SINCE 2016 Britain has provided £2.3 billion to India by way of foreign aid. In the same period India has spent billions of pounds on its space programme, culminating in the landing on Wednesday of a spacecraft at the Moon’s south pole ("India becomes first country to land near south pole of Moon", The Herald, August 24).

Surely both countries should be looking at their priorities? The United Kingdom has serious financial issues, so why are we giving money away which could be put to better use at home, especially as every official report about aid to India makes it clear that much of the money doesn’t find its way to those who need it?

Alan McGibbon, Paisley.

• I WONDER if the millions of dwellers of the Dahravi slum in Mumbai and other notorious slums throughout India are as excited about the Indian Moon landing as the Indian government and other members of the Indian elite?

Scientific progress is always welcome but there seems to be a bit of moral dissonance here.

Keith Swinley, Ayr.

Trans claim is hyperbole

AS the proud mum of a daughter who was once a trans teenager and is now a happy trans adult, I am writing to express my dismay at your publishing such a biased and damaging comment piece as the one written by Azeem Ibrahim ("Puberty blockers for children must be banned", The Herald, August 23).

Reading it, it seemed clear to me that he has never spent time with either young trans people/children or their parents. Instead, he seemed to simply want to push an ideological agenda to eradicate any kind of health care for them.

There is too much misinformation in this article to refute it all, but I would like to highlight that not only does he totally misunderstand trans people, but in describing autistic people as having “mental disorders” he demonstrates a total lack of understanding of neuro-divergent young people as well.

He claims that “gender distress has increased in prevalence by several thousand per cent in the last two decades”. He fails to mention that this is a percentage increase of a tiny number. This is hyperbole in action.

It is true that there are more children and young people coming out than before, but this is because, until the rise of the trans moral panic six years ago, there had been an increasing acceptance of trans people. Much like the sudden increase in left-handed people at the beginning of the last century; they had always been there, but they stopped being forced to use their right hands as left-handedness was widely regarded as sinful and evil.

He ends the article by saying that puberty blockers should be banned. Does he also mean for cis children with precocious puberty or cis children with severe learning and physical disabilities for which some pubertal change might be very distressing?

Name and address supplied.

Read more: Who needs a big fat Scottish wedding?

Frock, horror

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Kerry Hudson's article ("Does anyone need a big fat Scottish wedding", The Herald, August 23), but one sentence rang out amongst the rest. Ms Hudson wrote: "My dress was £25 and though it wasn't an heirloom (it) needed a few alterations."

At this point in my tale, I must reveal that I got married last year to the most wonderful girl in the world.

Both of us are in our fifties.

Although we had not been married we were, as some people still say, "living in sin" in what had been her home.

At this time of living together (sin never crossed our minds) we were undertaking building work on the house (well, room has to be made for a middle-aged gentleman's book, vinyl, stamp and coin collection). My betrothed asked me to take some cardboard boxes and other "rubbish" to the local tip. Desperate to prove I was a keeper, I took said "rubbish" to be discarded. I must say I felt as proud as punch having taken care of my (soon to be) husbandly duties so well.

Later that evening my wife-in-waiting asked where "the old blue cardboard box" was. Smugly, arrogantly, I stated how it had gone the way of all the other "rubbish".

Now, let's be clear here, I have never, ever, undertaken body language training with the FBI, but I knew immediately something was wrong.

You see, my intended had been intending to wear an "heirloom" dress - the one her now sadly-departed mother had worn at her wedding 50-odd years before - and I had chucked it away as so much detritus.

Ms Hudson may appreciate that my wife's hastily-bought replacement dress was purchased at a charity shop for the princessly sum of £30 with "a few emergency alterations" made by a skilful friend.

I am sure everyone else will appreciate the fact that, after such a huge mistake, my lovely wife hasn't taken me in for alterations. Yet.

Gordon Fisher, Stewarton.

The greatness of Burns

RONNIE McMillan (Letters, August 22) nominates James Clerk Maxwell as Scotland’s greatest talent. At the same time he states that few Scots have heard of him, which admittedly would not stand him in good stead in any poll. His contributions to science have been best understood through the explanations and commendations of others, such as Albert Einstein. Clerk Maxwell was, of course, a remarkable talent and deserves to be better known among his fellow Scots .

I would turn in a different direction with regard to the "greatest talent" and that would be to the world of poetry. I would submit Robert Burns. Much has been written about Burns and much has been spoken about him at home and abroad. However, in a few words Allan Massie, journalist and novelist, summed it up better than most: "He is that rarity: a truly popular poet who is also a great one."

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Prickly encounter

APOLOGIES for not falling off my seat laughing at this year’s less-than-whelming zoo-based Fringe joke (" Zoo-inspired pun is voted best joke at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe", The Herald, August 22), but I venture to suggest Scotland’s own wildlife can have us rolling in the aisles any day of the week, as evidenced by one intrepid hedgehog to the other: “Thank you madam. It’s been a business doing pleasure with you”.

R Russell Smith, Largs.