ARTHUR Robinson (letters, March 2) is right to raise the question of votes at 16.

If the human brain generally matures at 25, as is increasingly clear from expert medical evidence, then 21 was and is a very sensible minimum age for voting, rather than handing it to children of 18 or even 16, as self-styled “progressive” parties have done. (And if 16, why not 15?).

With elections every four or five years, the average age of first-time voters would be 23-24, by which time most would have matured into adulthood, completed full-time education and be contributing to society and the nation through employment.

It is also arguable that late teenagers in the 19th and much of the 20th centuries were more mature than nowadays, having been in full-time employment in the adult world of practical apprenticeships for several years.

And, of course, Mark Twain’s alleged comment well over 120 years ago remains apposite: “When I was 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

John Birkett, St Andrews.

A brave stance

BRAVO, Iain Macwhirter, for exposing so courageously and lucidly the dangerous absurdities of the the trans self-identification movement and its associated zealotry ("Sturgeon will pay at the polls if she does not fight trans zealots", The Herald, 4 March).

All reasonable people must feel sympathy for those afflicted by genetically-inherited gender confusion, particularly when it attracts prejudice, discrimination or offence. However, biological realities cannot be ignored or wished away and the enduring stability of our social structures and behaviour norms depend to a great extent upon a clear recognition and acceptance of the binary differentiation of the genders.

Wise politicians and officialdom will keep well clear of this confused controversy. Our genders are determined at birth and, unless physically reassigned, define us for life. How we choose to live within that definition is, of course, a matter of personal preference. But, after all, a man’s a man for a’ that.

David Henderson, Inverness.

The Genesis exodus

THE irony of the reformation of Genesis ("Genesis to tour after 13 years", The Herald, March 5) is that it's down to the one person not being allowed to take part in it.

After their disastrous 1997 album Calling All Stations enjoyed a longer shelf life in charity shops than record ones, Genesis split as no longer economically viable.

However, guitarist Steve Hackett – who left in the 1970s – increasingly incorporated more old folk-prog Genesis material into his own act and the musicians who could do justice to it with novel twists, until by 2012 a "Genesis Revisited" night was the must-see show in town.

It's probably no coincidence Banks, Collins, and Rutherford now seek to exploit Hackett's groundwork rehabilitating Genesis, especially since Hackett's albums now sell far better than their solo efforts.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone.

A caring solution

I NOTE your article concerning the Young Women's Trust ("Millions are carrying out unpaid work", The Herald, March 4) and agree with them that it is not appropriate to describe

women and indeed men aged 18 to 30 as "economically inactive" if they are working at home "pro bono" looking after the family. In my view and from personal experience they are doing the most important job in the world, looking after the next generation or a family member needing care.

Yes, let's find a more appropriate terminology and recognise the important job they do in our economically driven society.

Ron Lavalette, Ardrossan.

Don’t panic

THE level and tone of media coverage of the spread and effect of coronavirus is absurd, indeed, hysterical. One could be forgiven for believing that we were dealing with a resurgence of the Black Death and not what is essentially a rather virulent form of flu.

Why are journalists buying into this so uncritically?

Michael Collie, Dunfermline.