Whose behaviour should we be ashamed of?

I AM not surprised at Alexander McKay’s criticism of Ian Blackford’s statements in the House of Commons (Letters, October 27).

In case Mr McKay has not noticed, likening that House to a bearpit would be an insult to bears. Watching and listening to that place is not edifying, and a loud voice is required to be heard in there. Now I come to think of it, SNP MPs were rebuked by the Speaker for clapping – that was not de rigueur, hoots, honks and braying were appropriate but not well-mannered clapping.

I don’t think that not wearing a tie is disrespectful – in fact, BBC commentators do this often. His reference to playing football in that hallowed place was a comment against women in the House, and it was not in session when that happened.

Mr McKay wants people to know that the SNP does not speak for the people of Scotland. What he means is that the Union is a wonderful institution and must be revered at all times.

All the opinion polls are contrary to that, and the forthcoming General eEection will emphasise that.

He should compare this with Holyrood, a much more civilised and effective Parliament.

Jim Lynch


That Nicola Sturgeon is making the SNP election campaign about independence is understandable – for her, Brexit is a convenient grievance to try to justify indyref2.

But she should be careful. In 2015, she insisted the General Election wasn’t about separating Scotland from the rest of the UK – and won 56 seats. In the 2017 election, having weeks before formally demanding another referendum, she performed worse than Theresa May, losing 21 seats.

Of course, we now live in fevered times. Yet pro-UK voters are more clued up these days – the more the SNP up the ante on independence, the more many will put country before party and, as in 2017, will consider tactical voting.

Martin Redfern


Hearts sink (and tempers rise) all over Scotland when Alexander McKay and Martin Redfern start bad-mouthing the SNP and supporters of an independent Scotland – 50% and growing fast – yet again (Letters, October 27). Like Mr Redfern, I too “have a suggestion” – repeat the following at bedtime every day :

Many countries bigger than Scotland would kill for our resources of energy, fish and farm produce; whisky; natural splendour and tourism; educated and inventive workforce; and – soon to be more valuable than any of these – 90% of Britain’s fresh water.

We are far from Nirvana though – we have sub-standard housing and infrastructure, scandalous rates of child poverty and “in-work” poverty etc, almost all of it stemming from being the junior, largely ignored, partner in a “rigged” Union.

The extreme longevity of the Union of 1707 has rendered it unfit for purpose. It is a “Norwegian Blue’” dead parrot.

The chauvinism, xenophobia and ermine-trimmed fol de rols which now expose Britain to the exasperated mockery of our European friends had little justification in the 20th century – and have none in the 21st.

Let’s get “independence done”.

David Roche


Questions that need answers – “Name one law imposed on the UK by the EU that the UK didn’t sign up for” or “Name the EU laws that should be scrapped”, or even “Why is the principle of UK sovereignty and self-governance a valid reason to leave the EU, but that principle shouldn’t apply to Scotland within the UK?”

The world must look on and wonder why any working-class person wants the corrupt, incompetent Westminster elite having more control over their lives?

Rod Selbie


Dangerous opinions

THANKS to The Herald on Sunday for covering the alarming increase in antidepressant prescribing to 10 to 14-year-olds in Scotland (Surge in children on antidepressants and sedatives, News, October 27). It was disturbing, however, to learn that Dr Aileen Blower, speaking for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, thinks antidepressants “definitely reduce suicide risk”.

There is no reliable research evidence whatsoever to support this misleading assertion. There are, however, multiple studies showing that antidepressants actually increase suicidality, particularly in young people. Some of the drugs even come with a written warning about increased suicidality in children.

Dr Blower, and the college, have been asked to retract this statement.

It is no longer acceptable for senior health professionals to make public statements on serious public health issues based on anything other than scientific evidence.

Perhaps such unquestioning acceptance of drug company marketing, by psychiatrists and others, has contributed to the overuse of psychiatric drugs on our children, and the rest of us, in the first place?

Professor John Read Clinical Psychology, University of East London

Beverley Thorpe Researcher, Inverness

Marion Brown Psychotherapist, Helensburgh

Misplaced due diligence

RUTH Davidson can say what she wants, but diligence, first and foremost, was due to her constituents whom she promised to serve.

Also the general public who pay her wage although she would have been only one of many politicians who earn extra money, not because of any talent they possess, but because of the position of trust they hold.

While she eventually saw the error of her ways, she should quit now anyway and ask for her new job back. A Tory PR firm suits her, though it will render any participation by her in indyref2 null and void.

GR Weir


A question of priorities

I AM increasingly exasperated at the moans of self-styled “conservationists” about essential economic development in central Edinburgh whose latest complaints arise from some temporary scaffolding in Princes Street Gardens, the effects of which will have long since gone when it’s time to re-erect it for next year’s Christmas market.

When will these dinosaurs realise that as so few locals now live in the city centre due to Airbnb (and even fewer bother shopping in Princes Street on account of the council’s exorbitant parking charges), visual amenity is irrelevant?

Instead, if Edinburgh is to flourish financially in the current Brexit uncertainty, we must encourage tourists (and day visitors from elsewhere in central Scotland) to come and spend their money on whatever tawdry items may appeal – no matter what it does for the city’s appearance.

Vegetation can easily be replanted, but unemployment and poverty can blight entire lives.

John Eoin Douglas


Fight this tide of hate

WHAT are we supposed to make of the vitriol aimed at Gina Miller just because she is willing to invest so much of her wealth in trying to stymie Brexit?

This is a country which says it believes in free speech. Intimidation does not come into that category.

What else was the request for crowdfunding to find a hitman to put a stop to her activities?

Presumably this could be taken as malevolent black humour but it’s funny in a world where rage is the default position. To have such threats abroad against someone with her high profile could well lead to irrational attacks of a physical and mortal nature.

It is time the UK Government made strenuous attempts to outlaw and hunt down those who are initiating a campaign of hate and violence against a citizen who wishes to defend her position on Brexit both legitimately and legally.

Denis Bruce


A national newspaper?

THE day after the European games The Herald gave ratings for both Celtic and Rangers players, but not for the foreign teams. I sort of understand this as most of these players are unknown to the Scottish public.

However, the following Sunday in domestic football, there were player ratings for the Celtic players, but not Hearts players. Then, after last weekend, there were player ratings for both the Glasgow teams, but not for Aberdeen or Motherwell players.

Are we to assume that as far as The Herald is concerned only the Old Firm matter, and the rest of the Scottish teams are “foreign”? You cannot be a national newspaper and at the same time care only about your local Glasgow teams.

Dougie Anderson