I READ with interest the article “Canada map bears mark of Scottish pioneer Sir Alexander Mackenzie” (February 5). History is all about perspectives, and my view of Mackenzie’s career is different from the perspective presented in the article, and it may be of interest to the author and to and wider readership.

As a Gaelic speaker, it is difficult to be unaware of issues of cultural erasure here in Scotland, and having grown up in Canada with First Nation friends, I can also see the erasure of First Nation culture throughout Turtle Island (North America). It almost goes without saying that the people living in the areas visited by Mackenzie had names for their surroundings, but these have been pushed aside by the culture of empire in which Mackenzie was active. Is not the naming of so many things after him, either by himself or by later admirers, just a greedy way of saying “Mine!”? Dispossession, assimilation and the genocide of the First Nations in later years is a sorry but too common result of the ugly side of empire which continues today.

In view of the recent evaluation of the brutality of Churchill acting on behalf of the British empire, and also a similar re-evaluation John A Macdonald recently in Canada, I think we should not be so ready to praise empire. To say that such people “command the attention of all who care for noble deeds” is the bias of privilege.

Alasdair MacMhaoirn

IN the controversy concerning Churchill in your correspondence columns I have seen no mention of his role in the War of Intervention against Soviet Russia, 1919-21.

In his book, The World Crisis: The Aftermath, Churchill bluntly admitted that the atrocities committed against the Russian people had been truly appalling!

Later, during a World War Two conference, he apologised to the Soviet leader for what had taken place, and asked forgiveness for his own role in the intervention.

Stalin simply brushed it aside with a curt reply: “It was a long time ago, and only God can forgive.”

Norrie Paton

REGARDING your article “Boyd wants neutral referees introduced” (February 5), could I suggest a couple of ideas which might reduce the chance of referee’s mistakes? As introducing neutral referees would be expensive.

Firstly, the use of noise-cancelling earphones would help to prevent referees from being swayed, one way or the other, by the volume of one set of supporters.

Secondly, many of the controversial incidents involve “diving” in the box, which is now so prevalent that it disfigures our beautiful game. The way to reduce this tendency would be to award a penalty to the defending team for a “dive”, where the attacking player would risk a penalty given against his own team.

RW Millar

ONE of the most frustrating things for observers of Glasgow’s rail network’s lost opportunities is the way in which sound aspirations are taken off the table on the basis of dodgy ideas. Thus, for example, alleged “experts” have in the past dismissed the case for Glasgow Crossrail on the basis that a direct rail link between Queen Street and Central would be a better alternative.

Quite how such a link could be developed, given the city centre’s geography and property values, is never satisfactorily explained – but never mind, the politicians get their excuse to scrap Crossrail.

So it goes, it seems, with Glasgow Airport’s rail link. It’s fair to say that a simple city centre to airport shuttle might be under-used. But such a limited shuttle is not what the link’s most consistent advocates have aimed for. They have seen Crossrail as an essential complement to the airport rail link, not only allowing trains to run to the airport from anywhere in the Greater Glasgow area but from anywhere in Scotland. Trains run direct from Edinburgh to Manchester Airport; with Glasgow Crossrail, services from anywhere in Scotland could be run to Glasgow Airport.

Stephen Tingle (Letters, January 6) seems to be arguing that a shuttle pod system from Paisley Gilmour Street and a system of city centre subterranean moving walkways is a sensible alternative to a proper rail link.

The former smacks of certain politicians’ “technological solutions” to the Irish backstop issue; the latter underestimates the engineering and cost challenges of building any underground transport link in a mature city centre.

And if having to change onto an airport link train at Central would be an inconvenience and deterrent to use of the train, could someone please explain why doing that plus changing from a train to a shuttle pod at Paisley would be any more attractive?

Andrew McCracken