GERRY Hassan’s excellent column on the BBC highlights the many errors and issues the BBC has become embroiled in over the last few years (The trouble with the BBC, December 1). In the seventies and eighties it used to be said that the movie industry was alive and well and working in television.

These were the golden years of British commercial TV, and the BBC rose to the challenge with some ground-breaking programmes overseen by the fledgling BBC2’s controller Sir David Attenborough.

READ MORE: The trouble with the BBC

Now, the BBC has lost its identity, its purpose and its direction. In order to survive there has to be a fundamental change in the core structure of the broadcaster.

The Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said she was “open-minded” about a Netflix-style subscription service to access the BBC. I agree. Forcing people to pay for a service they are decreasingly using is a very British kind of fraud.

Mike Herd

IT was a pleasure to read Donald Anderson’s letter (November 29) with his short biography of John Maclean. When I was younger, it became something of a ritual of mine to take a walk to the People’s Palace and see the great man’s desk. I always found it deeply moving in a strange way.

The importance of John Maclean’s thinking in helping to sow the seed of an independent, modern Scotland in the Scottish psyche can never be underestimated. It was John Maclean, along with James Connolly, who recognised that the United Kingdom was nothing more than a euphemism for English hegemony, and that freedom and prosperity for the Celtic nations could only come about through independence.

One of my favourite John Maclean quotes also has a significant meaning for today’s society as we face the challenges of climate change: “I am a socialist and have been fighting and will fight for an absolute reconstruction of society for the benefit of all.”

Solomon Steinbett
Maryhill, Glasgow

READ MORE: Labour have moved far away from ideals of the socialist saints​

EXCELLENT letter from Donald Anderson. John Maclean was an intelligent and reasoned man who knew that all men are equal, which was quite unusual for that time. It is to the shame of our education system that young people are not educated about a man who was prepared to lose everything to try to change the lives of the majority of our population who at that time lived in dire poverty.

The Labour party was never a socialist party although there were some good socialist members. But now we see, when it comes to the crunch, the Labour MPs are turning on Jeremy Corbyn because they see their gravy train drawing to a standstill – shame on them! And shame on Scottish Labour who don’t know which way to jump.

Jeremy Corbyn is being destroyed in the same way that John Maclean was, and the media is to blame for aiding and abetting this.

Rosemary Smith
East Kilbride

I HAVE to disagree with Dougie Gray (Letters, November 29). Accepting the principle of a minimum turnout threshold of those entitled to vote in elections or referendums immediately converts the non-voting electorate into active participants and turns the conventional decision-making practice upside down.

It is universally recognised that an abstention is not a vote. Abstaining from voting indicates that the voter does not wish to influence the outcome, for whatever reason. It may be because they don’t understand all the issues, a personal moral challenge may be involved, perhaps the voter simply cannot make their mind up or maybe has a complete disinterest in the process, among many other possible reasons.

READ MORE: Turnout thresholds are actually not such a bad idea

Adopting a threshold of those entitled to vote hands all the power over to those opposed to whatever the question is. Simply boycott the vote to add to the numbers who never vote anyway, and you can ensure the threshold is not reached. No thank you. James Kelly needs no encouragement, he has done enough damage already with his daft ideas.

Angus J Stewart
South Queensferry

IN Karin Goodwin’s otherwise excellent article (Gray wins book award for influence running deep within Scotland, December 1), I took exception to the adjective “infamous” to describe his great quote, “work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.” In my Chambers dictionary, infamous means “having a reputation of the worst kind; notoriously vile, disgraceful, etc.” Surely Karin meant “famous,” the very opposite? It is an aspiration we must all try to achieve.

Martin Gostwick

READ MORE: Alasdair Gray wins book award for influence ‘running deep within Scotland’​

I WAS interested to read in Saturday’s National (Scottish Natural Heritage makes apology to rural landowner, November 30) that beech trees have been re-designated as “fauna”. It would appear that we have already left the EC and are now living in Middle Earth!

Yours in hoots of laughter,

Rachel Martin