A NUMBER of years ago, overseas visitors would sometimes say "We recognise that the days of shipbuilding and heavy engineering in Scotland are long since past. What has taken their place?"

There were times when I struggled to come up with an answer, other than employment in out-of-town retail parks.

In more recent times, the answer has become clearer, and has to be "tertiary education". A walk through Glasgow emphasises the expansion of the three universities and colleges along with the number of buildings constructed for student accommodation. The several pages of The Herald devoted to listing of the names of graduates reflects the nature of what has become an industry, and one which threatens to devalue the worth of a degree. Study of the types of degrees awarded by various universities suggests a measure of creativity, and one does question the value of some and their relativity in the "real" world in employment terms.

Is it time to question the mantra "education, education, education" as delivered by a former Prime Minister?

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.


IT seems to me that the proposal to demolish Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow is irresponsible on two levels.

First, I believe that Government policy is to promote reuse and retrofitting of existing buildings, rather than demolition. I understand that the proposal to demolish Marks and Spencer in Oxford Street, London – now called in by Michael Gove – would generate almost 40,000 tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to driving a car further than the distance to the sun). This figure represents just one shop. The environmental consequences of demolishing an entire shopping centre would be far more serious. I hope the Scottish Government will adopt the same approach and call in any application.

My second concern is that the loss of Buchanan Galleries would cause enormous economic damage to Glasgow city centre as a shopping destination.

In my view, if this application is granted it should be made subject to a condition that the developers fund a tram link to Braehead.

Scott Simpson, Glasgow G12.


THE trial, verdict and sentencing of Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in the Epstein affair ("Disgraced Maxwell is jailed for 20 years over Epstein sex trafficking", The Herald, June 29) represents a travesty of justice, although not because she is innocent; she certainly is not. This prosecution has carefully avoided the real core of the scandal – the blackmail of leading figures in American society.

A man of Jeffrey Epstein’s wealth and lack of morals could have paid to discreetly indulge his passion for sex with underage girls, and nobody would have been any the wiser. Instead, he preferred to flaunt these young females in front of a lengthy list of important and influential guests at his New York apartment and on his private island.

No doubt some of his visitors were too shrewd to fall into his web. But how many of the others, as is alleged of Prince Andrew, were not sharp enough to see the trap?

It is frankly unbelievable that hundreds of leading Americans visited Jeffrey Epstein on "paedophile island" and none of them was tempted by the underage prostitutes. Nor is it believable that Epstein would have refrained from exploiting their behaviour as kompromat, so he could influence them and enrich himself.

Ghislaine Maxwell is a convenient fall guy to close down this scandal, while protecting those leading Americans who were compromised and exploited by Jeffrey Epstein.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.


HERE in Deanston, an 18th century village in Perthshire, our local shop and part-time Post Office is under threat of closure, due to the very high cost of energy.

The shop provides lifeline services from the Post Office, and is a collection point for prescriptions and provisions for those who cannot access Doune some 1.5 miles away due to the narrow pavement on the Teith bridge.

Energy costs, which were £170 per month six months ago, have now risen to more than £4,000 per quarter. Coupled with reduced spending by villagers with their own financial hardships and increased energy costs, the phrase “use it or lose it” will have little if any great effect. It is time that an energy cap is also imposed to help small rural businesses across Scotland.

Alistair Moss, Deanston, Perthshire.


I WAS intrigued by Dougie MacNicol’s letter (June 27) regarding Gaelic. Early in the 1745 rising, a group of Hessian soldiers were taken prisoner near Peebles. Unable to accommodate them, the Jacobites paid for them to be put up at a nearby inn when released on parole. Unfortunately, the innkeeper had no German or Gaelic, the Hessians had no English or Gaelic and the Jacobites had no English or German. This obstacle was simply overcome by all three parties settling the business in Latin.

George F Campbell, Glasgow.


DAVID Miller (Letters, June 28) kindly informs us that "tortoise" is pronounced "tor-tis" in England but in Scotland "tor-toys", so I took a gander (sorry, a look) at what was opined in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (4th Edition, 1982) and found the following from Punch (Vol 56. 1869): "Cats is 'dogs' and rabbits is 'dogs' and so's parrats, but this 'ere 'Tortis' is a insect, and there ain't no charge for it."

So that settles it then, except I have always pronounced tortoise as tort-us and not tort-is. I wonder who taught me that?

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


I AM sure that if James Martin (Letters, June 29), who gave up underwhelmed after watching tennis on television for half an hour, ever found himself about to receive a 100mph-plus serve his animation would not be in doubt.

I have, and was totally focused, admittedly less on return and more on protecting my assets.

I marvel at the skill and endurance of the players and was absorbed in Serena Williams v Harmony Tan’s gripping three hours 11 minutes match on Centre Court last night (June 28).

However, each to his own and whatever turns you on, etc.

But cricket! Now, as a spectacle, that’s a different ball game.

R Russell Smith, Largs.