ANDREW Tickell asks readers what makes people respond negatively to the framing of sexual assault and violence he articulates (Spiking raises the question: Why is it men are capable of such crimes?, Oct 24). Given his immediate attempt to constrain the possible responses to ones that would make anyone attempting to respond appear either callous or sexist, as well as the implicit erasure of the women who would take issue with it, I assume the format of a question was a rhetorical device rather than a sincere attempt at understanding, but I’ll answer it in good faith regardless.

Personally, as a man raised by a single mother whose shelves were filled with philosophy and feminist literature – and just as a human being with basic empathy – I take a similarly dim view of people who behave in the awful ways Andrew described. Where we appear to part ways is on the matter of consistency. When I accept an argument as correct, I apply the logic everywhere that it fits, not merely where it’s convenient or reinforces what I already hold to be true.

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Many times in my life people have stood at podiums, or in front of cameras, or written columns decrying this group or that for the excesses, crimes, or atrocities committed by some small minority among their number – Catholics and the IRA, Muslims and al-Qaeda, immigrant or ethnic minority communities and criminal gangs, etc. In every case my mother and the other thinkers I respect responded in the same way: collective accountability is unjust. I’m sure in those cases Andrew would agree, so why does that logic of distinction suddenly vanish when the group which contains the negative element is commonly perceived to be privileged?

Even putting aside whether you agree that’s a valid comparison, from a purely tactical/political perspective it must be acknowledged that a lot of people who otherwise agree with you do believe it’s valid, and view the way some academics and activists seek to apply standards unevenly as a form of hypocrisy that makes them view any other arguments you may care to make with suspicion.

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It’s also somewhat saddening to see people still making the argument that we “confront the reality” that women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic abuse and men overwhelmingly the perpetrators – activists have spent decades strenuously trying to get people to accept that abuse doesn’t need to be as obvious as a black eye, and that under-reporting and the police not taking what little reporting is done seriously doesn’t mean the act itself isn’t happening. Now that those arguments have largely won through for straight women, are they to be hastily abandoned in case they challenge long-held assumptions?

The awful experiences many women have to endure shouldn’t be ignored or minimised, but the blame and responsibility for those experience should lie where it belongs – on the people who actually perpetrate the acts, not on whichever categories someone cares to assign them to.

Jack Straken

PROFESSOR Devi Sridhar highlights the prospect of increased Covid-19 cases resultant from Glasgow’s COP26 international climate change event (COP26 set to ‘make Covid worse in Scotland’, Oct 22). However, it is not just the event but follow-up action that requires highlighting as risky.

When looking at the Covid-19-generated “new normal” approach (Scotland), whatever that may mean, or the “learn to live with it” approach (greater England), whatever that may mean, masks, lateral flow testing and social distancing play their part to a greater or lesser degree.

It is when appropriate ventilation is looked at that the dichotomy between sealing the living space up – to reduce heat escaping – and opening up the ventilation of the living space – to reduce any build-up of Covid-19 virus particulate matter – provides some really head-scratching problems.

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Clean all the air too much in limited spaces, and more benign viruses starts to have a bigger impact as immunity becomes depressed. So, we are back to opening windows and also turning up the heating, and masking up, and socially distancing, and lateral flow testing of some sort? Indeed,

it is looking like carbon capture is not simply the wrong idea, as some have suggested, but a cornerstone to be developed, in a diffuse manner, for capturing many different and varied nasties, both climate and virus-related.

It looks like we are going to need even more energy than we thought, as opposed to less, so a much quicker pace for renewables development will be required. So, back to COP26, the Covid-19 enhancer event, which becomes even more necessary despite the risks.

Transport permitting, the November 6 COP26/AUOB march through Glasgow is something becoming even more necessary to show “here today, gone tomorrow” politicians that the citizenry require them to demonstrate some GUMPTION, in dealing with more than one global crisis at once.

I have never been on a socially distanced march before, but photos of fluttering banners and flags coming down the hills into Glasgow will hopefully drive the message home to even the most asinine vote-grubbing politicians that the citizenry expects (demands, in the case of Mr A Johnson) every one of them to do their duty.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow