YOUR correspondents Joan Skinner and Anne Brown taking pride in the Scottish Government recognising prostitution as “a form of violence against women”, and advocating the Nordic model which “criminalises the users of prostitution rather than the prostitutes”, suggests to me warning bells of a nouveau puritanism creeping into Scottish politics of late and which, though with apparently laudable aims, is clearly barking up the wrong solution tree (Letters, December 29).

Isn’t the solution being proposed just another example of campaigners and government snipping away at the disease-ravaged branches while the real problem is the Dutch Elm disease killing the host, ie the fundamental inequalities ingrained in our political and social structure?

I just wonder whether these campaigners ever asked sex workers if they wanted the users of their services to be criminalised? How would this benefit those who need the income to ameliorate the circumstances that brought them to the oldest profession in the world in the first place: failed and abusive partnerships, lack of familial support, single parenthood, poor education and limited job opportunities, wholly inadequate benefits, poor housing and abject poverty perhaps just some of the reasons. To paraphrase, shouldn’t we be getting tougher on the causes of prostitution?

How does cutting off sex workers’ income by criminalising the demand for their services help them? Isn’t the reality that it won’t; just make it even harder for them?

Isn’t the likelihood that the whole sector would then be driven further underground, making it even more difficult to identify and help those who need it most?

Even if they were successful in incarcerating users of prostitution, potentially destroying family situations and burdening our jails with more inmates there is clearly no room for, where would some of those users turn to satisfy a demand that won’t have gone away?

By imposing their version of the help these correspondents and those MSPs supporting them think sex workers need, aren’t they and their ilk failing to understand the real problem and on a course to just make matters worse?

Decriminalisation is far from dead in the water as a partial solution and I shudder to think what the consequences will be if the assault on the demand is allowed to happen by campaigners’ successfully criminalising it.

Jim Taylor

I APPRECIATE John Black (Letters, December 30) picking up on my rather slipshod remark that a List MSP’s job was to “spread the load”, which then allowed him to attack them as “hangers on, elected by their party to represent them” rather than him.

In actual fact the creation of Regional MSPs was to reflect the wishes of the electorate, so that no party could dominate with a minority of votes as is prevalent in the Westminster system.

The Holyrood voting system was designed by the LibLab coalition; they used the D’Hondt method, which ensured that the SNP could never have a majority. This is not hearsay or presumption but fact; they were totally confused when the people of Scotland proved them wrong.

Mr Black is convinced that Scotland should have a “small government” ethos and cut back drastically on NHS and police expenditure.

As far as the NHS is concerned, the fixation from south of the Border against foreigners will ensure that NHS staffing will be savagely reduced, pleasing him until he is lying on a trolley somewhere.

He also has a view that Police Scotland is wasting money on enforcing arbitrary speed limits; as most control of speed limits is done by cameras this looks to be a non-starter (incidentally I am now 83 and have only once been stopped by police for speeding).

After a diatribe on the Highland Clearances he ends up with an accolade to the Queen, who costs us rather a lot of money.

As he is a specialist in royal affairs I am only mildly surprised that he did not mention that the House of Windsor has only existed since 1917; prior to that it was known as Saxe Coburg Gotha.

Jim Lynch