WITH all that is going on at the moment it is indeed possible to "lose sight of the ball", but I noticed, in an effort to stimulate its economy, Germany has cut its rate of VAT – a tax, as the more elderly amongst us will recall, that was introduced as the price of EU membership.

This is very interesting indeed, but remember Britain has now surrendered its membership of the EU, so when can we see that 20 per cent tax removed from our bills?

An old saying, which suggests we are as likely to see Hell freeze over first, comes to mind.

Alan McKinney, Edinburgh EH16.

TWENTY-FIVE foreign supertrawlers, each more than 100 metres long and capable of catching hundreds of tonnes of fish a day using nets up to a mile long, collectively spent 2,963 hours in 2019 and up to 1,388 hours in 2018 intensively fishing in 39 UK marine protected areas. Thank heaven for Brexit.

Doug Clark, Currie

Who defines hate?

TIM Hopkins (Letters, June 10) makes his case for Hate Crime law thus: “these offences contain provisions intended to ensure the right to freedom of speech and debate, but they of course deserve careful scrutiny to get the boundaries right”. Aye, there’s the rub.

Who decides where the invisible line between language that offends and criminal language is located? In short, who gets to define hate speech? How can we possibly ensure a law like this would never be abused? Just last year in a Scottish court a comedian was convicted of a hate crime for what was no more than an online prank in dubious taste.

How long would it be before the law was used by someone to silence an ideological opponent? The trouble with hate speech law is that it can be interpreted any way the group in charge wants.

If we really want to protect the vulnerable we should unburden our police force of having to enforce baffling trendy laws. The vulnerable groups, so emotively listed by Mr Hopkins, will be better protected by a police force permitted to deploy its common sense.

John McArthur, Glasgow G73.

Surfeit of experts

ALISON Rowat accurately describes Nigel Havers as purring in his capacity of presenter of the BBC's The Bidding Room ("Watch out, there are some smooth operators about", Herald Magazine, June 13). Mr Havers's only apparent contribution is to introduce sellers of odd objects to a valuer, who then directs these bargain hunters to a panel of five equally optimistic dealers.

Does the programme merit the services of six experts to consider and conclude a simple sales transaction? At a time when the BBC is committed to self-examination on expenditure and TV licensing charges for the elderly the word "havering " comes to mind as to the cost of personnel in the bidding room.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

Guns spiked?

YOUR Those were the days photographs on Saturday showed housewives handing in their metal appliances and workmen removing ornamental gates to be melted down for weapons ("The scrap metal campaign that aided the war effort", The Herald, June 13). As a child in Glasgow I remember walking along the tops of low garden walls and wondering why they were all perforated with stumps of iron.

The story I heard later was that this was all just a propaganda exercise to get the population to feel involved in the war. The iron collected throughout the war years was unsuitable for weaponry and just ended up dumped in landfill.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow G31.