Letters: Prisons full of people with mental disorders

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At the risk of incurring the wrath of ‘the mob’ I tend to agree with Brian McConnachie, Rosdeep Adekoya’s defence lawyer.

While the circumstances of young Mikaeel’s death are horrendous and justice needs to be done, it is highly likely that Mrs Adekoya is suffering from a psychological illness that controls the thoughts of parents toward their children and the obsessive thoughts of harming them.

The condition is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) related and sufferers have a continual struggle with their thoughts and have to go through mental compulsions to avoid causing harm.

There is a very detailed paper on the American International OCD foundation website entitled ‘Parents who think about harming their children’ which should be read and digested in conjunction with the facts.

While no doubt there will have been a psychological evaluation of Mrs Adekoya’s state of mind that the public are not party to, it is worth considering that our prisons are filled with thousands of people with mental disorders.

Although Sandra Dick is right that Mrs Adekoya should have sought help (News, August 26), it takes enormous courage for any person to admit to the intrusiveness of OCD.

We should always consider a mental based disorder when a crime is committed entirely out of character.

If any women are suffering from intrusive thoughts about harming their children they should speak to their GP in the first instance.

More information about OCD can be found on the OCD Action website. It’s not just about excessive checking and cleaning!

Douglas Kemp, Facilitator, East of Scotland OCD support Group , East Norton Place, Edinburgh

It’s a dog’s life down the local pub

Greyfriars Bobby pub is missing a tourist trick when you consider the possible value of the William Chambers/ St Giles and THAT dog legend , but a pub’s got to be free to make up its own mind (‘No dogs allowed in Greyfriars Bobby pub’, News, August 25).

I’ve been taking dogs into pubs for 25 years and can honestly say no-one has ever complained, and I genuinely can’t number the friendly chats I’ve had with total strangers as a result.

But a dog is secondary to a person and must be kept on a lead, not bark, whine, mooch for food or sweep pints off tables with over-enthusiastic tail wagging.

That being said, dogs at least don’t sing inappropriately, swear, share their obnoxious, bigoted or ignorant opinions over-loudly or show-off about malt whiskies to bored bar staff.Or worst of all, talk endlessly about golf.

Magnus K Moodie, Boswall Terrace, Edinburgh

Holyrood offers us a national focal point

Many in the unionist parties would love to clip the wings of the Scottish Parliament, an institution they really wish had never been born.

Vague plans to bolster the parliament’s powers should be viewed with suspicion on the basis of the promises made by Sir Alec Douglas-Home before the 1979 devolution referendum and dishonoured afterwards.

Abolishing the Scottish Parliament would now be unthinkable because the institution, which Scots in 1997 voted overwhelmingly to reinstate, has for most of us become part of our mental furniture, but its growing dignity would be in jeopardy without a Yes win on September. 18.

A tour of the parliament building before referendum day and before the wonderful Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition there ends on September 13, would bring home to anyone visiting for the first time the precious nature of this institution in reinvigorating our democracy.

It is worth quoting at length a passage in George Scott-Moncrieff’s book ‘Edinburgh’, first published just after World War Two, describing what he called the strange “beheadedness” of the Scottish capital, a state of affairs that leading politicians down the centuries have wanted to see indefinitely prolonged, indifferent to the malaise of which he wrote.

“The magnet of London centralisation drags away too many of the abler young people who might enrich her life... I think I never felt the beheadedness of our Capital so much as on Victory Day, 1945. The crowds could only mill in circles. Holyrood was closed and shuttered; the Castle, the utility lodging of a guard, with a small military hospital. No one could have thought of mafficking outside that emblem of a rubber-stamp administration, St Andrew’s House.

“The awful fact was that there was no living symbol of Scotland before whom the people of her Capital could express their rejoicing, nobody to personify our country. I believe the American Red Cross in Princes Street became the focus, where the GIs distributed cigarettes and gum to the wandered crowd.”

Stephen Nisbet, Drummond Place, Edinburgh

Martin Hannan fails to paint whole picture

Martin Hannan in his column blasts commentators on TV not announcing their political allegiance. (News, August 26). I hope this extends to his colleague George Kerevan. He is always on under the banner economic expert, never failed SNP politician - ie not elected.

In the same column he criticises Edinburgh City Council for flying the Palestinian flag in support off the people of Gaza. He implies that all residents of Gaza are members of Hamas. That is as daft as saying all citizens of Edinburgh are Hibs supporters.

Bill Cunningham, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh