COLLEGE leaders are to be applauded for taking a tough stance against college lecturers who take part in another marking boycott ("Colleges agree plan to dock pay from staff who take part in marking boycott", The Herald, February 10). It's about time somebody in this country stood up to out-of-control trade unions.

Following their long summer holiday last year, FE lecturers mounted a similar resulting boycott. They did so because they were dissatisfied with the arrangement which sees the taxpayer fund them to have 13 weeks' holiday per year. They were further dissatisfied that they earn only £40,000 compared to Scotland's median gross annual salary for full-time workers, which is £33,332. And they were even further dissatisfied with their chalk-face workload of 20-odd hours per week. They were dissatisfied then, and they're dissatisfied still. I've come to the conclusion that they will never be satisfied, and that they will always come back for more.

The consequence of last year's resulting boycott by well-salaried, superannuated lecturers was that young people's lives were put on hold because they couldn't complete their apprenticeships. The boycott similarly stopped first-year construction apprentices, who barely earn £6 per hour, from progressing to their next stage and receiving a £2p/h wage rise for which they'd worked all year. Everything and everyone was to wait until the lecturers got more. In the topsy-turvy world of progressive politics it's Mr Bumble who demands more from Oliver. What is in the interests of apprentices, their families and their employers was simply a means to the lecturers' end. And the end is, more. More, more, more. And when they get it, they still want more.

Now they want to do the same thing again. So it's right that college leaders stand up for the taxpayer as well as their students. But perhaps more radical solutions need to be considered. Perhaps the argument for the development of technical schools could simply do away with the need for a college sector altogether. Perhaps the taxpayer could do more with less.

Graeme Arnott, Stewarton.

Read more: We need a national debate on how to avoid desecrating the countryside

The M8 has blighted Glasgow

MARK Smith's excellent article on the condition of some of Glasgow's finest buildings was a welcome addition to the growing awareness of the sad state of the city ("Glasgow's Vogue cinema: This how to do restoration", The Herald, February 10).

The run-down appearance of Union Street, for example, is made even more tragic by the fact it is home to some of the city's finest architecture including the Egyptian Halls and Ca' d' Oro building. The exit from Glasgow Central at Union Street could be transformed if these and other buildings received the care they deserve.

The neglect of some of its splendid buildings is not however the whole story of the city's condition. Strolling around Glasgow there are swathes of the city which, in describing them, adjectives like dystopian and nightmarish seem appropriate. Townhead, St George's Cross, Charing Cross and Anderston are examples. What these localities have in common is their proximity to the monstrosity that is the M8 motorway. Glasgow is an example of the consequences of prioritising motor cars above other considerations, for example public health and pleasant surroundings.

It is astonishing that while we wring our hands over environmental emergencies we should be considering building more roads to take ever more motor cars. Part of the answer of course is improved, efficient and reliable public transport. This represents a big challenge to our society, in so far as it is possible to speak of such a thing, and its dominant ideology. It means a break with (so-called) individualism, and consumerism and the promotion of the idea of the public in the broadest sense. It also requires long -term thinking and a break with the short-termism which pervades every aspect of our society.

Brian Harvey, Hamilton.

Read more: Moving ferries to Troon long-term would be disastrous for Arran

Troon will not be so bad

I AM not sure if I agree with Neil Arthur’s assessment of Troon as a suitable port for Arran (Letters, February 9).

I have been travelling to Arran for 75 years and throughout that time, Ardrossan, despite its obvious geographic location, has never been a port of resilience in adverse weather. Fairlie, and subsequently Gourock much further away than Troon) were the ports of refuge.

The increase in sailing time from Troon should be more than offset by the fact that two ferries will be plying the route (should the new ferries ever be finished). This will increase the capacity for cars and passengers using the route.

The admitted transport problems between Troon harbour and station can surely be overcome by vision, planning and, of course, investment. Although when has the SNP administration shown a capacity for any of these?

It claims that the Arran ferries will act as “a springboard” for future investment in Ferguson Marine. With its current record, who would buy anything from this yard?

John NE Rankin, Bridge of Allan.

Churchillian response

ROBIN Dow (Letters, February 12) attributes his 84 years, excellent health and undiminished vigour to his consumption of a daily two bottles of red. Winston Churchill died aged 90, his rule of life prescribing as an absolutely sacred rite the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.

Me, I reckon you are either lucky or unlucky.

David Miller, Milngavie.

The Herald: Winston Churchill was fond of alcoholWinston Churchill was fond of alcohol (Image: PA)

A pair of bloomers

IN Hannah Stephenson's gardening article ("Eight interesting facts about the orchid", Herald Magazine, February 10) no mention was made that according to the Royal Botanic Gardens Book Wild Orchids of Scotland 1993, there are 28 species of wild orchid growing in Scotland. I even have two broad-leaved helleborines which have appeared spontaneously in my garden in Scotstounhill. And in the same Magazine issue, anyone following the instructions to find the House of Dun ("House of Dun is more than just an historic house", February 10) would be well advised to take a boat, as four miles east of Montrose is well out into the North Sea. I would strongly recommend going four miles west.

Angus McKee, Glasgow.

Streetwise ... or not?

SURELY the answer to pavement parking is to remove the pavement from one side of the road?

I'll get my coat.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.