I WRITE to commend the Hamish MacPherson articles on the Scottish Covenanters for the concision and skill deployed in explaining a complex part of Scotland’s past. Too little attention is paid to this time, which was instrumental in shaping Scottish identity.

Covenanting heritage was once well-known, when statues were erected in Stirling’s Valley Cemetery in the 1850s to the Reverend James Guthrie, James Renwick and the female covenanters who perished in the Solway. Guthrie, minister of the Holy Rude Church in Stirling, was judicially murdered in 1661 for his religious and political beliefs. His portrait, ring and chair are among the treasures of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum.

With a secular society and a film and television industry permanently engaged with the Tudors, there is unlikely to be any programmes on or about the Scottish Covenanters at any time soon, and the MacPherson articles are to be treasured.

Burns wrote that “The Solemn League and Covenant / Cost Scotland blood, cost Scotland tears / But it sealed freedom’s sacred cause / If thou’rt a slave, indulge thy sneers.”
Elspeth King
Director, Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

SURELY the banks, with maybe a little input from the Scottish Government, could find some way to provide personal banking services in rural areas?

I would imagine not everyone in a specified area banks with the same bank, so would not a solution be to have one combined branch that could service the needs of customers of several different banks? This would allow banks to drastically reduce their costs but allow people who prefer personal banking an option. I do most of my banking online, but now and again I do need to speak to someone face-to-face.

I am sure that with a bit of thought this could be quite workable, especially in this digital age. Four or five banks = four or five times the customers = 25 per cent or 20 per cent of the shared cost.
The Auld Yin

WE were underwhelmed when the bank replaced our debit cards with contactless ones. As demonstrated in the BBC’s Rip-off Britain, the latter can be read from yards away by anyone with a little knowledge and the appropriate phone app.

The card will be protected inside a metallic case, but if it is stolen a thief can use it without requiring a pin number.

After a phone call to Direct Banking our new cards were replaced by the old-fashioned ones. With contactless it’s open season for skimmer-scammers. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!
James Stevenson

THE unchallenged influence of the Soviet Union on the foreign policies of its small neighbour Finland was known as Finlandisation; defined by the political cartoonist Kari as the art of bowing to the East without mooning the West.

It is unfortunate that Kari is no longer with us, but judging by this week’s laughter at the diminished UK’s invention of Reverse Finlandisation, I’m sure that we can all picture a cartoon of John Bull mooning the EU and bowing to Ireland.
Iain Simpson
Address supplied

THAT was some sleep I had last night. I went to bed on December 5 and appear to have woken up on April 1. Well that was my first reaction when I heard that the BBC is going to teach school pupils about the dangers of fake news!

Would that be the same BBC which, time after time, has shown political bias against the SNP Scottish Government, the same BBC which harasses any spokesperson from the SNP but sits silently while opposition politicians and pundits make any outrageous claim they want, and the very same BBC that let Nick Robinson lie on air repeatedly when reporting on a story about Alex Salmond?

As Professor John Robertson and Inform Scotland have proven, time after time, the BBC does not report the news, it makes and manipulates it.

The very thought that the BBC believe they are capable of exposing the dangers of fake news while clearly indulging in such a practice is laughable.
Councillor Kenny MacLaren