YOU report yet another example of our inadequate judicial system's lack of punishment to "fit the crime" – or multiple crimes in this case ("Attacker will serve 19 years for the rape and murder of pensioner", The Herald, November 18).

Esther Brown's killer, Jason Graham, 30, had 23 prior convictions, including one for rape, for which he was in jail for only five years. He was drunk and drugged, invaded her house, beat her up despite her desperately fighting back, stole her credit card, raped and murdered her. The judge said he was at a high risk of reoffending.

But his sentence, supposedly for life, could see him released after only 19 years when he will still be only 49. For such an appalling catalogue of crimes, why on earth are consecutive sentences not imposed, rather than concurrent?

Many of us are forced yet again into thinking that until the mother, sister, wife or daughter of a top politician or judge suffers such an appalling and terrifying end, sentencing will continue to be inadequate to protect the public.

John Birkett, St Andrews.


YOU quote Mike McKirdy, a breast cancer surgeon, as saying that more medical consultations will have to be done remotely to cut carbon emissions and that the "pushback" against this, especially in primary care, is "misplaced" ("More consultations will have to be done remotely, says top medic", The Herald, November 15).

He describes achieving a zero hospital clinic visit rate for face-to-face reviews in women with previously diagnosed and treated breast cancer when, before, there were about 3,000 visits a year in his hospital. Attendance now is only for a mammogram and cancer surveillance is otherwise conducted virtually as, apparently, "absolutely no value" was found in a face-to-face outpatient clinic visit with a doctor.

However, it is one thing to advise remote consultation for the follow-up of patients already diagnosed and treated and quite another to advocate this for those seeking attention from their general practitioners for a diagnosis and treatment. There is already concern that remote consultations are delaying the diagnosis of cancer and other conditions. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions should not be a reason not to be seen face-to-face by one's general practitioner. GPs have become remote enough.

Dr Stefan D Slater, Retired Consultant Physician, Edinburgh.


I NOTE yet another so-called history lesson devoid of provenance ("Snatching defeat from jaws of victory ... when Bonnie Prince Charlie almost took England", The Herald, November 18). The numbers of Jacobite dead at Culloden have been quoted at 1,500 to 2,000; in television's Blood of the Clans, the number was put at 700. Struan Stevenson has now racked the number back up to more than 1,200. Isn't it funny that the number of Jacobite broadswords recovered after the battle and which now hang on the wall of Inveraray Castle never vary up or down from 190?

As for Derby, no mention is made of two of the most critical factors behind the decision to turn back, namely the lack of promised support from English Jacobites and the lack of any meaningful help from France. A lesser-known influence was that of the only commoner in the war council, namely Alasdair MacDonell, chief of Keppoch. One of his greatest admirers was none other than General Wade, who would dine with him at Keppoch House while road building in the area some two decades earlier. Professor Bruce Lenman described him as "an intelligent little bandit", but his talent went much further, in that it was his ability to smell a rat at 50 miles which influenced his opinion. It was his undoing when, on Culloden Moor, he smelled one at 50 feet.

As for all the drivel about the Jacobites being in a state of starvation, has nobody noticed that Culloden is only a few miles from the rich farmland occupied by clans Fraser and Chisholm, nor that, three days later, when they regrouped at Ruthven, they were in high spirits with no shortage of anything?

George F Campbell, Glasgow.


WHAT a joy it was to be reacquainted with, the figure of speech Zeugma, or Condensed Sentence, a favourite of mine from my English class at Whitehill Senior Secondary School in the late 1950s (Letters, November 15).

My text book then was A Study of Standard English, first impression 1938, and co-written by James Barclay, MA (Albert Secondary School, Glasgow), David H Knox, MA (Hutchesons' Boys' Grammar School, Glasgow) and George B Ballantyne, MA (Paisley Grammar School). Both Knox and Barclay would go on to write Approach to Standard English in 1942 in response to the request of various teachers for a junior edition of their earlier title.

I still have these books, adorned on the inside covers with the names and class numbers of earlier students,but like your correspondent, Robin Johnston, fear that , in spite of these excellent home-grown text books, the teaching of the finer points of English language is "conspicuous by its absence".

David G Will, Milngavie.


I READ with great interest Brian Wilson’s obituary of Bertie Auld, with its memorable photo of Bertie wearing a hat after the Leeds game ("Lisbon Lion who became an authentic working-class football hero", The Herald, November 18). It made me smile.Thanks to my big brother Shug I received an invitation to attend the Lisbon Lions' induction into the Hall of Fame at Hampden. Shug duly introduced me to Bertie and after a big hug I asked him: where did you get the hat? "I nabbed it off the heid of a photographer," he said mischievously. A character and a lovely man.

Roddy MacDonald, Ayr.