Sir, – I am disappointed to see that there are still dyed-in-the-wool protagonists for the Gaelic language who are in denial of the reality and history of this minority language.
According to one source, only about 23% of the whole of the Scottish population spoke Gaelic in 1755.
In spite of that, our Government, who are adept at attempts in social engineering, blindly carry on inflicting us with Gaelic signs in areas where Gaelic was probably never spoken.
Personally, my paternal grandfather’s ancestors probably spoke Anglo Saxon (with a Geordie accent) and my paternal grandmother’s ancestors were Lowland Scots and likely spoke Lallans Scots, certainly not Gaelic.
On my mother’s side, her parents and their ancestors were pure Orcadian and would have spoken Norse, then Norn, but certainly not Gaelic.
Gaelic was introduced to most of the west of this land by invading tribes or clans of Scots from Ireland which resulted in the demise of the native Picts, their power, and their Celtic language.
I hasten to add that signs incorporating Gaelic in those parts of the West Highlands and Hebridean Islands are perfectly in keeping historically.
Elsewhere, however, they cause confusion and a wry smile of amusement at what must surely be a vain and purely romantic attempt to reintroduce a language which is, sadly, dying.
It is an expensive waste of public funds and is inappropriate
John D Ridley, 94 Spoutwells Drive, Scone.
Time to go back to basics
Sir, – What on earth has happened to our education system?
We are hearing that almost a quarter of our primary school teachers are ‘not confident’ in their ability to teach numeracy.
If this is the current case we must reflect upon the fact that there has to be something seriously wrong with the concentration and direction of the training of probationary teachers.
It has been well documented that a growing number of pupils are leaving school devoid of an ability to effectively read and write.
At the risk of repetition our Scottish education system was once the envy of the world.
Sadly, that is not so today.
In fact statistics reveal we are well down the educational league compared to other countries.
We are all aware that the system has been starved of cash input over a number of years which has had an obvious impact upon performance.
Equally there seems to have been a shift from concentration on the traditional three Rs toward more abstract forms of supposed creative learning.
This appears to be a grievous error, and as an analogy of the need to return to basics my old granny had a saying, ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’.
Nothing is truer than that, and those charged with overseeing our education system would do well to adopt this simple philosophy and make basics a priority.
In my day even the most educationally challenged were able to leave school with at least a basic ability to read, write and count.
David L Thomson, 24 Laurence Park, Kinglassie.
Not everyone can bypass NHS
Sir, – I have recently been following the news of the postponed operations for those suffering from hip problems, replacements or other works to alleviate their pain and ongoing distress.
Now I find that the main sports news is about Andy Murray undergoing surgery for his hip problem – in Australia.
How many of our local sufferers would wish they could bypass the NHS and have such work carried out in another country?
We need to look long and hard at our NHS provisions and care for our sufferers.
Roy Moffat, Bollyglosh, Gilmerton, Crieff .
Trump’s tweets cause concern
Sir, – I would like to respond to one of the latest tweets by President Trump.
I am shocked and surprised that the president of the most powerful country in the world has his finger on the nuclear arsenal which includes weapons thousands of times more destructive than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I hope President Trump would visit these places for himself and see the destruction caused by nuclear weapons.
The worldwide head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, for several years has been highlighting the perils of nuclear warfare and has warned against it.
I hope the world would pay heed to the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and try to resolve any differences with peaceful dialogue.
Naseh Ahmad, 42F Court Street, Dundee.
A disaster for the NHS in England
Sir, – I am appalled, disgusted and outraged at the lack of leadership and courage shown by Theresa May in keeping Jeremy Hunt as health secretary and just rebranding his job title as a PR and damage limitation exercise.
The number of mistakes this man has made has been utterly outrageous, from the junior doctors contracts to the strikes regarding the same, from the lack of funding for the NHS causing a winter crisis leaving operations cancelled and elderly ill patients waiting outside hospitals in ambulances to the IT crisis last year which he was warned about and did nothing to prevent.
Morale in the NHS is at an all time low with vacancies for nurses innumerable.
How on earth is this going to help?
If he was in the private sector he would have been dismissed long ago as a liability.
However, the decision to keep him comes from a former home secretary who made numerous mistakes with regard to border control policing and immigration.
Well done Theresa May – you have just sanctioned the beginning of the demise of the NHS in England.
Gordon Kennedy, 117 Simpson Square, Perth.
Must end Middle East silence
Sir, – The silence concerning the current unrest in Iran from those such as Jeremy Corbyn who are eloquent in their denunciations of Israel and all Western involvement in the Middle East is instructive.
The Iranian regime has always had an appalling human rights record.
The suppression of multi-million-strong protests after the disputed presidential elections in 2009 are well known, as are the killings of many thousands of political prisoners in the 1988 prison massacres.
Indeed, the regime still prevents family members, such as the Mothers of Khavaran, mourning those executed and denies the killings even took place.
Those protesting about corruption and the decline in living standards have not been slow to realise the connection with Iran’s expensive involvement in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and its obsession with the Palestinian cause.
One can speculate how the regime has spent the tens of billions of dollars released to it as a result of Obama’s nuclear agreement, but it is clear that it wasn’t spent on improving the lot of the Iranian people.
The regime will doubtless survive these protests unscathed.
How can it be otherwise, when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps acts as a state within a state, defending the Islamic revolution from the Iranian people?
It is high time that Jeremy Corbyn and progressive opinion in general took a proper interest in the current oppression in Iran and ceased obsessing about Israel.
Otto Inglis, 6 Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh.
Bank must do as public say
Sir, – While Pete Wishart MSP is correct to question RBS closures, this is not necessary.
All that is needed is for the Government – which paid £42 billion for this zombie bank, only to be rewarded by another £70 billion of losses – to simply tell the RBS chief executive which, if any, branches he can or can’t close.
The Government is the major shareholder after all. The arrogance of bankers is legendary, but RBS is in a league of its own.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Kinross.