I WRITE this epistle somewhat later than I’d intended because I had to wait for the rather distracting steam coming out of my ears to pass.

In his letter, Iain Bruce opines that “inappropriate behaviour needs to be stamped on in the moment and the social sanction, namely a verbal warning followed by a sharp slap across the face or a forceful blow to the genitals of the assailant, be it in a lift, the rear seat of a ministerial limo or the bedroom of Bute House, is the only appropriate response” (Letters, March 30).

READ MORE: Be loud and brave by responding swiftly to inappropriate behaviour

He also states: “I’d expect nothing less from my daughter, granddaughter or any of the women in my life” and instructs us to “remember that action in the moment will secure better results against sexual predation.”

If only I’d had the benefit of Mr Bruce’s wisdom when, as a young woman, I was sexually assaulted in the street – I’d have had the whole thing dealt with in no time with a swift no-nonsense kipper-slap to my assailant’s kisser or a quick kick in his crown jewels, eh?

Er, no. In fact, it’s often a case of fight OR FLIGHT. And “flight” can involve “freezing” or shutting down inside.

In any case, it’s unutterably wrong to expect any woman or girl who finds herself confronted by a predatory male to react in a particular way, especially some socially prescribed way. And it’s certainly not for anyone, especially not a man, to tell those of us who are female (and therefore particularly vulnerable in relation to those who are male-bodied) what the “only appropriate” way to respond is when some men act out their vile predatory ways, whether these actions are/would be judged “criminal” or otherwise. Such glibly prescriptive instructions so often directed at and expected of women are just another form of victim-blaming. The last thing the young woman I was needed was to be judged because her response to her assailant didn’t pass muster. I write this for her.

Mo Maclean

AGAIN and again I found myself agreeing with George Kerevan (Here’s what the new case for Yes will be once this crisis is over , March 30) when he used expressions such as “self-sufficiency”, “homes of Scots-grown timber”, “Scottish saving invested in Scotland” and, most of all, “devolving as much of decision-making into the hands of communities, neighbourhoods, islands and villages”. But hover a blink. Are these not Green policies?

Local democracy is encompassed in the Green principle of subsidiarity. This is the best argument for Scottish independence and is only reinforced by the recent pandemic. Greens are far too cautious in putting forward their own policies. They have allowed other parties to plunder their ideas. This shows in the recent Panelbase survey where the Green vote is unchanged.

READ MORE: What the case for Yes will be once the coronavirus crisis is over

What George Kerevan and his columnar colleagues must get used to is austerity, in the sense of sustainability, is here to stay. Growth will be an expression referring to allotments, for human impact on the environment must be reduced. Meanwhile the poor and sick must be protected. If this has the sound of a religious idea it is because others thought of it many years ago.

The outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic have a strangely biblical feel. though the principle of Gaia is possibly a better description of the phenomenon: airlines are closed down, roads are deserted, great cities are silenced. While this is a taste of things to come in rich countries, the unfair blow that will strike the poorer countries on our planet must surely be now foremost in our minds. As George concludes, “we desire friendship with all.”

Iain WD Forde

I SEE from the BBC website that Prince Charles is out of self isolation. Jings, crivens, help ma Boab. If that was a fortnight it’ll be the end of June in nae time.

Rachel Martin

I COULDN’T believe my eyes yesterday morning. To retain my sanity and fitness, as the gyms are now closed (devastating!) I went for a jog around the deserted southern bank of Loch Ness.

I had previously heard a pair of bald headed eagles had established themselves there. And true enough, when I heard an almighty squawk, I turned my head towards the loch and witnessed this magnificent bird swooping down to the water surface, heading towards what I thought at first was a boat but to my unexpected delight was Nessie!

Nessie without a care in the world, basking in the April sunshine! Nessie, the champion and master of distancing and self- isolation. The legend who had kept her distance for centuries had now ventured out, grabbing the opportunity of no tourists, no campervans, no Prince Charles, to surface and enjoy the sun and fresh air. Unbelievable!

If only I’d had my phone and captured the scene, I’d be famous! Still I’ve informed my fellow contributors and readers of my favourite paper of this unique event. In these harrowing times, it’s the least I could do!

Robin MacLean
Loch Ness

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