I SYMPATHISE with Hilda Butler (Letters, November 21). I too have written to all the MSPs in my area about Assisted Dying(AD) and have received replies from only half of them; but I have pressed them to reject the bill.

My reasons are that it would be: (1) bad law (no mechanism set up to legally monitor use and trends); (2) taking resources away from palliative care; (3) putting more pressure on NHS staff; (4) allowing proponents of AD to argue for further de-legalisation of handling death (as experience in Holland, Canada and more has demonstrated - truly a slippery slope; (5) Eroding even more trust in our doctors whose morale is at an all-time low.

The poor, disabled, depressed, old and lonely, already victims of government spending cuts, would feel less able to justify living when doctors would feel duty-bound (as they are now in Canada) to discuss AD. We must trust the NHS and all doctors to first, do no harm (primum non nocere).

We must all "rage against the dying of the light" as one disreputable alcoholic once put it. We are to count ourselves lucky if we have a swift, unexpected, pain-free or even longed-for death but we cannot choose when. How many parents would ever agree to their children killing themselves?

Our MSPs are wise to ponder the issues and allow more debate. We need more wisdom, more respect for the lives we have. Society today champions "self-determination". Is "self-obliteration" to be made legal?

Alastair W Rigg, Lockerbie.

Read more: Time our MSPs told us what they think about the Assisted Dying Bill

No comparison with Japan

I NOTE Kathleen Nutt's article on the proposal before the Scottish Parliament to allow councils to charge a premium council tax rate on second homes ("Council tax hike on second homes is not without pitfalls", The Herald November 21).She seeks to draw a comparison between the Scottish experience and that of Japan. I know the rural experience of both countries well as I live in the Cairngorm National Park and my father lived in Hiroshima from 1953 to 1960 and maintained a lifelong interest in Japan.

The Japanese experience is completely different from our own and it is either deeply disingenuous or ignorant to use this as a comparative worthy of discussion. Japan is in a state of demographic collapse; we are not. This collapse is particularly pronounced in the rural areas of Japan and the government and prefectures are trying to encourage both young families into rural areas and second holiday home ownership to inject some economic life into areas which are literally dying out. That is simply not the case in Scotland's National Parks where widespread second home ownership has sucked the economic life out of many of our villages and rural communities, impoverishing locals in the process.

J Alastair Kendall, Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire.

Loopholes and sinkholes

WHILE the blunders of a technophobic government minister are understandably too good to miss in the political and press communities, it is nevertheless disappointing that so little attention has been paid to one of the central themes of the whole affair, namely that it is possible to run up astronomical mobile phone bills while abroad.

While the tech-savvy can find ways round this it is concerning that the innocent holidaymaker might arrive home to find an unwanted souvenir of their trip appearing in their inbox. It is surely a loophole that our political representatives and consumer protection campaigners should be looking to close. When the political storm has blown out it is to be hoped this is not forgotten.

Robin Irvine, Helensburgh.

A prayer for the Kirk

IT is clearly a matter of considerable regret for the Church of Scotland, as it is faced with the profound problems arising from a fall in membership, decline in income and shortage of ministers, that the decision has been reached to bring an end to regular weekly Sunday services at Birnie Kirk, near Elgin ("Last service held at oldest kirk", The Herald, November 22). That is one of the many difficult decisions having been made by the Church with many still to be made.

Birnie Church is dedicated to St Brendan the Navigator. Perhaps some inspiration for the Church of Scotland as it grapples with the challenges and problems before it can be found in the Prayer of St Brendan: "Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You."

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Read more: Gender reform is being held back by politics in London

Vested interest reigns supreme

IAN Gray (Letters, November 21) asks "why can't all Christians unite?". He might as well ask why can't all those with religious faith unite? I'm sure a great number do and many more would. But the interpretation of selected ancient texts, manuscripts and historical narratives that are often vague and contradictory has resulted in a multitude of opinion, dogma and tradition.

We may all be Jock Tamson's bairns but, sadly, we can't seem to rid ourselves of the prejudice that pervades society to this day. Non-Christian characteristics, such as selfishness and elitism, breed vested interest and hypocrisy.

Why can't all Christians unite? Mr Gray would be as well asking why politicians can't unite. Now that would be cause for celebration if they could.

David Bruce, Troon.

The Herald: Should we re-introduce the wolf?Should we re-introduce the wolf? (Image: PA)

Bring back the wolf

THE “problem" of so many deer in Scotland ("Community given chance to put deer in their gun sights", The Herald, November 18) is easily solved by reintroducing the wolf, a Scottish native species exterminated around 300 years ago. Taking pot shots by “cowboys” (deer stalkers), both amateur and professional, would cause much cruelty.

Unfortunately the “big bad wolf” syndrome sticks in the mind of the ill-informed. Those of us who have camped in places both in North America and Europe, where wolves roam free, have rarely glimpsed these creatures, despite trying hard to see them.

Bernard Zonfrillo, Glasgow.

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Words without meaning

HAVING enjoyed reading Robert Menzies' well-researched letter on words (November 22), which includes a reference to shortening what is written to save time, I reached the back page of today's Herald and read of a hotel group's first venture outside of Ireland ("Irish hotel group to open new venue in Glasgow", November 22).

What is wrong with "outside Ireland"?

Will today's Autumn Statement by the Chancellor be described as a key driver for change, prudent and proportionate, or a case of short-term pain for long-term gain?

Perhaps it will amount simply to virtue signalling.

David Miller, Milngavie.