VAL McDermid has been commenting on Nicola Sturgeon apparently suffering from misogyny, saying: "A lot of men do not like the idea of a successful, powerful woman." What she fails to acknowledge is that many of the comments criticising the former First Minister are from women who feel that they have been let down by a fellow woman.

When Ms Sturgeon should have been standing up for women and our rights, she branded opponents of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill as misogynist, transphobic and racist. There’s that word again: misogynist, defined as a “hatred of, aversion to, or prejudice against women”. Was she really saying that women who are protesting that our rights are being stripped away to provide those born male access to women’s spaces, have a hatred or aversion to women?

We now have the current First Minister, Humza Yousaf, saying that transwomen will be protected by the planned misogyny law, claiming that they will “often be the ones who suffer threats of rape or threats of disfigurement” ("Author Rowling accuses Yousaf of ‘showing absolute contempt for women’", The Herald, April 17). It is utterly soul-destroying and insulting to hear a man tell us women that those who grew up as boys and men are often the ones who suffer threats of rape when it is women who have experienced or feared rape all their lives. Women know what it is like to walk home at night from the bus stop in a state of high alert, women are the ones who are propositioned and harangued by men, women are the ones who can sympathise with every woman who has ever quickened her step when she hears someone walking behind her. No matter how confident, how physically strong and how tall a woman is, she knows that most men are capable of overpowering her.

Women are now expected to accept that men who identify as women should be allowed into women-only spaces such as public toilets and changing rooms. When the men in our lives, our fathers, brothers and sons, defend our rights, they will find that they are accused of breaking the law. What law protects women from being threatened by transwomen who are not willing to allow us women-only spaces? How did we end up with a situation where men who identify as women deserve more protection than the women they futilely aspire to be?

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

How the hate crime law works

 JK Rowling has misunderstood the way hate crime legislation works. What makes a crime a hate crime is not the identity of the victim, but the motive of the perpetrator. If a heterosexual man is presumed to be gay and for that reason is assaulted in the street accompanied by homophobic abuse, that is a homophobic hate crime.

If the local shop is damaged with Islamophobic graffiti, that is a religious hate crime, regardless of the actual religion, if any, of the shop owners.

If a woman is subject to a crime because she looks like she could be trans, that is a transphobic hate crime, whether or not she is actually trans.

In just the same way, under the proposed misogyny legislation, if someone is subjected to a crime because she is a woman or is presumed to be a woman, that will be a misogynistic crime. Those who don't accept that trans women are women are entitled to their own belief, but when it comes to determining the motive for a crime, it is what the perpetrator did and why that matters.

Tim Hopkins, Edinburgh.


Shame on SNP for the attacks on JK Rowling and Joanna Cherry

JK Rowling was right with her Hate Crime Act tweets

Dangerous craze to be different

THOSE in charge of our domestic affairs in Scotland are ignoring the Cass conclusions and what our fellow islanders in the south are doing and not putting an immediate ban on puberty blockers for our disturbed youngsters seeking help until long-term studies of effects have been made. Time after time, this zealous craze that we in Scotland can never do what they are doing in England comes to the fore. Even if it has disastrous repercussions: think back to the original refusal to ban the XL Bully dogs in Scotland and the consequent and well-forecast rushed import of many of them to the severe pain of several Scots. Think of the Census, faultlessly carried out for two centuries across the UK until Angus Robertson decided we would do things differently with the SNP in charge and made the last multi-million-pound Census meaningless.

Now perhaps the most serious episode of all is upon us and we can only pray that the SNP-Greens will see the light sooner rather than later and adopt the eminently sensible and at the highest level medically-approved measures being carried out south of the Border.

Could they please limit their nationalism to flag-waving and endless rallies and hanging flags off bridges and leave treatment of vulnerable children well alone.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Let the SNP ask the people

THE SNP has tried numerous schemes to get us more involved in politics. What about giving us a simple consultatory vote on issues through a Scottish Government smartphone app? A simple "Do you agree?", yes or no. Almost 80% of those over 55 possess the technology to do this and for other age groups, it's close to 100%.

It obviously wouldn't be legally binding, but as a barometer of democratic opinion surely it would stop the Government pushing through unpopular and costly legislation such as the Hate Crime Bill and the Gender Recognition Act; two prime examples of which I have never spoken to anyone in the real world (not X or the "Holyrood Bubble") who thought they were good policies.

Could it be that this will not be done because the SNP may not like the way the Scottish people would vote "against the grain" on major social and political issues that it seems utterly committed to regardless of the outcome and destroy the myth of a "progressive" Scotland that it endlessly promotes, usually falsely contrasted with a "regressive" England?

David Bone, Girvan.

Doomsayers or realists?

LIKE many, I was excited to read Ian McConnell's article ("Scotland’s doomsayers shouldn’t always believe their own propaganda", The Herald, April 17). I just wondered if perhaps Mr McConnell could provide some details on who these doomsayers are - there are many legitimate criticisms one can make of the Scottish economy - so is Mr McConnell's ire directed at people who wish to discuss those, or is there a cabal of Scotland-haters who sit in dark corners cursing the country and wish it ill fortune?

Perhaps Mr McConnell may wish to reflect that "doomsayers" are generally just people who see problems and wish to talk about them.

D McCandless, Sydney, Australia.

The Herald: Rishi SunakRishi Sunak (Image: PA)

When a plan isn't a plan

RISHI Sunak continues to parrot his catchphrase “the plan is working” in response to any and all questions, most recently those around the reduction in inflation.

What he never explains is what the “plan” is or what aspect of the plan actually influenced the outcome he happens to be talking about. In this case, the Bank of England is supposed to be responsible for inflation, and if it was going the other way I’m sure Mr Sunak would be making that very clear rather than claiming it was all down to the “plan”.

Interestingly, when inflation was rising it was always blamed on external factors. Now, of course, it’s coming down because of “the plan”, whatever it is.

Meanwhile, Labour has its own "plan”, partly no doubt because not having one leaves it open to criticism from the Conservatives, whose entire policy is built on theirs, so clearly anyone without one can’t be credible. Labour apparently can’t explain what its plan is until it finds out what it inherits from the Conservatives, but it has one anyway.

I’m all in favour of plans. I spent my entire working life developing and executing them. The only ones that didn’t work were the ones that couldn’t be communicated effectively. Without coherent detail, a plan isn’t a plan. It’s an aspiration.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.