I NOTE with interest Adam Tomkins' article ("One way or the other, gender reform will end up in court", The Herald, January 4).

Am I missing something here? The furore about the Gender Recognition Reform Bill is another opportunity for hard-line feminists to demean and belittle men, claiming that men who may wish to identify as women will pose a risk to women in so-called safe places, such as changing rooms and public toilets. If critics of the Bill are correct, how do they think men who have transitioned will avoid coming to the attention of the police if they assault females in changing rooms and the like?

Women who wish to identify as men are also able to do so under the terms of the Bill. Are they not to be considered a risk to other women? There was a case a few years ago of a young lesbian woman who dressed as a man and persuaded another young girl to believe she was a man, in order to have sex with her. Could this not happen again ?
Elizabeth Mueller, Glasgow

Court did not change law

PROFESSOR Adam Tomkins may be right to predict that the Gender Recognition Reform Bill will end up in court. Opponents of trans equality have taken a number of court cases in recent years in an attempt to undo democratically-passed protections for trans people.

Prof Tomkins' article is inaccurate in other ways though. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) pre-dates the Equality Act 2010 (EA), and legislators were well aware of the interaction of the two when developing the latter.

The GRA does not introduce, or mention, the term "transgender". The first use of that in law was in Scottish hate crime legislation dated 2009, again pre-dating the EA. The term has a different definition, for different purposes, from the term "transsexual" in the EA.

The recent Court of Session judgement on the interaction of the GRA and the EA did not change the law. It confirmed the position as set out by the UK Government when the EA was originally passed, and as reaffirmed since by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network

A wonderful train of thought

I RECENTLY had a strange dream. I wondered what life might be like if all the trains in Britain were run by a single company, and if this company had to negotiate pay and conditions with just one trade union. But as we all know, dreams are often highly unrealistic.

The Conservative manifesto for the 1992 General Election claimed that "the best way to produce profound and lasting improvements on the railways is to end BR's state monopoly". Consequently a number of different operating companies appeared.

Our daughter and her family live in Kent and our preferred means of travelling there from Helensburgh is by train. The services which we use to get there are provided by ScotRail, Avanti West Coast, South Eastern Trains, Network Rail and, if we take the Underground, Transport for London. This totals five different operators, all of which may be subject to strikes at different times.

Do I perhaps detect the Law of Unintended Consequences at work here?

Now, what about the other part of my dream, the single trade union?

I can think of a number that actually exist. There is the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers), Aslef (the train drivers), TSSA (the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association), and possibly also Unite (which includes the old Transport and General Workers Union). This may or may not be a comprehensive list.

Naturally a principal objective of each of these trade unions is to improve the pay and conditions of their members. And of course they are not obliged to take industrial action at the same time; rather, they can and do choose different dates.

I contrast all of this with the situation in Germany. As I understand it, there is just one large trade union for all transport workers there, including rail workers. According to Wikipedia one large confederation has just eight different trade unions as its members, and these eight unions cover 84% of all union members.

The upshot of this proliferation of rail companies and rail trade unions was that, when my wife and I last travelled to see our daughter in Kent, we reluctantly decided to fly rather than take the train.

As for our next trip from Helensburgh to Kent? Well, I can only dream.
Stewart Noble, Helensburgh

Does council have no pride?

LAST Friday I took a bus into Glasgow city centre. I have not been there for quite some time and was horrified to see the state of the streets on my journey. Litter was piled up and overflowing at kerbside bins. I walked up Renfield Street to cross Sauchiehall Street and was so distressed by the state of this once-prestigious street. What is going on? What is this SNP council thinking about? How can we attract visitors to our city if it looks like a sewer? In fact on my return journey my bus stopped at traffic lights on Bridge Street and I could watch dozens of rats popping in and out of bins at the roadside.

As a driver, mainly local, I spend most of my time avoiding the craters that pollute our roads. I’m astonished that no cyclists have been seriously injured in one of them, never mind the damage done to cars.

I am in my seventies, and have never seen the city looking so bad. Does SNP stand for Show No Pride?
Morag Gardiner, Glasgow

When popular music was bliss

IT made my day to have mention of Al Martino and his rendition of Here In My Heart which featured, as given mention, in 1952 in the first top 20 compilation (Letters, January 4). This and other superb recordings were avidly listened to on Radio Luxembourg, 208MW, if I recall correctly.

Such as he and many others had the benefit of wonderful lyrics as well as the superb backing given by orchestras. When popular music was bliss.
John Macnab, Falkirk

Thor: he's a jolly good fellow

MANY thanks to Thor, the travelling walrus, for adding a much-needed boost to our worn-down morale after a year of national and global misery ("Thousands visit wandering walrus Thor as he heads north to visit Yorkshire for New Year", The Herald, January 3).

He would get a piece at anybody's door.
Tina Oakes, Stonehaven


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