BY responding to Alex Gallagher's letter (August 25) in which he suggested that Scots is not a language, I will, no doubt, nudge my (ever uncertain) blood pressure to new unhealthy limits.

His appalling diatribe flies in the face of the lived experience of millions of us who live in Scotland, enjoying and delighting in the language we inherited from our families as we use it in our everyday lives.

It verges upon the edges of "othering"; as so often happened in the days of Empire, when local tongues were classed as mumbo-jumbo among ignorant natives. Racism then, and now widely condemned. But othering Scots speakers by a Scot? Upon what basis other than class?

We are all multilingual. We speak one way at home, another in the pub and a different way at work. We try to be polite to our hosts when on holiday by trying some words and phrases in the local language. Mr Gallagher suggests that while we respect the languages of our hosts abroad, we should denigrate and insult our own fellow Scots for their joy in speaking their own language – shameful.

AJ Clarence, Prestwick.

• WHILE not feeling that promotion of Scots is a current priority I must take issue with a comment made by Alex Gallagher. As one whose first language in my school years was Scots, English being a subject learned at school, I can assure him that I did not "cringe with embarrassment" when speaking in that tongue. It was, and still is to a great extent, spoken throughout my Border homeland and contains many descriptive words commonly used in everyday speech which have no accurate equivalence in English.

During my annual pilgrimage to my native heath to attend the Common Riding, I revert to my first spoken language, which used to amaze my family in their younger years. As my friends will attest, I am not prone to cringing or embarrassment. I feel I have gained a reasonable degree of mastery of the English language in spite of being subjected to such a "hodgepodge of strangled pronunciation and mangled spelling" in my formative years.

James Graham, Clydebank.


AS a frequent user and photographer of the Glasgow Subway (not the tube or Clockwork Orange, please), I share Neil Mackay’s frustration over the lack of its development ("Edinburgh shames Glasgow as it goes big on trams while subway stagnates", The Herald August 25), especially when you see cities like London endlessly expanding their Underground system, spending billions and using innovative techniques to connect the city.

For me, the stagnation of the Glasgow Subway is best summed up in a 1964 quote by ERL Fitzpayne, the general manager of Glasgow Corporation Transport, who said: “It must be with some shame that the present generation realise that the vision of their forefathers was not shared by subsequent generations and that an up-to-date metropolitan underground railway system has not been evolved for the city.”

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.

• WHILE reading Neil Mackay's article comparing Edinburgh's intention to further extend its tram network with Glasgow's continuing apparent lack of action on creating a modern metro system, I failed to see mention of Glasgow's plans in this essential infrastructure investment.

It was discovered a year or so ago, that when the suburban railways around Glasgow closed, many of the routes, old stations and tunnels were still more or less intact. I remember reading an engineering report on the subject that considered the enormous value of these disused routes that could be brought back into use at a fraction of the cost compared with starting from scratch and having to bore new tunnels. Apparently the City Deal is supposed to kick-start this, but as you reported not so long ago a shovel has not yet been contracted to move some earth.

I have also seen plans to put water buses on to the Clyde. And every so often some other proposal to "benefit" the city. I wonder if the main industry is the commissioning of "experts" to make reports, get them published and soak up the fees? I assume that the fees come out of the City Deal sum which reduces accordingly, leaving not very much to actually move to a tender and contract stage. But there will always be enough left for another study on pie in the sky nonsense.

Ian Gray, Croftamie.


IT is with some trepidation that I enter the discussion on cycling (“Should cyclists be forced to have registration plates?”, The Herald, August 22, and Letters, August 24, 25 & 26). Maybe it’s me but I have not noticed “hysteria”, merely ongoing debate. My contribution is simple. Where designated cycle ways exist, especially in rural areas, it should be mandatory for cyclists to use them.

In my neck of the woods I often see cyclists ignoring the provided lanes and cycling on, for example, the A75 and A77, endangering both themselves and drivers.

I realise there are several possible objections to my proposal, three of which are:

1. The condition of lanes – therefore highway authorities are legally obliged to maintain them.

2. The "But I’m a 'proper' cyclist, I need to use the main road for training" mindset. As I understand it our road network is to allow us to travel from A to B, not provide training facilities.

3. Drivers regularly drive, or park, in designated cycle lanes. If this is illegal, fine them. If it’s legal, be a courteous driver and leave these to cyclists.

Alastair Clark, Stranraer.


WITH the nights drawing in at an alarming rate, and a winter approaching like no other for nearly 80 years, there is one thing I wish our Government had thought about earlier, namely not putting the clocks back in October. We did not return to Greenwich Mean Time in the winter months during the Second World War to save energy and evening daylight and we should be doing the same in 2022. We use more energy during the evening than the morning and keeping the hour between 4pm and 5pm light in midwinter would be a tonic to us all.

It's almost certainly too late to do anything about it for this autumn, but if this energy nightmare persists for a few years, I would warmly welcome it in the autumn of 2023.

I'm sure I won't be the only person who will be putting my clocks back this autumn very grudgingly indeed.

John Macnab, Troon.