IN your front page lead article today ("Car death toll doubles in a year on Scots roads", The Herald, May 25) I see no mention at all of driver competence or the condition of the driver.

It is almost as if, having passed a driving test in early adulthood, it is taken as read that a person is fit to drive until death. Drivers can blame poor visibility, potholes, road alignment, other road users, in fact just about anything except themselves if they are involved in a road traffic incident and they only need to claim that their driving licence is essential for their work and they can avoid disqualification.

This avoidance of disqualification needs to be stopped; if a driver has driven so badly and amassed the points that lead to disqualification, the court must remove that driver from the road.

I fully agree that we need more enforcement, but we also need to ensure that drivers are competent. A good start to ensuring that a driver has maintained the competence shown in their successful driving test would be to ensure that every driver who loses their licence must resit, and pass, a driving test before regaining their licence. It is a nonsense to think that someone who loses their licence for, say, six months, can just get back behind the wheel without any refresher training.
Patricia Fort, Glasgow.

Take action to help teachers
AS a retired teacher who worked across the educational spectrum (5 to 18, non-readers to A+ scholars) it makes me sad to hear from my children and grandchildren what is happening in schools today.

Jenny Gilruth says that "it is clear that teachers need support in managing challenging behaviour" ("Ministers are urged to draw up a ‘violence in schools’ strategy", heraldscotland, May 23). That is polit-speak for putting the blame on teachers. She might as well have said that teachers do not know what they are doing. By support she probably means CAMHS training (a strategy being ditched down south for its ineffectiveness). 

I do not know any teacher who went into teaching to learn how to wrestle physically with children when they are out of control and need to be restrained. And such children can wait months to be seen by this service. She, like those in lots of services such as adoption, social work and education, spout the latest buzz words ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) as a major cause of serious violence.

The word "trauma" reels off their tongues as reasons for teachers not to blame these children and for excusing the appalling violence which is destroying the education of other children inhabiting the same space. Putting a label on this behaviour does not excuse it. These services are not offering proper, practical measures for helping seriously troubled children who cannot cope with normal schooling. As a student of psychology I was taught that human behaviour is down to nature a well as nurture. Just focusing on early nurture as an argument is inadequate.

Not being able to exclude seriously violent children from school is asking for more and more truancy and more and more teachers quitting the profession.

Teachers want to teach. There has always been misbehaviour in schools, but violence was not tolerated. Other children should not be traumatised by the serious bad behaviour of others. Teachers should not be traumatised by it either. The services which used to manage violent and seriously stressed children have all but vanished. It is shameful.

The Government must give teachers and children a break and take proper action.
Hazel Archibald, Kelty.

Read more: We must change ethos of how schools operate to reduce pupil violence

Crossrail has a long history
IT was good to see Jane Ann Liston of Railfuture Scotland supporting the re-emergence of the Crossrail scheme (Letters, May 18), and her acknowledgement of the role that the redoubtable Ken Sutherland played in pursuing this much-needed link between the rail networks north and south of the Clyde.

She dates these proposals from around 2011, but they have a much longer pedigree.
The Crossrail proposal was included in Strathclyde Regional Council’s strategic transport report, Travelling in Strathclyde, which was published in 1992 following on from an extensive consultation exercise.

A publicity leaflet produced by the regional council at the time noted that the Crossrail strategy had "received widespread public support during the consultation exercise confirming earlier support for the project from the public and a wide variety of organisations". In fact campaigning in favour of this common-sense and environmentally beneficial rail link pre-dates this report by many years and was led by the Railway Development Society, whose spokesperson was Ken Sutherland, and supported by many pressure groups such as Glasgow for People who saw it as an important alternative to increased motorway building.

While the rail link was supported by the regional council, it was a matter of concern by its advocates that the re-opening of Glasgow Cross Station was not. Hopefully that error will be rectified if plans are allowed to proceed.

Unfortunately progress in carrying forward the Crossrail proposal fell off the agenda as preparations for the ill-judged local government re-organisation of 1996 took hold. This, of course, heralded the demise of the regional council.

Latterly the cause of Crossrail was vigorous championed by the late Councillor Alistair Watson of Glasgow City Council in his role as chair of Strathclyde Passenger Transport. Sadly it was not taken up by the Scottish Government as a strategic priority.

In the last 30 years, as climate change threats have engaged us all, the environmental advantages of rail transport have become more and more self-evident. Alongside this, the need for urgent action to regenerate our city centres has become manifest as the impact of economic crises, Covid and financial mismanagement has taken hold. Crossrail is therefore an idea whose day has more than come. Let us hope that, at long last, it can be achieved.
Jim Mackechnie (Strathclyde Regional Councillor 1982-94), Glasgow.

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Tourist tax will be a boon
I AM pleased to learn that visitors can again visit the stunning island of Staffa in beautiful Argyll and Bute, following repairs to its walkway ("Hebridean overtures again for visitors after Staffa path works", The Herald, May 25). Such repairs and subsequent maintenance to areas of beauty all over Scotland will need financed somehow, and I welcome the Scottish Government’s suggestion of introducing a tourist tax to Scotland ("Scottish Government publish 'tourism tax' legislation", heraldscotland, May 25).

Worth doing, as money doesn’t grow on Scotland’s trees, nor on her basalt columns.
Alison Ram, Helensburgh.