IT was gratifying to read in yesterday’s National that the idea of reinstating a ferry link between Scotland and the Continent is Being promoted (MP bidding to revive axed sea link with Europe, January 22).

It is my understanding that the former Rosyth-Zeebrugge service originally operated by Superfast was viable, but was disadvantaged by high port charges and inadequate landward facilities at Rosyth.

READ MORE: SNP MP in bid to restore Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry service

These and other disadvantages will be overcome by the development of the proposed new cruise and ferry port at Preston Links on the site of the former Cockenzie power station. This brownfield site, which is now owned by East Lothian Council, has a number of advantages over Rosyth.

Downstream of the Forth Bridges, it suffers no height restrictions, it saves an hour’s steaming time and has ample land for development. It is a sheltered location with deep water close to shore, ready access to the main navigation fairway and will be relatively cheap to develop.

Crucially, it will generate more than a thousand jobs directly and indirectly.

The one challenge in developing the site is that it has also been earmarked as landfall for the connector from the Inchcape wind farm and location for the high-voltage sub-station. Fortunately there is room on the site for both complementary projects, so long as the sub-station is located inland away from the foreshore.

In the light of the above, Scotland has the opportunity to reap huge economic benefit from a modern low-carbon cruise and ferry port that will transform our access to Continental markets, and will create a world-class cruise turn-around port that is so lacking at present.

Roy Pedersen

I READ with interest the Lesley J Findlay’s long letter (January 22) about Mary Slessor.

In the early 1970s I, along with a number of other members of staff from Glasgow College of Building, was seconded to teach at Amadu Bello University in Zaria, Northern Nigeria.

READ MORE: What would the saintly Mary Slessor make of society today?​

Some of the students were from Calabar and when they realised that I came from Scotland they wanted to know what I knew about “Ma” Slessor. Alas at that time I did not even know that she had ever existed! To say the least they were amazed, as they had grandmothers who had known Ma Slessor and in their eyes she was a very special woman whom they revered.

For me who was there to teach, albeit quantity surveying, it was a wake-up call. I realised I came from a country which did not educate its own young people as to the value of the work done in many corners of the world by people like Mary Slessor but laid great store on battles fought and won, ie colonialism.

The quantity surveying course was a success and provided the base from which the Nigerian profession developed, but for me it was the realisation that I had gone to teach but I had learned a lot which still influences me nearly 50 years later.

Thomas L Inglis

READ MORE: How Scottish missionary Mary Slessor earned the title of the 'Great Mother' in Nigeria

TIM Hopkins of the Equality Network (Letters, January 21) brings out with exceptional clarity how the debate about gender self-identification is about ethical perceptions as much as law.

He argues that failing to recognise people “as the women … they know themselves to be” and to say “they are ‘transwomen’ but not women” is strictly analogous to earlier opposition to his right to marry.

READ MORE: Trans people are still often told their gender identity is not real – it's time we moved on

On this argument, it seems to be just as unethical to make any distinctions between people based solely on what is (or was) on their birth certificate as it would be to oppose equal marriage.

From that, certain things follow. For example, any wish on my part only to undergo intimate medical examination at the hands of someone else born female would appear to be as morally unacceptable as if I wanted to stop two quite different people from me from getting married, because they are gay.

READ MORE: Why we have so much to learn from ‘old and irrelevant’ women

If I was instead happy to be seen by some people born male but who state they know themselves to be women, but to do so only if they met certain further criteria I set, I would be just as much at ethical fault.

It must also follow that the Equality Act, wherever it permits single-sex things to exclude transgender people in certain circumstances, is morally wrong. Indeed, the Equality Network has argued in the past for such provisions to be removed.

In creating a world in which transgender people can live free from harassment and discrimination, rightly seen as a moral imperative, policy and law makers will need to think carefully about how analogies are used, and should make sure they are comfortable with all the conclusions about ethical equivalence to which they lead.

Lucy Hunter Blackburn