WHEN the nationalised ScotRail was launched with great Scottish fanfare we were told it would be run by an arm's length company. As ScotRail limps along post Covid we soon learn via emails, as we already thought, that the arm's length company have to do what the minister tells them to do.

Thus the Scotrail board makes a recommendation to sensibly relax the draconian Covid alcohol measures. But oh no, the minister, presumably Jenny Gilruth, overrules the board for an unspecified reason and the ban remains ("ScotRail’s alcohol ban kept despite train operator preferring more relaxed rules", heraldscotland, August 31).

I have a couple of problems with this. First, only a few months into this new ScotRail we learn that the arm's length company concept is a complete sham, allowing the Government to call the shots while also allowing it to distance itself when any operational issues arise. This set-up is an affront to democracy. If Ms Gilruth did indeed make this decision she should have made it to parliament. The SNP has been repeatedly reprimanded for making announcements by press releases and in this case by email. It has no respect for the devolved parliament, only contempt.

Secondly, I have travelled by train up and down to London in recent months. I have seen people having picnic lunches with a glass of wine or beer or a G&T. All perfectly civilised except when you come to the border where we are told: "Get yer bevvy pit away, ye dafties, yer nae to be trusted". London to Berwick you are trusted to behave, and people did. North of Berwick you are not to be trusted by our own Scottish Government. Why so?

We should hear this in parliament from the minister but I somehow doubt we will. The ScotRail board made a perfectly sensible balanced proposal; we should be hearing from the minister why this freedom we enjoyed up until Covid has been secretly taken away from us.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke.


I READ with incredulity the lamentable attempts of another so-called environmentalist, who of course does not live in the Highlands, to derail the rights of Highlanders to a trunk road – at least one fit for purpose for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians ("Transport Scotland in A82 legal row", The Herald, August 30).

Most of us on the west coast have waited less than patiently all of our lives for an improvement to our main (only) trunk road, only now to see a stalling tactic from Helensburgh and District Access Trust, which is not even affected by the A82.

If Dr Geoff Riddington, the retired academic and economist, had spent as much time as some of the west coasters who regularly have to travel on the current goat track to Glasgow, he would surely have been aware of the work Transport Scotland has done to consult all and sundry, including environmentalists.

The A82 is not a vanity project, but an essential upgrade which is more than 30 years overdue and would be transformational in time and therefore saving pollution.

Allan Henderson, Retired chair, Hitrans Partnership, Fort William.


CAN I make a plea for the return of proper tickets for theatre performances? If I hand over money for a ticket for a show am I not entitled to receive that ticket?

I am going to attend the Theatre Royal tonight (September 1) for a performance of Burn. Last night I went to check my emails to ensure that I could locate my e-ticket. In so doing I found that I had e-tickets for the performance on August 31 (last night). I had missed the show. I had booked those tickets in January but at that time I had no new academic diary so had not made a note of this. If I had had actual tickets I would have been aware of the fact that I had booked for the show and I would not have booked in August for a ticket for tonight's performance.

We pay enough for tickets with admin fees and the like frequently being added on, so it should not be impossible for people who want tickets to receive them. In my case £64 went down the drain.

You may say that it is my own fault, which it is, but the solution lies in actual tickets which can be referred to at any time.

Catherine M Bergamini, Glasgow.


WELL this 73-year-old didn’t have to worry for long. Hi Digital promised to show me the secrets and benefits of a sophisticated computer-literate lifestyle. I was excited and keen to learn. And then Gloria Hunniford or one of her assistants asked me to type in my mobile phone number. I have had the same number for more than 30 years so was fairly relaxed and confident about relaying this information. No luck. Half a dozen attempts all ended in rejection as they were declared to be incorrect.

I raise two fingers to the digital world and all the confusion it generates.

A bottle of Quink, Parker pen and a pad of Basildon Bond will more than cater for my need to communicate.

Duncan Graham, Stirling.


I ENJOYED Vicky Allan’s column ("Bin strike reminds us just how throwaway we are", The Herald, August 30). However, I was distracted by the clumsy headline. I do not want to start the whole grammar debate, but do we really have to finish a sentence, let alone a headline with a preposition?

I would have considered that with a few words reconfigured the headline would read more smoothly. "We are a throwaway nation, and this bin strike is a reminder". If the 12 words versus nine is too many then the "throwaway" part could be kept for the body of the text and the heading could be simpler: "Bin strike is a stark reminder of our behaviour."

Jane Cowan, Glasgow.


THELMA Edwards (Letters, September 1) is quite correct to be wary of potatoes and their eyes. Personally my concern focuses on ears of corn, black-eyed beans, kidney beans and, horror of horrors – baby carrots.

Alastair Clark, Stranraer.

• DESPITE Thelma Edwards' dislike of fish and chips, the famous hot dish is a worldwide favourite. Its pronunciation even helps an Australian and a New Zealander determine from which country each has come.

The Australian will speak of "feesh and cheeps", the New Zealander of "fush and chups".

I prefer the New Zealand version, more akin to the Glasgow dialect.

David Miller, Milngavie.