THE reputation of yet another senior politician has been damaged, this time Baron Steel of Aikwood, former leader of the Liberal Party ("Smith told me he spanked boys, says Steel", The Herald, March 14]. He has now admitted that he believed in 1979 that allegations of child abuse against Cyril Smith were true. Notwithstanding that, he allowed Smith to continue in office and passed a proposal that Smith should receive a knighthood in 1988.

The former Liberal Party leader has denied claims that his party did not wish another sex scandal after the criminal court case involving Jeremy Thorpe, the previous Liberal leader.

The much-honoured Lord Steel may tell himself that he acted appropriately at all times with regards to matters pertaining to Cyril Smith and that his conscience is clear. However, there will be many who will think otherwise in the light of the evidence given to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.

Bloody Sunday prosecution move misguided

HOW can it be just to prosecute a British soldier over the deaths on Bloody Sunday, when the British Government has effectively via "the letters of comfort" extended an amnesty to the war criminals of the IRA and the other terrorist groups?

Indeed, the late Martin McGuinness was the head of the IRA’s "army council", and as such was the man ultimately morally responsible for a great many mutilations, abductions and murders. In short, he was the leading war criminal of that conflict, and yet rather than stand trial for all his vile crimes he was able to live in freedom and draw a healthy salary as a member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly.

If the Good Friday agreement can protect men like McGuinness who pursued campaigns of pre-meditated terror and murder over many years, why can’t it prevent the prosecution of an old soldier who might have made fatal misjudgements on a single day 47 years ago?

Furthermore, who will volunteer to fight for Britain and how can they possibly be effective soldiers, if their every decision is to be repeatedly re-evaluated by civilian lawyers for the rest of their natural lives?

This decision reminds us that the British Establishment has neither any sense of justice nor any common sense, but rather a complete contempt for those who guard us while we sleep.

Otto Inglis,

6 Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh.

Calmac service is shocking

IN response to George Dale (Letters March 14) delegates attending proposed "conferences" on Calmac ferries should be warned of possible amber alerts, breakdowns and cancellations. This is something that residents of Arran, Bute, Islay and Mull have had to suffer recently, more so than ever before. The service offered by Calmac is currently shocking.

Kenneth P Colville,

Lorne Lodge,

Mount Stuart Road,


Isle of Bute.

A royal delicacy

NOW that Prince Edward has been granted the title of Earl of Forfar ("Prince made Earl of Forfar", The Herald, March 11, and Letters, March 12), will his wife, Sophie, become a Forfar bridie?

Margaret MH Lyth,

26 Gardenside Street, Uddingston.