YOU report today that Police Scotland have determined that JK Rowling did not commit an offence in her tweets on Monday ("Police state JK Rowling’s tweets supporting biological sex ‘are not criminal’", The Herald, April 3). Having looked in detail at what the hate crime law says, that is not a surprise. Misgendering people on social media, for example, is not in itself a crime: see for an explainer of this.

In her tweet thread, Ms Rowling posted photographs of blameless trans women, alongside those of a rapist and other sex offenders. That seems to suggest that they are all somehow similar, because they are all trans.

For perspective, that's like tweeting photos of gay men like me, or perhaps Graham Norton and Ian McKellen, alongside photos of murderers Stephen Port and Jeffrey Dahmer, suggesting that we are all similar because we are all gay.

JK Rowling's tweets seemed to be designed to offend and to provoke anger and upset. They did not reach the criminal threshold, but they do not reflect well on her.

Tim Hopkins, Edinburgh.

• SO JK Rowling is not to face prosecution for her recent challenging tweets. You might almost think that the bona fide legal experts who described much of what was being said about the Hate Crimes Act as alarmist nonsense were actually right. Can we now expect people to hold up their hands and concede that they might have been wrong?

Don’t hold your breath. They are probably now in the process of moving on to the next issue to throw into the front line of their culture war. Watch this and many other spaces.

Robin Irvine, Helensburgh.

Tackling the psyche through the law

REGARDING the Hate Crime debate: the American example is quite interesting. The US Supreme Court appears to adopt a pragmatic approach, repeatedly recognising and asserting the RIGHT to hate, presumably as well as the full range of other human emotions. A clear distinction is made with violence, with incitement to violence being the only type of speech that is illegal.

What precepts then are there in Scots Law that allow us to circumvent millions of years of evolution in an attempt to "short-circuit" the human psyche via legislation? It may be laudable to take short steps towards Utopia while dreaming of such a reality, and it is of course the job of politics to provide a better society, but is it feasible to alter or eradicate basic emotions and attitudes with legislation? Are there precedents? I am genuinely intrigued.

Alan F Baird, Inverary.

READ MORE: JK Rowling wrong in her approach to hate crime law

READ MORE: Let's all calm down in the Hate Crime Act debate

READ MORE: SNP/Green regime makes me embarrassed to be considered a Scot

Nationality belongs to all

HOMING pigeon Paul McPhail (Letters, April 2) has returned to the land of his birth and education but now declares himself ashamed to be Scottish due to the actions of the SNP. I deplore the words and deeds of many people in Scotland but none of them cause me to feel ashamed of my Scottish nationality, for they are far outnumbered by those I identify with and admire.

Scottish nationality is not owned or bestowed by the SNP; it belongs to all who regard Scotland as their home nation by birth or residence or both.

Mr McPhail appears to have reverted to identifying his nationality as British; Britain is not and never was a nation; it is a geographical term applied to a land mass, including certain offshore islands. Scotland, England, all Ireland and Wales are nations, as correctly recognised in international rugby union, and consist of communities of people who share historical, linguistic and cultural identities. Mr McPhail is presumably unashamed of identifying himself with the UK which has brought about food banks, the illegal invasion of Iraq, the madness of Brexit against the wishes of our nation, the disastrous privatisation of our public utilities which sowed the seeds of the current energy crisis long before the invasion of Ukraine, Partygate, Trussonomics and now Rwandagate.

I realise now that homing pigeon was not the best metaphor; I should have used ostrich.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

Same old, same old

APROPOS recent letters (April 2 & 3) about freshening up the leadership of the Conservative Party perhaps it is worth looking back at its performance in 14 years of governance at Westminster. Has life improved or deteriorated for the majority of UK citizens? If you think it has improved you need your head examined.

The current Government will be kicked out at the next General Election and leave the incoming administration with a record peacetime national debt. The economy is in ruins following a disastrous and completely unnecessary Brexit, privatisation has left England floating in a sea of human excrement, its railway system is collapsing and the NHS has been deliberately starved of resources to facilitate it also being privatised. The recent inflation rate in the price of food has been horrific. In 2020 the average price for a loaf of bread was £1.03; today it is £1.40. Charity food banks are now established as a fundamental part of the support for workers as well as the unemployed, life expectancy is dropping and our children are becoming smaller and fatter. Westminster’s admission of the unaccountable disappearance of tens of billions of your and my hard-earned taxes is simply unacceptable, but no heads will roll.

It’s not that there isn’t enough money to redress these problems, it’s just that a skewed taxation system means that it is accumulating in the pockets of the relative few perched at the top of the social pyramid. We old codgers who worked all our lives and paid into the state pension fund now find Westminster wants to treat it as a benefit rather than a right. There is talk of means-testing, ergo reducing the state pension for some, a pension which currently expects old fogeys to survive on a stipend equivalent to half the current minimum wage, it itself being substantially lower than what is calculated to be the minimum living wage.

So will putting lipstick on a pig stop it being a pig? No, not even when the lipstick is in the form of Sir Keir Starmer and his party of centrists who are virtually indistinguishable from the other blue pigs with their noses in the trough.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

The Herald: Food banks have become commonplace in the UKFood banks have become commonplace in the UK (Image: Getty)

Aid probe is long overdue

IT will come as a surprise to no-one that concerns have been raised about a lack of transparency in the Scottish Government’s approach to international aid ("Scottish aid funds probe launched", The Herald, April 3). There used to be annual reports on this, but there has been none since 2019. No wonder the Auditor General has complained about a general transparency failure on the part of the Holyrood regime.

Perhaps the Holyrood Cross-Party Group on International Development will be able to shed light on the seemingly arbitrary award in October 2023 of £750,000 to Gaza at a time when Scottish citizens in Brechin were in dire straits as a result of flooding in their area.

With Holyrood facing a big black hole of £1.5 billion in its finances, and severe cuts to various areas of Scottish life, including higher education and housing, Scots may wonder why so much of our money has been given away in recent years to countries such as Pakistan - with its nuclear weapons - and Turkey, with its authoritarian regime.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.

Advances I can do without

AS a youngster, many years ago, I can still remember the magic of attending the former Empress in Glasgow for the pantomime Alladin and marvelling at the offer of "new lamps for old". I don’t feel the same warmth of the present offer of "new ways for old". Whilst I appreciate many advancements in medicine and housing in particular there are offers that I would be happy to leave in Neverland. I'm talking about: • The increasing demand for "free" services, when "free" is a disguise for the reality of subsidised.

• The growth of self-interest, often to the detriment of those at the bottom layer of society.

• The demand for new "rights" without consideration of who pays and who is deprived: new treatments often have to be paid for in a lessening of other procedures.

• The introduction of "cultural and institutional Christianity" to the denial of the simple call of Jesus to love others and respect all.

• The increasing gulf between the excessive rich and the desperate poor; between those wallowing in choice and those stripped of hope.

• The benefits of technology and the devastation wreaked by the misuse of "anti-social" media.

A big Yes to the best of progress and a big No to the infiltration of self-interest.

James Watson, Dunbar.