I read that children in Scotland are being taught that it is fine to decide that girls and boys can change gender from the age of four.

This is totally ridiculous. How can a child of four know the difference between being a boy or a girl at that age? Children that young do not know how to tell the time, they cannot read full sentences, cannot do simple arithmetic, or know the proper time to go to bed so has little knowledge of the world. They only know what their parents tell them about the world. Their brains cannot accommodate the concept of gender.

Have the SNP asked any four-year-olds if they are the 'correct' gender? I doubt they know what the word 'gender' means? So how do they know if they are in the 'correct' body if they do not understand?

Will the Scottish government please concentrate on trying to recover the economy. We have more serious issues to deal with instead of meddling with the minds of our children.

Valerie Stewart

East Kilbride

Beware of giving government more powers

The SNP government has again exposed its controlling tendencies in seeking to make some of the Covid emergency powers permanent. Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney apparently thinks that some of the measures would benefit the people but I fail to see how continuing the 'earlier' early release of prisoners and stopping the prosecution of offenders fall into this category.

Legally continuing the ability to bring in lockdowns, close schools and mask wearing, we are told, would enable the government to respond speedily and effectively to a future pandemic or public health alert but 'speed' and 'effectiveness' are alien to the Scottish Government's way of doing things.

Surely proper planning and monitoring should give some warning of the appearance of a future health threat and it shouldn't be beyond the ability of the Scottish Parliament to democratically rush through the necessary legislation giving effect to the required emergency powers? Giving permanent emergency powers to a government which is secretive, incompetent and untrustworthy poses a danger to our freedoms.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen

Save our seas

I am writing to draw your attention to the importance of Marine Protected Areas, with the horrendous prospect of deep sea mining to meet our never ending demand for yet more high tech energy guzzling items. Something more sobering to think about, due to the increase in CO2 and the ongoing acidification of oceans which has detrimental effects on phytoplankton which provides 50% of oxygen. Rather important for supporting life I would have thought.

Chris Urmson


The GERS figures and independence

Kate Forbes cannot be serious when she says the case for independence is "strengthened" by the GERS figures deficit of £36 billion. The gap between fantasy and reality is now so wide in relation to indyref2 it has taken on the proportion of the Grand Canyon.

Right now the polls are showing a decrease in support for independence and Ms Forbes is not helping her case by turning a blind eye to the significance of the figures. With the SNP in power for almost five more years, most likely with the questionable "support" from the Greens, the way ahead is clear. Many more problems, absolutely no credible solutions but plenty of hot air.

Dr Gerald Edwards


Afghanistan is a tragedy for all

It is true that Afghanistan has been the graveyard of political ambitions down through the pages of history.

While there can be some sympathy with President Biden's emphasis upon not exposing the young men in the American services to the crippling effect of maintaining stability in that country, there is also a question to be asked over why he has chosen to disregard the consequences of leaving Afghanistan in the lurch and to the far from merciful Taliban.

Attention needs to be directed at the other powerful nations in the world, which are sadly most probably indulging in schadenfreude at the expense of the US instead of realising that this abject failure, which has undone all the good of the last painful 20 years, will blow back on them in the years ahead with the now elevated threat of terrorist attacks.

In our small world, boundaries are not as intransitive as they once were and it is vital that all countries, setting aside their petty prejudices, animosities and power plays, work in cooperation to counteract the situations of the sort which have come about in Afghanistan.

If there is no real international effort to mount a concerted programme to counteract offensives of the kind experienced in that blighted country, then we will be stuck in the same world where the singular ambitions of power hungry states will dominate to the degradation of trust and result in unnecessary conflict and destruction.

If China, the US and Russia could set aside their egotistical ambitions to concentrate in their triumvirate with helping the planet to deal with its global problems, then we would see real hope in finding solutions to the ills afflicting our world.

Denis Bruce


Hot air from construction chief

Progress on building Edinburgh's tram line extension to Newhaven could be slowed by a nationwide shortage of concrete and other materials, project chiefs have warned. Quick off her mark was Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland director Hannah Smith who said: "Effective infrastructure delivery is at the heart of supporting economic recovery, tackling climate change and developing the future workforce".

Is it mandatory to mention "climate change" at every opportunity? Cement, concrete, steel and other construction materials all create emissions in their manufacture and installation. She should instead tell the public how many tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions have been and will be created by these tram works and how many years/decades it will take for these emissions to be recouped once the tram line is in operation.

Once she has done that she could turn her attention to the 8,366 wind turbines in Scotland and make similar calculations.

Clark Cross


Macwhirter was on the money

While I agree with Iain Macwhirter’s article about green energy, I do think it a shame that the electricity utilities, built up by the public, are now in private hands – often abroad. They would have been an ideal vehicle to represent what used to be called the “public interest”. But Iain is correct; to fight climate change will take enormous sums of money, and that means involving private equity. We can only hope for proper oversight and regulation if determined efforts happen (I have my doubts).

On COP 26, I hear from friends working for Glasgow Council/Glasgow Life of genuine concerns about the shambolic and uncoordinated planning of the event: the lack of security proposals for certain venues; the lack of designated eating/resting/toilet facilities for the army of private security personnel.

It seems that the Westminster Cabinet Office, who are in charge of the whole thing, are on a wing and a prayer. Scottish prisons have also been told to expect 800 “guests” from detained protesters. That seems like an underestimate for a protest crowd of anywhere up to 200,000 people, who will be more serious about climate change than many of the politicians attending.

GR Weir


Fishing industry lesson

We hear a lot about protecting the environment and taking action on climate change. The North-East of Scotland, which is my home, will be heavily impacted if we don't sort the problems now that will destroy our future. We've already seen local impacts with bridges washed away and farmers running out of water.

The other big loser of environmental distraction will be the fishing industry. Remember the days of the silver darlings? We could have had fish in abundance for ever, but instead we scooped them all up and then we had nothing left. We never thought about our children or grandchildren.

Well, after leaving the EU, we now have the chance to put things right. Think ahead, care about the next generation. With a little bit of consideration, we could turn the sea back into the local larder that it once used to be, but it needs action and cooperation on all fronts.

Boris Johnson has claimed he'll protect our oceans to support food security, but his action lags behind. The time for empty words and targets for 2050 is passed, we need action NOW or we'll lose what little life is left in our oceans.

Hanna Pennig