IT is good to know that democracy is alive and well in at least one MSP's office on the vital issue of assisted dying ("Former FM Sturgeon ‘veering against’ support for new Assisted Dying Bill", The Herald, April 4). Nicola Sturgeon, although herself being rarely (and understandably) as conflicted on any other issue, urges her constituents with strong views on the matter to contact her.

Total silence, as recorded in your columns, from four of our West Scotland Regional MSPs whom I have contacted in writing more than once about assisted dying. Despite the dedicated, compassionate and unstinting efforts of all involved, my husband suffered a "bad death", itself a euphemism. In the light of this, in a letter in The Herald last November, I urged people, again through your newspaper, to carefully consider the issue of assisted dying, make their views known to their elected representatives and seek information on their positions. The issue remains under consideration in the UK Parliament, but I still have received no substantive reply from our MP in East Dunbartonshire after three emails to her, most recently after she sought the views of constituents on the issues important to them.

I can only repeat that in a democracy an important part of the remit of our elected representatives is, as the name suggests, to represent our views and to tell us theirs, however contentious and difficult the issues may be. As constituents we in turn understand and appreciate that we may not agree, but we are entitled to know what our elected representatives' views are and to ask them to reconsider such vital matters.

Medicine is not an exact science. Even if it were consistently available and of high standard, palliative care does not always work, as we witnessed in the longest, most agonising and heartbreaking days in my husband's life. He rarely ever complained, but in lucid and sound mind asked to die 10 days before he did, and mercifully it was only 10 days in the end. Even when we were told he had only hours to live, under the law as it stands at present his pain, suffering and acute distress could not be alleviated until he died two hours later. This cannot be right in a civilised and compassionate society. The law must change to allow freedom of choice with strong safeguards in place, as Liam McArthur's Assisted Dying Bill proposes. And I would still like to hear the views of my elected representatives at Holyrood and Westminster on this issue of life and death which is of paramount importance to our family as to so many others.

Hilda Butler, Glasgow.

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This is all about suicide

NICOLA Sturgeon injects a refreshing note into the debate over Liam McArthur’s Assisted Dying Bill. She turns the focus of the debate on to enabling the dying person "to live in as much peace and comfort as possible" and to helping people "even in the worst of circumstances to live with dignity".

That’s a healthy challenge to the intention within the McArthur bill. Ms Sturgeon’s view is that we ensure dignity in dying by supporting a person to live as well as possible right up to the moment of death. Mr McArthur’s proposal is that we should offer dying people a premature and uncomfortable death.

We should be clear that Liam McArthur’s bill is not about assisted dying. Assisted dying is already a reality, in so many forms, from the informal support and assistance that family and friends give to a dying person to the professional skills of a palliative care team. His proposed bill is about another category altogether: suicide. Ms Sturgeon’s thinking gets to the heart of the issue. It faces us with a clear choice: we either support the dying person up to his or her natural death or we promote unnatural death in the form of suicide.

David Kennedy, Glasgow.

• THIS letter is sparked by Jason Robertson’s letter (March 30) about the need for “exceptional circumstances” to be added to the current Assisted Dying Bill. I wholeheartedly endorse his views.

It is nine years since my husband died at the age of 68. He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease from the age of 45 but it was a clot in the lung which killed him during a stay in hospital due to one of his frequent attacks of UTI. His Parkinson's was very advanced by this time and his quality of life extremely restricted. He was very afraid of the end of his life and he dreaded his inevitable continued decline to an extent where he would be unable to do anything. I had promised him that I would help him end his life when he could bear it no longer. I had researched this and knew what I had to do.

We were “lucky” that he died before I had to fulfil my promise and while he still had some few things he could enjoy.

Mary Dale, Callander.

The Herald: Liam McArthur at a media event promoting his Assisted Dying BillLiam McArthur at a media event promoting his Assisted Dying Bill (Image: PA)

If conscience played a part

IF Hamas has any compassion for the innocent people of Gaza it will release every Israeli hostage without condition and commit to acceptance of the State of Israel.

If Israel loves her population, it will commit to affording the Palestinians dignity, autonomy and a Palestinian homeland, withdrawing settlers from it. Even after the outrageous obscenities of October 7 last it should cease fire and lead in relieving the citizens of Gaza and rebuilding their homes.

If the external players in this heartbreaking war truly wish the area well, they will withold weapons from both sides for the time being and unite behind the UN peace effort. Though widely despised in Israel, it is all we have to make and keep the peace.

If we in the UK have a conscience we will deliver the Balfour balance: not only a land for the Jewish people but also the civil and religious rights of the Palestinian people.

(Rev) C Peter White, Torrance.

Halcyon days

FOLLOWING the victory of Dunfermline Athletic in the Scottish Cup Final in 1968 (Letters, April 5), they qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup the following season.

They defeated Apoel of Cyprus, Olympiakos of Greece and West Bromwich Albion to reach the semi-finals. They lost narrowly, 2-1 on aggregate, to Czech side, Slovan Bratislava, who went on to beat Barcelona in the final.

These were amazing days for Scottish football.

Brian Logan, Langside.