IT is clear that there are serious concerns about the handling of Common Good Funds in Scotland by today’s local authorities ("Half of Scots councils accused of ‘mismanaging' community funds", The Herald, June 27). Further to those justified concerns, it has to be acknowledged that, throughout Scotland following the passage of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, there has been a considerable loss of identity, local accountability and sense of place.

That Act as from May 1975 removed town councils, many of which had existed for hundreds of years, with councils such as Paisley, Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth departing the scene, and installed district and regional councils, such as Strathclyde Regional Council. The unitary councils we have today arrived in 1996, such as East Dunbartonshire Council.

It is, of course, appropriate that those responsible today for Common Good Funds are challenged to conduct proper and efficient administration of them. However, it is to be recognised that the structural changes introduced have not been entirely seamless when one considers, for example, the loss occasioned by the demise of elected town councillors answerable directly to the people they served in their particular township and for their actions and omissions therein.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


MONDAY’S "abortion summit" was saddening to all in Scotland who believe both mothers and babies are of equal value and deserve equal protection in law ("Scots cities set to trial buffer zones around abortion clinics", The Herald, June 21). And it was a missed opportunity to ask important questions.

Rather than focus on the comparatively small issue of pro-life protests outside some clinics, leaders ought to be asking why the number of abortions taking place in Scotland has reached a record high. Why is it that so many women each year think ending their pregnancy is the only option for them? This is alarming. Abortion carries profound emotional and physical risks.

Our leaders ought to be asking why, given scientific advancements, abortion is permitted up to 24 weeks – past the point of viability – and up to birth when a pre-born baby is disabled. And they should be asking if the recent decision to extend controversial home abortion rules is wise, considering the very obvious medical concerns.

We want to see a Scotland where all human life is esteemed and protected from conception to natural death. And a Scotland that reckons honestly with issues such as abortion. We would urge politicians to consider every viewpoint in this debate, and be prepared to ask tough questions, even if this does not make them popular in the current political climate.

Michael Veitch, Parliamentary Officer, CARE for Scotland, Glasgow.


THE duplicity of the Americans baffle me. On one hand they overturn the Roe v Wade abortion act stating a “right to life”, yet on the other hand they are happy to allow mass murder by means of automatic weapons. The right to bear arms was constituted solely to protect the country and at a time when muskets were being used.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.


ELIZABETH Crombie (Letters, June 27) writes that it is a threatening proposition to have men who say they are women in women-only spaces. In Glasgow Central Station recently I was planning not to trek down to the toilets with a large suitcase so decided to use the accessible toilets.

You have to ring a buzzer and then declare that you wish entry. I am not sure why this is as no one would likely declare a malevolent intent. The door was opened remotely and there was a gentleman in a cubicle with the door open, on his phone, shouting his head off in a very agitated state. Needless to say I decided not to stay.

Really we already have gender-neutral toilets in the way of these accessible ones. The question is: should they be accessible to all and if they are, should there not be attendants present? I am not planning to use these toilets any time soon so will invest in a smaller suitcase and use the regular ones in the basement.

Irene Munro, Conon Bridge.


I READ with interest and amusement the response from Thelma Edwards (Letters, June 25) in regard to the new “all completely recyclable” beer bottles from Carlsberg.

Perhaps I am mistaken but I thought that glass bottles were recyclable. Our local council certainly expect us to put glass in the separate bin which it provides for that purpose.

Our milk is delivered from a farm three miles from where we live (they do cover a much wider area). The bottles are returned, sterilised and re-used, just like they did in days gone by. Surely reusing glass bottles is less wasteful then recycling. It was done before, it can be done again.

David Clark, Tarbolton.


I AM no great fan of the game of tennis but as I had nothing better to do on a miserable late June day, I decided to watch some Wimbledon.

As I watched, I wondered how the crowd could become to animated as a 100mph serve flashed by the receiver or if the receiver actually managed to return the serve (usually the second serve), the ball went back and forth and back and forth, accompanied by occasional grunts and yelps, until one of the contestants hit it outwith the lines or into the net.

I managed to stay with it for an underwhelming half an hour and concluded that the spectacle would be greatly enhanced if the server was only allowed one attempt and no second serve permitted.

After all, in football or rugby you don't get two attempts at a penalty kick or throw-in ... just saying.

James Martin, Bearsden.


RECENT correspondence concerning the Gaelic language (Letters, June 20, 21, 23, 24 & 27) brought to mind a story I heard years ago. During an interview with a Gaelic scholar, the English presenter asked to hear some spoken Gaelic. The interviewee obligingly recited a short passage, during which was mentioned "politician".

When the speaker finished, the interviewer said: "I noticed that you used the English word 'politician' there."

Replied the academic: "Actually, it's from the Greek."

Dougie McNicol, Bridge of Weir.


YOUR tortoise tales (Letters, June 27 & 28) remind me of the time a tortoise was mugged by five snails and when interviewed by the police and asked if he'd recognise them, he responded: "I'm not sure, it happened so quickly". Oh, for a return to that pace of life.

Thomas Brennan, Glasgow.