ON Wednesday our esteemed MSPs voted to criminalise free assembly and public prayer for a couple of dozen pro-life Catholic grandmothers, who according to Police Scotland have never committed a crime, and whose activities required no new public order laws ("Buffer zones around health centres to be brought in after MSPS back bill", The Herald, June 13).

Now that it has been definitively established by our law-makers that the civil and religious liberties of citizens are contingent on others not being annoyed with them, regardless of how peaceful they are, can the remainder of Scotland's Catholics now look forward to parliament setting aside the rights of drunken supremacist marchers who spit on the public, assault elderly priests with scaffolding poles, and infest towns and cities across the land every summer?

Or shall we see that the negotiability of essential freedoms only applies to Catholics? And the right to go about one's business insulated from criticism only to those who wish to exterminate the unborn?

Christopher McLaughlin, Thornliebank.

• NEXT Lent I will not be fined or imprisoned for marching to Faslane or demonstrating for Palestine or picketing Thales arms factory or demonstrating outside the Russian consulate: but I will be fined/imprisoned if I pray silently outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for mothers and babies going through an abortion. MSPs are so keen to punish Catholics that only one voted in favour of the four human rights bills that the buffer zone bill overrides. You can't beat a piece of good old-fashioned bigotry.

B McKennna, Dumbarton.


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Entitlement in the public sector

I CONSIDER your front-page headline on Wednesday to be misleading (“Water body spends almost £500,000 on trips for staff”, The Herald, June 12). The implication of “trips” is that this was a holiday or some sort of other leisure activity. As the article makes clear the spend was for staff to go on courses, some of which were overseas. If you go on a course to Columbia University then one would expect that there would be travel involved. Indeed one of the most interesting things about the article is how economical some of the spend was. For example a 13-day stay in New York with “travel and accommodation expenses amounted to £1,056”. Can I be sent the name of the travel agent as I would love to get such a bargain basement trip?

The more serious argument is why staff need to attend courses involving stays in places such as Argentina? Has it a world-leading water supply and treatment industry? I’ve no idea but I doubt it.

What the article shows, rather than “trips for staff” is the sense of entitlement that some in the public sector (in Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom) seem to have. Indeed those setting up the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (which I doubt many in Scotland were aware of before your articles) seem to have accepted this if they approved a salary of £182,500 for the former chief executive.

Perhaps a more useful article might be an examination of what the commission does and whether is provides value for money.

Keith Hayton, Glasgow.

The stigma of suicide

WHY do we still insist on stigmatising those who take their own life by saying they "committed suicide" as Ian W Thomson (Letters, June 13) suggests may have been the case with Paisley poet Robert Tannahill? Suicide has never been a criminal offence in Scotland and was decriminalised in the rest of the UK in 1961 when the stupidity of prosecuting failed suicides became obvious.

Surely those who have taken their own lives deserve our sympathy for the torture that drove them to such an act rather than being labelled as criminals?

Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.

Germany's track record

SWISS footballer Steven Zuber has complained about taking German trains to games during the Euros, saying Deutsche Bahn is not acceptable. He advises he has travelled by train in Germany 10 times and 10 times they have been delayed. Not my experience.

In 1974 on the way to the World Cup, my friends and I took a train from Ostend to Frankfurt. It was due in the German city at noon. We leaned out the train window as it entered the station. We could see the station clock which chimed on noon just as the train came to a stop. On time to the second.

Perhaps Zuber and his teammates should take an Uber.

Davie Fulton, Johnstone.

Attraction of the kilt

ALL the publicity in today’s news about kilts going to Germany reminded me of something a teacher told me back in 1965/6. He said he had been in a Scottish regiment forming part of the army of occupation of Germany in 1945. A German speaker, he was walking through Berlin in his kilted uniform when he heard a German lady say to her friend: “What a fine-looking young man.” He told us that from that moment he no longer regarded the Germans as enemies.

George F Campbell, Glasgow.

Natural response

YOUTH may excuse Chris Jack’s tacit acceptance of James Grady’s assertion that there is no such thing as natural talent ("How Rangers helped create and lost a generational talent, heraldscotland, June 10) and he might find videos of an eight-year Lionel Messi instructive. Alex James, Jimmy Mason, Willie Fernie, Ian McMillan and countless others, all uncoached wizards of the dribble. How we could do with them today.

D Macintyre, Greenock.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/24341985.billy-gilmour-rangers-reared-lost-generational-talent/https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/24341985.billy-gilmour-rangers-reared-lost-generational-talent/ (Image: PA)

I've got to say this annoys me

UNLIKE Ken Mackay (Letters, June 13), I switch off only the sound on hearing certain football commentators.

At half-time during the recent Arsenal v Aston Villa match, Englishman Peter Drury described the game as titillatingly tense, and Arsenal's play as deliciously delicate. Eh? I rewound my TV to confirm what I thought I had heard. How many hours had Drury spent composing these delicacies?

On the other hand, we have Scotsman Ally McCoist and his repeated "Absolutely!", "I'm telling you", "I've got to/let me tell you", " does really, really well", and " I've got to say".

It is no wonder that I prefer to attend matches and form my own opinion. The dates of Scotland and England's matches are, however, in my diary.

David Miller, Milngavie.