I FEEL compelled to respond to the opinion piece by Dani Garavelli opining that tweets made by JK Rowling declaring men to be men were gratuitously cruel and that we who enter into this debate need to watch our moral compass ("Welcome to Scotland in 2024, where many seem to take pride in intolerance", April 7).

I did indeed see cruelty on display through Ms Rowling's tweets but it is obviously a cruelty lost to Ms Garavelli.

It is extremely cruel to expect women who have suffered rape to appear in court and be expected to call the rapist "she" and hear the rapist referred to as female.

It is extremely cruel to deny rape victims a female-only space to recover and beyond cruel to be challenged as bigots if they express the need for female-only support and be denied said support.

It is cruel and against international human rights to imprison women in a space which also contains males and to punish them if they dare express any dissent.

It is cruel to teach very young children that they can change sex and set them on medical pathways that have been evidenced to be harmful and are irreversible.

It is also cruel to take pathways to success away from girls who have trained in a sport and then find themselves sidelined by a person who was in a male team only months before.

I can provide the evidence to back up all the harms listed above. Ms Garavelli I assume knows the facts but chooses to ignore them.

J Marshall, Glasgow.

The illusion of hate

I READ Kevin McKenna's brilliant (as always) piece on what our SNP/Green politicians tell us is "a hate-filled Scottish nation" ("Scotland is not the hate-filled hellhole our elite tell us it is", April 7). Not wishing to blow my own trumpet but I think I have finally cracked it: the origins of laws made in Holyrood.

We all know that the Scottish Government relies on special advisors who, like their MSP masters, have never had a job in their lives or experience of the real world yet believe themselves to be infallible, indeed they are the very model of artificial intelligence.

Their only contact with real people must be creating the illusion of hate and the necessity to stamp it out at all costs. I think most of the legislation in Holyrood is made to benefit the democratically-elected 70 SNP and Green MSPs at the expense and frustration of the four million voters forming the electorate that put them there in the first place.

Whilst there is much talk about misogyny not being included in the Hate Crime Bill, perhaps the ordinary citizen should have been included too.

Hopefully, what goes around shall come around.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

Bigotry must not be ignored

KEVIN McKenna attributes concern about bigotry in Scotland to a controlling elite. As ever, reality is more complex than is dreamt of in the philosophy of angry "common sense", "why oh why can't they just leave things as they always have been", "it didn't do us any harm", "gay used to be such a nice word", "you're not allowed to say anything" activists.

The vast majority of us want to be, and are, decent for the vast majority of the time. At the same time there is a real problem with anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-trans, misogynist, disablist anti-immigrant and other forms of bigotry, hate and violence. Some people want to try to reduce or even eliminate bigotry, others seem to take the view that minorities have noting to complain of.

Brian Dempsey, University of Dundee.

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Lessons in the Cass Report

THERE is a mantra which we should all adhere to if we do not wish to overstep our human abilities.

We are all subject to the programme nature imposes upon us all, when it is operating properly for the perpetuation of species. We need to learn to work in harmony with that programme instead of imagining we can rise above and improve upon it. Where we should step in is when there occur defects or diseases interrupting the operation of nature's programme.

We think of ourselves as homo sapiens, an unmistakable sign of our hubris, though from the way we have been dealing with gender dysphoria, homo insipiens is a far more appropriate designation.

At birth, we arrive with our place in the perpetuation of our species fixed by the chromosomes assigned us to in one of the two sexes nature employs for its purpose in our case.

That brings us to the use of puberty blockers for which there is currently no soundly-researched available scientific information on the long-term consequences of those inhibitors.Normally science shies away from employing drugs which have not been satisfactorily tested and approved by the international scientific community, Puberty blockers have been pounced upon by the ideologues driven to promote their solution to gender dysphoria.

The report by Dr Hilary Cass with her 32 recommendations for reform of transgender care should provide serious pause to all those who have rushed headlong into bouncing kids into irreversible conditions without laying out fully the pros and cons both psychologically, physically and culturally the elements accompanying such drastic changes to allow their physicality to conform with their psychological belief as to which sex they really belong despite nature's attribution of the opposite genitalia and hormonal influences.

Let the ideologues not drive us all towards an unnecessary rush to judgment.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Dictatorial Greens

THE announcement that woodburning stoves will not be allowed in new-builds in Scotland in an effort to reach net-zero targets has caused considerable consternation and anger. I accept that in the long term it's most likely that these heating appliances will be phased out but it's the speed of implementing the ban that is most disturbing, particularly for rural dwellers where electricity coverage can be problematic.

The Scottish Greens seem to be in their element when they can dictate to the people how to run their lives and seek to bring about change by control rather than through reasonable persuasion.

The people's pockets have already been hit by the need to install smoke alarms and heat pumps seem to be on the horizon for most households. I am sure that people will go along with gradual changes to their lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions but the diktats of Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater will only get their backs up.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Sturgeon's workload

HAVING learned that Nicola Sturgeon has made just four contributions in Holyrood in the last year (the lowest of all MSPs), we could at least hope that she's instead wholly dedicating herself to the needs of her Glasgow constituency, which contains areas of outstanding deprivation. But sadly, no.

Ms Sturgeon freely admits to spending 15 hours per week working on her memoir, and these days appears increasingly focused on her literary career. For example, she is to appear at the exclusive Charleston Festival in leafy East Sussex in May (tickets up to £25 if you're interested) talking about herself apparently as "one of the most significant figures in contemporary politics". How will this benefit her constituents or the wider Scottish public?

I'd imagine she'll likely focus on her campaigning successes while ignoring her multiple governmental failures. Doubtless Ms Sturgeon will gloss over her inability, despite the efforts of front-line professionals, to cut NHS waiting times, to reverse declining teacher pupil ratios, and to narrow the attainment gap in our schools. Dualling the A9, the ferries fiasco, and, of course, Operation Branchform surely won't warrant a mention. She'll definitely talk about her independence crusade, though perhaps be less willing to highlight her failure to deliver even a referendum, let alone break up the UK.

However, her seemingly-overlooked constituents mustn't mind: after many hours each week writing about herself and an exhausting hour at Charleston talking about herself, she could pop along to nearby Glyndebourne, the black tie country house opera venue where tickets costs up to £235. Or a wee London mini-break? Oh, I forgot to mention, at Charleston, Ms Sturgeon is also to explain that she is "a passionate advocate of equality".

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

The Herald: Nicola SturgeonNicola Sturgeon (Image: PA)

Why are we paying Huw Edwards?

I COMPLAINED to the BBC that Huw Edwards, the BBC's highest-paid newsreader, is still being paid his £439,000 salary despite being suspended in July 2023. Why should licence payers be forced to pay a licence fee of £159 which subsidises his suspension?

As from April 6, 2024 the rate of statutory sick pay is £116.75 a week so if this is good enough for the masses then it should be good enough for Huw Edwards. I asked the BBC what they were going to do but received this evasive response: "We would not comment on what is an internal employment matter." This matter is in the public interest and the Government should intervene or is the BBC a law unto itself? I have now asked my MP to raise this in Parliament and would ask your readers to do the same.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Saluting James McEnaney

I HAVE just finished reading the latest article by James McEnaney, on the data related to school exclusions ("New data reveals great divide on Scots pupil exclusions", April 7), and feel I have to write to praise in the highest terms this journalist's work. Since being appointed relatively recently, he has interpreted for the general reader school-related data and information in lucid and very readable prose, while at the same time holding key figures to account in searching interviews. More power to his elbow.

Robert Sim, Dunfermline.