What kind of Scotland? This one ...

What kind of Scotland do YOU want? (In Our Opinion, Herald on Sunday, September 22).

I should like to see a Scotland where the opinions of young people– like the ones who marched last Friday – were listened to to a far greater degree.

The sectarian marchers who took to the street of Glasgow the following day were mostly older, male and clinging to the past. A past which we should all be all trying to move forward from.

Young people have for far too long been sidelined in Scotland .

Take the Scottish independence referendum – 80% of the people who voted for independence were under 40. However, it was the older generation who refused to look to the future but only wished for things either to stay just as they are or were harping back to the “good old days” when Scotland was part of the “glorious” British Empire who swung the vote by a tiny margin. We all saw the mass of young people on the streets the next day venting their deep disappointment.

We then had a referendum on membership of the EU in 2016. Again young people voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU but were frustrated in their desire by mostly older people who wished otherwise.

What a legacy we are leaving our young people!

We have trashed the planet – and it is our generation who have done that.

We have denied them an Independent Country which they could see as a possibility for a better future just as we have denied them a future as part of the EU which has for the last 40 years granted everyone access to larger markets and possibilities to study and travel out with this small country.

Give the young people who marched last Friday to beg us to save their planet the chance to take ownership of their country by listening to them. After all Scotland is, and will be in the future, their country.

What my generation forget – and I am 75 – is that the future of this country does not lie in our hands but in the hands of the young whose country this will be when we are long gone.

Gordon Brown once said “children are 20% of our population but they are 100% of the future".

We would do well to reflect on that.

Victoria Sutherland

Torren, Glencoe

Iain Macwhirter spoke of the “most important right of all: the right to vote” (Voices, Herald on Sunday, September 22). I’m not sure the wrongly incarcerated, for example, would agree with him. Democracy has served as a decoy for a multitude of privations.

Climate change activists fulminate against being denied a future. Have they considered we are being denied a meaningful present? And who is responsible if we are?

Novelist Anthony Burgess argued that having the right to make bad choices was preferable to having that right denied to us. That is it better for us to own our own mistakes than to accept pre-emptive solutions being imposed upon us by others. In short, the individual should be both autonomous and accountable.

However, we travel further along the path of external determinism, and stray further away from Burgess, by the day.

We are like lobsters in a cooking pot. Why is our blood boiling? The water was cold when we were initially and humanely dipped into it; ergo, our problem originates from within us. The red-hot ring on which our receptacle sits is only relevant to those who seek to shirk their responsibilities.

Isn’t it wonderful to get to choose the hob that will save us from ourselves, Iain?

Please tender my apologies to the polling station next time.

Archie Beaton


When someone resorts to sarcasm not facts they have lost the argument, as is the case when Margaret Forbes responded to my letter (Herald on Sunday, September 22).

Here are facts ...

In December 2015 the Paris Accord (COP21) claimed that 195 nations had agreed on legally-binding reductions in their emissions. Wrong – only a handful, including the UK and Scotland, have passed legally-binding Climate Change Acts; the rest only made promises.

Dr Richard Dixon, Friends of the Earth Scotland, put it rather well saying the Paris Accord was framed "in a totally voluntary, not-really-committing-at-all sort of way" to keep the global temperature rise well below 2C and make efforts towards keeping it below 1.5C, but it is heading for 3 to 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

COP21 was dressed up as a success and COP25 held this week in Chile will, regardless of the outcome, be claimed to be an outstanding success despite China having refused to reduce its 30% share of global emissions until after 2030. So after 25 years of COPs there is still only hot air being created, but at least the 30,000 attendees flying to Chile will enjoy themselves as they have done for 25 fruitless COP years creating unnecessary additional emissions.

Clark Cross


Al Gore has always been unrepentant about his global warming campaign. "I knew from my time in politics that its impossible to galvanise people to a cause by rational discourse. I knew I needed to create a climate of fear".

The inevitable result was the doomsday cult "Extinction Rebellion". The invisible controllers behind the organisation target children in much the same way as African war lords use child soldiers or drug dealers use child runners.

They're fed panicky, end-of-days predictions along with a sense of grievance about a “lost” future “stolen” by selfish seniors. But the reality is the world isn't going to collapse into some form of dystopian ecological catastrophe.

In fact China, India and the developing world are the main users of coal and they're not going to stop improving their people's lives. And we mustn't throw out a process that has released billions from poverty to appease a cult.

Dr John Cameron

St Andrews

Have they got the message yet?

I was pleased to see the letter from Margaret Forbes (Herald on Sunday, September 22).

I well remember the front page of the Glasgow Herald showing the dismal scene of the last train leaving Kilmacolm Station in January 1983. I remember Malcolm Waugh, then Chair of Strathclyde Passenger Transport, saying his first job in that role was to close Kilmacolm and that he was determined it would be his last railway closure. SPT did prevent an unscrupulous developer from building over the station sites which would have prevented any chance of re-opening.

I think Margaret's message is that Scottish Government has announced a Climate Emergency but their record in government has been poor. From the start they cancelled or tried to cancel all the proposed new lines. Their financial appraisal is designed to prevent rail re-openings.

Only now, after nine years, have they been shamed into announcing re-opening the line to Levenmouth, a line with old tracks still in place and agreed for a decade by just about everybody that it should be re-opened. Has the Scottish Government really got the message?

Ralph Barker


The marchers aren't the problem

Your on-line article, "What a difference a day makes: From joy and hope to menace and fear in the space of 24 hours" (Herald on Sunday, September 22), misses one essential point. The heavy police presence at the Loyalist parades was due to the threat of disorder caused by counter-protests, something that Friday's climate demonstration did not have.

We see similar police attendance at right-wing rallies in the city, and also at Independence gatherings due, once again, to the possibility of counter-demonstration. Therefore, to single out one particular group is very subjective reporting.

I have no affiliation to any of these group but simply believe in fairness for all. If a particular march – whether by a 'religious' group or not – is being targeted by an outside party then it is the latter which I believe you should be laying the blame at. Yes, individual marches of any kind can produce their own problems without third-party assistance but that is a different matter.

Had there been a large body of climate-change deniers intent on disrupting Friday's day-out for hip schoolchildren then I am sure there would have been plenty of police on Glasgow's streets.

Whether or not I approve of marches of ANY kind is irrelevant, but I accept the "right to march" if it is done peaceably. I do not approve of others intent on causing violence and disorder because they disagree with the sentiments on show.

Lynne Hendry

Argyll and Bute

Legend? Whooft!

Er....Archie Macpherson a "Scottish football legend"? No, I don't think so. Denis Law is a Scottish football legend. Kenny Dalglish is a Scottish football legend. I think most people will see the difference.

And Gordon Brown the one to lead a second Better Together campaign? This is the man who demonstrably misled older people about their pensions during the first campaign.

Let him lead. Bring it on. That should help to ensure a Yes victory!

Arthur F. Jones


Oh, to be so sure of your rightness ...

Re your review of Richard Dawkins’ book Outgrowing God (“Aetheist apostle Dawkins is beyond belief”, Scottish Life, September 22).

I have not read the book but I understand that it is another “rational” demonstration that God cannot be rationally/logically demonstrated to exist, so therefore does not exist.

This is something we have seen many times before him from other “scientists” and “logicians” who seem to think everything in this life is purely rational and must be observed through a microscope.

Like too many of his fellow scientists, Professor Dawkins dismisses outright the many phenomena (apparitions, healings, near-death experiences etc) which have been experienced by people who were perfectly sound of mind – some of whom were not even particularly religious – just because those phenomena did not follow the normal pattern of life.

Do they not provide as good a reason to believe in God as any of Professor Dawkins’ arguments do to the contrary?

G Picken


Mark Smith’s review of Dawkins' latest anti-religious book does not do it justice. He misses out the numerous historical and logical errors and instead treats it as though it were unquestionable holy writ.

The only criticism is the patronising one that Dawkins would rightly swat away – that somehow belief in God is a comfort for the sick and dying. Even those who agree with Dawkins found his previous anti-God book dumbed down and poorly reasoned and written.

"Outgrowing God" is, if anything, even worse. Dawkins has clearly just picked his "facts" from the internet. His argument, for example, that the Epic of Gilgamesh was Sumerian is false (it is Akkadian). Such schoolboy errors are sadly all too typical.

His "reasoning" is even worse, and yet your reviewer sees it as "irresistible”.

Many of us with a knowledge of the Bible and a respect for reason and truth, find it easily resistible. Only those who have blind faith in the prophet of Atheism will see it as otherwise.

David Robertson

Portmahomack, Ross-shire

A forgotten revolution

Neil Mackay’s journey through the revolutions of history was fascinating (Herald on Sunday, September 22). However, as usual the Radical Wars which took place in West Central Scotland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, culminating in the Rising of 1820, are omitted.

He mentions Peterloo which is much better known (partly thanks to the recent major film) but which (like the Tolpuddle episode) was on an altogether smaller scale.

The Radical Wars went on over decades, involving hundreds in violent fights with soldiers and thousands in strikes. They were fighting for clear political as well as economic goals. There were treason trials, executions and mass transportations.

In 2001 there was a debate in the Scottish Parliament over whether the Rising should feature in school curriculums. The debate ended without a vote. It’s time the topic was revisited.

Mary McCabe


The wrong hero

I was rather surprised in your pullout “Pride of Scotland” (Herald on Sunday, September 15) at the prominence given to Andy Kerr on the Smoking ban.

A private member’s bill to ban smoking was introduced in 2004 by Stewart Maxwell, an SNP MSP; this was not supported by the Scottish Executive.

In 2005 Labour produced a bill in their manifesto, in the same terms. This was passed with adulation.

Jim Lynch