THE disgraceful hysteria which has infected all areas of the media regarding a few days' sunshine is reflected again today in your front page lead item ("Don’t travel warning as Scots swelter in record temperatures", The Herald, July 19) supplemented by bullet points such as rail tracks buckling, water safety and wildfires danger.

You wonder what the people of truly warm countries like India, Pakistan and many on the African continent must think of our bleating overreaction when the heat there is extreme for six months of the year rather than a few days going on to perhaps a week here. Their trains seem to run on unbuckled lines and people don't generally die of thirst.

Those of us living in the West of Scotland are more used to being battered by wind and rain during the so-called summer months, so surely a few days of hot sunshine should be welcomed rather than being treated by the media as a forerunner to the arrival of the four horsemen. Sure, take normal sensible precautions like dressing appropriately and keeping hydrated, but a bit of perspective from the media would be most welcome.

James Martin, Bearsden.

• JULY has been a significant month for trophies being awarded at Wimbledon and, more recently, at St Andrews.

On listening to weather forecasters and television presenters enthusiastically talking up the prospect of "record" temperatures in various parts of the UK, it might be imagined that there was to be a special trophy for the area of the country which had broken the record for reaching the highest temperature since statistics were first recorded.

This is surely something which should be regarded as a further warning of the necessity of putting into practice the promises made at the recent conference on global warming. Otherwise it will, once again, be viewed as nothing more than hot air.

Little wonder that news of temperatures exceeding 40C being apparently greeted as a form of achievement tends to make me hot below the collar.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.


I NOTE an interesting article by Brian Wilson ("Why the food security issue needs a new Dig for Victory campaign", The Herald, July 19) where he discusses, amongst other things, the pitfalls of over-reliance on food imports. I recall recently a UK Government minister or official suggesting we should adopt the Singapore model and have no agricultural production at all; stupid then and absurd now.

Agriculture and fisheries have always been the poor relations in politics compared to albeit other important matters such as health and security. But surely these two vital areas link with domestic food production and fisheries. A distinct lack of joined-up thinking and policy silos.

I take the view that agriculture and fisheries are primary industries, upon which all other aspects of society depend. These activities fall under the Department of Primary Industries in Australia, not as some sort of afterthought as in the UK. These policy areas deserve that status.

And yes Mr Wilson, I did know that Ukraine was a key part of the bread basket of the world. It possesses some of the best soils in the world and within a climatic regime that sustains a range of cereal and other crops.

We will perhaps learn a little more of this in the first week of August when the SEC in Glasgow hosts the 22nd World Congress of Soil Science. Watch out for some public-facing soil-related activities in venues across the city.

Willie Towers, Alford.


KEVIN McKenna ("A once great force of British politics is reawakening", The Herald, July 18) refers to the impact currently being made on their trade unions and public opinion by Mick Lynch and Eddie Dempsey of the RMT and Sharon Graham of Unite. Later in the same article he states that "Britain has always had bright trade union leaders and working-class activists, but in a previous age before the rise of social media their appearances and arguments were sporadic. They were easily dismissed by a supercilious broadcast and political class as hard-left dinosaurs who were probably communists.

When one considers the impact of the likes of Jack Jones and Hugh Scanlon in their time, I do not find that those words of Mr McKenna easily relate to them. Jack Jones, General Secretary of the Transport & General Workers’ Union, was once held, in a 1977 Gallup Poll, by 54 per cent of people to be the most powerful person in Britain ahead of the Prime Minister. Hugh Scanlon, President of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, was once told by Prime Minister Harold Wilson: "Get your tanks off my lawn."

It has been observed that the Jones/Scanlon partnership proved to have been one of the most effective ever of a left-wing nature in the UK. Could it be that the work of the trio Lynch/Dempsey/Graham will be seen in the same light?

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


IAN Balloch (Letters, July 19) is correct to point out that it is a waste of water to rinse plastics given the low recycle rate. Consideration is needed too regarding energy waste; many plastic containers, for example mayonnaise bottles, need hot water to clean them. We should be grateful to Mr Balloch for the statistics he presented showing more than 45% of plastic waste being incinerated. Therefore cleaning would seem unnecessary. Due to lack of information on recycling processes generally householders may be uncertain about the level of cleanliness required for successful recovery and reuse.

W Irving, Uddingston.


FURTHER to Ian W Thomson's letter (July 14) anent kilts and midges, I well remember piping for three Highland dancers on the banks of the Lake of Menteith near the hotel to entertain a group of German Rotarians who were touring Scotland sometime in the 1970s. The midges were very bad and going up my kilt and it took a lot of self-control not to jump around like the dancers. Incidentally, I am still in Christmas card contact with the German organiser of that group.

Alan Prentice, Stirling.


REGARDING the recent correspondence of grannies' descriptions of rain (Letters, July 18 & 19), my Borders-raised mother would say “It’s a fair blatter".

Gordon Casely, Crathes.