NEIL Mackay’s article was a much-needed reality check (“Trans Row: Polling shows voters care little for online culture wars’, June 29).

I could not care less if JK Rowling’s postal vote is ‘literally lying next to her’. What the political establishment needs to remember is that JK Rowling gets one vote, the same as the rest of us. As the article points out, very few women are thinking about trans people when it comes to their vote. Why then, does it seem like the whole political establishment is pandering to one very rich woman and her pet issue?

JK Rowling and the few politicians who share her views get constant media coverage. I cannot remember the last time I saw a trans person on TV being asked about their views. Furthermore, there are urgent women’s rights issues being completely ignored while the political discourse centres on the gutter politics of body parts and bathrooms. Neither the Labour nor Tory manifesto mentioned abortion, which is rather shocking given the uptick in women and girls being charged with so-called ‘illegal abortions’.

Rape conviction rates remain so low that it is effectively decriminalised. Labour will not commit to undoing the two-child benefit cap (also known as the rape clause). People wait years for a diagnosis of endometriosis. Maternity care is in crisis. Schools are in crisis, particularly in Glasgow, where school communities face teacher staff cuts on a scale we have never seen before. Only yesterday I watched a checkout operator struggling to remove the security cap from a container… it was a container of baby formula. We are living in a country where people are having to steal to feed their children.

We have long been told that those of us who respect the dignity and humanity of trans people are indulging in ‘luxury beliefs’. I would argue that anyone in a position to ignore the mess of this country and spend all their time fixating on a tiny minority group are the ones indulging in such beliefs. I, for one, would like politicians to stop using trans people as a punch-bag and finally lift a finger to improve life for all people in this country.
Gemma Clark, Paisley.


Read more:

Harry Potter star in row with JK Rowling over trans comments

Mark Smith: The dodgy data on what LGBT Scotland is really like

Iris Duane: Green's bid to become first trans woman of colour MP


Ignoring causes of water pollution 
THE election has produced a yawning silence over dealing with the foul pollution of our streams, rivers and sea There are causes that have been ignored by everyone, including the Greens, for years.

If we build more houses (all are committed to do this) then obviously we increase the demands on the sewage system; our population has increased, with immigration, by six million – obviously we increase the demands on the sewage system; climate change has pointed to a potential increase in storms and rainfall – obviously we increase the demands on the sewage system; the changes in farming practices to increase yield – obviously we increase the pollution in rivers, et cetera, with run-off.      

When I was a youngster, some 60 years ago, we were urged to drink only bottled water in France; increasingly, we find pictures of lorries taking bottled waters to communities let down by our water supply. It has reached such a stage that, listening to a recent talk by Water Aid and hearing of £25 water treatment solutions for families in the Third World, I wondered if these might be a good investment for our own home.
James Watson, Dunbar, East Lothian.


Promises that never last long
THROUGHOUT this thoroughly dishonest UK election campaign, and with my experience of many previous campaigns, I know that whenever Labour or the Tories are out of office many promises are made. However, when they are in office, most if not all of those same promises evaporate.
Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.


SNP are running out of road
IT was with interest that I read that the SNP launched their general election battle bus on the same day that Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)  phased out the last of their old Glasgow subway cars. Both have been going on a circular route for over forty years with the passive, uninterested passengers trying to get somewhere more interesting. Both should probablyhave been swapped out for something more modern a decade ago. 
David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire.


Vote Tory to save the North Sea industry
THE Labour Party,  along with the SNP, intend closing the North Sea industry many years earlier than common sense and national security dictate.

This fact hasn’t escaped the Unite union, the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, or indeed the thousands of geologists, and petroleum, chemical, drilling and process engineers whose skills are not as glibly transferable to wind as the Starmers and Flynns of this world preach.

They also assume that the headquarters of GB Energy (whatever that is) will not be in Aberdeen, but Glasgow, where all the potential Labour and SNP voters are.

This election is an opportunity for voters in the North East to send a cohort of politicians to make their case in Westminster. This means voting for the Conservatives, the only party convincingly saying that they support the industry. Many will have to hold their nose to do it, the consolation being they won’t halt the predicted Labour landslide.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

Swinney correct to blame Thatcher
IN case our younger electors have no knowledge of Margaret Thatcher’s misdeeds to which John Swinney refers, let me explain then.

She introduced the sale of local authority houses and limited the use of the resulting income in respect of the cost of new housing. Now we have a shortage of affordable housing, such that first-time renters or buyers cannot get homes. Elderly folk cannot downsize either. She also sold off public utilities and railways, both of which have become too expensive for their users. The worst example is the pollution of English rivers and shores, whilst these private water boards have overpaid management and lucrative shareholdings.

Subsequent governments have not rectified or balanced these actions so we still have the resulting problems. Both of the major parties are at fault; the SNP is correct in blaming Thatcher as well as more recent governments.
J B Drummond, Kilmarnock.


Labour taking voters for granted, again
AS a Falkirk resident I read with interest your article on Euan Stainbank, who is contesting the Falkirk seat (‘Labour’s youngest candidate: age is meaningless in politics’. July 1).

Mr Stainbank turned up for our community group meeting shortly after being elected as a local councillor two years ago. He came across as intelligent, albeit inexperienced. My problem is that we haven’t seen him since. Indeed on one occasion he sent his apologies saying he’d decided to go to a football match instead.

At least he appeared the once. Our local Conservative councillor hasn’t appeared at all. Nor has she ever sent an apology. In stark contrast the local SNP councillor has attended regularly and has been proactive in addressing any issues we have raised. So what are we left to conclude from this?

I used to vote Labour but found myself repeatedly being taken for granted. Remember the London-based cabal which deselected Dennis Canavan as a potential MSP because he “wasn’t good enough”? He promptly romped home as an independent with the biggest majority at Holyrood. His real ‘crime’ was to favour Scottish independence, an unpardonable sin in the coffee houses of Islington.

Next we got saddled with Eric Joyce, who announced he would not stand again following his arrest after a House of Commons bar brawl. You would think that by now lessons might have been learnt. But no, the succession contest was once again run from down south with the usual disastrous consequences.

First were informed that it was to be a women-only contest because Labour HQ felt that there were too few women at Westminster. In other words a capable male will lose out to an incompetent female because London’s agenda is to place quota satisfaction over actual ability.

Then we were told that Linda Gow, a respected former Labour leader in Falkirk, was deemed ‘not good enough’ when compared to Karie Murphy, a London-based trade union adviser with no known connection to the area. Thus we got another political parachutist who eventually withdrew her name from the selection process amid allegations of selection fixing. The SNP duly romped home.

Selecting a local councillor is a start. But when Scottish Labour voted overwhelmingly for a ceasefire in Gaza its two current Scottish Westminster MPs declined to support it on London’s orders. In reality therefore nothing has changed. We’re being taken for granted again.
Robert Menzies, Falkirk.