THE proposal to purchase a further two ferries, possibly from the Turkish yard constructing the new Islay ferries ("New Calmac ferries to be ordered to ease pressure", The Herald, October 27), is good news for Arran and the Minch triangle communities who have been requesting a two-vessel service for many years.

Am I being cynical in suggesting that the almost indecent haste of this announcement is an attempt to ignore and sideline the proposals of Stuart Ballantyne and the Clyde Catamaran Group? Mr Ballantyne, a Scot, has a worldwide reputation and is an acknowledged expert in the field of construction and use of catamarans as ably demonstrated by the success of the Pentalina and the Alfred on the notorious Pentland Firth route. Mr Ballantyne’s acknowledged international reputation contrasts starkly with that of CMAL which, with the inexplicable support of our Government, continues to commission ever-larger and expensive monohulls with a longer lead time and much greater cost than the equivalent catamaran.

This squandering of taxpayers' money has been, and continues to be, a disgrace given that the £105 million cost could purchase some four catamarans of similar capacity. How long must this go on until sense prevails and the CMAL wings are clipped?
J Patrick Maclean, Oban

• THE next two Caledonian MacBrayne ferries could well be built in Turkey. I wonder how long it will be before we can go to the bookmakers and place a bet on whether these vessels or the vessels currently under construction at Port Glasgow will be first to sail?
Scott Simpson, Glasgow

Grateful for new attitudes

I NOTE the excellent article by Neil Mackay on people with Down's Syndrome ("There is decency out there, and this TV drama proves it", The Herald, October 26). He writes that Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy starring as Ralph and Katie on TV shows the progress made over the last 70 years regarding attitudes towards disabilities.

My own experience was when my brother was born in 1944 with Down's Syndrome, confronting the family with the attitudes adopted by people when faced with any kind of disability, and despite the best efforts of the Scottish Mentally Handicaped Society, ignorance and prejudice persisted.

Little known here at the time, in 1953 a book was published in the US, Angel Unaware, written by Dale Evans, wife of Roy Rodgers the cowboy star, when they had a daughter, Robin, born with Down's Syndrome, and despite being advised to "put her away" kept her and raised the profile of the condition in the US.

My brother passed away at 22 – little Robin was only with her family for two and a half years – but he changed our lives for the better. As Mr Mackay says, the younger generation take such situations in their stride, and we are all the better for it.
Ken Doran, Glasgow

Qatar caution is correct

IT is regrettable that Qatar is not as enlightened as so many other countries about the acceptance of homosexuality.

The decision by Fifa to hold the World Cup in that country has to be questioned. Was it motivated by financial rewards or was it a disguised attempt to make the Qataris reflect upon its regressive attitude towards a condition natural to some individuals within society?

I leave the answer to that question to the reader. However, I do not understand the hostility towards James Cleverly who has advised those going to the World Cup to do in Rome as the Romans do for their sojourn there ("Cleverly under fire for urging LGBT fans to ‘respect’ Qatar at World Cup", heraldscotland, October 26).

Any regime which bans homosexuality will be found to contain hypocrites who conceal their inclinations in that regard to preserve their perks and privileges in public while indulging their natural inclinations in private.

Sadly, if any visitor falls foul of the laws of that country while visiting for the football, that visitor will feel the full force of those regressive laws. In such an instance, there will be an international outcry over the actions of the Qatari police force and quite rightly too. There is no way we should condone such intolerance but, if visitors conduct themselves with decorum in public, perhaps that example will soften the harsh outlook of this repressive regime.

Let people speak out about the iniquities of such a government before the competition gets up and running but please spare yourself the indignity of being thrown into prison and missing out on the pleasure of watching the World Cup in all its glory.
Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs

Let's have more individual sport

I HOPE David Bruce (Letters, October 28) is a young man, as he may have to wait more than 55 years to see Scotland win a football World Cup. I’ll settle for Scotland playing to the best of their abilities and in a sporting spirit. Mr Bruce is right, though, to recognise the “inspirational achievements of a few of our tennis players, golfers, swimmers and athletes”.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see those inspirational individuals featured on the front page of the Herald’s Sport section, not hidden away on the inside back pages? The front page deserves better than its staple of tedious tittle-tattle about mainly Rangers and Celtic.
Doug Maughan, Dunblane

Attacks on wealth are shallow

HOW disheartening that some people are using the present political situation to add another “ism” to the existing list of sexism, ageism, racism and more. It is right that the above prejudices be confronted and addressed, but it would now appear that wealthy individuals are to be excluded from high political office because they are guilty of “wealthism”. The rationale is that, because of this, they cannot possibly understand the plight of those who are financially less well-off.

Historically, both the Rowntree and Cadbury families who had great wealth, championed social reform and provided education, medical and dental care, better housing conditions and more, for their workers.

Joseph Rowntree founded one of the first occupational pension funds.

Many modern philanthropists (politicians included) do much good work – often behind the scenes – with their wealth. What is important is not the amount of wealth accrued but how it was gained and how it is shared with those in need.

Personally, I’m an OAP whose income falls below the tax threshold, but I feel that politicians who make such populist political attacks on wealthy rivals bring no credit to their office (pun intended).
Sheila Wallace, Blair Atholl

A new broom?

WE learn that the Ford Fiesta will soon be no more. Why does Trigger’s broom come to mind?
Alastair Clark, Stranraer


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