I READ with considerable interest the complimentary remarks of Kevin McKenna on John Knox ("Scotland’s Christians are threatened by secular inquisition", The Herald, October 3). He refers to him as the "great Christian reformer" and writes of his "vision of free education for all".

Some would view his greatness as a "Christian reformer" as worthy of extended debate. However, his role in education is worthy of the highest regard. He planned in the Book of Discipline (1560) for a school in every parish and a senior school in all burghs. He also set out ideas for the reform of universities. Further, he advocated that education should be free for those unable to pay for it. While these plans were not implemented right away, they provided a blueprint for much which happened later. The effects of the availability of education throughout the nation were profound. J Currie, biographer of Robert Burns, observed in 1880: "In the very humblest condition of the Scottish peasants everyone can read, and most persons are more or less skilled in writing and arithmetic."

Scotland has much for which to be thankful in the vision of John Knox, particularly in relation to the foundations provided for national education. One is left wondering what he would make of the unsettling position affecting all branches of education that we are in today.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


HOW low has the human race sunk? I was truly disgusted with the reaction of many people to the announcement that President Trump and his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The tweet announcing their medical condition received more than 1.5 million likes and social media was full of messages hoping Mr Trump would die. Do not be fooled that this was only US citizens. There were many Scots showing that we are not immune from this deeply saddening mental obsession. We will all die sooner or later and to wish death upon a fellow human defines oneself far more than the object of the hate.

David Stubley, Prestwick.

A SEARCH during the weekend for a "Get well, Mr President" card proved fruitless.

Perhaps the shops had sold out.

How is it possible that the virus could have sneaked past the ring of security which encircles the President wherever he goes? It's not as if he had not taken every precaution to prevent himself or those of his entourage from becoming casualties is it?

As leader of the "greatest nation in the world" he is fortunate to have the benefit of treatment from skilled physicians and other health professionals.

How many of the rest of the seven and a half million people in the United States infected by Covid-19 had ready access to affordable healthcare?

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.


THE Beatles at the Odeon in Glasgow in October 1964? I rubbed shoulders with the boys ("John Lennon:

‘I always felt free in Scotland’", Herald Magazine, October 3).

I was returning from night classes in the then Glasgow High School in Elmbank Street, clad as one who studied those days in blazer, collar and tie, well-polished shoes, with briefcase.

Mounted polis were gently herding screaming teenagers this way and that. It was fun to watch, and given my appearance, the boys in blue (I don’t recall any girls in blue), waved me through.

Curiosity took me to the Central Station back entrance of the Central Hotel, and sure enough, along the carriageway swept a limo with darkened windows. The Fab Four leapt out, waved to the fans, and disappeared inside the swing doors.

Straightening my tie, I walked smartly down, and the same doors were opened for me. Inside the packed lobby were the Beatles.

I shook hands with one of them. As for the blazer, I still have it, the very garment that rubbed the shoulders of three other Beatles.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.


THERE appears to be a new word that has recently entered the political lexicon. That is "to mis-speak", meaning "to not tell the truth". Our own Prime Minister admitted to "mis-speaking"' to the House of Commons; President Trump's doctor said he "mis-spoke" about his patient's condition in hospital; and of course that same President must be the greatest "mis-speaker" of all time.

Look out for even more examples in the months to come.

Professor KB Scott, Stirling.