THE news seems to be orientated towards failings in the NHS. My recent experience shows otherwise.

My elderly father had a fall while attending Gartnavel Hospital for an eye appointment. He was attended to by the nurses in the clinic, who cleaned and dressed his wounds. They also arranged for him to be thoroughly assessed by a doctor.

An x-ray was organised, which fortunately showed no fractures or broken bones were sustained, so he was discharged.

I was extremely impressed by the kindness and professionalism of all the staff. These sorts of incidents do not make the headlines but they are indicative of the fact that the NHS still functions well when needed.

Thanks are due for making an elderly gentleman feel like he really mattered.

Pauline Campbell, Paisley.

* LIKE Jane Lax’s relative (letters, August 6) I was asked a few days ago whether I would be willing to attend the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank for cataract treatment.

I live outside Dunbar, on the eastern edge of East Lothian. I had been on the Edinburgh waiting list for eight months.

The courteous staff person who phoned me explained that there was still a lengthy waiting list for Edinburgh but that if I was prepared to travel to Clydebank I could be seen in the next few weeks.

My eyesight is deteriorating and at my age I want to be able to read as long as possible. Unlike Jane Lax I considered this offer a very positive way of making the most efficient use of limited resources. I have accepted the offer with thanks.

Rev David Mumford, Innerwick, Dunbar


WRITING with his usual incisiveness and insight, Brian Taylor (“Will Westminster and Whitehall rule replace devolution under Truss?”, August 6) concludes by quoting from Article One of the Treaty of Union, drafted in 1706 and ratified by acts of the Scottish and English Parliaments in 1707.

This asserts “that the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall […] forever after, be United into One Kingdom”.

One can see the treaty in a number of perspectives, both in its time and now.

Certainly, for the commissioners negotiating on both sides – almost all landowning nobility – the treaty maintained separate Scottish identities in key areas of public life, like law, equal to that of England and often of personal economic interest to the commissioners.

Yet one of English commissioners, John Smith, Speaker of the House of Commons, expressed another perspective when he commented, “We have catch’d Scotland and we will bind her fast”.

The treaty, between two sovereign parliaments, was in fact something of a fudge from the beginning to maintain peace and open up wider trade relations.

As soon as 1712, aspects of it were being infringed and it can certainly be argued that since then the relationship between the kingdoms envisaged by the treaty has been dynamic rather than set in stone.

With regard to its durability, therefore, we may remember Charles de Gaulle’s cynical and somewhat sexist view of the evanescent nature of such agreements: “Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last”.

The current debate, which some call divisive, simply reflects a continuing and centuries-long difference of perspective between Westminster and Edinburgh on the relationship of the two kingdoms. It remains to be seen if, even after three centuries, De Gaulle’s aperçu holds.

What does not help in the debate, however, is to talk as if the matter lies between the persons and personalities of Ms Truss (or Mr Sunak) and Ms Sturgeon.

The 18th century experience of the American colonies and the 20th century experience of Ireland show that lasting relationships do not necessarily last.

In dealing with Scotland now, it might help current Westminster politicians if they reflected the errors of their predecessors with regard to those experiences. But it is not individual politicians who ultimately make these decisions any more than a “divisive” debate creates division rather than growing out of it.

Whether Scotland returns to independence or remains in a United Kingdom will in this century be a matter for the population at large rather than the aristocracy and Crown as in the 18th, or even a current personalised dispute between individual politicians.

Ian Brown, Giffnock.


TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps has promised a “death by dangerous cycling” law that will treat killer cyclists the same as motorists.

At last – someone who understands the problem of these dangerous, selfish and arrogant individuals who cycle on pavements, ignore red traffic lights and who have no means of warning of their approach.

To this we can add a new and even more frightening trend, of delivery cyclists with one hand on their bike while reading their mobile phone, at speed, on the pavement.

Congratulations to Mr Shapps for taking these first steps. All we need then is the manpower to enforce these new laws and I, for one, will start to feel a bit safer on city-centre pavements, where I belong, and where cyclists don’t.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.


THE good-news report that a father-of-five followed his late mother’s advice that ‘a win leads to a win’ and invested his £3.70 lucky dip winnings in two lucky dips for the night’s Lotto draw and scooped £1m ( The Herald, August 6), reminds me of giving my young family a brief lecture on the pitfalls of gambling very many years ago in the mini- casino on the Channel ferry from Cherbourg.

The eldest, aged about thirteen, rose early and won £5 on the one-armed bandit, which she generously shared with her two siblings.

You win some. You lose some.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


YOUR entertaining Golf Correspondent, Nick Rodger, uses “lairy” in describing certain golf showpieces. Assuming that he uses it in its meaning of ostentatiously attractive and flashy, perhaps he will quickly reveal where and when these events are held, as advanced years more and more inhibit my ability to attend.

David Miller, Milngavie.