I COULD go along with most of what Max Cruickshank (Letters, November 6) has to say about solving the current drug crisis expect for one crucial point that he mentions but does not explain. Why are drug deaths south of the Border one-third the level in Scotland under the same existing “Westminster” laws?

It seems to me that the Scottish Government could do with swallowing some of its “we’ll take no lessons from” rhetoric and immediately determine just why there is such a huge difference between Scotland and England. Changing such sensitive laws while ensuring the laws of unintended consequences are avoided is a time-consuming business particularly with the undoubted political priorities. Better to aggressively pursue solutions that already appear to be working elsewhere.

Sadly, I doubt that will ever happen and the debate over this clear crisis will continue to be polarised and paralysed like most other critical topics.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke.

Time to review procurement process

THERE appears to be something basically wrong with the entire British safety and public procurement system. We had Grenfell Tower, where the type of external cladding used during refurbishment is banned in the United States and classed as “flammable” in Germany. The Edinburgh trams fiasco. The Edinburgh Sick Kids and Glasgow Queen Elizabeth Hospital problems. Both built by the same contractor. The list can go on.

Individual ministers can hardly be held to account over a raft of such failings. They hand over the money like any person in a shop and expect something that works in return. Throwing more money at the NHS, housing, rail and so on is not going to work if we can’t get results.

We are now into the General Election party political point-scoring season which will cloud the main issues with all these projects. A complete root and branch examination of safety and public procurement needs to be undertaken. In the case of safety issues there requires to be some form of accountability. I was of the understanding that in public contracts contractors required ISO accreditation. Clearly this not working. In the case of cost issues the contractor should be held liable. Why are we paying for an Edinburgh hospital that was “signed off” as completed when clearly it was not?

Eric Flack, Glasgow G15.

Lucky escape

I SAVED a life today, or perhaps that should be spared a life. I was driving turning left into a side street when a girl walked off the pavement and in front of my car. It was raining and she was walking away from my direction of approach with her anorak hood pulled up against the driving rain. The wires leading from inside her jacket hood suggested either her brain had an external power-source (obviously faulty) or she was wearing earphones; possibly the former. Whatever the case she appeared oblivious to the noise of my performing an emergency stop and continued on her merry way without breaking stride.

I wonder if little Miss J Walker will ever know that had I been paying the same degree of attention as she was that she would now be in hospital or in a morgue and I would be contemplating selling my car. One or both of us must have a guardian angel.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

Rules of engagement

I HAPPILY admit to no experience of workplace romance, as contender, participant or witness, but am concerned that Brian Beacom’s exposition and qualified endorsement("We should all love the idea of workplace romances", The Herald, November 7 ), seems to omit two basic rules: in unfamiliar territory titles such as Sir or Ma’am should not be used, and there are more convincing aliases than “Smith”.

Personally I favour the Shakespeare family names “Capulet” and “Montague”.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.