I READ the letter from Derrick McClure (Why were sand dunes allowed to be ruined?, July 1) with interest. I share his concern about the dunes. I am, however, unhappy about his rather vague and slanted account of the history of how Trump’s application was dealt with. I think it is too strongly influenced by the maliciously distorted versions of the event reported in the popular press and by a BBC documentary on the topic some time later.

The Trump application was initially handled by a sub-committee of the local authority and was rejected by the casting vote of its chairman. The full council was not happy with that decision but lacked the legal power to reverse it. They then asked Alex Salmond, who was not only the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament at the time but also the relevant local MSP. In that capacity he referred the local authority to the relevant planning authority, who then called in the decision.

If anyone, including Mr McClure, would like to check the veracity of my version of events, he can do so by looking up bit.ly/MenieEstate. The relevant text is a document which has appendices. These go into sufficient detail on the sequence of events to the extent of listing individual phone calls and the topics discussed. It is surely time to put out aside politically motivated versions of these issues and get at the truth. Mr McClure should be aware that there are many who reported on that affair who are not disinterested parties, but have strong political motivation for falsely attributing responsibility for it to their political enemies.

Hugh Noble

AS a mother of two grown-up sons and several young grandsons I found Carolyn Leckie’s article (Sex equality laws aren’t designed to protect men, July 1) disturbing. I certainly agree with both Jim McNeill and Jim Palmer (Website comments, July 2). Our aim should be to have equality for all.

I certainly brought my sons up to respect women, to be independent, thoughtful and caring. I am proud of the fact that I see them not only taking an active part in the lives of their own families but also teaching their sons the same lessons.

However, I have learned of a few cases where men have been on the receiving end of domestic abuse and found that there is next to no help out there. In one case a young man was faced by amusement rather than help. I am also aware of a teenage boy being accused of misappropriate behaviour by two young girls. This accusation was followed up by police, social work etc and involved the whole family. Eventually one of the girls admitted that they had just made it up because they thought that it would be a laugh.

Please, let’s all work together to make our country a better place not just for some but for all whatever their race, colour, religion, political leaning or gender.

Helen Knight

AGAIN National columnist Michael Fry has been severe in his judgment of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Why Scotland’s economic system is a little like that of Putin’s Russia, July 2). His berating of Russia and China also follows a bandwagon journey that typifies much of the compliance journalism that has been the subject of disquiet among an increasing non-compliant and more discerning readership public in the West.

Contrast Michael Fry’s article with that from Kevin McKenna in The Herald on Saturday in which he dissects the pernicious influence of Britain’s private school system, with its emphasis on competition and opportunity though the elitist adult world it serves.

Should it be the case that the SNP government prefers a Kevin McKenna policy context for an independent Scotland that doesn’t equate entrepreneurial support and freedom with the provision of fine and plenty for all – with reverence of free market and neo-liberal gospel – then many in Scotland won’t feel hard done by, as seems to be Michael Fry’s reaction to such a scenario.

It is no surprise to me that Vladimir Putin enjoys considerable popularity in Russia, even though he was put forward to succeed his predecessor Boris Yeltsin by Yeltsin himself.

Russia was in a mess after it dispensed with its communist infrastructure and despite McDonald’s eating places springing up in Moscow and US evangelists pushing their unorthodox religions across Russia’s vast area, these were exploitative and in no way an effort to help the people of Russia.

As the good book advises: judge not that ye shalt not be judged and the bit about the mote in thy brother’s eye never mind the beam in your own.

Given that Westminster Toryism is at the moment the main protagonist against Scotland’s return to self-rule nationhood, I think Michael Fry should think of visits nearer at hand than wanting to send Nicola Sturgeon on a fact-finding trip to Russia.

He should knock on the Newsquest door of Kevin McKenna and maybe as a result become a more enlightened man. Who knows, it could be just along the corridor.

Ian Johnstone