WITH reference to the letter from Dr Angus Macmillan (June 20), there is no question that there are many people who dedicate a great deal of their time and energy to tackling the short and long-term consequences of childhood poverty, trauma and disadvantage and that, for the most part, they do so in comparative anonymity and without the privileges of wealth and status. I acknowledge and share his sense of frustration that such issues tend to gain a higher profile when public figures, such as the Duchess of Cambridge, express their views on them, but disagree with him that she should be the personal target of this frustration.

What would he have her do, say nothing and continue to enjoy a life of quiet privilege? It is hardly a valid criticism of her that she should have had no personal experience of poverty and inequality. She is no more responsible for the circumstances of her birth than any of us are. If, however, she should choose to use her public platform, whether warranted or not, to raise awareness of (and potentially draw resources to) an area of pressing importance, then why should we criticise her for it?

David Gray, Glasgow.

* I AM certainly no fan of the monarchy as a constitutional arrangement. However, I feel that Dr Macmillan is being somewhat harsh upon the Duchess of Cambridge. The monarchy is with us and is likely to be here for some time yet. It has its good parts (for example, the Queen) and its not so good (for example, Prince Andrew).

It is to the credit of the Duchess, clearly a popular figure with many, that she uses some of her time in matters such as the influence of early years in the lives of children. Her involvement, if nothing else, generates publicity concerning this important subject and raises public awareness. I believe that she deserves praise rather than disparagement.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

• I STRONGLY agree with Dr Macmillan. I would further ask, do we really need the Duchess's input on child development? This is a woman who presumably finds it completely acceptable that her son, from age six, has been witness to the shooting down of free-living birds driven onto the shotguns of, among others, his own father.

Hilary Shearer, Cumbernauld.


ITV recently aired a late-night item about the new Highway Code (which was issued some months after the relevant traffic laws were enacted). Unfortunately this programme, which is still available on catchup, limited itself to the hierarchy of road users. If you do not understand that there is a hierarchy then do as I did and acquire a copy or Google its contents.

About the same time my wife, in pedestrian mode, chastised a cyclist going the wrong way along a one-way street – only to be told that he was not in a car so the Code did not apply.

As I had not read the Code since pre-Thatcher days I acquired a copy for my family. The Code clearly applies to all road users whether on foot, cycle, horse or motorised vehicle (big or small), but not to electric scooters, which anyway are illegal.

The first important point ignored by the ITV programme was that cycling on pavements is not permitted – nor is parking on them by vehicles.

Next of importance seems to be the need to communicate your intentions, timeously and correctly, to other road users, for example when turning left or right at junctions and roundabouts. Hand signals are encouraged (although sometimes they only demonstrate an open window). As pedestrians head the new hierarchy, drivers must ensure that they see all signals by vehicles.

It is strange that we now live in a time of instant communications by telephone and laptop but do not safely communicate with each other when driving. Instead drivers either do not signal at all or only signal at the last second.

There are many useful and clear graphics in the Code for lane discipline, particularly at junctions and roundabouts. My only disappointment still is that only motorbikes and motorised vehicles require tax and insurance whilst horses and cycles can travel two abreast, taking up as much space as a car.

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.


MAY I suggest to Dorothy Dennis (Letters, June 20) that the use of "bourach" in place of the Gaelic "bùrach" is simply an example of linguistic anglicisation, the practice of modifying foreign words to make them easier to pronounce, spell or understand in English? I may be accused of a form of treason in describing the Gaelic as foreign.

In what Billy Connolly described as our wee pretendy parliament, the word "clusterbourach" was used to describe a great big, complicated guddle.

I, too, like using Scots words.

David Miller, Milngavie.


MALCOLM Parkin (Letters, June 16) comments that we are now warned about “extreme heat” as well as about the possibility of rain, and suggests that there will soon be signs telling us when it is getting dark.

As though to augment dismay about the increased cost of keeping warm, Dr Khosla of Oxford University warns us that “the health implications of rising temperatures are serious”, and lists many possible consequent problems, including effects both physical and mental that I’d never have previously dreaded ("Warning of health risks from heatwave", The Herald, June 17).

This innate tendency some have to look on the dark side perhaps explains the remarks I heard on three successive days by two elderly chaps of solemn demeanour passing each other outside my open window:

On a wet day: “Anither dreich day.” “Aye – terrible.”

On a dry day: “Weel, the rain’s held aff.” “Aye – but it’s no faur awa’.”

Glorious day: “Better weather noo.” “Aye – we’ll pey fur this.” “Aye – richt enough.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


SUSAN Aitken, trying to drum up support to bring the next Eurovision Song Contest to Glasgow, mentions that the city is included in an Abba song, Super Trouper ("Making their mind up… Glasgow in the running to host Eurovision", The Herald, June 18) – which is true except that the lyric reads “I was sick and tired of everything when I called you last night from Glasgow”.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.