FURTHER to Alex Orr’s letter (May 29) and the case of Joseph Knight, it is worth noting that the much-maligned Henry Dundas, the future Lord Melville, successfully presented Knight’s case before the Court of Session in 1777. The senior judge on the bench was Henry Home, Lord Kames. Dundas concluded his remarks in the court by stating: “‪Human nature, my Lords, spurns at the thought of slavery among any part of our species.”‬‬‬‬‬ ‬‬

In agreeing with Dundas, Lord Kames famously concluded that "we sit here to enforce right not to enforce wrong". Lord Auchinleck, father of James Boswell, concurred and supported Dundas by arguing: "Although, in the plantations, they have laid hold of the poor blacks, and made slaves of them, yet I do not think that that is agreeable to humanity, not to say to the Christian religion. Is a man a slave because he is black? No. He is our brother; and he is a man, although not our colour; he is in a land of liberty, with his wife and his child: let him remain there." ‬‬
While celebrating the success of Joseph Knight, we should acknowledge that it was the powerful arguments of Dundas that won the case against slavery in Scotland.
Eric Melvin, Edinburgh.

THE uncoupling of Scotland from the UK census has proved to be a costly exercise for the Scottish Government both in terms of the information being gathered and the additional costs involved. With England achieving a return rate of around 95 per cent within the prescribed time frame which Scotland had hoped to emulate, it seems that the Scottish return rate of about 87.5% is the best that can be hoped for.
While some experts view the Scottish census as unlikely to provide a sufficiently useful level of information, it seems that the government and its advisers are trying to put a brave face on it by saying that it will offer a "sound foundation'" whatever that may mean. With the Scottish census deadline having been extended twice to allow more people to submit returns, it remains to be seen what the extra millions of pounds spent will achieve. Useful information to allow the country to plan ahead or a white elephant?
Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

NICOLA Sturgeon has been First Minister for more than seven years. Despite being a record-breaker through her length in office, little has changed in her interactions at First Minister's Questions in all that time except for Brexit
Ms Sturgeon continues to blame the Tories, Westminster, the Prime Minister of the day, Wales, the previous Labour administration and any problem that has an international aspect. Seven years of her rule has produced innumerable problems for Scotland, very few of which she has successfully solved and still she insists only independence can produce results when all else around her is in chaos. 
Just denying everything does not help. A leopard cannot change it spots, hence Scotland will never progress until there is a serious change of heart, policies and personnel in the Scottish Government.
Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

BOB MacDougall (Letters, May 29) has it all back to front when he writes about Nicola Sturgeon declining to appear before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.
The First Minister is responsible to Holyrood, and gets questioned by representatives of all elected parties. She plays no role at the Westminster Parliament, which has 1464 members, of which Scotland has 59 elected members; four per cent of that total. There are 123 government ministers at Westminster, only one of whom was elected by Scots. 
These 123 ministers are all involved in enacting legislation which affects Scotland, so it is these people, from Boris Johnson down, who should journey to Holyrood to explain themselves. It has proved extremely difficult to persuade any person, of any stature, to appear at Holyrood to explain  what they are doing, and why. 
As for America, politicians with responsibilities in England or Northern Ireland or Wales go frequently, so why are Scots to be different? If Scots “want to go it alone”, they will stay in Brexit Britain – some of us prefer Scotland to join the rest of the world. It was noticeable this week that the parliament in London could raise £5 billion in extra taxes on Scottish oil and gas profits, yet the parliament in Edinburgh cannot raise one brass penny from our own assets.
GR Weir, Ochiltree.

"NOTHING to see here. It's time to move on." That is the main thrust of the argument for keeping the PM in place.
So Partygate, where integrity, honesty, transparency and accountability have been trashed, is to be consigned to the dustbin of history. That, we are told, would allow the Government to concentrate on the real issues facing the country despite the pain, grief and anger experienced as a result by those who did their best to abide by the rules concocted by Boris Johnson's Government to save the country from the ravages of Covid.
In rewriting the Ministerial Code, the PM has defenestrated those four yardsticks by which to measure ministerial conduct as well as limiting ministerial resignations to having been found guilty of knowingly misleading Parliament. Without a paper trail or any other corroborative evidence, that reason for resignation is virtually impossible to prove, circumstantial evidence being unacceptable under that rubric.
There are those who have done their best to make light of Mr Johnson's transgressions of his own rules by poking fun at them by saying that he was ambushed by cake because he received a fixed penalty notice for the surprise gift of a cake on his birthday from his assembled staff.
His home and place of work, being one and the same, hosted several events which looked like parties and this is the place he presides over. His claim that he was unaware that his rules were being ignored characterises him as a Mr Magoo, oblivious to what was going on around him and that pretext does not hold water.
Did he not see or did no one draw his attention to the detritus left behind on those occasions? Surely that should all have been brought to his notice so that he could read the riot act to those responsible for breaching the Covid rules.
Perhaps his failure to register his disapproval of such misdemeanours in this manner tells us that he put little store by them, thereby making him complicit in the wrongdoing.
To think that this is the man to whom we entrust the reputation of the nation.
Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

THE Scottish Government’s resource review, which highlights a spending gap of around £3.5 billion by 2026/27, points to highly challenging times ahead for our public services.
The Fraser of Allander Institute noted that, within this, councils will see real-term cuts of seven per cent between 2022/23 and 2026/27, the implications of which are highly disturbing for those with additional support needs (ASN) whom we support.
Those with ASN make up around a third of our children and young people, including autism, dyslexia and mental health problems, many of whom were already facing considerable barriers to support and not receiving the care they need when they need it.
While we have witnessed a more than doubling in the number of these individuals over the last decade, putting an immense strain on services, there has been a cut in spending on additional support for learning and a slashing in specialist educational support.
Covid-19 has had a further major impact, denying care to many, and with these latest swingeing public service cuts we are potentially facing a "lost generation" of vulnerable children and young people.
We would urge the Scottish Government and newly-elected councils to work together to ensure that those children and young people with ASN are made a priority, able to access the necessary support to allow them to reach their full potential.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Kenny Graham, Falkland House School; Lynn Bell, LOVE Learning; Stephen McGhee, Spark of Genius; Niall Kelly, Young Foundations, Edinburgh.

SADLY we had more shootings of schoolchildren in the lead-up to the NRA annual conference, which had Donald Trump as the big attraction. I am dumbfounded by all of this. But I know it is about making money, not caring about kids.
The notion of arming teachers is absolutely horrendous. Just imagine the teacher role model having to kill people as part of her job, and the horror the day the first teacher misses the gunman and kills a pupil.
Ours is a pretty sick society but America must be one of the most horrendous places to grow up as a child.
Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.

CLARK Cross (Letters, May 29) could benefit from a little civics education, as he seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that "cyclists" are a distinct cohort from "taxpayers". Let me enlighten him: people who happen to cycle some journeys "pay their way" in precisely the same manner that other road-users do: via unhypothecated general taxation. 
Furthermore, riding a bike on the roads incurs the much the same VED and fuel-duty burden as that borne by drivers of electric vehicles.
Joel Cooney, Uplawmoor.

I HAVE followed the recent correspondence on the subject of scrambles with interest, having been in the 1940s a beneficiary of what we called in Edinburgh a "poor-oot" (pour out).
I think the long established poor-oot to the bairns died out in Edinburgh in the 1950s.
Ian Cockburn, Edinburgh.