I WAS interested to read Shona Craven’s article (Women must not be silenced in the debate on gender identity, The National, January 19).

The Gender Recognition Act that is being proposed is to enable individuals to self-declare their sex without medical intervention. Whilst on initial reading this may seem to be a liberal and modern approach, the consequences have not been thought through, particularly the consequences for women. Women have fought long for places of safety and privacy and this act raises the possibility that an individual could self-declare for whatever reason in order to enter a women’s changing area, a female ward in a hospital or prison or a women’s refuge.

One of the problems with this bill is that to eject such a person from one of these areas would be classified as a hate crime, and who is going to go there?

There is a very vociferous minority pushing for this bill to be passed and to be quite honest I think those who object to it are being intimidated against doing so. The bill is still in the consultative stage and can be accessed on the Scottish Government web page.

Caroline Small

THE long letter to The National from Paigham Mustafa on the subject of Universal Basic Income (Letters, January 18) describes the best opportunity that is available to us at the moment to show our common humanity. It fits in with the Green principles we are going to comply with in the near future, which are set out in the other letter by Hugh Noble. It also fits in with any policy that claims to be socialist or liberal, religious or rational.

Much as I crave for Scotland to be independent, I would settle for every citizen of the country being financially independent in the meantime. I can hear the sounds of Michael Fry’s disapproval, but would love to read his analysis of the project. My own idea is that the unemployed or unemployable would be able to have further education or training, and to be involved with charitable or voluntary work, with the further benefits of these being social activities so helping to lessen loneliness or isolation.

Iain WD Forde

I AM delighted to read that one of Scotland’s most successful, but largely forgotten, naval heroes is soon to be commemorated by not one but two statues to be erected in Oban and in Edinburgh.

Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, was a brilliant but unconventional naval commander who did so much damage to Napoleon’s interests in Spain and the Mediterranean generally that the Emperor christened him “The Sea Wolf”.

However Cochrane’s radical politics did not endear him to the British Admiralty and he was consistently overlooked in favour of Lord Nelson. This resulted in Cochrane seeking to further his career in South America, where he created, organised and lead the new Chilean navy in the successful independence campaign against Spain. He is therefore a revered hero in Chile, with streets named after him in Santiago and Valparaiso. He is equally honoured in Brazil, Peru and in Greece, where he similarly contributed to those countries’ Wars of Independence.

Now a wealthy Chilean businessman has paid for five bronze statues of Cochrane; three in Chile, including at the Chilean Naval Academy, and the two in Scotland. The statues incidentally have been cast at the Black Isle Foundry here in Scotland, which does such excellent work in this field.

Peter Craigie

IS Scotland the only country in the world where the Transport Secretary is required to resign if there is snow? It really shows how desperate the British nationalist politicians and media are, calling for Humza Yousaf to be sacked not over something he is actually culpable for, but reliant on of the actions of a few reckless drivers who ignored warnings not to travel in severe weather as their latest excuse.

In December 2017 many drivers were stranded on the M25 in London, yet I can recall no such media clamour for the failing Westminster Transport Minister Chris Grayling to be sacked. The hypocrisy is staggering.

James Cassidy