Letters: Lady Hussey’s conduct really cannot be defended

ANGUS MacEachran (letters, December 2) suggests that Lady Susan Hussey should be “given a break” because of “the huge changes that have occurred during the lady’s lifetime and to which she has adapted”.

But the fact is that, as recent events have shown, she has not adapted to contemporary values. Otherwise, she would not have conducted herself as she did.

However, this would all have been a private matter, and none of it would have mattered nearly so much, if she had not been doing a ‘meet and greet’ on behalf of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace. As such, she was acting on their behalf, which is why her behaviour is not just a matter for her, but for the Royal Family.

Another issue is just why Lady Hussey chose to ask this guest where she came from.

I doubt very much, if we ever met, she would ask me (a white Caucasian). However, where I come from – actually Glasgow, in what I would regard as the normal sense of that question – is at least partly Mauritius, as my father’s parents (my grandparents) were a Dumbarton vet and the daughter of a Mauritian plantation owner.

If correct, does this consideration not confirm the charge of racism against Lady Susan Hussey, were further proof necessary?

Mr MacEachran’s chivalry in defending Lady Susan Hussey is laudable, but her conduct both in itself and in its context, really cannot be defended successfully, not even on the grounds of her age.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.



THAT a close member of the royal inner circle has been told to resign (“Royal aide steps down in row over comments to black guest”, December 1) over what was considered to be an ill-judged remark to a female guest indicates how public attitudes have changed in recent times. It brings into question how to be inquisitive without being impolite.

Recently at a vaccination centre in Glasgow I was attended to by a black woman. As I had recently visited Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone, I asked her where she came from. She replied that she came from London.

I should have realised my mistake as the ambient temperature immediately dropped to -273 F. It was clear that the normal social intercourse of interest in ones fellow human being is in danger of being hijacked by a tiny number of the population on the grounds of racism.

I was left with a bruised arm and the thought that it was difficult, as one of over three score years and ten, how easy it has become to give offence when none was intended.

R. Johnston Newton Mearns.


REBECCA McQuillan’s article (“Sacking Yousaf won’t save NHS but independence with higher taxes could”, December 1) on the NHS was a good one.

She highlighted the fact that if we wanted a top-class NHS we needed to spend more. I have just received some outstanding service from my GP practice but this is obviously not the case everywhere.

I am sure that there are plenty of improvements which could be made to the organisation of the NHS but additional money would still be needed.

The UK is still a wealthy country with a total wealth of around £16trillion. We have to find ways of transferring some of that wealth to the services that we all need starting with the NHS.

The most obvious way to transfer money from the wealthy to the common good is inheritance tax. I do not have enough information to calculate how much could be raised if inheritance tax was raised but we are talking big numbers.

There are other avenues for taxing the wealthy and any government who is putting the majority of the people as their concern should use these methods.

In the case of inheritance tax the inheritors have usually had advantages throughout their life and getting an inheritance is just perpetuating the divide between rich and poor. An extra £50billion to the NHS/care sector would benefit the many as opposed to the few.

Jim McAdam, Maidens, Ayrshire.


IT is reported in The Herald that Grampian Local Medical Committee have suggested that wealthier patients should be charged a fixed fee for GP consultations in a bid to reduce demand (“Medics call for wealthy to be charged fixed GP fees”, December 1).

This raises many issues. Firstly, who then decides what constitutes wealthy, and how is wealth defined?

As with all means-tested benefits there has to be a line drawn which separates those who qualify and those who do not. Someone earning £1 per month below that line may qualify for free treatment whilst someone earning £1 per month over find they have to pay. That system in itself is patently unfair.

I find the idea of “reducing demand” by pricing people out of the system abhorrent. Everyone who needs medical assistance should be able to avail themselves of it. If we accept the notion that the “wealthy” should pay, and indeed can pay, then logically that will not in fact reduce demand.

Demand will remain static but some will pay for treatment and some will not.

I am a great believer in the concept of the NHS system, that medical treatment should be free at the point of delivery and funded through fair taxation. If we all need to pay more tax then so be it. That is how it should be.

The wealthy would pay more tax whilst lower earners would pay less or none at all.

Payment of a fee for a GP appointment would be the first step on a slippery slope that would inevitably lead to charges for other medical services and potentially the complete demise of the NHS as we know it.

David Clark, Tarbolton, Ayrshire.


I WAS delighted to see Rebecca McQuillan call for more tax to pay for the NHS. The Scottish government should start by raising airport passenger duty which is now devolved to them. No more complaining about a lack of powers, no more complaining about global warming – use this power to help the NHS and save the environment.

Davie Watson, Leith, Edinburgh.

* WITH all the horrendous news about the NHS, where are the £350 millions promised as well as 60 new hospitals? Where are the over 5,000 EU nurses and over 4000 doctors who either left the NHS or just chose not to work anymore? I am one of them.

Rosemarie Lang, Douglas.


POLITICAL news channels will be the duller now that Ian Blackford, the lively and voluble Master of Grievance (real or imagined makes no difference) – “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the (Westminster) stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”– is to stand down as the SNP’s Westminster leader.

But newscasters’ loss is theatre’s gain. A new career awaits for the difficult-to-dislike political thespian just a 20 minute walk down the road at the Old Vic.

Apologies to Macbeth mac Findlaech and Bill Shakespeare ( Ref: Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5).

R Russell Smith, Largs.


IS it not telling that while ‘London burns’, supporters of the Westminster establishment find the time to contort political trivia by, for example (Martin Redfern’s letter about virtue-signalling, December 2), personally speculating on the circumstances around Ian Blackford’s “resignation” in another seemingly desperate attempt to denigrate our First Minister?

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian.


I AM incensed by the arrogance of the Tories and Labour in Holyrood. Neither was elected to power but both are equally happy to ignore the electorate in their desperation to do the bidding of those in London.

The SNP/Greens government at Holyrood was elected by the majority of the Scottish people. Those voting did so in the clear knowledge that once the worst of the pandemic was over then independence was firmly back on the agenda.

This is not the message Westminster want you to hear, however, and so they will continue to deny Scotland’s voice. Desperate times in a failing state. Time for independence – nothing less will do.

Ann MacKay, Crossford, Fife.


THE BBC is making cuts to conventional television and radio services to increase funding for online activity. Personally, I do not mind paying a bit extra for BBC online, but I am sure there are many who do. Should there not be a basic TV licence for those who only want to watch television and listen to radio, with an option to pay a supplement for access to online services?

As a matter of principle, it seems wrong for the state to force citizens (who may not even own a computer) to pay for online services they may not want before being allowed to watch television in their own home.

Scott Simpson, Glasgow.


I HAVE followed the saga of the Gender Reform Bill, currently making its passage through Holyrood, and the travails of the feminists who are attempting to be heard and contribute valid input to the debate.

It has become apparently clear to me that there are two main issues related to this. Firstly, there is a clear denial of democracy on behalf of the Scottish Government and some of the organizations which purport to support women, in the silencing of the women’s rights to be able to speak freely and be listened to. Secondly, there is the demonisation and “gaslighting” of women. As a man (biological) I am becoming more more angry that this is happening in a supposed progressive and democratic Scotland.

The UK government has seen fit to listen to women, which puts Scotland to shame. As a man I feel that women deserve more support and that the best way to do this is through the ballot box. Men should also take this up and deliver this message.

Doug Eadie, Alexandria.


IF there’s one thing we’ve learned from VAR in football it’s that the most farcically tight of margins can be enough to influence a game.

Japan’s decisive goal against Spain at the World Cup was proof of that: the ball remained in play by a matter of millimetres. I felt for Germany.

S Mackay, Glasgow.

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