AM I alone in hearing the word "safe" in ever-increasing daily usage?

The word has been used in recent times by those in power and authority as a means of reassurance to calm the minds of the frightened, but there is more to it than that.

The hard left has discovered that wittering on about purist Marxism and socialism alienates the majority, so why bother when you can use health and safety to infiltrate and legislate a doctrine of creeping social control without voters noticing?

The health and safety culture has embedded itself deeper and deeper into our work, home and personal lives and technological developments have facilitated new opportunities for proponents to extend their invasion into private space.

Much of the early work to make factories, offices and public spaces safer was right and proper and I cannot find fault with the smoking ban that let me have a couple of sneaky pints on the way home without reeking of smoke as I kissed my wife good evening.

However, increasing scrutiny of our lives means that every move will soon be watched 24/7, all in the interests of keeping us safe from whatever threatens us, particularly our own minds. Whilst there will be resistance, the public is weak-willed, pitifully trusting and the move towards a digital society feels inevitable.

Imagine the scenario. I enter the pub and buy three pints in an hour. The phone I used to pay carries a mandatory health passport.

"Citizen, you have consumed seven units of alcohol today and 15 in the last seven days. You are consuming alcohol excessively."

On leaving the pub I treat myself to a fish supper. "Citizen, you have consumed 2,900 calories today and are at risk of obesity as well as a range of other health disorders."

"Your alcohol and food consumption is a cause for concern and we will refer you to the Safe Living Programme for help. Failure to engage will result in...."

Fanciful? Perhaps, but the reality is that the technology is here and there will be plenty of zealots eager to use it and, after all, who foresaw lockdown, mask mandates and the resultant suppression of freedom all in the interests of keeping us safe? How easily were we controlled and managed?

I take responsibility for myself and seek help only when I need it. Manage your own life, make your own risk assessments and mitigate danger.

Scots once prided themselves on self-reliance and many great people emerged from this country to advance the cause of humanity. We are rapidly becoming a nation of the led desperately looking to our leaders for protection from both the real and the imaginary. Authority in turn simply wants you docile, compliant and silent, for your own good.

I can for the most part keep myself safe but who will keep society safe from those in power and authority?
Fraser Kelly, Glasgow

What the King should have said

YOU headed the letter (December 27) from Neil Barber of the Edinburgh Secular Society as "A most curious definition’’. I agree.

In his letter Mr Barber takes umbrage at the King’s use of “whatever faith you have or whether you have none” presumably to ensure that all his subjects are covered. Mr Barber rightly wants people of no faith to be referred to in a more positive way than by what they, to quote him, “lack”. Quickly checking various online dictionaries confirms my suspicion that in order to "lack", there has to be something to be lacked. I wonder what that could be? Faith perhaps?

The King’s speech transcript is available to read on (at least) the BBC’s website. On the same webpage as the speech there is a little sidebar invitation to watch an episode of Panorama trailed as “it’s becoming the norm that people aren’t eating”. For me the real lack is not in how a group of people are described, but a lack of any understanding of the real, life-threatening problems being faced daily by his subjects, and the lack of words such as "and so I have donated x millions of my fortune to the various food banks which seem to have sprung up in my kingdom and told my government to actually help my poor subject...”
Alastair Clark, Stranraer

Get over fear of nuclear

WITH his fear of nuclear energy, Angus McEachran (Letter, December 28) is probably also afraid of crossing the road.

Certainly, he would have stopped flying after two jumbo jets collided on the ground at Tenerife in 1977, and Malaysian flight MH370 vanished with all on board, plus many other aviation disasters along the way.

There are presently 438 nuclear fission reactors in 44 countries, generating domestic power. Without their reliable and continuous output much of the world would be in intermittent darkness, Britain included.

Of course, as with any process there is risk, but as rational beings we equate risk with benefit and the benefit of nuclear is obvious.

As we move forward, we leave old technology behind, and we take any new risks it brings into our calculations.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross

Let's switch off BBC Glasgow

AM I alone in having become extremely concerned about the direction BBC Radio Scotland is taking? Should we call it the GBC (Glasgow Broadcasting Corporation)? There are some excellent presenters and they tend to produce acceptable content, however there are those who fall far short and some topics banal and awful.

Presenters in the main are Glasgow-based, born and bred and today (December 28) we had a presenter whose grammar and word pronunciation is atrocious and slovenly: “stoppin, runnin, sittin, speakin, doin, si (sit), righ (right), an (and), bi (bit), abou (about)" and on and on and on. We really expect more from our national broadcaster. At this time of year my pet hate by some presenters is the Glaswegian “Hugmonay” – it’s “Hogmanay” in most of Scotland.

In their wisdom and to reduce costs, a swathe of quality, educated journalists/presenters were binned and replaced by younger models who clearly are not up to an acceptable standard. I look forward to seeing some improvement and diversity in 2023.
Douglas Cowe, Newmachar

Entrepreneurs with bottle

WHAT a pessimist David Lonsdale of the Scottish Retail Consortium is when he implies that drinks containers won't be returned ("Scots ‘could lose £110m worth of deposits’ in recycling scheme", The Herald, December 28). Does he discount all the enterprising folk, young and old, who will scour our streets and their grannies' kitchens, looking for bottles and cans to return to shops and claim the deposits?
Patricia Fort, Glasgow


Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.