ON November 8 you were kind enough to publish a letter of mine on the necessity and efficacy of school debating clubs.

Now, in an excellent piece of investigative journalism by The Herald, we are told that a controversial anti-abortion group has carried out dozens of school visits over the last five years, and has been publicly endorsed by several Scottish teachers (“Anti-abortion group makes dozens of visits to schools”, The Herald, December 20).

In this country we believe in freedom of thought and speech, but, as we have seen in our universities recently, our young people are not properly trained to cope with social media.

The no-platforming and disinviting of invited speakers to many of our universities and the so-called woke mob’s ravaging of any who dare to oppose them, suggests that many of our young people do not consider reason and rational debate as an appropriate tool for dealing with issues that seem important to them.

We now have a group of people who have at their disposal an immensely powerful weapon – social media platforms – which give the user a high degree of anonymity.

For students in our universities it is clearly too late to imbibe the efficacy of reason and debate.

These time-honoured tools should be an integral part of our educational system at a much earlier stage.

I believe that every school should have a debating club, and every pupil should be given the tools and encouraged to take part.

There should be inter-school debating contests, with a national final.
Doug Clark, Currie

The full story

IRENE Munro (Letters, December 23) states that “factual biological information” is important for making a well-informed choice on abortion.

Does the SPUC inform children that about 20% of all conceptions result in spontaneous abortion? These events are variously referred to “miscarriages” or “acts of God”.
Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh

Perils of being cheeky to a lion

YOUR article on the Kelvin Hall Carnival (December 26) brought back some happy childhood memories. From personal recollection, families in those days were in one of two categories – you were either a “Kelvin Hall” family (you went to the Carnival at Christmas) or you were a “Kelvingrove” family (you visited the Art Galleries on a regular basis for cultural enlightenment). My family was definitely in the former category.

I vividly remember visiting the Carnival one Christmas in the 1950s with my parents, sister and older brother. In those days, alongside the rides and stalls, there were exotic animals in cages for the public to gape at – something it is hard to imagine in these more enlightened times.

In one cage there sat a magnificent male lion. It showed little interest in the viewing public, spending much of its time yawning and scratching itself. My brother, who could be a bit cheeky at times, approached the cage and started making faces at the lion. He stuck his tongue out and told it he wasn’t in the slightest bit scared.

The hairy beast raised its great head and looked directly at him, blinking lazily. Slowly but elegantly, it lifted one of its legs and urinated with some force straight into my brother’s face! I think he learned an important lesson that day – he has never been cheeky to a lion ever since.
Rob Kelly, Bearsden

Dazzled by the headlights

I UNDERSTAND that the street-parking laws are more relaxed in the UK, but why can we not be like Germany and other countries, and insist that vehicle parking should be in the direction of travel?

I regularly drive through Prestwick after dark and have to confront headlights glaring in my eyes as parked cars try and draw out in the narrow Main Road and cross over from their parking spot into their direction of travel.

I imagine that this situation applies in many other places.

That, combined with reduced street lighting nationally from new low-wattage LED overhead lighting, creates major traffic accident risk to pedestrians.

Rarely applied, Rule 248 of the Highway Code states that it is an offence, with a liability of a fine up to £1,000, for a car to park in the street, outwith a designated parking space after dark against the direction of travel.
John Ewing, Ayr

Such a Christmas disservice

WHAT a disappointment in the Watchnight Service from St Mary’s, Edinburgh, this year on BBC 1.

No clear Christmas message, very few known carols and no Christmas Blessing. If anything was designed to chase away the sincere ‘Christmas’ congregation – this was it.

The music, repeated on Christmas Day from The Quay, may have been appropriate in that setting but was a complete turn off-on Christmas Eve.

No wonder the church attendance is tumbling, if musical elitism is put above the Christmas Eve of the masses. The ‘secular’ programmes of Christmas Day had more participation for the ordinary mortal than this self-promoting contribution from St. Mary’s.
James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian

Hope of a fairer, greener Scotland

SADLY, with the joy of Christmas over, the winter of discontent deepens, fuelled by this corrupt and incompetent UK Conservative administration.

However, let us rejoice, with hope in our hearts, as the dawn of a new year approaches.

Scotland is a proud and ancient European nation that has contributed greatly to the wellbeing of the world and in the process has survived and overcome the power of an envious neighbour.

It must now galvanise its people to work with renewed vigour for a fairer and greener independent Scotland.

Contrary to Westminster’s bleak economic scenario, Scotland is a rich and well endowed land and should never ever have so many cold and hungry people attending food banks.

Furthermore, all minority groups, in whatever capacity, should be respected, protected and fairly treated.

Finally, even as religion seems to fade I shout to the world the ageless sentiment of this old anonymous verse:

Oh radiant star of Bethlehem
Shine on us yet again
Bring peace and hope and charity
To rule the hearts of men.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore


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