SO much of the recent correspondence about Liam McArthur's proposed bill on "assisted dying" swallows the fiction that his bill proposes compassionate care for terminally ill competent adults. It doesn't. It proposes suicide. Suicide is not "dying" but "killing".

It's not entirely our fault, of course. Mr McArthur cleverly entitles his proposed bill "Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland)". It’s easy to imagine Mr McArthur musing to himself, "Mmm... they’ve rejected all attempts to introduce assisted suicide. What if I call it by another name?"

And it works. Correspondents and feature writers routinely discuss "assisted dying" when in fact they’re confusing that with assisted suicide.

Mr McArthur, of course, reveals his true intentions on page 3 of the foreword to his proposed bill. He writes: "Assisted Dying means the practice whereby a person diagnosed with a terminal illness is given the choice to end their own life, by means of medication provided by a doctor for that purpose." It’s a bleak scenario. A terminally ill person chooses to commit suicide by ingesting a lethal poison. A doctor colludes. Trust in the medical profession is killed.

There have been more honest representations of what is at stake, and Mr McArthur is aware of them. In his foreword he writes: "We feel that it is appropriate to use assisted dying as the umbrella term here but note that previous attempts (Assisted Suicide (Scot) Bill) referenced assisted suicide." It’s not appropriate to use "assisted dying" when you mean "assisted suicide". These previous attempts were more up-front than he is.

Catriona Stewart ("Can our government be trusted on assisted dying?", The Herald, January 5) ends her article by writing: "Fundamentally, altering end of life care is no simple thing and we must be ready to catch unintended consequences through highly intentional conversations." She’s right to advocate highly intentional conversations. A starting point is to be honest and accurate in the words we use.

David Kennedy, Glasgow.

• IT is pleasing to read that John Brown (Letters, September 17) "has great sympathy for people who are terminally ill and dying". However, I query whether putting further finance into palliative care can prevent the inevitable death of a mentally competent terminally ill and suffering person in the latter stages. If Liam McArthur's Bill fails to become law some mentally competent and terminally ill dying persons, with adequate finance available, may choose to leave the UK and be transported to a sensible country that hosts an assisted dying law to relieve them of their long suffering, That means of ending the long painful suffering is not available to all.

Gordon Caskie, Campbeltown.

Read more: Assisted dying: let's hope MSPs agree with the voters

Sunak is on a dangerous path

HOW desperate must the Prime Minister be when he tells the upper chamber not to defy the will of the people ("PM says Tories are united on Rwanda", The Herald, January 19).

He is putting himself abroad as the champion of the people's wishes and presenting the revising chamber as the villains of the piece.

His not-so-veiled threat to the unelected members of the House of Lords looks like an attempt to coerce them into giving his flagship bill an easy passage through the Upper House. It is almost as though he is casting the Lords in the same classification as he holds lefty lawyers to make them targets for the ire of the supporters of his Rwanda bill.

I wonder just how many of those in the swollen House of Lords owe their preferment to Conservative governments?

The PM's attempt to influence the outcome of the bill's passage through the Lords reeks of a desire to subvert our unwritten constitution. Clearly he would rather mark his own homework than subject it to the serious scrutiny of that house.

Such metaphorically strong-arm tactics will win him plaudits amongst those who long for the flights to Rwanda to begin but he diminishes himself in the eyes of those who believe in the importance of abiding by international law.

His deflectionary tactic may play well in taking the heat off himself, pinning the blame on the usual suspects and winning him much-needed electoral popularity in the decisive year ahead.

Lord Carlile's comment that this Government is going down a dangerous road with its manipulation of the law to suit its own ambition to remain in power, should not go unheeded.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

The Herald: Rishi Sunak has called on the House of Lords not to scupper his Rwanda plan Rishi Sunak has called on the House of Lords not to scupper his Rwanda plan (Image: Getty)

So much money has been wasted

IN the wonderful movie I Know Where I'm Going", the question asked about some Hebridean islanders "Are they poor?" is answered with "No, they just haven't got very much money."

Mr D Jamieson's question (Letters, January 18) as to where Scotland's (monetary) wealth has gone is answerable with "It's mostly been spent, but much more wealth could be created if we only put our minds to it".

We in Scotland have always been relatively short of money, especially after the disastrous Darien Scheme, which led to political union with our compatriots down south.

Scottish poverty was temporarily alleviated by huge receipts from coal mining, heavy industries like steel, ship and locomotive building especially between the 19th and mid-20th centuries. More recently, North Sea oil has helped restore our prosperity and, pace the Greens, much more petroleum will become available to harvest.

Our whisky sales, fisheries, money-changing, shortbread and tourism bring in riches, the last despite the virtually futile damage inflicted on the land and seascapes by Green policies, notably space-occupying renewables.

One could argue about Scotland's present wealth creation till the cows come home but there is no obvious present prospect of renewed prosperity from developing new industries.

Money has avoidably been spent on frivolities galore, over-budget ferries and foreign Scottish "embassies", not to forget the huge monetary drains of "renewable" electricity hardware.

Therefore, rather than bemoaning international wealth differentials, we Scots should regard constructive money-making as one of our many potential sources of justified national satisfaction as well as of wealth.

Our spending priorities must include defence, education, health and infrastructure.

Charles Wardrop, Perth.

Playing the Churchill card

IT has been suggested that the next General Election might take place in the latter part of this year, possibly in mid-November.

As polls predict a poor performance by the Conservative Party, it is likely that the party spin doctors and PR merchants will be searching for the best way of addressing the issue.

As we approach the end of November there may well be a flurry of articles and television clips from newsreels to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Winston Churchill on November 30, 1874.

Relatively few of the electorate will have memories of being carried, or led, to an air raid shelter to hear the drone of aircraft overhead, wondering if they were British or enemy bombers or remembering leaving for school with a gas mask slung over their shoulder.

Some of Churchill's political and military decisions made during the Second World War were, and remain, controversial, and it will be questioned whether his leadership should play any part in the decision as to who should lead the UK following the forthcoming election.

What is not in question is that, without his leadership at that testing time, and the sacrifice of so many in the armed forces and Merchant Navy as well as civilian volunteers, millions of those alive today would never have been born. The country in which we live, and so much of the what we take for granted, would not exist. It is unlikely that English would be our first language.

It is perhaps little more than history to the majority of those who will cast their vote later this year, while wondering where are the qualities of leadership, or integrity, in politicians here and in several other countries.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: SNP house of cards will soon be a sad footnote in our history

Why we need state support

JAMES McEnaney's somewhat disdainful piece about university tuition fees (“Analysis: Politics is about priorities and these 1,200 places missed the cut”, The Herald, January 17) misses the point. What he calls "the pay-to-learn model" does not widen access to higher education. It simply replaces one criterion for matriculation - academic ability - with another, family wealth and income.

Obviously if we remove state support in any field, be it health or education, and revert to charging the individual the commercial rates for these services, the sky's the limit. If you are rich enough you can buy your way into anywhere, regardless of your own needs or abilities.

However, like the governments of most European countries apart from England, the Scottish Government prefers to provide public support to students to avoid them starting off adult life with a mountain of debt. Even if it means that some wealthy young people who fail to achieve the academic going rate for their course of choice are barred from buying their way on to it.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow.