Readers' Letters: Once upon a time, a drag queen read to children
The latest instalment of this, a Drag Queen Story Time event planned by a Moray library, at which performer John Campbell will appear as his alter ego Miss Lossie Mouth to read stories to children six years and younger, has attracted some criticism.
Of course introducing children to the world of books and fun of reading is a good thing. But does it have to be done by a man dressed up in drag with false breasts? Surely, there are dozens of other ways to make reading fun for kids?
Moray Council and Mr Campbell stand by the format of this event. Yet, as a deputy headteacher, is Mr Campbell above the concerns expressed in social media and also by MSP Douglas Ross?
As a former teacher myself I would say that there is a boundary between the professional role of teachers and the (adult) interests they might pursue in their spare time.
However, Mr Campbell will bring his Miss Lossie Mouth drag persona into an educational setting and I assume he’ll make good use of his teaching skills when addressing his young audience. As a teaching professional, couldn't he do this just as well as Mr Campbell?
What content will be read? Zee Zee Zebra is about a rainbow-coloured zebra who is eventually accepted by its initially exclusionary black-and-white friends. And Tango Makes Three is a fictionalised story, based on a real events, of two male penguins bonding and bringing up a female chick. In Unicorn NOT Wanted a narrator insists on telling a conventional cowboy story and keeps rejecting a unicorn and a pug, who try every trick to get into the book – essentially a story about censorship.
Ultimately parents will make up their own minds on whether or not drag reading events for kids under six are the right thing for their children.
Regina Erich, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
The Fire Brigade union (FBU) has raised legitimate concerns about the plan to remove ten appliances (and presumably their crews) across Scotland due to reduced Scottish Government funding. Their justifiable concern is that this will increase the brigade response times, and consequent risk.
In response the Assistant Chief Officer states that they can reduce these appliances “with the least impact on response times” and the Scottish Government claims that these reductions “are prioritised in a manner that will minimise risk”. Both statements imply there will be an increase in response times and consequent increased risk to the public!
Why is this risk increase even being considered acceptable by those whose role is public safety?
GM Lindsay, Kinross
If nothing else will, the unprecedented protest by 600 islanders on South Uist – fully one third of the island’s population – should make the SNP/Green administration in Edinburgh sit up and take notice. They should put away their one-issue politics and never-ending – and in most cases made-up – constitutional grievances with Westminster and start concentrating on serving the people who put them where they are.
The islanders said they felt “forgotten, abandoned and ignored”. For a matter where the SNP/Greens cannot blame the bogeyman of Westminster, this surely is another crack in the nationalist dam, growing wider with every passing day.
Of course, the SNP will know that the population of South Uist is tiny and it lies far away and, anyway, they have other fish to fry with an impending UK Supreme Court case and so many of their supporters are infinitely more concerned with what flags should decorate the plastic covers on strawberry packs.
It ranks as the understatement of the century to say that more attention and emphasis should be given to these crucial matters affecting the islands and less to their perpetual grievances and extremists’ petty complaints, neither of which do anything for Scotland and bore most of us senseless.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Before too many workers in Scotland are reassured by Keir Starmer’s “vow” that oil and gas jobs will be phased out gradually and be replaced by “green” jobs, I would like to remind them of a similar pledge made by a predecessor of his.
When the UK Labour government decided to close the Ebbw Vale Steelworks, Michael Foot “vowed” that all steelworkers laid off would be retrained and given new better jobs in the burgeoning “hi tech” industries.
Some training was given, but tended toward teaching men who had never been unemployed before how to fill in dole forms while some tin shed “industrial estates” were built – some were actually occupied. Some well-paid, high-skilled jobs were created, though a goodly number of those required the worker to emigrate. A fraction of the original workers were retained after a private company bought the steel plant, but many of the “new jobs” created in the area were low-skilled, low-paid factory and abattoir-type work, and there were never enough new jobs to replace the steelworks employment levels, so to this day Blaenau Gwent has one of the highest unemployment rates in Britain.
Beware politicians’ promises, particularly when they are intended to grease the wheels of promotion of an ideological agenda.
Ian McNicholas, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale
Bye bye Blackford
The disappearance of SNP politician Ian Blackford from the political scene will be viewed with sadness by some and bring joy to others. He was a well kent figure standing on the floor of the House of Commons pontificating about everything under the sun, bringing a smile to the faces of some of his TV audience while causing others to switch off. His judgment was questionable at times, particularly with the Patrick Grady sexual harassment issue, but when the Nicola Sturgeon era ended it was on the cards that he would return to his “humble” croft.
Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Kippen, Stirlingshire
Overseas aid cut
The plan to house 1,000 asylum seekers on two barges is another part of Rishi Sunak’s “stop the boats” rhetoric about increasing numbers of refugees coming to Britain.
People are being forced to leave their homes due to conflict or environmental disaster. None of us would want to be in that situation and we must honour our international and moral obligations to people seeking safety. In fact there are far fewer asylum applications made in the UK than in comparable European countries, such as France and Germany.
However, the real tragedy is that the cost of supporting a refugee or asylum seeker for their first year is being taken from the already reduced overseas aid budget. This is now taking a third of the aid budget, meaning that three times as much is spent domestically as in Africa. So, who is paying for refugee support? Unfortunately it is frequently those who previously would have benefited from the UK’s international development and humanitarian programmes – for example, the 43 million people now in need of aid in drought-affected East Africa.
Karen Downard, Edinburgh
We live in times when our lords and masters at Holyrood always say that, whatever they are doing, it’s better than England, rather than setting their own benchmark for excellence. We also have to be different and try to be trailblazers.
Yesterday’s news about the delay in the deposit return scheme simply confirms that the only blazing happening is government projects like DRS, the NHS and the ferries going down in flames. To cap it all, the news broke that there was something that England had more of than Scotland – communicable sexual diseases. What will the First Minister do to address this!
Fraser MacGregor, Edinburgh
I am surprised that no one in the SNP has realised a very easy way of attracting more support… get rid of the Greens and their wacko policies.
Jim Houston, Edinburgh
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