Letters: It is wrong to chastise the Duchess of Cambridge for using her status to raise poverty issues
WITH reference to Dr Angus Macmillan’s letter (June 20), there is no doubt that many people devote much of their time and energy to addressing the short and long term consequences of poverty, of childhood trauma and disadvantage and that, for the most part, they do so in relative anonymity and without the privileges of wealth and status. I recognize and share his sense of frustration that such issues tend to gain prominence when public figures, such as the Duchess of Cambridge, air their views on them, but I disagree with him on the fact that she should be the personal target of this frustration.
What was he going to make her do, say nothing and continue to enjoy a quiet and privileged life? It is hardly a valid criticism of her that she had no personal experience of poverty and inequality. She is no more responsible for the circumstances of her birth than any of us. If, however, she were to choose to use her public platform, justified or not, to raise awareness (and potentially attract resources to) an area of pressing importance, then why should we criticize her for it?
David Gray, Glasgow.
* I am certainly not a fan of monarchy as a constitutional arrangement. However, I think Dr Macmillan is being somewhat harsh on the Duchess of Cambridge. The monarchy is with us and is likely to be here for some time to come. He has his good sides (for example, the Queen) and his not so good sides (for example, Prince Andrew).
It’s to the Duchess’ credit, clearly a popular figure with many, that she devotes some of her time to issues such as the influence of the early years in children’s lives. His involvement, if nothing else, generates publicity on this important subject and raises public awareness. I believe she deserves praise rather than denigration.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.
• I STRONGLY agree with Dr. Macmillan. I would further ask, do we really need the Duchess’s opinion on child development? This is about a woman who presumably finds it entirely acceptable that her son, as young as six years old, witnessed the killing of free-ranging birds driven on the shotguns, among other things, of his own father.
Hilary Shearer, Cumbernauld.
STRENGTHEN YOURSELF WITH THE CODE OF THE ROAD
ITV recently aired a late night article on the new traffic laws (which were published a few months after the relevant traffic laws were enacted). Unfortunately this programme, which is still available as a catch-up, is limited to the hierarchy of road users. If you don’t understand that there is a hierarchy, do like me and buy a copy or google its contents.
Around the same time, my wife, in pedestrian mode, admonished a cyclist who was riding the wrong way down a one-way street – only to be told he wasn’t in a car, so Code did not apply.
Since I hadn’t read the Code since pre-Thatcher days, I acquired a copy for my family. The Code clearly applies to all road users, whether on foot, by bicycle, on horseback or in a motorized vehicle (large or small), but not to electric scooters, which are illegal anyway.
The first major point ignored by the ITV program was that cycling on pavements is not allowed – nor is parking vehicles.
Next, it seems important to communicate your intentions, on time and correctly, to other road users, for example when turning left or right at junctions and roundabouts. Hand signals are encouraged (although sometimes they only show an open window). As pedestrians lead the new hierarchy, drivers need to make sure they see all vehicle signals.
It’s strange that we now live in an age of instant communication by phone and laptop, but not communicating securely while driving. Instead, drivers don’t signal at all or only signal at the last second.
There are many useful and clear graphics in the Code for lane discipline, especially at junctions and roundabouts. My only disappointment is that only motorcycles and motorized vehicles require tax and insurance, while horses and bicycles can travel two abreast, taking up as much space as a car.
JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.
ANGLICIZING GAELIC WORDS
THEN I suggest to Dorothy Dennis (Letters, 20 June) that the use of ‘bourach’ in place of Gaelic ‘burach’ is simply an example of linguistic anglicisation, the practice of modifying foreign words to make them easier to pronounce, spell or understand in English? I can be accused of a form of treason by calling Gaelic a foreigner.
In what Billy Connolly described as our seemingly tiny parliament, the word “clusterbourach” was used to describe a large, convoluted sinkhole.
I, too, like to use Scottish words.
David Miller, Milgavie.
THE OUTLOOK IS DEPRESSING
MALCOLM Parkin (Letters, June 16) comments that we are now warned of ‘extreme heat’ as well as the possibility of rain, and suggests that there will soon be signs telling us when it is getting dark.
As if to increase dismay at the rising cost of keeping warm, Dr Khosla of the University of Oxford warns us that “the health implications of rising temperatures are serious”, and lists many possible consequent problems , including both physical and mental effects that I never would have feared before (“Heatwave health risk warning”, The Herald, June 17).
This innate tendency that some people have to look on the dark side perhaps explains the words I heard three days in a row from two old men with solemn demeanor passing each other in front of my open window:
In wet weather: “Anither dreich day”. “Yes – terrible.”
On a dry day: “Well, the rain held on. “Yeah – but that’s not fake awa’.”
Glorious day: “Best weather noo.” “Yes – we will pey fur this.” “Yes – quite rich.
Robin Dow, Rothesay.
APPROVAL NOT SO GREAT
SUSAN Aitken, trying to drum up support to bring the next Eurovision Song Contest to Glasgow, mentions the city being included in an Abba song, Super Trouper (“Making their mind up…Glasgow in the running to host Eurovision” , The Herald, June 18) – which is true except the lyrics say “I was sick and tired of everything when I called you last night from Glasgow”.
Stuart Neville, Clyde Bank.