Remember victims of other disasters

© Getty
Residents near the Barker Reservoir, Houston, Texas, return to their flooded homes to collect belongings.

Sir, – Your article on Wednesday, Floodwaters drop across Houston as death toll rises from Storm Harvey, stated the death toll as being at least 22.

This is a tragic event but given that it comes when similar weather-related deaths in Asia with much higher casualties are largely ignored, comes as no surprise to me.

I learned when a merchant seaman in December 1965 that Asian lives don’t count.

My ship at that time, the Clan Line’s MV King George, was bound for Chittagong, East Pakistan, to load jute for Dundee when we ran into a cyclone in the Indian Ocean.

The master, plotting the course of this cyclone, hove too short of our destination, only to land in the eye of the storm.

Anyway, we made it to Chittagong safely which is more than can be said for about 2,000 to 3,000 fishermen and coastal dwellers at Cox’s Bazar.

That was the number of deaths given in an article no bigger than a postage stamp in the only UK newspaper that reported the tragedy.

As for the master’s nervousness in our approach to Chittagong, he had good cause, given that a few years earlier, in 1960, another Clan Line ship, the Clan Alpine, had been torn from its anchorage at Chittagong and borne on a tidal wave 11 kilometres inland.

The death toll in that cyclone was said to be 10,000.

Ayub Khan, the president of Pakistan, the Queen and Prince Philip visited the cargo ship in the paddy field and it was well reported, which is more than can be said for the poor souls who were lost. Black lives, Muslim lives, don’t count it seems.

Tom Minogue.
94 Victoria Terrace,


Mr Corbyn not relevant

Sir, – What relevance did Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Scotland have?

As an outstanding campaigner and protestor, he ticks all the boxes, but as a leader he’s all at sea.

Having used the party whip to vote for his hard version of Brexit, he neglected to do the same on renewal of Trident.

His MPs sat on their hands in the vote on child tax credits and other austerity measures.

Despite achieving rock-star status at Glastonbury, Mr Corbyn has offered no opposition to Tory policies.

To gain credibility, Mr Corbyn provided Labour with almost, but not quite, a carbon copy, of Scottish Government policies. The verdict is: consistently inconsistent.

James Stevenson.
Drummond Avenue,


Bridge design is shortsighted

Sir, – I was very disappointed to see the Queensferry Crossing has been built as a motorway with only two lanes. What a shortsighted outlook Holyrood must have. The Second Severn Bridge has the correct minimum of three lanes.

RJ Soutar.
Camperdown Street.


Concentrate on project reality

Sir, – I wonder if those who voted to leave the EU rejoiced when they discovered on their foreign holiday that the Brexit pound barely matches the euro and is still falling against the dollar?

Yet Patrick Minford, chairman of Economists for Free Trade, assures us in From Project Fear to Project Prosperity that sterling’s decline is a good thing and will cushion our exit.

I’m not so sure. A falling exchange rate rarely opens up a path to national prosperity because it results in unproductive and inefficient exporters being given a temporary shot in the arm.

The fact is sterling is falling because investors in the foreign exchange markets fear that, far from allowing us to build a dynamic modern economy, Brexit will make us worse off.

Global supply chains have subverted the idea that British products compete with French or German products. They are all the end product of a global or regional assembly line.

Eurozone economic growth is now double that of the UK, so rather than warbling on about his Project Prosperity, it would be better if Professor Minford concentrated on project reality.

Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,
St Andrews.


Hold T in the Park inquiries

Sir, – I read with interest that Pete Wishart MP is devoting time to meeting Mr Ellis of T in the Park about a potential return to Perthshire.

Can we be reassured that as local MP, he is also devoting time to meeting with Police Scotland to ensure there will be fatal accident inquiries into all the deaths that unfortunately occurred at this festival?

Without the information that would be forthcoming from such inquiries, I fail to see how Perth and Kinross Council could safely give permission to any such similar event.

Mark Liddiard.
North Mains,


High value of private schools

Sir, – While the charitable status of independent schools is being questioned, let’s remember the plethora of government-funded sock puppet charities that serve to tell the government what it wants to hear, to call for policies that the government already wishes to implement, and to praise the government for doing so, all while conjuring an illusion of grassroots support for the government’s pet issues.

In Scotland, is state manipulation of public discourse more charitable than producing well-educated citizens at no expense to the state? It seems so.

Richard Lucas.
Scottish Family Party,
272 Bath Street,


EU is not democratic

Sir, – Whatever might be thought or said to be good about the EU, the commission at least, it could not truthfully claim to be democratically based.

This is because, as well as its anti-democratic personality, it has no “demos” to rule or govern it, unlike the nations of Europe.

Even were there no other reason to quit the EU, that democratic void would be sufficient reason for many of us in UK, a majority, to leave, while, of course, remaining on the best of terms with our fellows in the continent of Europe.

(Dr) Charles Wardrop.
111 Viewlands Road West,