IT is a sad reflection of the divided state of Scottish discourse that everything must be reduced to the simplistic binary level of Yes vs No, or SNP vs Tory and it is depressing to see that the modern propensity to foul language is part of that process, as demonstrated by Neil Mackay's article on the subject ("A tale of two ‘f***s’ ... and why they are so different", The Herald, August 10).

I am sure I am not alone amongst your readers in remembering the days when habitual and fluent swearing was a feature of the working day for many men, but outside of the factory gates was subject to a code of "no need for that - ladies present" or "mind your language in front of the children". As children ourselves, we were taught never to say anything in public that you would not say to your mother in private and that swearing was neither grown-up nor funny nor clever. We can only assume that these lessons of working-class decorum were never passed on to the likes of Humza Yousaf, Lee Anderson or indeed Neil Mackay.

Those individuals should consider the example that they have set and indeed, I think in earlier age, Mr Yousaf's position as First Minister would not have been tenable. And they should ponder on the example of Labour's Wes Streeting in an earlier Edinburgh conversation. As reported in this paper, he "mocked the idea that he would ever tell Scottish Labour what to do, and if he tried that with Dame Jackie [Baillie] the second word would be 'off'."

The point was made with humour, articulacy and decency – qualities that are apparently absent from Messrs Yousaf and Anderson, and not valued by Mr Mackay.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

• OUR First Minister told us publicly that we should say “F*** off” to people who are bigoted against us.

How sad that our First Minister, who heads up our country, recommends that we use an unpleasant, nasty swear-word in response to others' unpleasant remarks. What an extraordinary poor example for our nation ... "When people are unkind, tell them to f*** off!"

Surely the very opposite should be taught ... that we should react in kindness when people treat us badly ... that certainly is Jesus's teaching.

By all means, speak up for what is right, and speak against cruel, unpleasant language, but that should be done with courtesy and kindness ... calming down the situation, not exacerbating it. This statement by our First Minister greatly saddens me. What kind of society is being fostered by his advice? In my view this is a highly inappropriate and disturbing example from Humza Yousaf. I believe he should, at the very least, publicly retract this statement.

Alasdair HB Fyfe, Carmunnock.

Read more: A tale of two ‘f**ks’: why Yousaf and Anderson’s swearing is different

Barking up the wrong trees

A 12% fall in the share value of abrdn ("Edinburgh investment giant sees £500m wiped from worth", heraldscotland, August 9) comes as no surprise to those of us studying its antics in forestry investment.

Its purchase of the Far Ralia estate in the Cairngorms National Park is proving highly controversial as it struggles to justify a massive tree-planting programme in an area where the natural regeneration of existing woodland is the preferred solution. Its neighbouring landowner, the Danish businessman Anders Povlsen, has admirably demonstrated the value of natural regeneration as opposed to planting in this part of the Cairngorms. So it is astonishing that abrdn is insisting on a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem, sending in the diggers to upgrade the hill roads before churning up the peaty soils to make them ready for planting. The carbon released into the atmosphere by these unwise activities will take decades to be balanced by the carbon captured by the planted trees.

If this is the way that abrdn approaches the rest of its investments then we must fear for the health of its shareholders as well as the planet.

Dave Morris, Kinross.

Bus cuts are a disgrace

I FIND it a disgrace that bus companies are subsidised by public monies, yet are still allowed to cut vital services that, to them, are "not viable". Imagine this being a pub landlord who runs a very busy pub which makes a fortune for six days of the week, and then, with begging bowl in hand, asks the Government to subsidise day seven because it's "not viable". That would never happen, but the analogy mirrors exactly how bus companies are allowed to operate.

People might say that bringing bus companies back under public regulation is the answer. That may be so. However, given the track record of the SNP, I don't think that's a viable option.

James Simpson, Erskine.

Wheel of good fortune

I WRITE on a day filled, for this Herald reader at least, with much joy.

In an overheating world, I find shelter and solace by heading for the this paper's puzzle page and, in particular the Word Wheel.

Oh, the joy on the days when, the moment my eyes fall on the puzzle, the letters instantly, damn-near miraculously, reveal their nine-letter resolution.

The feeling of self-satisfaction is great, and others with whom I share this domicile remark on my day-long wan smile, and the fact that I am less crabbit than usual.

On the odd occasion when a nine-letter solution evades me, the day is filled not so much with gnashing of teeth, but with wringing of hands, certainly.

Cliff-hangers, like the one found in yesterday's (August 9) edition, where the jumble provided "hovering'" but left a "t" hovering uselessly in mid-air, called for a coffee break and another crack at it later.

My berating the puzzle compiler for deciding that "maladroit" would suffice as an answer on an earlier occasion probably says a lot about character flaws on my part.

Today, I figured it out, exceeding the "21 Good" target, and all without a pause for coffee.

Did you guess?

Ian Sommerville, Largs.

Dear me

HAVING visited the grounds of Pollok House this week, I found that the minimum charge to park in the adjacent car park was £5.30. It brings a whole new meaning to the motto the dear green place.

Stuart Brennan, Glasgow.