SELDOM have I read such fanciful nonsense as Neil Mackay’s article on the defence of fireworks at this time of the year (“Don’t ban fireworks: We need a bit of danger in our lives”, The Herald, October 29th)

Mr Mackay’s pseudo- intellectual historical vindication of the sale and use of fireworks ignores the grim reality for many individuals and communities about how fireworks are routinely abused. Many elderly people dread this time of year due to fireworks being posted through their doors or simply the general misuse of them in public places. Deprived areas of Scotland suffer more than most from the damage unfettered use of fireworks can bring. Reports of fireworks being tied to the tails of cats and dogs are not unusual and identifying the perpetrators or even attempting to catch them is fruitless.

Pets are habitually made to suffer by the very nature of fireworks themselves but perhaps Mr McKay does not consider this worthy of banning public sales? Like alcohol, some younger people will always manage to obtain dangerous fireworks and use them inappropriately thereby harming innocent animals and people.

Mr Mackay’s argument that the sale of fireworks had become politicised is tired and misguided. By all means enjoy large-scale public displays of fireworks which are controlled and safe. However, public sales of fireworks must end, irrespective of Mr Mackay’s faux outrage and ridiculous advocacy of dangerous living.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

IT’S a pity dogs can’t read so that instead of having a nervous breakdown or taking to the hills, they would be reassured by Neil Mackay’s opinion – fireworks are necessary for human fulfilment.

“Harnessing that which scares us – that’s what lies at the very heart of what it means to be human,” he writes. Poor Fido would prefer to be harnessed for a carefree romp round the park than shivering with fear in a corner whilst the two- legged enjoy their whizz-bangs.

A bit of compassion for animals will always show humans off in a better light than burnished egos, big bangs and bonfires.

Duncan Graham, Stirling.

HOW utterly lamentable that Scotland’s Columnist of the Year, Neil Mackay, in the course of his disquisition on fireworks should persist in peddling the fashionable dismissal of God from serious discussion. “In Western Europe,” he avers, “we live in an irreligious world in which God is dead. I’m glad of that.”

It is sadly typical of attitudes like your columnist’s to adopt the contemptuous stance of atheism, derisive of believers’ so-called “blind faith,” without bothering to investigate the other side of the argument, and failing to understand how much the anti-God philosophy is based on faith also.

Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great) are championed as far more trustworthy guides to this cult, it seems, than the multitude of magnificent intellects, past and present, who have nailed their colours to the mast of Christian faith.

Stuart J Mitchell, Glasgow G13.