FOR too long First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has had a free rein to sow her seeds of division across our proud nation, with her flowers of division now blooming.

At last the UK Government has shown some backbone by making use of a Section 35 order to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. This of course is now the catalyst for the torrent of outrage, indignation and anger to pour forth from the First Minister.

However, her cloak of deceit has been whipped away to reveal her underhand practices. The last thing she needs is continuing examination of her catastrophic domestic policy failures across the NHS, education, transport and infrastructure and so resulting in an ill-thought-out and simply bad piece of legislation.

Utilising the First Minister’s language, it is outrageous that she is prepared to use people’s lives and emotions to further her independence ambitions by intentionally creating this division. Further, it should be noted that 16-year-olds are unable to drink in a pub or go to the cinema to watch a film with an 18 certificate classification yet under her gender legislation, can make a decision that may well affect that individual for the rest of their lives.

The First Minister knew exactly what she was doing when she ignored public opinion, ignored some of her own MSPs and ignored relevant amendments to the bill that may well have avoided the UK Government invoking the Section 35 order. It is time for her faux outrage and political manoeuvring to be ignored and treated with the contempt it deserves.
Richard Allison, Edinburgh

The stench of hypocrisy

NICOLA Sturgeon has criticised Westminster for “politicising” trans people by its intention to block her Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill with a view to securing amendments. However, did she not politicise the issue by making it a whipping issue for her MSPs when it is common knowledge that many are not on board with her proposals?

The usual stench of hypocrisy reeks. She spouts about democracy but in my quite wide social circle of people with various political opinion, I have yet to meet anyone who agrees with lowering the age of consent or shortening the process time.
Duncan Sooman, Milngavie

Yet more contempt for trans people

BRIAN Wilson writes that the UK Government had to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill because its legal advisors said they could. Of course different legal advisers will give different advice – if not, there would be no need for the courts. This was the UK Government's decision, based on its opinions about trans people's gender recognition.

The GRR Bill is within devolved competence. It was a manifesto commitment of four of the five parties (in 2016 and in 2021), and was subject to years of consultation. The parliament took evidence from 39 expert witnesses, including supporters and opponents, spent many more hours debating amendments than for most bills, and passed the bill by a large majority.

The standard way for the UK Government to deal with any consequential effects they think Scottish legislation has is to use a Section 104 order to make amendments to the law to regulate those effects. Blocking a bill is unprecedented.

The UK Government has demonstrated the same contempt for trans people as its predecessors showed 35 years ago for LGB people, when it introduced the notorious Section 28. The 33 other countries and states around the world which already have systems for gender recognition similar to the GRR bill will be looking on in sadness, as the UK Government further trashes the UK's reputation as a fair country.
Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network

Sensible Scots will back move

BY placing gender change into the media spotlight Nicola Sturgeon is undermining the health of our children. Not just 16-year-olds but impressionable and often confused 12, 13 14, and 15-year-olds who will fall for social media misinformation and begin to question their own gender. It will be a nightmare for them and stressful for their parents – "Mum, I think I'm really a girl".

This is a bad law rejected by the overwhelming majority of Scots. Well done Mr Jack and Mr Sunak in opposing it – you have the backing of sensible Scots from Langholm to Lerwick.
William Loneskie, Lauder

Some good work may be lost

IT appears that the First Minister and indeed a majority of the Scottish Government have made a misstep in trying to force through the legislation on trans people’s rights.

I agree with Nicola Sturgeon when, on occasions, she proffers that we are a more caring society than some others in these islands and I truly believe that the majority of Scots, and maybe even those south of the Border, would have had little problem with these proposals had they been tempered with a little common sense.

Now the UK Government has used its authority to block the proposed reforms and some good aspects of the work maybe lost.

Ms Sturgeon should have learned by now that in politics more can be achieved by negotiation and mediation than by stubbornness.
W MacIntyre, East Kilbride

What would Tony Benn have thought?

AS a soon-to-be pensioner I couldn't help but notice your picture of Tony Benn and some Clydeside workers who were going to meet Edward Heath at Downing Street prior to a rally at Westminster Central Hall ("Remember when... Benn met the UCS men in Westminster", The Herald, January 17).

It is heartbreaking that more than half a century later we have ministers having to be dragged to the table to meet nurses, teachers and railway workers who themselves are now being characterised as greedy and demanding by the tabloid press. Far from being confident about a brighter tomorrow and fighting for a better future for all of us we see the challenge to the flawed gender recognition legislation as the talisman for which the Scottish Government will go to battle.

I wonder what Tony would have made of it.
Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh


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