MARK Smith's very informative article regarding the Scottish Government's U-turn with regard to the inhumane transportation of male dairy calves ("A hushed-up U-turn and what it reveals about the Government", The Herald, September 28) made me feel saddened and a little annoyed with our leaders. While I don't profess to know anything about cattle farming and without reading the paper, I would still have been ignorant on this matter, I am glad this dreadful practice has now stopped.

What saddened me was the information that whilst others had ceased this barbaric practice, Scotland continued to implement it and it appears would have carried on regardless if its hand hadn't been forced. What angers me is the impression given by such as Nicola Sturgeon that the Scottish Government champions what is right and it seems to me she always seeks to seize the moral high ground, whether that would pertain to Covid-19 or Brexit or the Environment or you name it. Not on this occasion she hasn't. Rather than quietly let this aberration slip under the radar perhaps being up front with an apology (as suggested by Mr Smith) could actually be beneficial to the SNP's standing with the electorate.

It may seem naive to ask for honesty and admission of not perfect judgement in all matters as Boris Johnson and party are hardly candidates for open-heartedness but if the voters sensed honesty from a party and not merely box ticking, then just perhaps Ms Sturgeon might find the voters ticking the box she wants.

Willie Ferguson, Irvine.


NOW that we have celebrated the victory of the Battle of Britain and remembered those lost we should also remember an equally important sacrifice by so many.

The Battle of the Atlantic tends to be largely forgotten. Lasting years, it saw 3,500 merchant ships sunk and more than 36,000 merchant sailors lost.

My own father, sailing as a very young chief engineer because of the losses, was twice, within hours, in the drink. The second ship should not have stopped to pick up survivors and paid the price. As the convoy sailed on as it should the German submarine surfaced to take the captains and chief engineers prisoner to reduce our ability to operate merchant ships.

Fortunately, my father dressed only in a boiler suit was being sick in the gunwales of a lifeboat and was not identified. His lifeboat eventually made it into a Brazilian port. The German submarine, while still on operations, was later sunk by the Allies before it could return to its home port, so two captains and one chief engineer were lost.

We should remember the ultimate sacrifice made by so many in the Merchant Marine.

Dave Biggart, Kilmacolm.


WHEN discussions take place about the rationale and efficacy of the hereditary monarchy which we have in this country, an argument is often advanced along the lines of how would we be able to find a suitable individual to take on the role of head of state. It would be likely, so the argument goes, that we would finish up with some kind of recycled politician looking for a job in retirement. To answer that argument, one only had to look at two pictures in the Herald Magazine ("I remember thinking, could anything worse happen on my wedding day? And then it did", September 26). One was of two very distinguished ladies sitting together, Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, both having served as Head of State in Ireland. The other picture referred to is of Mary McAleese with the Queen at the time of the historic state dinner in Dublin (". These two ladies have since gone on to provide further outstanding public service.

Surely Britain is also capable of finding acceptable candidates with presidential qualities rather than taking pot luck with what might be produced within the royal family.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I ENJOYED Gordon Casely's letter (September 29) about bona fide travellers. He might be interested to know that when I worked in the BMA, there was a member, a practising doctor by the name of Dr Donald Duck. He, of course, was Donald Duck before Donald Duck, but imagine what he had to go through in his everyday life, poor man. There are a few true funny stories in existence in connection with him, but presumably lots more I don't know about.

Mary Duncan, Glasgow G69.