I, LIKE many other Scottish families, have devastatingly experienced the death of a loved one from terminal illness. My father was diagnosed with short-term terminal cancer. He was very pragmatic and faced his illness with huge bravery. His fear was not death itself, but how he would die.

To put it bluntly, my father’s cancer experience over four months was devastating. He required medication to manage the extreme pain from his cancer, but this medication caused him terrifying hallucinations. With no other options, my dad had to continue with this treatment, and we watched our kind, sensitive, loving father become someone we no longer recognised and who no longer recognised us.

Death was finally a five-hour agonising marathon, slowly drowning in his own bodily fluids. Without air he pleaded for help to die. All we could do was cry and try our best to be with him and try to reassure him that he was with loved ones. If assisted dying had been an option for my dad, he could have chosen to die peacefully, surrounded by his family, while he still had full mental capacity.

I pray that the Scottish Parliament listen to the 86 per cent of the Scottish public who wish to see a change in how our loved ones, and ourselves, face the end of our lives ("New assisted dying bill reopens debate", The Herald, June 21, and Letters, June 22, 23 & 24). It is time to protect those who require protection the most.

Lesley Cullan, Moray.


I WRITE in response to your coverage of the assisted dying bill. As someone with a terminal illness, I am a great supporter of this bill.

I had to watch my mum and dad die horrific deaths. My dad's end of life was so awful that it still really upsets me when I think about it after five years. His cancer had spread to his brain and he was doing and saying things that were totally out of character for him. I don't want to put my family through that. I want to be able to decide when and where I die.

I am of sound mind and have no intention of changing my mind. Please, please support this bill and help people like me die with dignity.

Tracy McNally, Ayr.


AT a time when America and China are sending probes to Mars and beyond, it's appalling that the Scottish Government is unable to deliver two much-needed car ferries to serve the Scottish islands. The building timetable has slipped yet again by a further 15 weeks, increasing costs and placing more pressure upon current vessels urgently in need of repair and replacement ("Lifeline ferries to be delayed by an extra four months", The Herald, June 25).

Islanders have been badly let down by the Scottish Government and another summer and winter of travel disruption are looming. One would need to be a Philadelphia lawyer to sift through and understand the tangled web of secrecy and incompetence surrounding the project, but hopefully a clearer picture will emerge in due course. I think the ferries should be renamed "Derek Mackay" and "Nicola Sturgeon" respectively, not as a mark of respect but as a reminder of Government ineptitude at its best.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.


YET another uncosted report from a group of selected citizens recommending that Scotland moves to free services and free upgrade of houses to be environmentally friendly. There is no idea of the cost of this and the only tax-raising proposal is to tax motorists ("Road tax rise could pay for free public transport", The Herald, June 24).

The population of the country has been fooled into a belief by the SNP that all can be free if we only tax the rich and hammer the nasty motorist and keep taking money from Westminster in the short term.

Boris Johnson should set Scotland free immediately, stop all money from Westminster and a referendum should be held in two years to confirm whether or not Scotland wants to permanently leave the UK.

This will not be acceptable to the SNP as it wants to dictate the pace of change. It's high time its bluff was called.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.


CONGRATULATIONS to Alan Simpson for his article which highlights the fact that "waging war on the motorist is beloved of a metropolitan, liberal elite who have no real concept of the impact on the 25 per cent of Scots living in rural Scotland" ("Motorists should not be punished further", The Herald, June 24).

For too long Holyrood has become a parliament that only addresses the 75% of Scots living in the Central Belt, highlighted by the cash issued to BiFab, Prestwick Airport and Ferguson Marine with not a single crumb to set up national parks in both Galloway and the Borders or upgrades to the A75, which is the main route to the ferry port at Cairnryan.

There is also no sign of the pledge made last December by all parties at Holyrood to devolve a raft of new powers and protection to give councils European-style safeguards. It is time, surely, for Westminster to step in to demand that Holyrood either honours its pledge on devolution of powers or else sets up a second assembly to meet the democratic rights of the 25% of voters in rural Scotland.

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.


AS the nation reflects on the disappointment of the Scotland football team failing to make the knockout stage of Euro 2020, there is a positive outcome for our younger people.

For the last few years education and sport have encouraged the concept that no one is a loser as it can affect their self-confidence. When exams were sat there were numerous grades, a number of which in times past would have been classed as a fail. Sporting events were not called tournaments, but festivals. This ignored the concept of failure.

Unfortunately life is often not like that. A friend who was a driving examiner often found 17-year-old candidates bursting into tears after being told that they had failed their driving test, something the education system had not prepared them for. Hopefully the failure of our national team will show to our young members of our society that sometimes you fail to achieve what you hope for in life.

Education should assist in young people striving for excellence, not success, as many can achieve the former but not as many the latter.

Richard Wiggins, Prestwick.


IT is worth considering the major public health issue which underlies Uzma Mir’s article on childhood obesity ("I won’t do the shame game: How to teach children to think about weight", The Herald, June 22) and Joanna Blythman’s related piece last Saturday on nutrition and the risks of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) "There’s a reason why children are getting fat – and it’s nothing to do with calories", The Herald, June 19). Scotland is facing not just one pandemic – that of Covid-19 – but also one of metabolic disease and obesity. Indeed, part of our vulnerability to Covid has been its interaction with obesity and related morbidity: if you are obese, your life is more likely to be endangered if you contract Covid.

This is all in addition to the diabetes and stroke time bombs which are ticking within us. Scotland needs action on diet, nutrition and on its food culture, and that action needs to be radical and swift if lives are be saved in the same way as they have been through the smoking ban.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


WITH reference to John Walls’s letter (June 21) about the lack of human interaction when contacting one's bank, I, too, have asked these same questions and agree with his answers.

I have had innumerable similar experiences with the Royal Bank's digital assistant, Cora, the latest being the last, I hope. As soon as I entered the bank’s website, Cora leapt out of the wings and on to the screen, desperate to help – “Chat with me,” she pleaded. So I did.

Having downloaded and checked my latest monthly statement in PDF form, I printed it off only to discover that three transactions had not been printed. I explained this to her and asked why they were omitted. She (I assumed that she was such, which remark may cause me some grief) replied that she could not understand the question and requested me to re-phrase it. I did so, and again it was not understood. I am ashamed to say that my baser instincts took over at this point, to which Cora replied requesting that I use more than two words.

I resorted to the telephone and chatted with an extremely courteous and helpful gentleman who, although he could not solve the problem, would certainly inform the IT department. While speaking with him, I mentioned my unsuccessful chat with Cora and could hear his head shaking when he said that I was not the only one who had a complaint about the bank's digital assistant.

William S Cooper, Strathaven.


IN 2018 Jeremy Clarkson presented a programme on the incredible internal motorway system that the Chinese have now created. He called it "the Eighth Wonder of the World".

Clarkson pointed out that a mere 30 years previously there had been no motorways in China at all. They have since built some 84,000 miles of them and are creating another 6,000-plus miles every year over valleys, rivers, not to mention a 34-mile bridge out to sea, and more.

However, what a comfort it was to hear recently from Bear Scotland that The Rest and Be Thankful (on the A83) would only be closed again for "resurfacing" this past week for four days.

A campaign supported by some 1,500 businesses has issued a deadline of 2024 to finally resolve the issues on this Argyll lifeline.

I only wish the contrasting stories above were untrue.

Robin Gilmour, Glasgow.


SOME months after a downsizing move and still deliberating over a superfluity of books, CDs and DVDs, I found Teddy Jamieson’s perspective on the changing culture on ownership timely and helpful ("We are what we own? Maybe not now, The Herald", June 25).

But the poster of the attractive long-stockinged lady captioned “What if the Hokey Cokey really IS what it’s all about?” stays on the bedroom wall, together with my certificate as a “Deputy Sheriff of Calton Creek”, appointed by the legendary Bud Neill’s Lobey Dosser, with some help from Tom Shields, late of The Herald.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

Read more: Why don't the Tories look at why the Yes vote is so high?