I MUST respond to a point made by P Davison (Letters, May 6).

Nationalist assertions about social security payments and unfair energy costs have already been comprehensively debunked in the pages of The Herald but the “dog whistle” reference to Trident particularly caught my attention.

Scotland’s population share of the annual UK defence budget (including Trident) is £3.8 billion.

It is SNP policy for a seceded Scotland to join Nato. Scotland, as a new member, would be expected to spend a minimum of 2% of its GDP on defence. Currently that would be about £3.4bn, leaving a saving equivalent to the cost of the Glen Sannox and Hull 802 Calmac ferries.

All the new and relatively new members of Nato spend at least 2% GDP on defence. In fact Poland’s figure is 4%. Even the peace-loving Scandinavian countries are increasing their defence spending to more than the required level.

An independent Scotland would be spending the same as its population share in the UK defence budget.

James Quinn, Lanark.

What should we call new ferry?

I RECENTLY passed Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow and noted that, at long last, windows and portholes had been cut in the as-yet unnamed Calmac ferry also known as Hull 802.

Does that must mean that the vessel’s long-delayed launch may actually be imminent?

Given that the Scottish taxpayers have paid in excess of £100 million more for these ferries than was originally budgeted (to put that overspend into context that may be four times the recent draconian cuts in funding made to Scotland’s colleges and universities), surely the long-suffering taxpaying public should have the opportunity to name her?

Perhaps it might now be appropriate for The Herald to call for suggestions.

Given Calmac’s normal practice, maybe an early suggestion might be the MV Glen of Weeping.

And given her close association with this debacle might it not also be appropriate to call Nicola Sturgeon back out of "retirement" both to launch and to name her as such?

Ian Graham, Erskine.

📝 Sign up for our Letter of the Day newsletter and receive our Letters Editor's choice every weekday at 8pm.

Get insight from fellow readers and join in on what has Scotland talking. Exclusive responses to our writers and spirited debate on a whole host of issues will be sent directly to your inbox.

👉 Click here to sign up

Litter problem not so simple

THE letters from Alistair Clark and David Clark (May 8) revisit the usual reasons trotted out for Scotland's dreadful problems with litter, but need some clarification.

Keep Scotland Beautiful has been given a barrowload of public funding over the last four decades to "educate" the public. Clearly it hasn't worked.

While some councils have a good record of issuing fixed penalty notices to people caught dropping litter, many don't do enough to follow it up by publishing their names and addresses on social and local media.

Since councils are no longer required to appoint suitably-qualified people as directors of environmental health and cleansing, delivering an efficient cleansing service has been left to staff at a more junior level, with limited ability to provide advice to senior councillors on budgets, and how the money would best be expended.

The council trade unions refuse to allow people given community service orders "to do their work" (removing litter on roadsides) on the grounds that the council should have created more permanent posts for these jobs in the first place.

Identifying the person responsible when litter is thrown from a vehicle has so far proved to be virtually impossible for the legislators. In some Australian states, anybody committing a road traffic offence might see the vehicle involved impounded for a month. While on paper that seems a simple and effective approach, it's doubtful if our legislative regime would allow it here.

John F Crawford, Lytham.

Read more: Politicians aren't to blame for litter problem

In defence of bin hubs

IN a recent column Catriona Stewart raised a number of issues regarding the planned pilot to replace back-court bin collections ("New bin scheme as silly as cat-sized rats", The Herald, April 25).

On-street bin hubs will be new for the vast majority of Glaswegians, supporting and meeting the code of practice standards set by Zero Waste Scotland. Importantly, Pollokshields East and Anderston have been selected as two of three pilots as many tenemental and flatted properties in these areas already use large yet unsecured street bins due to long-standing issues with access to back courts. Given that the change in these wards may not be so bold as that required in others, it will allow us to better monitor the phased implementation.

The column conflates changes to kerbside collections for properties with front and backdoor properties with the on-street pilot. It has never been stated, nor are there any plans, for recycling bins at on-street hubs to go unemptied where they have been contaminated, as will be the case with individual household kerbside collections when other resolution attempts have been exhausted. In fact, we will endeavour to avoid this in the first place by having apertures designed to the shape of the intended collection material and through a process of engagement and education as this is rolled out.

It is also worth stating that the new hubs will serve between 26 and 40 properties rather than between 40 and 50 as mentioned. Furthermore, I have been on record as stating that there will be no job losses as a result of the changes.

We are confident that there will be multiple benefits to the new system, improving recycling rates, a more efficient and frequent collection system, removing a significant burden from cleansing teams and improving the look and feel of thousands of back courts.

On-street waste collection in cities with high-density living is common practice across much of Europe. It already operates in at least one other Scottish city. I cannot see how Glasgow and its residents would be uniquely unable to adapt to a commonly-used system where waste goes into bins at the front of a property and gets picked up more regularly.

Councillor Ruairi Kelly, City Convener for Neighbourhood Services and Assets, Glasgow City Council.

A kiss goodbye

I BELIEVE that Alan Simpson ("Serving up a slice of culture wars with the ‘generic’ Dundee cake", The Herald, May 5) is wrong when referring to a headbutt as a Glasgow kiss.

As far as I understand, gang members inserted razor blades in their bunnets. When they encountered someone who had incurred their displeasure the bunnet would be removed and swiped across the other party's face with the razor leaving a scar. This is a Glasgow kiss.

Alistair Johnston, Hamilton.

Keeping the show on the road

ALL the world’s a stage and I thank AB Crawford (Letters, May ) for noting myself in regard to recent whimsy. But hold your horses, give credit where credit’s due, like a duck to water and leaving no stone unturned David Miller from Milngavie started it (Letters, May 2), and I’m sure has not run away.

Putting two and two together there’s more where that came from.

R Russell Smith, Largs.