It's right to get tough on littering

I am afraid I must take issue with Ron McKay ("Litter Police", The Diary, February 2). Ron seems upset that East Ayrshire Council are planning to fine youngsters for dropping litter in their area, as a result of an initiative by Sally Cogley, Councillor and Member of the Rubbish Party. He obviously has not been round schools at lunchtime and later in the day, when the pupils leave.

The litter round most schools in our area is disgraceful. I am a member of the committee of Ardrossan Accies RFC, which has Ardrossan Academy across the road. Behind our clubhouse has become a convenient area for pupils to have their lunch and unfortunately accompany that with a cigarette or two. Despite their being four bins within easy access to this area, the pupils throw all their detritus on the ground.

A friend and I clear this area every Friday in preparation for the games at the weekend. Mr McKay seems to think that adults are the people responsible for littering, but I would put it to him that the littering behaviour starts in Secondary School and continues into adulthood.

Some adolescent litterers mature and stop doing it but to get all teenagers to modify their behaviour in the way proposed by East Ayrshire Council seems a very good idea. After all, the youngsters can avoid the fine by attending a litter pick which will be a good learning experience. A final note to Mr McKay; there were people fined for dropping cigarettes in Glasgow a few years ago. Shame this does not continue as our cigarette smokers are perhaps the most profuse litterers.

Allan Merry


SNP's misplaced sense of security

When future historians write of the rise and fall of the nationalist movement in Scotland in the early twenty first century I am certain the dominating reason for the fall will be put down in great part to personal morality and an insufferable arrogance.

When leaders of any governing group feel so secure in their positions that they can run any risk and indulge any whim because the people will always be there to back them up, no matter what, the beginning of the end is nigh.

The dictum credited to Abraham Lincoln of it being impossible to fool all of the people all of the time is most apt.

Alexander McKay


Time's running out for Sturgeon

I see a new YouGov poll shows a sharp increase in the number of Britons thinking the UK government is doing a good job handling Brexit, plus a corresponding rapid decline in those believing the government is performing poorly. Yes, there are still fractionally fewer in the former category (42% versus 44%) – but, if the trend continues, not for long. In fact, the poll shows many have moved on from Brexit to be more concerned about the NHS.

This is surely disastrous news for Nicola Sturgeon, as Boris Johnson outmanoeuvres her on holding indyref2 in 2020. Her Brexit means Scexit narrative collapses if we start becoming accepting or even disinterested in Brexit. And it's even worse for the nationalists if instead voters refocus their attention on the SNP's lacklustre record of managing our health service.

Martin Redfern


I don't want this vision

David Cameron suggests that his arch rival, now PM in his place, is "a visionary".

That particular talent down through the ages has been the forte of snake oil salesmen, con artists and spiritual mediums. Even today people still fall for this trick which belongs to the repertoire of such slick wheelers and dealers.

It is only after those sucked in by their spiel have lost out do they come to their senses but by then the perpetrators of such shenanigans have gone merrily and profitably on their way.

Dave says Boris is a visionary, and he has certainly sold those who voted for him a dream, which may well turn out to be a nightmare for standards of living, jobs and public service provision.

Presumably, if the nightmare is the end result, Dave might well change visionary to hallucinatory in relation to his successor.

Denis Bruce


Let's find a use for these 50ps

Anent the distribution of the Brexit 50p coin, I shall be collecting mine to a total of £10, then taking them to a bank to exchange for a note, which I will then donate to the foodbank – the only good use I can see for them, short of discarding them as vainglorious junk.

Anyone care to join me?

L. McGregor,


A vital new route

The declared Climate Emergency means we must do more to use sustainable transport modes such as rail to carry both passengers and freight.

“We need a rail network that’s fit for the 21st century" was your headline for RailFuture Scotland’s bold vision (The Herald on Sunday, February 2), which is very positive.

One major strategic route which would make a real difference is a reinstated direct mainline between Edinburgh and Perth via Kinross. This was closed in January 1970 to make way for the M90 motorway, particularly where it makes sweeping curves downhill between Glenfarg and Bridge of Earn.

Perth is now left with a good rail service to Glasgow taking 55 minutes for the 62 miles, but the service to Edinburgh takes upwards of 75 minutes for the 57 miles on the diverted route via Newburgh and the Fife coast.

The direct route via Glenfarg and Kinross was only 48 miles and when a modern electrified railway is built along that corridor it will be transformational in reducing the journey time from Perth to Edinburgh by over 30 minutes.

As well as benefiting Perth and Kinross-shire, this major time saving would also be enjoyed all along the Highland Main Line to Inverness. It would relieve some of the pressure on capacity on the coast line through Kirkcaldy, provide room for more services from Levenmouth and perhaps St Andrews and, when necessary, provide a useful diversionary route from Edinburgh to Dundee and Aberdeen.

The Scottish economy would be significantly strengthened by provision of such a strategic route.

R J Ardern


Where's the Friendly City gone?

Between 1971 to 1975 when I was a student in Glasgow I observed first-hand how the people of Glasgow, contrary to the reputation of the city, were warm, accepting and hospitable towards newcomers. The growth of populations and religions from all over the world were proof that the city had become a multi-racial population and that the Glasgow was a modern multi-faith society where there is a welcome for all, those of faith as well as those of no faith.

In 1955 Billy Graham, the American evangelist, presented the Christian Gospel in the Kelvin Hall to packed crowds for six weeks, with tens of thousands in attendance.

Fast forward to 2020, what a change has taken place in dear old Glasgow, indeed in the nation of Scotland as whole. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, had booked one night in Glasgow to preach that same Gospel, only to find the venue has cancelled its contract with him because the city council had received some complaints from the public.

In Scotland today, it seems that in our inclusive, liberal and more tolerant society, any minority view or sect is to be respected and given a public platform, except for the Christian message of hope and love.

Joseph Yule


Money always talks

Prince Charles flew by helicopter and then rode in a gas guzzling Bentley to meet scientists from Cambridge University's Whittle Laboratory. It is ironic that his speech was on cutting carbon emissions and lowering aircraft emissions.

Clarence House said that the carbon footprints left by Prince Charles were offset every year. That does not absolve him or the many others who say they use carbon offsetting as an excuse for their huge carbon footprint.

So people who have the money can pay to purge their guilt and continue with their carbon-creating lifestyles. Do they actually pay? Is it tax deductible?

Clark Cross


In its numerous reports online, on radio and on television, the BBC blames the melting of the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica on global warming. However, since it became the voice of climate alarmism, it hasn't mentioned the influence of volcanoes beneath the glacier.

Scientists say these sub-glacial volcanoes and geothermal "hotspots" are part of a natural process that has occurred for centuries but the BBC insists greenhouse gases are solely to blame. Its absurd that a publicly funded news outlet is permitted to be so tendentious.

Dr John Cameron

St Andrews

Clash of dates?

The SNP has postponed its spring conference to the summer. Councillor McEleny says the delay could be due to the possibility that Scotland might beat Israel at the end of the month to qualify for Euro 2020 and the euphoria from this would distract from the SNP conference.

I can't think of anything else coming up that would do this...

Allan Sutherland