IT is a damning indictment of proposals to legalise assisted suicide that one of the most vulnerable groups in society are having to convince us that their lives are worth protecting. The intervention by Glasgow Disability Alliance ("Assisted dying law ‘could pressure people’, The Herald, September 11) that no amount of safeguarding in the proposed new law will offer “enough protections and guarantees to stop disabled people being helped or pressured to die” gets to the heart of why assisted suicide, or assisted dying as it is euphemistically known, is a dangerous proposal.

So-called safeguards cannot protect people from feeling pressured to end their lives, a reality which has played out in jurisdictions where assisted suicide and/or euthanasia is legal, such as Oregon, USA. Moreover, no safeguards can ever protect a law from future expansion of eligibility criteria. In other countries, assisted suicide/euthanasia has been expanded to include arthritis, anorexia, diabetes, dementia and autism. Even children can now be euthanised.

Legalising assisted suicide will put vulnerable people at risk of premature death by insidiously coercive forces pointing them in the direction of death by prescription. The focus should not be on killing vulnerable people, it should be on better care, including improvements in the provision of palliative care.

Anthony Horan, Director, Catholic Parliamentary Office, Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Airdrie.

Oh for another Bill McLaren

I WAS really looking forward to the Rugby World Cup this autumn, but just a few days in and I’m already seriously disappointed by the dire commentary during matches. We saw this in the recent football Women's World Cup whereby the commentary seemed to consist of a discussion of issues in football between the commentators rather than commenting on what was unfolding in front of them.

During Ireland’s match with Romania at the weekend we had to endure the embarrassing debacle of both commentators busy discussing the political situation in Romania in the 1990s whilst Ireland popped over the try line. It borders on the ridiculous when the viewer has to then to wait patiently whilst the commentators try to work out who had scored.

The key to being a good match commentator is to comment on the match. That’s what you are paid to do. The great commentators were those who could do that whilst simultaneously embellishing their commentary with little asides at appropriate moments. Bill McLaren could do it in rugby union alongside Eddie Waring in rugby league. Peter Alliss at his peak was unsurpassable in golf whilst Murray Walker stood out in Formula One. Each had their own style which complemented the viewer experience rather than diminishing it.

Sadly Andrew Cotter is the only latter-day exponent who comes close to their standards. His particular hallmark is his ability to commentate with equal panache across a range of sports. His commentary during the recent World Athletics Championships was an object lesson in giving enough information to retain the viewer’s attention without drifting into the meaningless drivel that is too readily found within the football commentariat.

And last but not least, can ITV please do something about the on-screen graphics? Having the score tucked away in the top left corner of the screen using a font so small that sitting in front of the TV with a magnifying glass is the only way to read it is not helpful. They had months to prepare for this but, like the Scottish rugby team on Sunday, they appear to have got it badly wrong.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.

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Charge extra for Braehead

JUST a thought regarding congestion charges ("Key report calls for congestion charges to fund public transport", The Herald, September 12): should I and others like me living in Glasgow who shop at Braehead not be paying a levy to Renfrewshire Council to cover the free parking and excellent facilities they provide, in many ways better than we get in central Glasgow?

David Adams, Glasgow.

Um, er, about Radio Scotland...

I ENJOYED Lennie Pennie's column on the use of filler words ("Here is the, um, truth about all those filler words we use", The Herald, September 9). I suspect that at least some of the culprits listen to BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, where there appears to be a policy of repeating words, interjecting “ums" and generally offering a totally unprofessional presentation.

Most if not all presenters seem to, you know, um, repeat phrases for no reason and and give the illusion that what they are saying is so important that it has to be repeated, sometimes up to six times in one sentence.

Do they have to fail a test to be employed?

PK Fraser, Aberdeen.

Duffle bags and scarecrows ... help

AS a lady of a certain age whose Higher English pass is fairly ancient now, I make a plea for understanding Kevin McKenna's use of adjectives in his column ("The SNP’s timidity is costing the Yes movement dear", The Herald, September 12).

What is a "Matalan army" of staffers? Are they all cheap fast fashion devotees? How can this be, if they are there "en masse in full bib and North Face (not so cheap) duffle bag"?

And how about the "scarecrow wing"? What is their political sartorial preference?

I've just about worked out the "velveteen subversives" as poor quality/fake, or faux as we say nowadays.

Maybe a wee glossary would be helpful.

Moira Love, Cumbernauld.

Sad news

I HAD not realised R Russell Smith had passed until I read the various tributes to him in The Herald today (Letters, September 12). I am among his many admirers and always turned first to the end of the letters in the hope of finding another of his witticisms to start the day off with a chuckle. It is said of many that they will be sorely missed and that applies in spades to him.


Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

• I’M writing to add my feelings of sadness about the death of Russell Smith. I would have liked to have met him, and did in fact feel as though I did know him, due to the revealing characteristics of his many amusing letters, most of which are housed in my snippets files.

His family will, I hope, find some comfort in knowing he was much appreciated.

Mary Duncan, East Kilbride.