WE now have record levels of violence in Scottish schools: 10,852 reports in primary schools and 2,952 in secondary yet, remarkably, the number of exclusions are in decline.

Children must face the consequences of their actions. That is no longer the case in Scotland in 2023.The situation is not helped by hundreds of qualified teachers struggling to find work.

It was in 1982/1983 that the belt came to an end. What an indictment that, today, many teachers and pupils no longer feel safe in school. They are spat upon, grabbed, bruised, kicked, punched, sworn at, bullied, abused on social media. Fire alarms are set off, classrooms and teachers' cars vandalised, schools suffer arson attacks, some smell of weed, some pupils carry weapons, with 191 seized last year. Some schools call out the police frequently and 90 per cent of teachers report low-level disruption.

The schooling of the vast majority of our decent well-behaved kids is being ruined. Physical and verbal abuse has become normalised. Jenny Gilruth's platitudes ("I am not going to walk away from the approach I inherited", September 10) do not give rise to any optimism these will be tackled anytime soon. Ms Gilruth wasn't born when schools were well disciplined.

There are two options. First we return to the corporal punishment we had; but not the experience of 40 years ago, where a class of 30 could be belted by a sadistic teacher whose team had lost the night before. It could be externally monitored; only used on a sliding scale after a verbal reprimand, lines, punishment exercise and detention had been exhausted. Only then could it be administered by a senior teacher and only for the most serious offences such as assault, vandalism, bullying, carrying a weapon and the like. The punishment would be fully logged. Beyond that would come suspension and exclusion. We would only be emulating the schools of south-east Asia with educational attainment we envy. ASN pupils would be treated with extra sensitivity as now.

The alternative would be to put the ball in the parents' court. If wee Jimmy or Britney hop, skip and jump home laughing at being excluded for assaulting another child, the parents would lose their child benefit or child tax credit or Scottish Child Payment for that next week. Is that too draconian? Ms Gilruth does not believe the issue can be tackled "in simple terms", but it can.

Why should the bullied child sit cowering at home while the feral bully, who was a school refuser, who went missing during Covid, freely roam the corridors?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife.

Read more: At this rate, 1984 will be with us by 2050

Three cheers for Stephen Fry

IT was so refreshing to hear Stephen Fry's excoriating words about the disaster that Brexit has brought down on Britain on the Laura Kuenssberg show on BBC1 (September 10).

It was along the lines that it was an outcome that dared not speak its name.

Not being tied to the apron strings of any political party, not having a constituency to worry about and not having to tailor his remarks to protect any electoral prospects, he brusquely brushed aside Ms Kuenssberg's interruption about there being other points of view on this matter by saying that all parties know that this has been a grievous error but cannot bring themselves to admit it.

Speaking truth to power is an avenue open to unaffiliated persons who carry clout in other areas, and we should welcome such interventions which expose that the emperor's clothes are nowhere to be seen.

How long will it be before some politician stands up to tell us that it has all been a ghastly and costly error of judgment?

Or is there no likelihood of that, so many being frit of the political consequences, if they pull the plug on that project by pointing out its failure?

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

Don't blame the police

KEVIN McKenna's Diary (September 10) featured the headline “Police Scotland's new-found vigour is an arresting sight”, giving the impression that the article was focused on Police Scotland. One of the main thrusts in the article was on the recent ridiculous proposals on "managing" travelling football supporters. Surely Mr McKenna was aware that these proposals emanated from the UK Traffic Commissioners and had nothing to do with any police force?

He then went on, in a not very subtle, but mildly amusing, way to infer links between freemasonry and the police and football referees. It's not the first time he's done this, but he never produces any evidence. We all know he doesn't like freemasonry or the police. Perhaps a more appropriate headline would have been “Kevin has another go”.

Douglas Morton, Lanark.

The disgrace of Hampden

I AM old enough to remember that in the 1960s Celtic Park was used by a visiting England national team to prepare for a game against Scotland. As I recall not a word was raised in protest.

Last week's Scotland-England game is the perfect example of what has happened since then to Scotland. Sure, the Scotland-England rivalry was as intense as ever back then, but the bitterness was much less.

The tidal wave of hatred we witnessed at Hampden on Tuesday simply did not exist. It's surely better if no anthems of any kind are played at Hampden if that is now to be the norm. Not even basic human dignity and respect was displayed. If they felt so strongly, was being silent, or turning to face the other way, out the question?

It must be a coincidence that the hate and bitterness so apparent these days has risen in almost straight-line graph fashion with the rise of the SNP as a force in Scotland. The constant SNP marches do not help.

George Orwell, paraphrased, was correct. Patriotism is all about loving your own country and nationalism is all about hating other countries.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Read more: Stop picking on teachers and put pressure on the parents

Housing rules backfire

THE Scottish Government may well have had good intentions in introducing various laws and controls over the Scottish housing market to protect tenants and students but the reality is these measures have created their own crisis.

Many landlords are frustrated by the new rules and are pulling out of the renting business, which is causing a national shortage of rented properties and inevitable rent rises.

Students in Scotland are now faced with unaffordable flats and are often forced to stay in the family home, which in turn limits the choice of college courses.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

What price democracy?

HOLYROOD'S cross-party net zero, energy and transport committee has said that the existing National Grid is not capable of accommodating the level of renewable electricity that will be needed to power electric vehicles and electric home heating. Well whose fault is that? Eight out of 10 homes use gas for heating and cooking, businesses use gas so why destroy the gas grid and put pressure on the National Grid?

The committee is also moaning that wind and solar developers are charged higher connection fees the further away from urban centres they are located. Do bus and train operators allow you to buy the ticket for a short journey and then let you travel to the terminus?

The committee stressed the need for "more agile" planning decisions on the electricity infrastructure and that solar and wind turbine planning applications be made more quickly "without removing the rights of individuals and communities to influence the process". That really is a laugh. There are 4,000 wind turbines in Scotland, the majority of which communities vigorously fought against but could not "influence the process".

Numerous wind and solar planning applications have been rejected by the local authorities but the Scottish Government overruled them and approved the planning applications. Democracy?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Make rail directors pay

I NOTE that Network Rail was fined £6.7 million for its failings which caused the deaths of three people in the derailment near Carmont on August 12, 2020. This begs the question: who actually pays the fine? Since Network Rail gets its income from train operating companies, which in turn are financed to a large extent by the taxpayer, no doubt it will fall largely on the taxpayer and fare-paying passengers to pay the fine.

Surely it would be more appropriate for the board of directors of Network Rail as a group to be responsible for paying this fine? After all it is they as a body who are responsible for the maintenance, or lack of maintenance, regimes and for the procedures in place for awarding and monitoring contracts.

If this was the case perhaps there would be greater accountability and help justify directors' not-inconsiderable remunerations.

Alexander Irving, Glasgow.