I AM a member of the National Trust so I think it can be presumed I take more than a passing interest in our built and natural heritage.

It was interesting to read NTS chief executive Simon Skinner’s almost poetic tribute to those rallying round to show their grief at the burning of Notre Dame and to the commitment to rebuilding this iconic building (Letters, April 18). In the faces of those transfixed by the flames, he says “ we saw tears and we heard their songs as they came together in the spectacle of tragedy.”

I wish I felt as moved.

This was, dare I say it, just a building which was ravaged by fire. No-one, fortunately lost their lives.

How much better would I have felt if the same outpourings of grief had been displayed after the Cyclone Idai disaster in which more than 1,000 lost their lives and hundreds of thousands face displacement and starvation?

Yet, there were no billionaire owners of consumer brands coming forward to pledge their support; no public outpouring of grief; no prayers and hymns on the streets for the victims; no commitment to solve the causes of this environmental catastrophe; no acceptance that we have to act immediately to address climate change if we are to avoid further, even greater disasters in the world. Just a commitment to rebuild Notre Dame in five years (why the rush?) as we keep pushing back our commitment to reduce CO2 to the middle of this century. In less than 50 days, more will have been raised to rebuild Notre Dame than DEC (the Disasters Emergency committee) has raised in mire than 50 years. Where is our sense of perspective?

I guess the population of Mozambique don’t have the same celebrity cachet as the Notre Dame fire.

And there is a lesson to be gleaned as we look at the rebuilding Glasgow School of Art. I find it hard to swallow the idea of spending £200 million to rebuild when I can hardly walk 50 yards in Gordon Street in Glasgow without encountering a beggar sheltering in a shop doorway.

Let’s get our priorities straight and put our planet and our people first.

William Thomson,

25 Lithgow Place, Denny.

Learning from history

JAMES Stuart Brennan's letter (Apil 19) brings to mind another old adage, "when ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise". In asking who cares about Culloden, he might consider that the answer is anyone with an interest in historical accuracy.

This may well include MacDonalds, long blamed for the failure at the battle, who may be interested to know from Michael Hughes's account, that, at the very moment the Jacobite charge was launched, the three MacDonald regiments had their path obstructed by a procession of deserting fifth columnists. He is the same Hanoverian who recalls in his memoir seeing the French officers at dead of night in Aberdeen a few days earlier, leaving a house occupied by Cumberland's commanders.

George F Campbell,

26 Bruce Road, Pollokshields, Glasgow.

Digging deep

OPPOSITION parties have accused the SNP of many failings, some real, others imagined and contrived, but with Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil’s suggestion that Scotland’s islands could be connected to the mainland and each other by a network of tunnels, surely “tunnel vision” will never be one of them ("Under the sea to Skye: MP floats the idea of tunnels to connect islands", The Herald, April 19 ).

Or will it?

R Russell Smith,

96 Milton Road, Kilbirnie.