WHAT a fuss about a piece of good advice! I refer to last weeks reports of a teacher being advised to watch and perhaps use videos of The Big Bang Theory as a way of helping with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I am a physics teacher and spent several years teaching severely dyslexic children at a private school and research centre. I experienced many instances of deep understanding of exceedingly abstract ideas displayed by children whose writing was barely understandable. The autistic spectrum includes Asperger’s Syndrome and within that there are “savant skills” displayed by these young people which can be unbelievable and also barely understood by psychologists.

It is very much worth a try – with some gentle initial priming – and I suspect the person giving the advice has tried it!

Loading article content

I feel that the advice has been reported sans context, with the prejudice of non-understanding; and that it might not involve a gentleman with horn rimmed glasses, long hair, a spotty bow tie and patches on the elbows of his Harris Tweed jacket.

I admire the courage and originality of the person who gave it.
Victor Moncrieff
Address supplied


NI: If we pay the tax we should get the benefits

IN response to Hammond’s Budget increase to Class 2 National Insurance for the self-employed, I have no objections, assuming I have the same rights as employees paying the full stamp. At present the Class 2 NI gives me a state pension when I am 67 “if spared” and access to an NHS to which every British national has a right. The benefits I do not have are no sick pay, no holiday pay, no paternity pay, no contributions to a pension scheme from employer, not to mention additional accountant’s fees and the unsecure risks.

As for the ignorant talk of “You have got flexible working hours and more tax avoiding measures at hand”, they are small compensation for the fact that you don’t earn if you don’t work. Every large to small company will always look at tax avoidance. Google, Rangers FC, the likes of ex PM Cameron’s family have all benefited from tax avoidance. Hypocrisy.
R Imrie

SCOTS proverbs, as quoted in The National each week, are an invaluable source of folk wisdom, often having several subtle differences of meaning.

For example the saying from March 9: “A threid wull tie an honest man better as a raip wull dae a rogue” means that an honest man will honour a promise though only bound to it by the slightest sense of duty whereas a crook will cheat though tied down by every possible precaution. In modern terms a contract is only of value if there is good will by both parties.

I learned a good Scots proverb two days ago from an aged neighbour whose wife was in hospital for a check-up, leaving him to look after himself. When I asked him how he was he said: “If ye’re mairchin ye’re nae fechtin.”

This has several interpretations. As far as Scottish politics is concerned we should stop parading arguments and struggle more decisively for immediate independence.
Iain WD Forde

I AM a Yes voter and was active in the 2014 referendum which sought one thing: independence for Scotland from Westminster to enable us to decide our own future. I have always been a Eurosceptic and voted Leave in 2016.

As a movement one of our major complaints is that no matter what we vote for the result will always be determined by the wishes of the English (and Welsh/Irish) electorate.

We rightly think this is unfair but when England voted for Brexit and the Scottish electorate voted substantially against we have Yes/Leave folk saying they will vote against independence by supporting a decision made by the very English majority we have railed against since 1707.

This is morally suspect and I believe that this cherry-picking reeks of hypocrisy and double standards.

We all can decide the future of Scotland once we have secured the means to do so: independence from Westminster.
Don Ferguson K

IN all the recent publicity about North Sea Oil, one important point that appears to be overlooked repeatedly is this: the single biggest financial benefit from the oil is taxes paid by oil companies on their profits. While Scotland remains part of the UK, all these taxes go straight to the Treasury and Scotland sees not a single penny.

When Scotland becomes an independent nation again, those taxes – although currently less than a few years ago – will remain in Scotland to pay for services here, so Scotland will be better off from oil after independence than now.

The facts say that what Unionists like to tell us about how we’d struggle after independence is complete nonsense!
Peter Swain

IS it true that career politicians attend a secret “Masters” course in obfuscation after graduating with their first degree? The same politicians wonder why they rank so low in public opinion.

Obfuscating before the European Summit last night, Mrs May clearly stated the main reason people of the UK voted to leave the EU was because the membership fee was too expensive, implying there will be loads of extra money to spend in the UK when we leave. When is she going to tell Leave voters they will be disappointed because the £350 million a week lied about by her Cabinet colleagues doesn’t exist?

The principal reason people voted to leave was to halt immigration. If the UK Government truly wants a trade deal with the EU the Leave voters are going to be disappointed regarding immigration.
Mike Underwood

IT was refreshing to see John Swinney’s direct approach at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday when the opposition raised a series of questions directed at events from three years ago (Swinney leaves opposition leaders with red faces over oil, The National, March 10).

Has anyone else noticed how the questions of Davidson, Dugdale and Rennie almost invariably mirror each other and are often not about current Scottish issues?

They often appear to be directed at a subject that has been the main topic for the news headlines in England in the preceding week.

It seems the Unionist parties are now totally reliant on their party headquarters-based script writers who have little knowledge of Scottish affairs and rehash something into a Scottish context.

What other explanation is there for the almost verbatim repetition of each other’s questions.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry