YOU have recently published details of two initiatives reference problematic drug use; one from Tory MP/MSP Douglas Ross ("Ross urges consensus on drugs death law", The Herald, May 30) and today's Agenda piece from Labour's Paul Sweeney MSP ("Overdose prevention centres are a proven way to save lives", The Herald, June 1).

In my opinion and lived experience the former is plain daft, the second long overdue – Mr Ross's consultation responses have just been published, Mr Sweeney's consultation has just been published for comment and closes August 13; those who care about Scotland's drug death shame under this SNP Government I hope will respond and the responses weighed rather than counted.

Mr Ross wants to establish in law a legal "right to recovery". There have been many expert commentators who have openly traduced Mr Ross's proposals that will now be laid before Holyrood. Only this week, for example, the CEO of the Scottish Recovery Consortium told the BBC that the Conservative proposal is "neither radical nor practical".

Meantime Transform Drug Policy Foundation, Cranstoun, Release and EuroNPD made a joint short submission concluding with if people can take legal action to ensure their desired service access, how will fair access for the most vulnerable be protected?

They wrote: “It is widely accepted that in society, more privileged public service users with higher social and cultural capital (education, networks, skills and resources) are better at negotiating with service providers. If people can, and indeed are encouraged to, take or threaten legal action by this Bill, how will fair access for the most vulnerable, who lack this social capital, be protected?"

My natural predilection would not be to quote the right-wing Adam Smith Institute (I am an Ambassador for the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform), but will do so in context of Mr Sweeney’s piece: "Supervised Drug Consumption Rooms are effective at engaging hard-to-reach, highly marginalised populations with drug treatment, healthcare and other services. People in treatment use less illegal heroin and other drugs, potentially reducing the scale of the illegal drugs market.

Based on the above for me the score is Tories 0, Scottish Labour 1; notwithstanding this really does have to be a cross-party endeavour.

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh.


BRIAN Wilson ("Scotland faces £3.5bn shortfall. Here’s what we should do about it", The Herald, May 31) states that he was “genuinely shocked to learn that £250 million has been allocated to funding peat bog restoration without any regulation to ensure that communities share in the benefits”, continuing: “Ms Forbes could usefully stop that tomorrow and spend the money better.”

He fails to see the hugely damaging impact of climate change on all our communities and the opportunity there is to benefit these communities and the environment by restoring damaged peatlands to help Scotland achieve its net zero targets. The funding allocated to peat bog restoration (incidentally, today, Thursday, June 2, is World Peatlands Day), is vital in our response to climate change and represents extremely good value for money – peatland restoration is one of the "low-hanging fruits" of our climate response. About 25 per cent of Scotland is peatland but the majority of these, around 80%, are degraded and actually emitting rather than storing carbon. At the National Trust for Scotland we are working on a number of peatland restoration projects, including a three-year programme at Mar Lodge Estate. This is all as part of our response to tackling the climate crisis, however it also provides a positive impact for local communities.

Restoring peatlands not only helps remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, it also supports habitats and species, improves water quality and manages flood risk. Communities are already benefiting from the finance available by undertaking the restoration work and improving their local environment.

The funding from the Scottish Government on peatland restoration is a starting point, however if we’re really going to address the scale of the problem across not only Scotland but on a global level, we have to massively upscale our restoration delivery and consider how private finance could supplement government funding.

Stuart Brooks, Head of Conservation & Policy, National Trust for Scotland, Edinburgh.


I REFER to the photograph which accompanied the article by Rosemary Goring ("Is it really safe to party like it’s 1952?", The Herald, June 1). It was declared to show a Coronation street party in Paisley in 1952. I know that Benjamin Disraeli once said "keep an eye on Paisley" and that the town does try to anticipate and be ahead of the game if possible. However, I doubt that they sought to be that far ahead of events given that the Coronation did not take place until June 1953.

The Queen did visit the town in June 1953. In advance of her arrival at Gilmour Street Station the station had been repainted, but only the parts which might be within the sight of the Queen. Clearly Paisley folk did not seek to go overboard in looking their best for the visit.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


MY grandson decided the family, including the 70-year-old grandparents, must go and see Top Gun Maverick at the Odeon in Kilmarnock. What a fantastic movie, almost no swearing, cursing or sex scenes. Total escapism, brilliantly filmed with a tremendous cast.

On arrival at the Odeon I was very disappointed at the deterioration of the building and its surrounds. It’s symptomatic of so many buildings today; the owners have lost all sense of responsibility or pride in their property.

The traditional vertical Odeon sign was rusty, dirty and in dire need of renewing, as were the steps and surrounds.

However, on entering I have to say the place was spotless, the staff were excellent and the food was great fast food as it should be. My thanks to the Odeon staff. Their marvellous attitude and commitment should put the owners to shame.

John Gilligan, Ayr.


I SHARE Irene Conway's despair (Letters, June 1) over the regular misuse of the English language, to the point where it has become almost acceptable.

What about the inappropriate use of the word "so" which many now see as a way to begin answering a question?

Don't get me started on the proliferation of rogue apostrophes.

John O'Kane, Glasgow.