LIKE Michael Russell, I’ve had enough of our distorted mainstream media’s feeding frenzy attacking Health Secretary Michael Matheson for a petty misdemeanour concerning his government iPad misuse (Matheson feeding frenzy is part of Tory insider attack on our Parliament, Nov 18).

OK, we get it, it’s sorted, there are important matters to deal with, let’s move on on. And we’re certainly not going to take any lessons about government propriety from any Tories, especially D Ross.

I may not have been paying proper attention, but did I miss the announcement about the latest privatisation bid being perpetrated by our dental health service?

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I’m notified by my dental surgery that the six-monthly oral examination, essential to monitor serious life-threatening conditions like oral cancer, has been shunted to 12 months. Of course, an interim examination could still be available, but we’ve been quoted a £50 fee for same. And we will be subject to a fee if we require emergency treatment between checks.

Where was all this intimated? Why hasn’t the government written to us directly to explain it? Why are we allowing yet another privatisation of our already woeful and pathetic NHS dental service, which has been eroded down the years to the point we’re all effectively private patients anyway?

In better times, my wife moved to a dentist in Livingston where she worked at the time, to dovetail treatment with her work commitments. All was well except, now retired, she is unable to move back to a local surgery. No new NHS patients are being accepted – it’s go private or no service.

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There’s no honour in Scotland’s NHS dental service. The practitioners our education service trained are now turning their backs on we who funded them. And we have allowed them to get away with this.

So, rather than wasting time on whether Matheson’s kids abused his data allowance, overtly overpriced as it is by greedy suppliers, I’d rather have answers to why our dental health service is being destroyed on this SNP government’s watch, why our access is being restricted and why income-restricted pensioners have to travel 30 miles for treatment, the expense of which causes financial hardship?

Am I wrong to expect a government that has spent an inordinate amount on the social-re-engineering priorities of a tiny minority to take the time to repair the damage being done to a public service that affects all of us?

Jim Taylor

IAIN Wilson (Letters, Nov 18) correctly points out that the history of the Middle East goes back to Biblical times, as does the history of every country. He also claims that the latest episode of bloodshed was caused by the horrendous attack on civilians and soldiers on Oct 7, and he is right again. But I think some perspective is required here, and a bit more history.

Israel was created by violence, assisted by the mismanagement of governments, principally Britain’s. When the Jews stormed into Palestine to carve out a country for themselves in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forced off their land; whole populations of some villages were exterminated. The killing of Palestinians has never abated, and they are confined in concentration camps under constant guard by the Israel Defence Forces.

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Since 2000 alone, 22,492 Palestinians have been killed; 6538 were under the age of 17. The equivalent figures for Israelis are 2602 and 177. In Gaza now, some 12,000 Palestinians have been killed, almost half children, by a blitzkrieg of bombing and shelling. 54,000 houses have been destroyed and 222,000 damaged. Would the outcome have been different if Hamas had targeted only IDF military personnel? Somehow I doubt it.

It is difficult for us in the UK to imagine a life where we cannot go where we wish, we cannot work as we want to, when a farmer may be summarily shot by his neighbours, when every aspect of our lives is controlled by an occupying army. Under these oppressive and inhumane conditions, it is inevitable that people will eventually explode.

Richard Walthew

A GREAT night at Hampden on Sunday, no doubt, marred slightly by the scoreline, but what pleasure to hear the Norwegian national anthem again. Compare and contrast with our maudlin dirge, even if elevated a wee bit when roared by tens of thousands of passionate Scots.

Ja Vi Elsker (Yes, I Love this Country) is everything Flower of Scotland is not; its melody, tempo and sentiments being noble. The anthem foisted on us by the SFA and SRU – and indeed a Scottish Government asleep at the wheel – is an embarrassment. The same insulting negligence has dictated that our national teams take the field in dark (Union flag) navy when the correct colour is glorious azure/sky blue (which, by the way, seem to have been arrogantly appropriated by England teams).

The currently stuttering move towards inevitable independence can only be boosted by Scots having real pride in these key symbols of nationhood.

David Roche