IT could almost be seen as evidence that nationalists occupy the moral high ground (a claim I made which Michael Fry challenges) that he is given the opportunity to defend his views in a newspaper which is unlikely to share them.

It’s also interesting that to support his claim that all is good in all possible worlds, he refers to the Ancient Greek philosophers Heracleitus and Plato (Scotland will be independent only when we realise how rich we are, The National, February 6).

Michael wouldn’t be aware that in an earlier incarnation I was a Classics scholar and specialised in early Greek philosophy, so I know a bit about the “philosopher kings” that he refers to. But the point I was making was not that we need philosopher kings – or queens. Goodness knows, we wouldn’t be able to understand most of what philosophers are on about, in my experience! My point remains that we need decision-makers who are motivated by something other than greed, whether or not they are advocates of a capitalist system.

Michael is probably familiar with the Greek historian Herodotus, who is well worth reading today as the issues he describes are timeless. Herodotus tells of a Persian tribe where rulers are chosen from the people who are least keen on being in charge, on the basis that they wouldn’t be up for the job out of self-interest. I don’t advocate this approach to select the new SNP deputy leader, but the point remains valid – we should ensure at all levels that those who represent us seek power for the right reasons, rather than to feather their own nests. On this point I suspect Michael’s views and mine would not be far apart.

It’s really good that there has developed a debate about women writing to the paper. There are many things men could learn from women, but one thing women can learn from men is the confidence to challenge what “experts” say.

Dr Mary Brown

IT was strange to read Michael Fry on the virtues of capitalism on a day when stock markets fell so dramatically. It was as though they were making the point that one of the problems with capitalism is its tendency to produce instability and crisis.

Capitalism is premised on the accumulation of profits for the few, not the many, and capitalists are in it for their own interests. Sometimes these coincide with a broader interest, but all too often it is the fat cats who benefit. We have seen this in the way in which PFI and privatised enterprises produce profits for owners and shareholders, while the public picks up the bill.

Whether it’s the banks, organisations like Carillion or the enterprises which run our privatised railways, capitalism is not strong and stable, but unpredictable, exploitative and increasingly parasitic. There is a participative alternative, as shown in Scotland by cooperatives and community buy-outs.

Catherine Lloyd
Letters, Loch Broom

AS a country we rightly celebrate the 100th anniversary of some women (those who were householders and over the age of 30) being given the right to vote. This was truly revolutionary in its day, not only for those women but a real success story of taking on the government of that day and succeeding.

Women worldwide have gone forward in leaps and bounds since then and are today taking leading roles in all aspects of living. Politics, business, campaigning for the underprivileged and much, much more. One of the largest campaign groups in our country today has women at the heart. It is the WASPI group (Women against State Pension Inequality), campaigning for women born in the early 1950s who are suffering disproportionately the effects of the Westminster government’s legislation to equalise state pension age. Like with the Suffragettes of 1918, protests have gone to parliament securing debates, early-day motions and a 193,000-signature petition.

So, in the year of celebrating votes for women, can the WASPI campaign secure justice for those women born in the early 1950s who are being forced into poverty as a result of becoming dependant on state benefits through no fault of their own?

Catriona C Clark

EVERYBODY isn’t turning handstands at the prospect of Walter Smith being appointed Scotland coach for a second time. It’s about time the media asked the Tartan Army for their opinion on this, and about time the fans had a say in appointing the national coach.

For far too long the fans have had to endure Old Firm-affiliated managers who select Old Firm players, including semi-retired former players who sit on English League dug-out benches and only get a chance to play football when called up for the Scotland squad.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill was at least managing his home country, something that doesn’t seem to concern the hapless SFA. And when they do get round to appointing a home grown manager they are Old Firm fixated. Little wonder the other home nations fare better than Scotland!

Ian Johnstone

AS a regular reader of The National, I look forward to the letters page, but question why it is necessary to have the latest proliferation of “Scots” letters included.

Most Scots, despite having various dialects, understand and use English daily and, speaking personally, I find it tedious and time-consuming to have to translate these various offerings of “Scots”. As a result it’s tending to spoil my enjoyment of what I consider one of the best and most important parts of the paper.

Mary Clark
Address supplied