CONGRATULATIONS to Neil Mackay for his well-balanced Big Read piece (“Families At War: The agony of Scottish children weaponised by warring parents”, August 15).

At Shared Parenting Scotland we hear similar stories from separated fathers and mothers and other members of their extended families every day.

In our helpline and support group meetings we always encourage such distressed and grieving parents to focus on their children and to try every way possible to defuse conflict and step away from the personal grievances between them and the other parent.

Unfortunately, there are too many incentives in our family law system to deride and undermine the other parent and too few incentives to co-operate in the interests of their children.

We try and discourage the language of “war” and “battle”.

We urged MSPs to address these issues during the debates last year on the Children Scotland Bill, but without success. It needs a change of culture as well as a change of law for Scotland to catch up with other jurisdictions.

Now that parental alienation is becoming better understood in Scotland, there are some lawyers, sheriffs, child psychologists, social workers and family therapists working to resolve these issues.

There is still a shortage of knowledgeable professionals to help these families, not helped by delays in the Scottish family court system.

Justice delayed is justice denied and those most affected are the children who should never be put in the position of choosing between their parents.

Ian Maxwell, National Manager, Shared Parenting Scotland, Edinburgh.

MANIPULATION OF PARENTAL CONTACT

THE fact that some parents with residence seek to destroy their child’s relationship with the non-resident parent has been evident in the Scottish case law for decades.

Abusive adults will use whatever means are at hand to continue their manipulation, whether that is a parent with residence undermining their child’s human right to a relationship with their non-resident parent, or a non-resident parent using contact with their child to continue their manipulation of their ex-partner.

The fact that some sheriffs are no longer prepared to ignore evidence of manipulation by the resident parent, or to excuse it, has caused a backlash whereby some activists claim that resident parents, almost always the mother, simply never engage in parental alienation.

In the interests of families and society, the manipulation of contact by either parent should be seen as abuse of both the other parent and the child or children involved.

Brian Dempsey, Lecturer in Law, University of Dundee.

CODE RED FOR QR DISCRIMINATION

I TRAVEL a lot for my job and have recently discovered that, unlike UK citizens from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, I will be refused entry to Belgium because there is no QR code on my NHS Scotland vaccination certificate.

The same applies for entry into a number of other European countries.This discrimination is causing Scottish travellers additional stress, expense and inconvenience.

Another example of the Scottish Government keen to do things differently from England, just for the sake of it? Or perhaps simple incompetence and an inability to engage in forward thinking? Whatever the reason, it is unacceptable.

P. Conroy, Glasgow.

SCOTS BUSINESSES UP FOR GRABS

READING Scott Wright’s comment (“Can Scotland halt flow of best firms into overseas hands?”, Business Voices, August 16), about the acquisition of Scottish businesses, gave me a feeling of deja vu.

It is about 25 years or so ago that The Herald published an in-depth study into the takeover and closure or relocation of many Scottish businesses.

The one that I remember was when Pilkington Glass acquired Fibreglass Ltd, who were located in Hawthorn Street on Glasgow, and closed the plant and took it south. Today, we have, among other things, the McVitie’s flitting.

Perhaps it is time for The Herald to carry out another in-depth investigation and publish it with reference to the older article.

History does seem to be repeating itself as far as Scottish business is concerned.

Or are we just a wee shop with great entrepreneurs who make and sell their products and then the business, with the risks that Scott Wright has identified?

Ian Gray, Croftamie.

CRISIS FACING SHEEP FARMERS

OUR Scottish crofters are being hit by rock-bottom wool prices.

Wool processors have a surplus of wool due to a slump in demand for premium wool carpeting for hospitality and cruise lines, because of the Covid pandemic.

As a result, prices have fallen so low that crofters are only getting £5 for about 200 kilos of woollen fleece. Some crofters are having to resort to burning the wool, as it is not viable to transport it to the processors.

Most crofters are dependent on every penny of revenue to keep their head above water, so this is a critical situation for them.

The Scottish Government is said to be “reviewing the situation”. Why does it have no vision? Wool fleece can be used for loft and wall insulation and is more environmentally friendly than man-made fibre-glass alternatives.

Come on, you Cabinet ministers responsible for Covid recovery, economy, rural affairs and energy, get your heads together with urgency and be innovative with respect to the problems facing our communities.

Turn a disaster for crofters into a win-win for the environment and our rural economy.

Iris Graham, Edinburgh.