rangers furore without cast iron evidence of the true situation but with a ready-made judgment on the outcome he wanted nonetheless.

Justice is not being well served. Three strikes and you are out?

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


JIM Duncan (Letters, May 17) asks why Scots currently living in another part of the UK won’t get a vote in an independence referendum, while non-UK citizens just arrived in Scotland will be given a vote.

The independence referendum is about choosing a future for Scotland. It is entirely appropriate that those who plan a future in Scotland get a say in shaping that future, as opposed to those who had their past here but chose to make their future elsewhere.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow.

JIM Duncan argues that Scots living elsewhere in the UK should be allowed to vote in any indyref2.

I agree and would go further by following the 2011 Venice Commission Report from the European Commission For Democracy Through Law by including also those Scots living overseas who have been registered to vote in Scotland, say in the last 15 years.

As an outspoken Europhile party, desperate for Scotland to join the EU, why, I wonder, does the SNP disagree ?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.


SPECULATION has been sparked by David Leask's suggestion that Orkney and Shetland might choose to remain in the UK if Scotland opts to become independent (“Beware the British nationalists threatening to partition Scotland”, The Herald, May 14). William Durward (Letters, May 17) thinks the islanders might prefer to join Norway.

While history is not my strongest subject, I think I am correct in saying that the United Kingdom was created in 1801 by the Union of the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland.

The Kingdom of Great Britain arose from the Union of the Kingdoms of England, of which Wales was a part, and Scotland in 1707 although England and Scotland had shared a monarch since 1603.

I therefore conclude that Scottish independence would mean that Great Britain would thereafter consist of England and Wales only, which together with Northern Ireland would form the residual UK. Orkney and Shetland's political links with the UK or Norway would be no different from those enjoyed by any other part of Scotland despite their historical and cultural affinity.

I can see how some Shetlanders might prefer Bergen or Oslo to Aberdeen or Edinburgh, but I'm not so sure that Orcadians would be keen to sever their links with Caithness.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


DAVID Stubley (Letters, May 17) is "intrigued to observe ... a condition which could be described as blinkered vision suffered by those advocates of the Union which is the United Kingdom".

I venture to suggest that there is a clear variant of this condition manifest in members of the SNP (a prime example of this is displayed by Ian Blackford). Its major symptom is constant repetition together with cult-like devotion to an untested ideological goal.

This condition, to use Mr Stubley’s terminology, is worthy of being characterised as a definable psychological condition. I suggest the term OCID – obsessive compulsive independence disorder, or monomania.

(Dr) Douglas Pitt, Newton Mearns.

Read more: The police don't stand a chance in today's Scotland