I HAPPENED to be in Aden for four days in 1966, on a Navy ship returning from the Far East. We were advised only to go ashore in groups, as anti-British feeling was rife. I only say this to give a time line to the longevity of anti-western feeling in the Middle East: Aden being the first “outing” of Al-Qaeda bombers.

The Salafist jihadist argument that the west is composed of “Crusaders, Zionists, Colonists, Exploiters” strikes deep, especially among Sunnis. The welcome death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is only the end of that particular phase, but given the unfortunate triumphalist language used by President Trump over his death (“Islamic State leader ‘died like a dog, he died like a coward, reveals Trump”, The Herald, October 28), and his boasting that “we have the oil fields” will only act as a recruiting sergeant to the next phase of jihadists. The next leader is certainly out there right now, in one of the many off-shoots and affiliates of Islamic State, or waiting release from a brutish prison. Given Mr Trump is reducing the US special forces on the ground, his abandonment of the Kurds and his disparaging of the US intelligence community, the next leader may be harder to put down.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Give councils the cash

IF Nicola Sturgeon really means what she says about improving the lot of Scottish children in care she has a simple remedy to hand (“We are determined to improve the lives of children in care”, The Herald, October 26). The responsibility for in-care children falls primarily on local authorities. Since 2010, Scottish local authorities have had a real-terms cut in their budgets of around £2.5billion. According to the Scottish Parliament’s own statistics authority most of these cuts are as a result of deliberate decisions by the First Minister and her successive Finance Secretaries.

If the First Minister really cares about improving the lot of these children she has to reverse the cuts to local councils. Give them the money, and they will do the job. Anything is else is crocodile tears and pointless, hypocritical, hand-wringing. If persuaded, I would be grateful if she could start by reversing at least some of the £100m that North Ayrshire Council is down over that period so that my constituents would be the first to feel the benefit.

Alex Gallagher.

Labour Councillor, North Ayrshire Council, Largs.

Channel is doing well

CONTRARY to what your leader writer stated (“BBC failing Scottish audiences,” The Herald, October 26), the new BBC Scotland TV channel is performing very well and fully in line with the expectations outlined by regulators Ofcom prior to launch.

The channel has been watched by more than one in six of audiences in Scotland every week since launch in February – a figure most media organisations would be very happy with, including The Herald.

Requests to view BBC Scotland programmes on the iPlayer have also risen 100 per cent this year to more than six million, while the channel is adding unique reach to the BBC TV portfolio, most notably amongst harder to reach groups including younger audiences.

Ian Small, BBC Scotland, Glasgow G51.

The abuse of music

IT is not only restaurants, shops and bars which inflict so-called background music on us (Letters, October 26).

The BBC refuses to learn from justified and long-standing criticism of its enthusiasm for not only excessive decibels but for the music selections.

In the otherwise excellent Rise of the Nazis recently on BBC2, extracts from Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Moonlight were used throughout, plus odd snatches of Wagner, a Viennese waltz and opera – all quite inappropriately and unnecessarily – to accompany scenes of storm troopers marching with fire torches, Hitler saluting them from a balcony, the Reichstag fire and its suspension, the book-burning obscenity and so forth.

Does the BBC Music Department approve of such prostitution of our greatest music?

John Birkett, St Andrews.