RUTH Marr (Letters, August 13) rightly points out that no one should have to “leave their own country in order to prosper and thrive”. The problem is that many generations of Scots have not only done this, but been forced by the circumstances of their native land.

As a youngster in the late 1950s my gran told me the story, told to her by her own grandmother, of how “poor ragged Highlanders”, waiting to board the ship to take them to America or Canada, would dance on the pier. It was only later, having learned of the Clearances, I began to realise not just its meaning but its force. Imagine being so happy to leave your native country because it values you less than sheep.

That shameful time in our history has been immortalised in song, for instance Runrig’s Dance Called America, which relates the story told to me by my gran, but much more critically: “With all the praying men of God, who stood and watched it all go on”.

The Proclaimers make a similar point in Letter From America – “We should have held you, we should have told you. But you know our sense of timing, we always wait too long.” However, the Proclaimers also point out it kept happening, as “Lochaber no more, Sutherland no more,” is replaced by “Bathgate no more, Linwood no more”. How much difference is there between a country where someone decides you are worth less than sheep, and one in which you can’t earn a living because its manufacturing foundation is being laid waste?

However in another song, Rocket to the Moon, Runrig point out the value of what we didn’t so much lose as expel. “You came, you trapped, you charted. You laid the railroads and the schemes. And you tamed this land by enterprise, and by the power of your dreams.” The contribution of people, we put out like rubbish, to other countries has been enormous.

Yet for so many years it has been allowed to continue with little intervention to stop far less reverse it. Imagine if the talents of those who “tamed” Canada “by enterprise” had been able to use their talents here.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Plenty of bile from Blackford

IN his interesting article about Penny Mordaunt ("Bad Penny? Why Ms Mordaunt’s ill-judged broadside may do her more harm than good", August 13), Barry Didcock forgot to mention Ian Blackford, former esteemed leader of the Westminster SNP group.

Mr Blackford was well known for his regular blistering attacks on the Tories. Each time he stood up at Prime Minister's Questions there was an expectation of vitriol directed at the Tories and usually he did not disappoint, describing them as, for example, "rotten to the core" and "totally corrupt".

I feel sure these are the kind of sentiments Ms Mordaunt had in mind when talking of the SNP's bile and hatred.

Alexander Wilkie, Bearsden.

Read more: The people of Scotland have got wise to Labour

Too late to repair Greens damage

HUMZA Yousaf definitely isn't listening ("The Greens are killing us", August 13). His desire to avoid the topic of what to do about the Greens may be on hold right now but the Rutherglen by-election looms. Given the current state of the parties it could well be a victory for Labour but the Tories might well come second, pushing the SNP down to third.

What then? Nicola Sturgeon maintained her confidence by kidding herself on her party would continue to sweep the opposition aside. The Greens have destroyed that position and the SNP's refusal to remove the Greens from office has compounded this.

Neither the SNP nor obviously the Greens represent the majority but the weakness of the opposition until now has blunted this fact. Rutherglen could well be as seismic for the SNP as Winnie Ewing's win was all those years ago but for the opposite reason.

Her son, Fergus Ewing, is correct in his despair over this pact, except it is already too late for the SNP /Greens dreadful deal. The damage done is far too deep to heal.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

• WHILST accepting the fact that Humza Yousaf inherited a can of worms from Nicola Sturgeon when he took over as SNP leader the polls are confirming a severe slump in support for the party – now at its lowest since the 2014 referendum. It will be in for a heavy defeat at the hands of Labour in the 2024 General Election.

In my opinion the main reason for this slump in support for SNP is not the police inquiry and subsequent arrests, but the absurd power the Scottish Greens now wield at Holyrood,

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

Debacle of Scotland's census

YET again the ineptitude and wastefulness of the Sturgeon Government have been revealed by the disclosure that taxpayers will have to cough up £140 million to cover the cost of the botched census in 2021.

Having broken ranks with the rest of the UK by delaying the census by a year, the resulting returns didn't even make the Scottish Government's target of 90% while the census south of the border apparently managed 97%. Whether it was down to arrogance on Nicola Sturgeon's part that Scotland could do it better on its own rather than with the other nations, the delay meant that the publicity generated elsewhere in the UK couldn't work to Scotland's advantage and even extending the closing date in Scotland's census failed to produce the results required.

When Audit Scotland makes a final pronouncement on the debacle, it will be interesting to see what the official First Minister, Humza Yousaf, and the de facto First Minister, Patrick Harvie, have to say about it.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Attach strings to free tuition

THE number of nurses and midwives leaving Scotland to work overseas has soared in recent years, with Australia the most popular destination. The General Medical Council has reported that applications from doctors for the paperwork to register with overseas regulators has soared. Meanwhile, dentists are refusing new NHS patients.

We can blame the Scottish Government which introduced free university education in 2007 without safeguards. The university fees of £9,250 a year are paid by Scottish taxpayers. The Scottish Government should belatedly introduce a legally-binding contract that free university education is conditional on those receiving it working in Scotland for five years.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Read more: Why should we cave in to Patrick Harvie's blackmail?

Ignorance can be dangerous

UNSURPRISINGLY, Neil J Bryce (Letters, August 13) makes the usual errors in his denial of anthropogenic climate change.

Nor does citing a climate change contrarian as his only evidence establish credibility.

He makes two schoolboy errors.

The first is assuming that a relatively small percentage is not a very large number in reality.

The second is that magnitude equates to significance.

Some 1.5 trillion tonnes of CO2 have been released into the atmosphere since 1750. In 1750 atmospheric CO2 was 280ppm - now it is 418 ppm.

This is real data – not just made up to annoy deniers and sceptics.

Of course there has been an impact.

Global average temperatures are now more than 1.2ºC higher with a current rate of increase of 0.1ºC every decade.

This means the accepted 1.5ºC target will be exceeded before 2050 – the recognised date when net zero needs to be reached.

Just to simplify, and for the numerically challenged, current releases of CO2 are 36.6 billion tonnes a year – which equates to 7,500 million elephants a year being released into the atmosphere.. Not just Dumbos, but adult-sized. That’s the equivalent of 13 billion elephants' worth of CO2 since An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.

As for relatively small quantities not having significant impact, 800 parts per million of carbon monoxide is fatal within minutes. That is 0.08%.

Ten parts per billion is the UK "safe" limit for lead in drinking water, and the threshold for lead toxicosis is a blood lead level of greater than 0.6 parts per million. That is 0.00006% Ignorance is not bliss – it is dangerous.

Tony Philpin, Isle of Gigha.

Seeking memories of Chesters

I AM writing a book about Chesters Management Centre, which was located in Bearsden. Part of the University of Strathclyde, it operated from 1955 until 1976. In that year of closure, many of its staff and some of its courses were transferred to the Strathclyde Business School, in the main campus of the University of Strathclyde, in Rottenrow, Glasgow.

Chesters Management Centre was a residential management training centre, with accommodation for about 100 participants. I estimate that each year more than 1,000 people were attending management courses at Chesters, which ranged from two weeks to five weeks, sometimes longer.

I would love to hear from anyone who has memories of Chesters Management Centre. I was the youngest member of academic staff at Chesters, and I worked there from 1971 until 1976.

Please contact me through my personal email,

Gordon C Anderson, Dunkeld.