ON Saturday I attended the Ayr march on a glorious day both weather-wise and number-wise!

I heard the countless flags fluttering with such a proud sound on Ayr Low Green, with the wind blowing in the right direction from the beach, sun shining and Arran in the distance.

Before a few of us reached the park, I walked beside another pensioner (she on her first march due to health issues) and we spotted an expensive car driving towards us with a Union Jack draped on the front/back passenger windows.

A somewhat large elderly male driver slowed his car down alongside, to enable him to look at both of us with disdain.

Compare and contrast with the happy scenes to come, led by Saor Alba Pipe Band, with young and old, children and prams, disabled and abled and dugs of every size and shape!! Verified by photographs in The National yesterday.

Departing the Ayr-Glasgow Central train, two drunken men in their early 30s entered before we could get out, and proceeded to yell: “Yoos willnae get independence – we’ll make sure o’ that”, with several oaths thrown in and hand gestures. “Ah served in Afghanistan for Queen and country.”

There was a young black girl waiting in the entrance with her case for this contretemps to cease.

While I did reply regarding how polite they were, I wished later that I had responded: “They certainly don’t teach manners in HM’s army!”

On the next train from Queen Street, a lovely young woman sat beside me after a day’s shopping in Glasgow with her niece and when she saw our saltire and badges from Ayr, started talking. She was still visibly upset and shaken about what she described as a day of hate, fear and drunks in the city, because of the Orange March.

Later reports spoke of eight arrested. Compare and contrast.

Julie Christie
via email

KATHERINE Perlo (July 8) is both right and wrong in her comments about my letter. She says I did not attack the substance of what Mr Mildred was saying. This is true because there was no substance to it. His claim about assisted dying becoming a “duty to die” is not evidence-based.

READ MORE: Stick to the truth when discussing assisted dying laws

In Oregon, where assisted dying has been legal since 1997, there have been no cases of the law being abused and the law has not been extended to include other categories as had been claimed. So why does he say this? Because he is committed to oppose assisted dying as a result of his religious beliefs. That was the point of my letter. It is also why she is wrong to say that I am setting up a straw man in focusing on someone with religious belief. It’s no coincidence that those with such strongly held religious beliefs are at the centre of the opposition to assisted dying – they are opposed to it in principle regardless of the evidence, placing dogma ahead of compassion.

This is no straw man. Their opposition is very real even if their inspiration is supernatural.

Ultimately Katherine Perlo makes my point for me as regards scaremongering. A law on assisted dying for the terminally ill is not some trojan horse for those who wish to euthanise the old, sick or disabled. To suggest this is the very definition of scaremongering.

Colin Dunning
Port Glasgow

ANENT Katherine Perlo’s desire for the absence of bias in the assisted dying argument, permit me, as an atheist, septuagenarian, retired senior nurse and cancer survivor (for the moment at least) to provide it.

Firstly, I am an atheist for several reasons, not least the hyper-hypocritical religious upbringing I experienced but also because I fail to see how anybody who followed the particular branch of human care that I did could continue to believe in some benign, merciful higher being.

Secondly, I am a believer in choice. I do not for one minute advocate any kind of compulsion in the ending of a life, but nor do I advocate any kind of compulsion in its continuance. It is also the case that this debate is heavily influenced by a strange, and possibly self-comforting belief that freedom from pain equates to quality of life, expressed by those, I suspect, who don’t have a life.

I have experienced pain so bad that, days post-operatively and despite the morphine pump, I was in a frame of mind where I was pleading with staff to just let me die. Even if my cancer returns, I will not be subjected to a repeat of the operation and I will not hang around to even let anybody suggest it. I hope that I am physically capable of arranging my own departure, but if I am not, what right has society to outlaw the loving assistance of those who share my life and actually care about what happens to me?

Those opposed to assisted dying can profess all the sympathy they like, they cannot possibly share the concern and affection of my family and, frankly, what I do or have done with my life is none of their damn business.

As to the question of quality, I am not prepared to compromise on this: the day I cannot walk my dogs, marvel at the wonders of nature, read a book or stoke the log burner on a cold winter’s night is the day it will end.

Les Hunter