ONCE again Guy Stenhouse hits the nail on the head when talking of the Scottish Government being unable to do its day job ("Action, not words, are needed to solve ferries fiasco", The Herald, June14).

His articles on the shambles of the building of the two replacement ferries should be on your front page because they really matter to the Scottish public.

Having myself been employed in a shipyard for 11 years and having serviced the original Glen Sannox along with the Arran, Bute and Cowal vessels it is clear to me that no one at the top of Government understands or appreciates the complex nature of the industry.

I know one thing for sure, and that is that Jim McColl does, and was badly dealt with by people who haven't a clue about the business and are costing us all a fortune without any clear route out of the problem any time soon.

Sir Brian Donohoe, former Labour MP, Irvine.


GUY Stenhouse offers a lucid account of the ferries shambles; but every story – good or bad – begins at the beginning.

This bad story begins on August 31, 2015, nearly six years ago. On that date George Osborne at Faslane announced £500 million to develop the naval base; and on the same date the First Minister, striving to keep up – or retaliate if you will – announced without mature consideration a £97 million contract to Ferguson Marine to build two ferries. Not a coincidence.

Now one ferry is in the water, but does not transport goods or people. It does however move at its mooring, that is up and down with the tide.

The First Minister does not accept blame for anything.

William Durward, Bearsden.


IN his article on freedom of speech (“Free speech matters – even when it’s offensive”, The Herald, June 9), Adam Tomkin says: "Let’s not become a country so censorious that we tolerate only received opinion, majority views, or points of view that everyone finds unchallenging." In fact we have long since become such a country.

I have tried to interest publishers in a work explaining, as I believe, why there have been few good and absolutely no great female composers of music – something surely of interest to those who have wondered about it.

Several editors found my hypothesis convincing, but considered it unpublishable whether presented in either succinct or detailed form. My arguments involve no denigration – unless it is considered to be a criticism, for instance, of a chaffinch to remark that it isn’t a blackbird.

However, the arbiters of opinion have decreed that the matter is not to be discussed, and a majority of the public has allowed itself to be persuaded to think only in the strictly circumscribed manner that has been prescribed.

We are perfectly entitled to reject the opinions of 18th century philosophers and so on, but not to suppress them.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


KEN Tweed (Letters, June 12) mentions somewhat sarcastically "the wonderful sights of Greenock" in relation to cruise ship passengers arriving there. Greenock is not without its attractions and has some very fine buildings such as the Sheriff Court, the Customs House and the magnificent Victoria Tower on the Town Hall which exceeds the height of the tower on the City Chambers in Glasgow. Many cruise ship passengers in "normal" times are Americans or Canadians whose ancestors may have departed from Greenock on emigrant ships and thus the town is of considerable significance for them.

Cruise ship passengers in "normal" times do not normally confine themselves to remaining in Greenock but go on guided coach tours to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Inveraray and Ayrshire. It does not seem that there will be many cruise ships docking at Greenock this year, but in due course they will return in greater numbers.

John Fyfe Anderson, Scottish Blue Badge Guide, Bishopton.


PERHAPS it is a case of old age but I am becoming increasingly confused by contemporary events. One day we are suggesting that youngsters are so far behind in education that the school day needs extended, the next we are suspending education for a football match (what does that indicate is of greatest importance?)

One day we are threatening dire consequences of the impact of climate change, the next we are bemoaning we can't fly off on holiday and our leaders are jetting in to Cornwall and sitting in huge cavalcades of gas-guzzling cars. Good for our Queen who took the train.

We suggest all sorts of activities can't take place, but then let thousands gather for a football match or concert.

Perhaps it is not me who is confused.

James Watson, Dunbar.


MAY Maclennan, writing from Stirling (Letters, June 12), is unfortunate that there are no bees in her garden.

For months this year I have been aware of large number of bees buzzing all over our garden in Bearsden.

Earlier this week our neighbour commented, as I admired his tulips, that there were an unusual number of bees on his tulips as we spoke.

We walk round the beautiful ground of Glasgow Vet College frequently and have noticed a considerable number of birds pecking on the ground and assumed that there was a good supply of insects and worms for them. Our garden has been more colourful than ever before and trees are covered with leaves everywhere around us.

I would be interested to know if we are unique in Bearsden.

Ian Turner, Bearsden.