A mild rebuke by parents is acceptable

Sir, I refer to Ian Johnston’s letter, There’s no place for this in civilised society (February 9).

He calls himself a “social worker” but is he married/in a relationship with children? Is he an experienced expert on practical parenting?

The sheriff in that particular case he mentions was quite correct to differentiate between “smacking” and “beating” or worse.

Mr Johnston refers to a “civilised” society, but we do not live in such a utopia. Does he not remember the burning, thieving and bloody riots in England less than two years ago?

Many of the criminal participants were the children of parents, browbeaten by law, into not disciplining, with mild smacking, for instance, those children when younger and responsive to mild rebuke? Does he not read the newspapers, with their daily reports of mugging, assault, stabbing and worse incidents?

He then patronises parents by saying “he does not underestimate the difficulties” they face.

Two struggling, working, parents, in the private sector particularly, paying theirtaxes so that the Mr Johnstons (and magistrates) of this world can have a decent salary and good pensionto boot, are, in my view,entitled to administer occasional, as required, light smacking on the legs or buttocks to discourage further bad behaviour in their children, without fear of any interference from the law or social work.

A T Geddie. 68 Carleton Avenue, Glenrothes.

Not guilty in the eyes ofthe law

Sir, It seems to me there is a factual error in your front page article, The great benefits swindle (February 19), with regards to what constitutes guilt.

Stefan Morkis’s item states that the DWP FIS confirms 4,395 cases of fraud in 2011/12, but that only 692 of these were convicted. Stefan then deduces that all those who did not go through due process are guilty as well(“. . . just one in six Scots guilty of defrauding the system ends up convicted by the courts.”).

Those people whose cases did not reach the courts may be guilty in the eyes of DWP FIS, this newspaper, or even the court of public opinion, but they are not guilty in law. If you were to publish their names along with the assertion that they were guilty, you would find yourself at the wrong end of libel verdicts.

The reasons for the discrepancy between 4395 and 692 are doubtless many and varied, but one of the crucial ones is evidence that is acceptable to the court and will stand up to scrutiny evidence which will give the procurator fiscal a reasonable chance of a successful prosecution.

What underpins our society and separates it from many another, is the rule of law and the knowledge that before we can be deemed guilty of anything, we must be found guilty in a court of law.

Tom Reid. 50 Cortachy Crescent, Kirriemuir.

Alarm overcar coolant

Sir, Not content with making Scotland the fuel-poverty capital of the world with its hugely expensive wind energy, the green lobby demands a lethal coolant for our cars.

New cars risk catching fire and exploding in a crash because EU rules now impose a controversial “green” air-conditioning coolant codenamed HFO-1234yf.

In a simulated crash, the coolant caught fire as soon as it hit the engine, releasing the lethal gas hydrogen fluoride which corroded the windscreen and turned it white.

Much to the annoyance of Green MEPs, the Society of British Motor Manufacturers and Germany’s car makers have expressed real alarm about his new danger.

Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.

Dismayed by generalisation

Sir, I was dismayed to read Stuart Waiton’s article about Paul Gascoigne and therapy in Monday’s Courier.

Therapy does not work with everybody and alcoholics often do better with the structured support of organisations like Alcoholics Anonymous, but to extrapolate therapy as the cause of Gascoigne’s current state and to proceed to damn all therapy is a shocking generalisation for an academic lecturer to make. I hope he bases his sociological research on more than single cases.

Maggie Newell. Person Centred Counsellor, 326 Blackness Road, Dundee.

More help for Mr Trump?

Sir, On hearing the news that the Trump Organisation has submitted plans for a second golf course at Menie makes me wonder if Mr Trump has inside information that the Aberdeenshire Council and the SNP government have once again rolled over and are set to refuse or move the proposed offshore wind farm to help Mr Trump out.

Nothing would surprise me! To paraphrase the words of Rabbie Burns: “We’re bought and sold for Yankee gold Such a parcel of rogues in a nation”.

Robert T Smith. 30 Braeside Terrace, Aberdeen.