THE SNP's Gender Recognition Bill, though perhaps well-intentioned, is badly framed and poorly thought-out ("Gender reforms pass first hurdle as SNP minister resigns in protest", The Herald, October 28). It will do far more harm than good, especially in terms of women’s rights, women-only spaces and the safety of women and children.

It is not right for MSPs to support a bill that will cause harm to the majority in the misguided belief that it is helping a tiny minority.

Nicola Sturgeon robotically parrots the same line repeatedly that this bill does not confer any new rights on trans people and that it will make not an iota of difference. This is disingenuous claptrap. But it is extremely worrying that the Labour Party and others have also swallowed this propaganda wholesale.

Ms Sturgeon is never actually challenged on the nitty-gritty reality of her policy already being played out in all corners of society. Never challenged directly on Scottish women prisoners potentially having to share cells with convicted rapists and sex offenders.

She is never challenged on women having to unfairly compete against men in sport. Never challenged on female patients being forced to share wards and toilets/showers with biological males in Scottish hospitals or schoolgirls of 12 and 13 being forced to share toilets with 17 and 18-year-old males. Or on the fact that Police Scotland allows rapists to self-identify as women.

The fact remains that women-only spaces have already been consigned to the past with every public and government institution, police, courts and tribunals body, refuges and rape centres, high street retailers having succumbed to the trans orthodoxy without anyone challenging its efficacy.

Changing one’s legal gender is a major life-changing decision for the individuals concerned, and for society, and it is right that there are safeguards built in for all. There should be proper checks and balances and those with convictions should not simply be enabled to erase their past by changing their identity.

Allowing youngsters to embark on a body-morphing process at the age of 16 is criminally negligent. They can’t buy a lottery ticket, scratchcards, vapes, smoke, buy fireworks, get a tattoo or go into a pub for a drink or vote in UK elections. But they can be given hormones and puberty blockers to achieve masculine and feminine effects at the risk of blood pressure issues, blood clots, stroke, heart disease, liver damage.

Shame on those blithely nodding this legislation through because they don’t have the backbone to challenge the trans mafia that has captured Scotland so comprehensively.

Eileen McAuley, Bothwell.


IT seems likely that my grandchildren, on reaching 16, will be considered mature enough to decide to legally change gender if they are unhappy with the body that they are living in. This being the case I would expect that an elderly person, with a lifetime of experience, would be considered mature enough to decide when I am unhappy with the body I am living in, and to end my life at the time and in the manner of my choosing.

To legally change gender a person will no longer need to be assessed by psychiatrists but merely need to live in their desired gender for three months with a similar reflection period. Their families (including the parents of 16-year -olds), and society are expected to adapt, banish their concerns or prejudices and adjust to someone living in their new gender because the individual's wellbeing is considered paramount.

Why then should someone who wants assistance to legally end a miserable existence, not be allowed to do so without having to be assessed by psychiatrists, or to be terminally ill – provided of course that they have not already been diagnosed as cognitively impaired? In cases where a person is considered impaired, then any Advance Directive (living will) in which they have previously laid out the circumstances and way in which they would like to be assisted to die, should be honoured.

The Scottish Government is pushing through the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill despite many polls indicating opposition to the idea, and concerns over women's rights and lack of legal definition. The Assisted Dying Bill has only reached the proposal stage despite polls indicating a high degree of support amongst the public over many years. I'm selfish enough to want to see it in place before I need it. I know I won't be able to try death out for three months and then change my mind, but I'll take my chances.

Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen.

How serious is the threat to Douglas Rosss leadership of the Scottish Tories? Picture: Press Association

How serious is the threat to Douglas Ross's leadership of the Scottish Tories? Picture: Press Association


IT sends out all the wrong messages to the world that Rishi Sunak won't be attending COP27, citing "other pressing domestic commitments, including preparations for the autumn Budget" ("Sunak ‘will not attend COP27 in Egypt’", The Herald, October 28). Surely as Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt has that in hand, and Dominic Raab, as Deputy Prime Minister, could have held the fort while Mr Sunak was at the climate summit in Egypt? After all, Mr Sunak has stuffed his Cabinet full of leftovers from the Johnson and Truss governments, and with such dependable people as Michael Gove and Suella Braverman on board, what could possibly go wrong?

But perhaps Mr Sunak is more concerned about what is happening in a parliament far, far away from Westminster, where the leader of the Scottish Tories, as Tom Gordon ("FM delivers some home truths to make mince of Ross", The Herald, October 28) so eloquently put it, ended up as the diddy with the riddy at First Minister's Questions when Nicola Sturgeon hung him out to dry. If Liz Truss was the queen of the U-turns, Douglas Ross is the crown prince, and the stony looks on the faces of his Tory colleagues said it all; another Tory leadership change is coming, as sure as Christmas.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


ALEX Gallagher (Letters, October 28) appears to believe that a commitment to join the euro is a show-stopper as far as Scotland's accession to the EU is concerned. I'm sure that he is aware that Denmark uses the Krone as its currency and not the euro, having negotiated an opt-out from participation in 2000. Sweden, like Denmark, is one of another six nations that do not use the euro for various reasons, without it being the cause of financial tension within the EU.

Unionists, especially the Labour-supporting variety, are so desperate to throw any obstacle in the way of Scotland's future prosperity that they will distort and misrepresent any fact to support what seems to be devotion to the party rather than to Keir Hardie's original dream, which has sadly long since faded; Keir Hardie was, of course, a believer in and advocate of home rule for Scotland.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


IT is October so our parks department is cutting back bush and tree growth, flattening weeds on bankings, and emptying flower beds – all as per an annual programme of works. This same plan starts in the early spring with the cutting back of budding bushes such as azaleas and rhododendrons so we never see them flower to their potential. Likewise the first grass cut can take place when there is lying snow.

These procedures happened before any Covid or lockdowns. However they got worse during the pandemic when social distancing and masks seemed to reduce simple gardening tasks. Weeds were allowed to smother grass and bushes, fallen trees were not totally removed or replaced, and the weeding of flower beds was spasmodic.

Street furniture such as flower baskets looked nice as long as you did not look down at the weeds along pavements and roads.

Long before the pandemic, Brexit and the Ukraine war all these shortcomings were occurring. Yet we had rising local rates and few council wage increases.

I have heard of "wilding" as an excuse for less maintenance of park foliage. However we seem to be encouraging the weeds at the expense of a pleasant environment. Weeds are allowed to seed and spread, supposedly to save money, but will we ever see nice tidy parks and streets again?

However, it must be said that our street cleaners with trolleys and brushes worked throughout the pandemic stages emptying bins as well as picking up litter – only to make the weeds more visible.

Bryce Drummond, Kilmarnock.


TWELVE years ago I took under my wing an ancient chap called Oscar ... together with his "trains". I have grown to love him. Oscar is more than 200 years old and is a long-case clock. His "trains" are wound up once per week by me with a key slotted into his face and take care of his ticking and chiming by the hauling up of his weights. Oscar was a gift from my brother-in-law who could rebuild and maintain clocks, until he retired.

It was good to read that King Charles has a love of clocks, especially the long-case ones ("King tells show of his love of clocks", The Herald, October 26) but regrets the lack of vocational training in schools. I agree with the King that these clocks "become really special parts of the house ... the beating heart of it". Oscar is the boss in this house even when I have to climb up, remove his heavy hood to reveal the platform behind his face and tinker with things a bit to make him behave. I am fortunate to know someone who is a specialist with clock maintenance and repair but I do like the occasional wee tinker when we have a good chat. Thursdays are wind-up days and are most enjoyable. Coming into my home is always a pleasure as I hear Oscar's tick and say hello to him.

I do hope that His Majesty's words encourage young people to really take to clock repairing and even rebuilding, especially the dear old long-case ones. I know people who have such clocks and they all need to be kept in trim. The clocks that is; and maybe some of us owners too.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


I AM so tired of hearing the English language misused by experienced presenters who should know better.

This week the very accomplished STV Westminster correspondent Kathryn Samson talked of Rishi Sunak being "coronated". On the Loose Women panel show, comedian Judi Love mentioned having "conversated" with someone.

The correct words are "crowned" and "conversed".

Dorothy Connor, Glasgow.

• THE heading on Ian McConnell's tirade against Rishi Sunak ends with "relative to who?" ("Reinvented Sunak a serious player on the economy? Really? Relative to who?", The Herald, October 28).

Did you run out of space for the "m" in " whom"?

David Miller, Milngavie.

• RECESSION of our Scots tongue is given needless impetus by referring to blaeberries as “blueberries" ("Scots farmer gives away his £3m blueberry crop", The Herald, October 28).

What next? That we refer to brambles as “blackberries “?

Gordon Casely, Crathes.