CLARK Cross's "charity should begin at home" (Letters, July 10) is a sad old clichéd line. It's a challenge to my support for asylum seekers in Scotland (Letters, July 3).

And he's obviously got Home Secretary Priti Patel's propaganda page in view, suggesting "murderers, people traffickers and other criminals" are some of the "Channel chancers" he calls economic migrants landing in Britain.

He repeats his figures of 40,169 over the last year and a half but fails to acknowledge many are fleeing persecution, poverty and war.

We really should recognise the benefits migrants, refugees and asylum seekers can bring to our country.

1, Roza Salih, pictured, from Iraq is a shining light. She is Scotland's first refugee councillor and one of a group now known as the Glasgow Girls, who, while at school in Drumchapel, fought for the release of a classmate from Kosovo.

2, Ex-English cricketer Andrew Flintoff discovered a player with exceptional talent who'd fled the Taliban in Afghanistan and journeyed through Greece, Italy and France before arriving in the UK in the back of a truck. He immediately handed himself in to police and now has foster parents in England.

3, A celebrated Scots sculptor, Mark Stoddart, is helping fund a Dyslexia Foundation in Bali, Indonesia. Obviously, Mr Cross would not consider that "charity at home".

Two of these stories have had prominence in The Herald this week. But there are many more.

Mr Cross suggested I might like to offer to house, feed and clothe some asylum seekers as they await their fate, which is a long and unnecessarily complex process. I can say I am helping with food, clothing and transport, but the Home Office remains in charge of accommodation.

And this is the punchline. We can talk about charity beginning at home but can we look in the mirror and say "Yes, I'm doing that"?

My new friends give me things to take to homeless charities and they also do voluntary work at refugee centres. We should welcome them with open arms.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

• YES, Mr Cross, I AM prepared to put my money where my mouth is, having already taken in a refugee family, in spite of the hole it makes in my relatively meagre retirement income. They are now good friends and desperate to use their professional qualifications to benefit Scotland as recompense.

But then, I remember the Second World War, when my parents, in spite of themselves struggling to pay rent and rates, gave hospitality to a couple of young German Jewish musicians fleeing Hitler, and later, gave work to a Polish refugee. I was brought up to believe that, however bad one’s own circumstances were, there was always someone worse off and needing help.

Would Mr Cross like to escape with nothing from a home reduced to rubble in a war zone, perhaps with a member of his family buried under it, and having to risk his own and his children’s lives as a last resort, to try to find safety in the country where he speaks the language and may have friends? I suspect that only someone who feels his own safety completely impregnable could reject such a person.

P Davidson, Falkirk.


CAN we now add the gift of precognition to Keith Brown, depute leader of the SNP’s talents? How exactly does he know that "the next prime minister will still not have Scotland’s best interests at heart" ("SNP say Scotland ‘will be the loser’ no matter who is PM", July 10)? If he is not blessed with these powers, did he ascend to Arthur's Seat when the moon is waning crescent to speak with a shawl-clad crone to gain this insight?

I’m no psychic, but there may be a General Election soon. After this, the PM might even be Sir Keir Starmer rather than the imagined Tories of the SNP's fever dreams. Either way, I expect Scotland’s interests will be best served by this clairvoyant of Clackmannanshire putting the tarot cards down, doing his day job and with Scotland remaining part of a political entity with a large tax base and long-standing economic clout on the world stage.

David Bone, Girvan.


SO Nadine Dorries believes her favourite politician, for whom she has devotional eyes, was a victim of a political coup.

This woman is not the brightest spark in the firmament and does not seem to understand that a man whose private and public lives have a catalogue of falsehoods worth an entry in the Guinness Book of Records must immediately be doubted on his suitability for a political career.

We can admire her unadulterated loyalty and her refusal to entertain the truth about him but there are many who would be willing to provide testimony to his failure to exercise veracity consistently or at all.

This man has undoubted abilities and talents but they are not of the type to inspire trust in his word. They just do not work in the political arena, where you can fool some of the people all of the time (Ms Dorries included) but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. His fatal and tragic flaw has been that he believed he could.

There can be no hesitation in saying that he will make a decent crust from the numerous talents at his disposal. I wish the man and his family well in the future where he can utilise his talents to procure the financial rewards with which he can pay his debts to society and support his family. Perhaps Ms Dorries could concern herself with being useful to both Carrie and Boris by taking on the role of governess to his children from that particular relationship.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

• I AM sorry, but Boris Johnson was not the worst British Prime Minister ever.

Lord Frederick North (1770-1782) lost us the American colonies in the American War Of Independence.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.


ALL contenders for the Conservative leadership pledged to reduce tax. This is a good thing, as personal taxation will never come close to funding the needs of government or reducing its already vast debt.

Last year income tax yielded £223 billion which, when compared with the thousands of billions created from thin air by the banks, and by government itself, is a small sum.

Proof is that the national debt has risen without question from £350bn in 1997, to £2,500bn today, and – in addition – quantitative easing has reached a total of £895bn.

No level of personal taxation could ever have produced those vast sums that have allowed Britain to live beyond its means.

So let us reduce personal taxation and replace it with magic money. Perhaps even abolish PAYE altogether? The effect on morale and health would be good, and people would stand a chance of paying today's increased bills, instead of relying on government handouts. A permanent solution, in fact

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.


THE name of the so-called Scots tongue is fake and should be changed to something more authentic, for example Inglis or Anglish ("Meet the scholar from France who writes poetry in broad Scots", July 10). Paul Malgrati, a post-doctoral research assistant at Glasgow University, may be interested in the following:

“Was ‘Scottis’ the accepted homogenous literary language of Scotland in earlier times? Once the historical dimension to that question is opened up and one looks at origins, it becomes clear that the answer is ‘No’. The dialect known as ‘Scottis’ has no claim to be the original national tongue. In fact, if there were any politico-linguistic ‘treachery’, it was that which resulted in ‘Scottis’ gaining dominance over the native Gaelic. At the end of the thirteenth century Malcolm Canmore and David I had intentionally ‘driven Gaelic back to (virtually) the present highland line’. Scots originated as Northumbrian English and only grew later into proud distinctiveness, because of the positive sociolinguistic forces inherent in nationhood.

"Unsurprisingly, therefore, lowland Scottish writers from the fourteenth century until the seventeenth almost always claim to be composing in ‘Inglis’ and seek their poetic origins south of the border. . .”

(Source: The Mercat Anthology of Early Scottish Literature, 1376-1707 edited by RDS. Jack and P.A.T. Rozendaal (2008))

If our real (that is, original) Scots language is to survive as a living language it is essential that the Scottish population is accurately informed about Scotland’s linguistic history.

Ewan Macintyre, Inverness.


THE Scottish Environmental Protection Agency issued its first water scarcity warning this year. Scottish Water has asked its customers to use less water. For many years every Tom, Dick, Harry and Greta has been warning of global warming causing fires, floods, hurricanes, water shortages and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There are hundreds of thousands of people with "climate" in their job description, so why has not one of them voiced concern about water shortages in the UK and suggested solutions?

Desalination plants are a proven technology and small ones could serve local areas. Wind turbine owners in Scotland were paid £1 billion over the last 10 years to switch off their turbines, so cheaper electricity could be provided for desalination plants.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.