ROSEMARY Goring writes that there could hardly be a more calculated insult to womankind when a fuming zealot says “in today’s world the most dangerous place to be is actually in the womb of a woman" and also writes about the intensity of prejudice and oppression with which the pro-choice lobby has had to contend ("A wonderful day for equality but a sad day for the Union", the Herald, October 23).

If an abortion doesn’t take place a child is born. I would imagine that child would be quite pleased they weren’t aborted. That isn’t zealotry, that’s compassion.

Michael Watson, Glasgow G73.

Service disadvantage

IN his letter (October 22) commenting about the article on Nicola Taylor, the CEO of Chardon Hotels, Bill Eadie says "it is high time businesses stopped complaining about tax burdens". I believe the burdens Ms Taylor was referring to would have been business rates. The licensed trade and leisure sector suffer from a punitive rating regime which actively discourages "reinvesting profits to grow their business" as Mr Eadie suggests.

As CEO of my own small business in the leisure sector I can assure Mr Eadie that if he pays us a visit he will not find me sitting in my office counting my "ridiculous salary"; it is more likely I will serve him at the bar. The tourism and leisure sectors contribute significant amounts to Scotland's economy and are major employers, but we suffer high rates of vat and pay higher business rates than other types of business.

William Gold, Glasgow G4.

Showing the way

THE point made by Dr Maclaren (Letters, October 22) about the black US serviceman whose wife was offered a seat on a Glasgow bus in 1950 and later recounted this story to Rosa Parks, reminds me of how racial segregation in the southern US states was affected by events during the war.

The story goes that black US servicemen based in England couldn't believe how decently they were treated by the local populations they lived amongst; at dances the local girls asked them to dance and were genuinely friendly. There was even a black serviceman accused of raping a white local who was due to be hanged by the US military, but was saved from the noose when the local population, who knew the true story, organised a petition to have him reprieved, successfully as it turned out. This made them realise that this whole racial segregation thing at home was wrong, and if a bunch of English folk could see that, then so could the US. The story was recounted to a certain Martin Luther King and the rest, as they say, is history...

Alan Macdonald, Menstrie.

Please ring…

I SPENT Monday night (October 21) in Glasgow, and in the morning shortly after 8 I walked, complete with overnight rucksack and hessian carrier bag, along the River Kelvin walkway between Queen Margaret Drive and Kelvin Bridge. As an old man of 78, who can sometimes feel a little unstable, I found it rather alarming that cyclists were coming up almost without sound behind me and whizzing past inches away. I would have felt much safer and more comfortable if they had rung their bells, but almost none of them did (and very many thanks to the two exceptions).

Cyclists: be more courteous and considerate. Please ring your bells when coming up behind pedestrians on a shared path.

David Ward, Aberchirder.

Ahead of the times

THE recent research pointing to the long-term impact of heading a football on brain function ("Warning as footballers face higher threat of Alzheimer’s", The Herald, October 22) brings to mind a Scots term I remember from my childhood, one which I see from the Dictionary of the Scots Language is still in colloquial and literary use. "Heid-the-baw" was a term for a person with restricted intellectual function or whose judgement was constantly suspect. It seems that Scots-speakers had discerned the condition before the scientists demonstrated its basis.

Ian Brown, Giffnock.