Would it not be better to lower the school starting age to 4 instead of raising it? I started primary school in the late 1950s, aged four. By that time I could already read and write a little by copying my brother's homework and with my mum taking me to Rutherglen Library children's section every day.

There were no nurseries or nursery schools that I am aware of in our area at the time.

Most mothers stayed at home and children knew how to behave and had basic skills like going to the toilet, keeping quiet when told to, answering when spoken to and so on taught to them at an early age by their parents and older relatives.

I remember to this day what my mum told me on my first day "sit up straight, listen to the teacher and do what she tells you." Wise words.

Why change things? Has the primary school or nursery school system gone wrong? It is the family's job to instil basic social skills and competencies in young children not the schools.

Dorothy Connor


Abortion protests must be allowed

THE exhilaration of the women in Kansas was indeed ecstatic with the state voting to safeguard the right of abortion for women. As a pro-life supporter and a mere man, I accept that, once an act is considered legal, then citizens can choose to to go down that path or refrain from using that opportunity.

While abortion has been legalised, that should not mean that pro-lifers have lost their right to peaceful protest in the hope of changing minds.

That is why I do not agree with the 100 yard buffer zones considered necessary by the SNP government, where the protestors are virtually rendered invisible Rather, the buffer zones should not be more than 20 yards from the entrance door to the clinics to allow the protests to be visible.

However, a strict silence should be observed by the protestors, their placards portraying their message. Those statements could include "You have a right to life .So also does your baby" and "Abortion differs from infanticide solely in the width of the wall of your womb".

That way no one could argue that protests carry no weight nor could anyone accuse the protestors of bullying or intimidatory remarks. There has to be room in a civilised society for peaceful protest alongside the protection of a woman's right to choose.

Denis Bruce


Sturgeon was backing Ukraine

The First Minister was not glorifying war when she a retweeted a message in support of Ukraine.

She was praising the defence of democracy and freedom against dictatorship, invasion, murder, rape, deportation, torture and looting.

She should have said so. She should not have been startled into retreat by aggressive people who set no value at all on democracy and freedom and who maintain that aggressors and defenders are alike.

Tim Cox

Bern, Switzerland

My fears over climate claims

A new paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has found that the IPCC's recent shift to a new statistical method has led to misleading claims about changes in weather extremes.

The review, from physicist Dr Ralph Alexander, finds that IPCC claims that many of these weather extremes are increasing significantly are largely unsupported by observational evidence. GWPF invited the Royal Society and the Met Office to review the paper and said they would publish any comments as an appendix to the paper. No reply was forthcoming.

If the Royal Society and the Met Office are unwilling to respond to this paper then they must have something to hide. The cost of UK Net Zero by 2050 is £3 trillion which is £45,000 for every man, woman and child or £108,000 per household. Since extreme weather events are the mainstay of the climate change argument, the UK Government must demand that the Royal Society and the Met Office respond or are they also too frightened of the answer and that Dr Alexander is correct?

Clark Cross


Leave trans folk alone

Iain Macwhirter seems currently to be obsessed with trans people. Even in a column on a completely different subject (31st July), he has another go, writing of "trans activists and other extremists".

Trans people just want to get on with their lives like everyone else, hopefully without having to face discrimination or hate crime because they are trans (hate crimes targeted at trans people in Scotland increased by 87% in the past year).

Trans equality has been under loud attack from some quarters, in the past two or three years. We thank the Scottish Government, and four of the five parties in the Scottish Parliament, for continuing to stand up for equality.

The main national activist group working for trans equality in Scotland is Scottish Trans, here at the Equality Network. I invite readers to look through Scottish Trans' website, facebook and twitter, which we think follow the best traditions of people advocating for their rights. There is nothing "extremist" there.

Tim Hopkins

Equality Network, Edinburgh

Unionist arguments don’t add up

I really enjoy reading and contributing to this letters page, diametrically opposed views on the future of Scotland are voiced but I have to admit to being completely non-plussed when unionists use the state of affairs created by Westminster and its knock-on effects on Scotland as justification for maintaining the status quo.

The UK is about to enter a recession the likes of which most of us will never have experienced yet we have a UK Government that has been hijacked by English nationalists and isn’t fit to run the proverbial sweetie shop.

The environmental Net Zero project in England and Wales has a potential budget of £70billion, Westminster has just handed a contract to monitor this scheme to a Cornish company with two employees (yes, 2) which has no obvious specialist experience in this field.

Westminster botched Covid-19 PPE acquisition and Track and Trace wasted tens of billions. In England, it hasn’t built the 40 new hospitals or any of the 20,000 new cheap starter homes it promised. It's a government that has witnessed and facilitated a record drop in the standard of living of its citizens while the rich have got richer. It squandered the bounty provided by North Sea oil when, from an almost identical staring-point, Norway now has a National Growth Fund as big as the UK national debt.

It's one that can find funds to send arms to Ukraine and train its troops but cannot feed its own citizens, one that has privatised as much of publicly owned assets as it could and espoused PFI as a way of giving private investors in infrastructure projects a higher rate of return on their investments.

And I haven’t even mentioned the class acts of Boris, Rees-Moog, Nadine Dorries, Liz Truss or any of the other comedy turns in the pantomime.

Give me a break!

David J Crawford


Holyrood should answer to Westminster

I do not often agree with Sir Iain Duncan Smith but he is entirely correct to demand scrutiny of the SNP administration’s conduct of its devolved remit. Has anyone carried out a detailed audit of the Scottish administration's conduct of its business since devolution? If they have, I haven’t heard of it.

Yet the disasters continue. I won’t list the whole catalogue of ferries, BiFab, Gupta, etc. and no-one is held to account for them. I would like to see a much stronger role for Stephen Boyle, the Auditor General, who has produced judicious reports on various issues, including education, but who can simply be ignored by the executive.

The devolution settlement failed in establishing accountability to Westminster on the part of the devolved administrations. Sir Iain’s plan to hold SNP MPs at Westminster accountable for the actions of the SNP in Edinburgh may or may not be viable. But what we have is scarcely the SNP’s much-vaunted ‘democracy’ when it itself is able to evade scrutiny, refuse to answer FOI requests and maintain secrecy in many areas that would be of intense interest to voters.

Jill Stephenson


Sturgeon popular in England

I’m sure I have seen polling to suggest Nicola Sturgeon was pretty popular in England but the power to easily rouse a baying mob was disturbingly evident by the comments of Liz Truss.

However, as the excellent Andy Mciver suggests, the personal insults are all good clean fun among consenting, political adults. I disagree with his assessment of Scotland’s economy (based perhaps, on “identifiable public spending”), but it would take the Treasury to open its books to see the truth of the matter.

On the stuff about the 1966 World Cup, I happened to be on HMS Euryalus in the Pool of London (just back from the Far East so got a special treat) when the final was played. London was quiet by 10.30pm as people left to go home, and I do not recall a great fuss being made in the days afterwards.

Of course it should be included in the Platinum Jubilee book, as long as it was balanced by equality of regard for the sporting achievements of the other three nations of the UK, and this seems to be the problem.

It has not been remarked on much in Scotland, but the Labour government in Wales also refused to distribute this book, considering it too “Anglo-centric”. The UK is grossly imbalanced and overwhelmed by the sheer size of England (or London) where all financial, political, and media power lies, and devolution is simply too puny and easily subverted to counteract this.

All member states of the EU retain a large part of their “sovereignty”, denying the larger states the ability to dictate policy. Is there a way for this to be reflected within the UK? I do not think so, so I favour Scottish self-government.

GR Weir