Scotland on Sunday readers' letters: Scotland should lead the way on fireworks ban in UK

Year after year we hear the same horror stories about fireworks terrifying domestic and wild animals, and riots on our streets with police and firefighters pelted with bricks and fireworks on arrival.

The laws governing the sale of fireworks are completely useless and the only way to stop this madness is to have a total ban on retail sales of fireworks.

The Scottish Government would get total support from the Scottish electorate by being the first in the United Kingdom to ban fireworks.

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Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen

Should fireworks now be limited to organised displays only?

Scots shock

I read Dr SJ Clark's letter on Emma Grae with great interest. Unfortunately for the good doctor, it was factually incorrect.

Dr Clark believes that in the 1970s/1980s nobody spoke Scots, therefore there was no suppression. An education board in 1946 made the decision to suppress Scots in schools as it was (and I quote) “not the language of ‘educated’ people anywhere, and could not be described as a suitable medium of education or culture”.

Anecdotally, I've spoken with people who were children at the same time Dr Clark was – and a number of them reported being belted for speaking Scots at school. If nobody could speak Scots in the 1970s/1980s, then it must be a shock for everyone to learn that 1.5 million Scots speakers were living in 2011, according to the Census.

Interestingly, Dr Clark talks about learning English at school – and speaking their local dialect, which might very well have been Scots. I've found that a number of people who either deny the existence of the language, or credit Billy Kay with its invention, have a profound ignorance on what Scots is – and are often speakers of it themselves, believing that they're speaking a dialect of English instead of recognising they're bilingual.

These people often talk of how “useful” subjects are needed in schools instead of teaching Scots or Gaelic, but now I cannot help but feel that this intergenerational ignorance can only be remedied by a mandatory subject on basic linguistics. “God abune gie me the smeddum o glaikit gomerils an blellums!”

Laura Law, Linlithgow

Census shambles

Your article on UK immigration was so hostile to the UK it had all the balance of an inebriated tightrope walker. However, the blizzard of statistics did include the latest data on numbers born abroad for England and Wales as per the latest Census.No such figures for Scotland, though, ours having been “delayed due to the Covid pandemic”. Excuse me, I seem to recall the First Minister on the telly daily informing us of how much better she was dealing with this crisis than the rest of the UK, so how come they managed a census on time and Scot Gov couldn’t?As for the boast that Scotland took in more than its fair share of Ukrainian refugees, well that went swimmingly with thousands still packed into cramped accommodation on old ships. Yet again the desire to be different ending up a total shambles. Super Sponsor? Aye right!Andrew Kemp, Rosyth

Law is not an ass

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In Neil Barber’s letter regarding the SEC in Glasgow being ordered to pay almost £100,000 in damages to US preacher, Franklin Graham, because of his views on homosexuality, he finishes the letter with, “a law which condemns homophobic hate and yet champions it at public events when it is religious homophobic hate is an ass” (“Law condemned”, October 30).

However, Mr Barber makes an even worse faux pas with his use of the word “ass”. His choice of the word indicates that he regards the ass as a dumb, stupid animal. Indeed, various animal names are often used in the wrong context by those who should know better, eg calling someone a cow, when wanting to denigrate a female, a pig, for someone who is dirty, even though, when left to their own devices, pigs are very clean animals.

The next time Mr Barber, or indeed anyone, wants to put someone down for any reason, they should pause first and think about the appropriate words to use. It is not appropriate to use (non-human) animal names to put humans down.

Sandra Busell, Edinburgh

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