THANK you for your series on the future of Glasgow School of Art ("Glasgow School of Art Fires", The Herald, March 25-30).

I would like to respond to some of the ideas mentioned in some of the replies.

The Colosseum in the centre of Rome is still renowned as a symbol of Imperial Rome. During its lifetime it was used as a space by the ancient Romans to stage their bloodthirsty concepts of entertainment. In the medieval era it was used as a church, fortress and over the years it has been damaged by lightning, earthquakes and even more drastically by vandalism and pollution. Despite all its problems, its age and location, preservation began in earnest in the 19th century and continues today.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudi, described as a minor basilica,was begun in 1882 and remains unfinished.The architectural style is described by some as Expressionist and by others as Art Nouveau. In 1984 the works of Gaudi including the Nativity Façade and the crypt of Sagrada Familia were designated as a Unesco World Heritage site. In 2010 the still-uncompleted building was consecrated for religious worship. The building divides opinion over its architectural and aesthetic value but is still being built thanks to private donations and lasting enthusiasm.

Given the urban locations of these buildings, one a ruin of a building begun between 70 and 72CE and the other begun in 1882 and still unfinished, I wonder why the respective authorities decided not to demolish them and build shops or flats or car parks?

I wonder why when they decided to clean and restore the Sistine Chapel ceiling a Japanese television corporation felt the need to sponsor the work at a cost of 42 million US dollars in order that the work could be carried out by Italian and international experts? Presumably it was because they knew they had an audience that was hugely interested. I wonder why in the face of such staggering cost they didn't decide to leave it to degrade or in an act of artistic vandalism displaying insanity, simply paint over it with flat white paint and use stencils to spray paint images on its surface?

Some objects are worth preserving whether they are made of stone, wood, metal or other more fragile material in the same way that books, plays, music and ideas are worth preserving. They enrich what would be an otherwise barren and tawdry existence.They are a result of our creativity.

As for poverty, homelessness and conflict and all the other myriad of ills that blight our lives, question the civic leaders, politicians and world leaders who make the decisions, supposedly on our behalf.

If the Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's world-renowned Art Nouveau building, is demolished and replaced by shops, or a car park or yet another glass and concrete box, will it display a plaque, similar to the labels you read in museums and art galleries, giving a brief history of the architect and the building, which in no way gives any sense of the wonderful building which once stood there?

A site of shame indeed.

David M Rourke, Inverkip.

• DAVID Bruce’s letter (March 28) about the Glasgow School of Art prompted two immediate thoughts. First, he claims that “the Mack” is irreplaceable; so it seems contradictory to then say it should be reconstructed. According to my dictionary, “irreplaceable” means “Impossible to replace if lost or damaged.”

Secondly, he talks about the building with great reverence, saying it is “Glasgow’s icon” while comparing it to the Arc de Triomphe. I’ve known the Parisian icon all my life but hadn’t heard of the Mackintosh building until after the disastrous fire. I do have the excuse of living in Edinburgh, however we regularly visit Glasgow, and in my opinion, Glasgow Cathedral, the Mitchell Library, the City Chambers and the Glasgow University tower are all iconic buildings, and buildings that I have long been aware of.

Brian Watt, Edinburgh.

Glasgow School of Art Fires: Find all articles in the series here

Glasgow School of Art site should be sold and redeveloped

The Mack is Glasgow's Arc de Triomphe. It must be restored

The need for greater powers

THE 1999 devolution settlement and subsequent amendments to the Scotland Act have failed to provide the Scottish Parliament with significant economic powers to transform our nation. Revised GDP figures confirmed that the UK ended 2023 in recession and Brexit continues to hinder economic recovery, with higher import costs and staff recruitment shortages. At the same time Britain is now the most unequal large economy in Europe with the gap between the richest and poorest widening.

Therefore, the Scottish Government is limited in what it can do to alter the wider UK narrative of failed investment in the NHS, a failed energy policy whereby Scotland’s households pay much higher daily standing charges, and lack of capital expenditure in public infrastructure. While Holyrood can implement progressive social reforms, it can only mitigate Westminster policies through the Scottish Child Payment to reduce poverty and help households with much lower council tax bills compared to England or Wales. When Holyrood introduces innovative measures such as the Deposit Return Scheme, to help the environment and reduce litter, they are blocked by Westminster and this illustrates why we need independence, failing which, full fiscal autonomy.

Tommy Sheppard’s amendment at the SNP conference in November committed the party to demand the permanent transfer of referendum powers to the Scottish Parliament, control over employment rights, the living wage, windfall taxation, regulation, pricing and production of energy sources, employment visas for overseas workers and new borrowing powers to invest in a green energy transition.

Add to that devolution of broadcasting then we might see a more balanced view of Scotland’s strengths and weaknesses in the media.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

Victims of SNP cuts

MICHAEL Luck (Letters, March 28) quite rightly highlights the massive economic and financial blunders of the UK Conservative Government. However, he makes the mistake of many nationalists by referencing “Westminster” as the cause of these failures rather than the Tory Party.

The same cannot be said of the Scottish Government’s ferry issues. Blame for the £300 million overspend is firmly at the door of the SNP and its Holyrood Government.

The SNP’s inept administration of the Ferguson ferry contract in addition to its profligate spending on independence papers, kid-on foreign embassies, legal challenges, deposit return schemes and many more failures has led to essential services being cut.

One particular issue is the closure of council care homes, including the excellent McClymont House care home in Lanark. The funding for this home ultimately comes from the Scottish Government yet despite Government minister Mairi McAllan (the local MSP) voicing support for retaining the home, she has not vetoed the closure.

The massive, deliberate profligacy of the Tories and the nationalists appears remote and distant from our day-to-day lives but it does affect us all. Housing, education and the NHS are deprived of funding and now the frail, elderly residents of McClymont House will soon be victims of the SNP Government’s callous incompetence.

James Quinn, Lanark.

• THE letter from Michael Luck detailing the wasteful profligacy of the Edinburgh and Westminster government's is absolutely correct.

So is the solution.

We only require one source of waste, so let's abolish the Scottish Government.

Gregor McKenzie, East Kilbride.

The Herald: The Hate Crime Act will take up a chunk of police timeThe Hate Crime Act will take up a chunk of police time (Image: PA)

Unintended consequences

AN important function of the legal system is to protect people and property from unjust harm or loss. However, the SNP's Hate Crime Act has the potential to cause more harm than it ever prevents.

Even before this law took effect there were many examples of people being "no-platformed", losing jobs, customers or contracts for something perfectly legal that they have said or written. In investigating allegations of hate speech it will be necessary for the police to ask questions of or about the person accused. If they follow the guidance to use "common sense reasoning" and decide that it was not a Non-Crime Hate Incident (NCHI), the investigation itself will likely have caused a period of stress and uncertainty for the individual, their family, and colleagues. If it is indeed recorded as an NCHI then the individual may well suffer social and financial harm in their career despite not having committed a crime or caused any actual harm.

Add to this the amount of police time this will take up, distracting them from investigating and protecting people from real harm and it soon becomes apparent that the new law should have been called "The Law of Unintended Consequences".

Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen.