WHILE skimming through Dame Jacqueline Baillie’s taradiddle about the Greens and SNP in The National on Tuesday, a few lines of a song from the musical South Pacific came to mind. All together now: “There is nothing like a Dame, there is nothing you can name, that is anything like a Dame.”

To folks of a certain vintage immediately recalling the sun-kissed beaches and blue skies of said movie, sorry, but the image from long ago that Dame Jacqueline evoked in my memory was the old BBC radio weather forecasts. Those in which a gloomy voice would intone that there was “a deep depression moving in from the Atlantic.”

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However, on a lighter note, time flies, and before we know it the official panto season will be upon us. Therefore, in a spirit of reaching out, building bridges etc, I would like to offer some advice to Dame Jacqueline who, with some new material, should be a shoo-in for an over-the-top panto dame role. Firstly, ditch the tired old “we are Scottish Labour” patter, it’s not even funny anymore. Go with the term “North British branch office of the Labour Party”. It will have the audience interacting – oh yes it will!

Lining up the back-up cast could be a bit sensitive, as you will have to punt Anas, as he couldn’t raise a chuckle in a laughing gas factory. However, you can call on a superb panto villain, a real piece of work, none other than Sir Keir Starmer. On second thoughts, I find him scary, so he may be too much for the kids.

Roll on panto season!

Malcolm Cordell
Broughty Ferry

LISTENING to the completely deluded Jackie Baillie come out with the line “only Scottish Labour will give Scotland the fresh start it needs” made me bang my head against the wall. Is there anyone stupid enough to actually fall for this ludicrous downright bull?

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They are offering more or less exactly the same as their chums in the truly vile Tory party, meaning more abject misery for us all whilst our huge resources are stolen every single day as Scots can’t afford to heat their homes or feed their children, never mind afford their mortgage payments, and yet this absolute chancer tells people their lives will improve with a party distorted so badly and led up here – and more importantly in London – by complete Tories?

It’s beyond belief how completely deranged and in denial these clowns are. Vote Labour, vote for more absolute misery.

Iain K

THE research from teaching union NASUWT, finding that a majority of teachers reported an increase in verbal and physical violence over the last year, should come as no surprise (Teachers report rise in violence from pupils, Aug 23).

Many of these are linked to pupils with additional support needs (ASN), the number of whom has more than doubled since 2012 and now amounts to more than a third of pupils. Poor behaviour has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, which has also increased mental health issues.

However, this is set against a background of acute under-resourcing. As just one example, the number of specialist ASN teachers fell by 546 between 2012 and 2022. Additional funding is desperately needed to increase support for those with ASN, including specialist teachers, mental health professionals, child psychologists and teaching assistants.

We would also suggest that the Scottish Government expand school counselling provision to all primary and special schools, and it needs to be recognised that specialist provision would better meet the needs of many of these young people.

Violence against any member of school staff or another pupil is never acceptable, and it is critical that local authorities and the Scottish Government take all possible action to ensure that our schools are safe places to work and to learn.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Kenny Graham, Falkland House School; Lynn Bell, LOVE Learning; Stephen McGhee, Spark of Genius; Niall Kelly, Young Foundations

I WAS a wee bit alarmed to see an article in Thursday's National that decried the use of an incinerator as a source of pollution.

When we are an independent country, I’m hoping we are never in a position where we have to export plastic waste for incineration.

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Whenever I spot anyone burning plastics on an open fire, I remind them that many types of plastic can take centuries to degrade and burning some plastics in low-temperature open fires will produce deadly toxins like PCBs that will kill directly or be highly carcinogenic.

For that reason, there is a public safety need for strictly licensed incinerators that will safely dispose of potentially dangerous materials at high temperatures (usually in excess of 700C) when highly complex compounds can be volatilised into their harmless elements.

Basically, the message is to always recycle, in full expectation that any non-recyclable waste will find its way to a friendly incinerator.

Alan Adair