MEDIA coverage of the 40th anniversary of the miners’ strike quite rightly concentrates on the Conservative Government’s disgraceful attack on miners, on the appalling behaviour of some of the police and on the impressive strength of mining communities in supporting the strikers ("How the bitter miners’ strike of the 80s taught us no-one ever got justice by asking nicely for it", The Herald, March 18).

It is understandable that, 40 years on, there is still a feeling of anger at Margaret Thatcher’s treatment of the miners and pride in the way the mining communities handled themselves. Perhaps not enough has been said about how the strike was a classic example of lions being led by donkeys, or rather by a donkey. By starting the strike when coal stocks at power stations were high, and by denying the miners a vote on the strike, Arthur Scargill was nearly as guilty as Margaret Thatcher when it comes to their parts in the destruction of the industry.

But looking back, while it is unforgivable that the inevitable winding down of deep coal mining was not matched by the provision of other employment opportunities for mining communities, surely it is a good thing that people no longer have to work down coal mines? Even with the improved safety provisions and increasing mechanisation, the industry was a dangerous and unpleasant one to work in, with serious short and long-term health risks. There are many tales of miners encouraging their sons to do well at school so that they did not have to follow their father down the pit.

No industry has a right to last forever but no industry should be dumped as the deep coal mining industry was, with its workers abandoned. Our offshore oil industry is rightly to be wound down, but this must done in a planned way while alternative employment in renewable energy is delivered. That will take time.

The miners were not offered a Just Transition, or indeed any transition. For that Thatcher’s government should be eternally condemned. Let us hope that the oil industry’s Just Transition is actually delivered and does not turn out to be no more than a spin doctor’s slogan.

Alistair Easton, Edinburgh.

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Ban the men, not the prayers

I AM an atheist of long standing but come from a religious family. I lost my younger sister to cancer recently and she found great solace in prayer and her belief in her resurrection. I applauded her piety even if I could not embrace it.

Prayer cannot, and should not, be banned by any government no matter their reasons ("New law will ban praying near Scots abortion clinics", The Herald, March 18).

I also believe in choice. Choice of the woman to have or not have an abortion without interference from others. The problem, as I see it, of the anti-abortionists, judging by the recent photos in your newspaper is that a majority of the protesters are men. As a man I have little idea of the pressures on women in the circumstances surrounding whether to have or not to have an abortion and it is likely these protesting men have no idea either.

Perhaps the Scottish Government should ban the men from the protests instead of prayer.

Ken Mackay, Glasgow.

A sure-fire vote-winner

IT was while I was driving to a social event at a venue I wasn't familiar with that I realised I wasn't paying proper attention to my driving. Not being properly aware of upcoming traffic lights or watching for pedestrians at pavement edges...why? Well, I was watching unfamiliar road surfaces for potholes.

We have all become aware of the holes within our own locality but out of these areas it's necessary to be ultra-careful.

My car is going into our local garage for tyre replacement and a suspension arm replacement, each caused by road conditions.

I'd suggest that any party promising to repair roads and pavements (with proof of how they would do so) would be a shoo-in at any upcoming election.

They all search for such a route to success. So, over to the parties.

Brendan Keenan, Glasgow.

The Herald: Potholes are the bane of many motorists' livesPotholes are the bane of many motorists' lives (Image: PA)

The hell of Havanah

HOW surreal to see Havannah Street feature in your Collegelands Park article ("Rural park included in development plan for site in Glasgow", The Herald, March 15).

The 1870s, I believe, saw the original (circa18th century) disappear with the rest of the Old University’s High Street area: Havannah, New Vennel and South Pettigrew Street, to name but three, conjure a rather notorious era for poor housing. A vivid reflection on Glasgow’s living history journey.

Brian D Henderson, Glasgow.

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A dream of a performance

I COULDN’T agree more with Keith Bruce’s review of the RSNO concert in Glasgow on Saturday evening ("Puckish fun makes Mendelssohn’s Shakespeare-inspired tale a dream, The Herald, March 18). In particular, the Shakespearian text from A Midsummer Night's Dream was “superbly delivered in this performance by Christine Steel, her verse-speaking an example of clarity and expression with just enough Puckish fun”. Spot on.

When conductor Thomas Sondergard announced last week that the Mendelssohn concert would include an (unnamed) narrator, I confess I anticipated a thespian luvvie, portentous, vapid, and hammy. In the event, Ms Steel had a remarkable stage presence. Her delivery was entirely devoid of affectation, flawlessly articulated, with a fine sense of rhythm. Indeed, it was intensely musical. It must be the hardest thing in the world, against a background of great music played by a great orchestra, choir, and soloists, not to “act”, but merely to “be”. Ms Steel allowed Shakespeare to speak for himself, in a beautiful Scottish accent.

It was a tour de force.

Dr Hamish Maclaren, Stirling.