Readers' letters: We’ll never return to the age of the train like this

I recently travelled on a local train to Glasgow Central. During my return daytime journey, three youngsters (who should’ve been in school?) boarded the train.Their excitement led predictably to low level anti-social behaviour including vaping, swearing etc.

Having boarded at a station without an automatic gate,there was clearly a suspicion that they could also be fare dodgers.The onboard ticket collector suddenly was no longer in evidence and the youngsters were able to leave the train without being troubled by staff.

As I understand it, rail staff have limited powers so far as onboard behaviour is concerned,but it was nonetheless disappointing that, from the point of view of the reasonable fare-paying passengers on board, these youngsters were not at least requested to show their tickets.

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Not a good look for an industry that is seeking to recover passengers after the pandemic and to persuade would be travellers to abandon their cars.

A reader's train journey to Glasgow Central station was marred by unchecked anti-social behaviourA reader's train journey to Glasgow Central station was marred by unchecked anti-social behaviour
A reader's train journey to Glasgow Central station was marred by unchecked anti-social behaviour

David Edgar, Biggar, South Lanarkshire

Church closures

Over 70 years we have given our time, our talent and money to the the Church of Scotland. During “lockdown” church doors were shut and locked, gates closed and no support given for worship.

Now the Easter message is being proclaimed around Scotland; "your church is being closed permanently”. If you can drive you may find an alternative place of worship, but is this good for your carbon footprint?

Where has all our money gone and where is it going now, 121 George Street?

Mary Leitch, Creiff, Perth & Kinross

Assisted dying

Professor David A Jones (Scotsman, 24 April) refers to people choosing and being allowed assisted dying simply because they are trans. Having read the article again it seems that people had chosen assisted dying and were trans.

The article refers to botched surgery and this appears to be the cause but that does not suit Prof Jones’ narrative. There was no reference to other cases of botched surgery amongst the gay or heterosexual communities leading to similar requests for assisted dying.

I do not doubt that there is a higher rate of-self inflicted death amongst trans and gender nonconforming people and I wholeheartedly endorse support and help before the situation seems helpless. This seems preferable to letting people get to the stage where they want to die by any means available which could possibly involve assisted dying.

In his effort to undermine legislation not yet in place in Scotland and co-opt the trans community to his cause he has used the sad death of three people in Belgium to scaremonger about possible changes to the law far into the future.

John Bromhall, Challans, France

Holyrood’s failings

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In relation to Allan Sutherland’s letter about Holyrood (25 April), I can remember that when he was Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray MSP was heavily criticised by our political establishment for suggesting that the Scottish Parliament had not actually been a benefit to anyone except those politicians, party workers, journalists, commentators and various hangers-on within the general Holyrood bubble. He was criticised, but he was right.

Fast forward to today. A wide swath of our services are delivered badly and arguably failing. Scottish Ministers like to say that such and such a thing is better than in England, but there is never any convincing evidence, and they are usually comparing apples with pears. Add into that the general smell which now seems to be contaminating everything, which anyone on the outside looking in can detect but which those on the inside seem to regard as normal and which they have gotten used to.

The purpose of the Scottish Parliament was to improve a range of public services in Scotland, but we cannot say that is the case. In many cases they are worse. Any review of operations needs to be external. If anyone can do that successfully, then the public will thank them for it. Holyrood itself will never do it, and that is a problem for everyone.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perth & Kinross

Failed strategy

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Humza Yousaf has gone down to Westminster (Scotsman, 25 April). Doing his best Oliver Twist impression, he meekly begged for yet another “Section 30” to reassert Scottish independence.

This “strategy” is a complete and utter embarrassment as well as a ludicrous failure. It shows Yousaf is clueless and has no real interest in Scottish independence. This is a betrayal of the nationalist movement by Yousaf and his whole cabal. They have no right to give Westminster a veto over the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland.

The SNP MPs have become totally integrated into the Westminster system. They have given away the ancient right of Scottish freedom. All this to secure their own positions and massive salaries from the Westminster gravy train.

Westminster-imposed Tory misery should have led Scotland to being an independent county. The reason we were not is because the lacklustre leadership of Nicola Sturgeon and her woke cult.

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Some members of this cult cannot accept information from sources they don’t agree with. This is absurd. If someone says your house is on fire you don’t ask their worldview before acting on the information. Until the SNP payroll faction are booted out, Scotland will remain a colony of Westminster.

Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee

Fleas in ears

Following the example of his predecessor in office, the new First Minister has gone to Downing Street and been given not the customary one but two fleas in his ear. The first was automatic and for the never-ending plea for a referendum. The second was for trying to persuade the UK’s PM to drop the Government’s court case against the, to put it mildly, controversial Gender bill. Plus ça change indeed.

So another grievance can be added to the already overflowing nationalist list. Paranoid nationalists will, and those on the UK side must sigh resignedly, blame it all on machinations by MI5 to put them down. One recently claimed on Twitter that the ongoing police investigations into the SNP were being carried out by the Met and Police Scotland was merely a front.

If the new FM is not changing course or approach, this could go on indefinitely and our country will suffer more.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Wellbeing dream

Grant Frazer (Letters, 25 April) ends his rather idealistic account of the Wellbeing Economy with a quotation from Gordon McIntyry Kemp: “You can’t have a thriving economy without a thriving society and you can’t have a thriving society without a thriving economy.”

He should perhaps reflect on the fact that you can’t have either a thriving economy or a thriving society without an experienced, competent, and totally transparent government. A government untainted by the slightest hint of lies and cover-ups and one not subject to arrests and police enquiries. A government, in other words, that the people can trust. One of these days we might be lucky enough to get that in Scotland.

David Mason, Penicuik, Midlothian

Schrödinger’s cat

Move over Boris’s Brexit! We now have the new political equivalent of Schrödinger’s cat – it’s called Beattie’s motorhome (Scotsman, 26 April), since the SNP’s treasurer wants everyone to believe that he was both unaware and aware of its existence at the same time, judging by his statement gymnastics over the last few days.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

No case for Union

When a Bank of England economist says that Britons need to accept that they’re poorer and MP Stephen Doughty confirms that Labour will not seek to re-join the EU, the Single Market or the Customs Union, there is no case for Scotland remaining in this unequal Union. Murdo Fraser’s claim of a revived Tory Party (Scotsman, 26 April) is undermined by Lord Frost and others who want to dismantle devolution while Alister Jack is acting like a colonial governor general in blocking legislation that has been passed overwhelmingly by our Scottish Parliament and James Cleverly is attempting to curtail Scottish Government trade and cultural missions abroad.

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The right-wing Tories are conducting a relentless attack on the UK’s institutions and values while Labour is merely paying lip service opposition on Europe, immigration and law-and-order issues.

The Scottish Parliament is already under attack as the Internal Markets Act strips it of powers in even minor areas. Holyrood can’t ban single-use wet wipes despite their environmental damage; it can’t put a deposit on bottles and it may well be prevented from raising the minimum unit price on alcohol despite evidence that this reduces alcohol deaths. Only independence can protect our Scottish Parliament.

Around half of the Scottish population know that energy rich Scotland would be much better off with independence and a majority in the Scottish Parliament were elected on that basis but the democracy-deniers are refusing us the right to choose our future.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

And finally...

News just in that the Government is to trial a second Emergency Alert via the BBC on TVs, mobiles, laptops etc. It reads "Eurovision! It's nearly here! Unplug all devices capable of receiving this catastrophic caterwauling and hide in the silent dark until the ‘all-clear’ sounds.”

Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

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