I WAS appalled to read about MSP John Mason’s latest attack on abortion rights ("Mason ‘hijacking’ baby loss book over abortion", The Herald, March 23), but it is even more insidious that he is using the proposed Baby Loss Memorial Book to further his anti-choice agenda.

Pregnancy loss can be absolutely devastating for many women and couples. It can be the single most traumatic event of some women’s lives and to be able to record the baby that they wanted could be of monumental importance and aid with the grieving process. However, an unwanted pregnancy can be equally devastating to a person and the relief of a termination can be immense.

The heartbreak some experience in losing a wanted pregnancy does not invalidate the trauma of an unwanted pregnancy. There is a full and valid spectrum of emotions in between these two scenarios and it is not for privileged men like Mr Mason to legislate how women are allowed to feel about miscarriage or abortion. Pregnancy is too all-consuming, complex and nuanced to reduce to being something that is either "good" or "bad" for all people in all circumstances.

Mr Mason’s ghastly stunt also demonstrates why many women and LGBT people are anxious at the prospect of Kate Forbes becoming First Minister. She has already admitted that she would not keep her religion out of politics and would have voted against equal marriage rights for gay couples. Women and LGBT people in America may have learned too late that fundamentalists are always lurking in the long grass ready to pounce on any opportunity to remove rights from people who do not live in a way that they approve of. First, Roe v Wade was unexpectedly overturned after nearly 50 years and now a judge in Texas is about to make a ruling that may ban the abortion pill, Mifepristone, across every state in America.

Weaponising women’s trauma to further his anti-abortion agenda is opportunistic and abusive of John Mason. Frankly, it is time this man stopped interfering with issues he has no understanding of.

Gemma Clark, Johnstone.

• JOHN Mason quite rightly highlights the cognitive dissonance of our society in his parliamentary motion. He recognises that every unborn child has value and worth and that the death of every unborn child is a tragedy.

Unfortunately, this is lost on those criticising Mr Mason. They recognise that the loss of a child through miscarriage is heartbreaking and tragic yet in the same breath they champion a mother's right to choose to deliberately end her own child's life through abortion. They ask opponents to listen but will not bother to research the ill effects of abortion on women and society. They claim abortion is healthcare but support a procedure that kills an unborn baby. They cry for bodily autonomy but do not acknowledge the body inside them.

More than 10 million unborn lives have been lost to abortion since 1967 and still the cognitive dissonance which permits such barbarity permeates our society. The sooner we start building a culture of life the better. Women and their children deserve so much more than abortion.

Martin Conroy, Cockburnspath, Berwickshire.

Read more: SNP MSP John Mason under fire over anti-abortion motion


A HOUSE of Lords committee has slammed the UK water industry for the poor state of the UK water sector. Except that "UK" doesn’t include Scotland or Northern Ireland, where water is publicly owned, or Wales where it is run by a non-profit, but just England, where 10 private water companies provide dirty and expensive water to consumers.

Water is essential for life, so why was it privatised under Margaret Thatcher? Never mind that she would have privatised her grandmother if she’d had the chance, did water privatisation deliver, as promised, a cheaper product more efficiently? No. Household bills are higher in England than in rUK; private equity firms and foreign governments feature prominently in the ownership profile; high profits and big shareholder pay-outs are common; the English companies are carrying a rising amount of debt, leaks are rife and they are routinely dumping live sewage into English waterways.

The clean-up costs required to rectify this sorry state of affairs most likely will be dumped onto consumers.

Now look at Scotland. Water is a publicly-owned utility, answerable to the Scottish Parliament. Scottish Water has invested a record amount in infrastructure so that bills are lower than all the English companies and the water from the taps and in Scottish waterways is far healthier and cleaner.

Of these two alternative ways of providing a public good like water, which is preferable?

It’s not hard to extrapolate from this example that public ownership and regulation of other public goods such as energy, health, education, and transport, best serve the people’s interest, not the English model that enriches an international financial elite.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Read more: Politicians need to admit they are out of step on gender reform


MY attention was drawn to an article in another newspaper (which I don't normally read) regarding adverse effects from our twice-annual clock-shifting shenanigans. Studies in 2014 and 2018 in the United States, and in 2016 in Finland, revealed alarming spikes in cardiac arrests and strokes after the clocks go forward.

Apparently, UK daylight saving time was first devised as a means to save coal during the First World War. Whether that is still relevant these days is questionable, despite high energy costs and aims to reduce consumption. However, the issue has always been contentious, particularly the further north you are.

The older I get, the more annoying and disruptive I find the change between GMT and BST. Now a new danger to my dicky ticker triggers alarm bells and provides another good reason to call time on our clock changes.

David Bruce, Troon.


LESLEY Mackiggan (Letters, March 23) makes a serious and valid point about Glasgow City Council protecting next year's budget.

I audited the accounts of a small charity dependent upon a grant from a local authority. One could bet one's boots that in March, a staff member would be sent out to use any surplus petty cash by purchasing an unnecessary stock of postage stamps, thereby making the case for an equivalent grant in the year to come.

Plus ça change,....

David Miller, Milngavie.